I just had what will be my last Sabbat (for a while, anyway) with the group I’ve been working with since 2001. That makes today a good time to talk more about Plan A and Plan B (and Plan Riff Until Ready)
Everyone in the group I’ve worked with since 2001 knows I’m hiving: it’s something I feel strongly called to do. I’ve talked about that recently.
There’s only one problem.
I have no earthly idea *where* my next job is going to be.Which is why my “I’m hiving” practical steps get a little tricky.
Short practical digression on jobs:
I got my Master’s in Library and Information Science last August. This means I’m currently seeking a new job that requires the degree, and that will let me do more of the library stuff that I want to do professionally. (I’ve been working as a library paraprofessional since 2000) Divorce was not kind to my finances, so there are also some practical aspects. MLIS-degreed librarians are not highly paid (compared to the amount of education required), but paraprofessionals are even less so.
My fondest desire is to find a professional library job that is otherwise what I want in the Twin Cities metro (or at least ‘evening driving distance’ to it.) I wouldn’t have to move, I could keep doing wonderful things with local friends, and life would be excellent.
The reality is, though, that it’s an awfully competitive job market for MLIS holders – there simply aren’t that many jobs in the area, and there are a lot of applicants for each one. (Not only do we have a library school in the Twin Cities, but there are also schools in Chicago, Madison, and Milwaukee, all of which have a number of grads who want to stay within driving distance of parents or extended family.) I’ve done better than average in my job searches so far (a finalist for a competitive position I didn’t get late last fall, and getting my current one-month temporary job.)
But the long-term permanent thing I get might be anywhere: I’m mostly looking within a 3-5 hour driving radius of the Twin Cities (close enough I can come back for a long weekend or special event, at least), but might be further.
This makes hiving complicated.
I obviously don’t want to make commitments that I may have to break due to a rapid job change (some of the jobs I’m applying for now start next academic school year. Some would start sooner.) My plans for the last year have all been contingent on “Assuming I don’t get a job that requires me to move”. (This is not fun. I am a creature of habit, so it’s also quite stressful.)
At the same time, I know myself: I do a lot better when I have thought ahead to various options, and made starting points for plans with them. I can’t cover everything, but I’m much happier when I’ve hit the high points or most likely demands.
This leads to plan A and plan B.
Plan A: Staying more or less local
(by which I mean a 45-60 minute driving time to the Twin Cities)
My plan in this case looks something like this:
As I’ve mentioned, one of my current covenmates is very willing to work with me. She wants the additional experience, is interested in what I want to explore, but is not interested right now in long-term group leadership. This suits us both great: we have in mind a short-term renewable agreement about what we do, and lots of chances to adapt as things change and grow.
I’ve talked a little bit about our immediate plans (until we know where I’m going to end up), but after that, plan A looks a bit like this…
- If we have not finished with the ‘try this out, see if it works’ type of rituals that I want to do, finish those. This includes figuring out deities to work with, for complicated reasons (explained below).
- Do some work inviting periodic guests to ritual, to work with a slightly larger group.
- Come up with a ‘how do we determine new members’ sort of policy.
- Figure out what I want to do about training/teaching.
If I stay local, there’s an obvious other core of people in the tradition to talk to easily, and work with, and some of whom might possibly also want to work with the new group. There’s also a potential for Seekers in our current Seeker classes who want a different style/focus than my originating group. (Argh. I am going to have to come up with a way to do references that I’m happy with.)
My goals for the first year (once we know I’m staying):
- Be established in a pattern of rituals that provides a reasonably solid cycle, but that is open for further exploration and potential change.
- Have done work with L and with other guests, sufficient to be fairly sure we have a solid foundation for future work – i.e. solid ritual set-up established, experimentation with different kinds of ritual, work with a small ritual setting, etc.
- Be in a position to consider new group members, both from within the tradition, and new students from outside it. (With the intention of keeping the group small, focused, and limited.) I don’t necessarily want to take lots of new members, but I want to have a process in place for that when it becomes useful.
- Be able to host and/or put on a ritual for my originating group, for a taste of a different style.
Plan B involves moving. Therefore, there’s a whole set of other things that are needful. For one thing, since the tradition I work in is strictly local to the Twin Cities, moving anywhere else means teaching people the tradition before going too much further.
- Work with L as much as possible to try out new things while I have someone to work with.
- Get all necessary documentation/files from the existing group (initiation rituals, etc. that we know need to stay constant.)
- Avoid panic :)
Move + 3 months:
- Get settled in my new place – all the unpacking, figuring out where things are, and getting settled in a new job sorts of things.
- Begin getting familiar with the local Pagan community, wherever it is – attending any networking events, open rituals, etc. to get a feel for what’s there, and what common practices are. This, of course, assumes there is a visible Pagan community, though that’s more likely (given my job interests) than the alternatives.
- See if I can arrange conversations with any group leaders/organizers/etc. over coffee – I’d much rather not step on anyone’s toes. I’d approach this with a “I’d love to hear about what you’re doing, and what you see a need for here” and a “If I did some of the stuff in the 6 months column, would that step on anyone’s toes?” (this is a 3-9 months sort of project).
6-12 months there:
- Look at some kind of activity that would let me quietly establish me in the community. This might include:
- Volunteering for local events.
- Attending local public events.
- Offering an intro/101 type course.
- Offering a reading/study group discussion type course.
- Offering classes in areas of my particular interest (research and Paganism, music, etc.)
- Work on creating a teaching curriculum and pre-planning rituals or segments of rituals for later use (because the next year will be *busy*)
- Around a year there, start looking at being open for new students/members – quiet advertising, etc.
- My preference is to grow it out of a short intro-101 type class or a book/study group (i.e. the “See what gels” sort of approach.)
- Begin doing ritual work with people who seem like a possible fit (on the “Let’s try each other out” sort of scale.)
- Toward the end of the 2nd year, hopefully have a core group of people to work with, even if they would likely not be initiates in the tradition yet.