From Endurance to Dressage
My Five Things: Employment
Like a lot of other people, I am worried about my job. Right now, I am still getting paid. I'll also get a check in June and July because out of my ten paycheck a year, my district withdraws a portion sufficient to cover the two paychecks I need in June and July. I know; it's confusing, but I am only contracted to work ten months a year, so that is what my salary covers. Back in the "old day," I had to save the summer portion myself, but through some process that I have never quite understood, my districted opted to save my money for me. I am not quite sure who that benefitted, but either way, I do get my money back in the summer.
The thing is, it's not looking like schools in California are going to reopen in mid-August as usual. The CDC has published some proposals that Kern County is looking at very closely. The CDC has established three risk factor scenarios that range from least risky - everyone stays home for the rest of their lives, to high risk wherein kids go back to school as normal. Excuse me for a moment as I digress. Doesn't it seem most risky to NOT have kids go back to school and get a decent education? Hey, I am a great teacher, but doing it online is just not nearly as effective as being there in real time with my kiddos.
So why am I worried? Number one, Governor Newsom has stated (threatened?) that if the federal government doesn't offer California a bailout, it is likely that first responders and nurses will be the first workers laid off. Number two, education accounts for more than a quarter of the state's annual budget (source). In a state already strapped for cash that is willing to fire their police and firefighters, why wouldn't teachers be next? Especially if we're going to stay at home and teach with Zoom. You don't need a 1:33 teacher to student ratio if you're doing everything remotely.
Bias alert, a bit of hyperbole is on the way. The state could save a lot of money by firing teachers. If one teacher can zoom with 31 students, what's to stop her from Zooming with five groups of 31 students? That would be a group every hour with a break for lunch and an hour left for planning. And then, she could do that five days a week. The state could fire 80% of its teachers reducing its financial shortfall by billions.
In Sunday's edition of the Bakersfield Californian, the cover story was that Kern County's jobless rate has soared to over 18%. One in six people are now jobless. It's scary because as we know, many of those people don't have a job to go back to once the lockdowns are lifted. Many of their jobs no longer exist. I personally know of small businesses that have closed and other companies that have simply downsized and eliminated jobs. If my pay is affected starting in August, I will be responsible for "firing" five more people.
My husband and I are part of the middle class, and the way we live is very typical for Bakersfield. So when I share the service jobs that I would be responsible for eliminating, they are services that are the norm where I live. Everyone employees people for these same jobs.
The first service that I would eliminate is our "bug guy." It's a service that we pay for where a technician comes every other month to help control the bug population in and around my house. If I get laid off, or if my pay is reduced, he will have to go.
Our "pool guy" and his brother have been friends with my husband for forty years. They went to school together and have remained close friends all this time. We love his expertise - he's always fixing things both small and large, but really, we could toss in the chemicals ourselves. If I lose my job, he'll lose his, too.
Our HOA requires that lawns be maintained, but ours is fairly small, so we could probably buy a really cheap mower and do it ourselves. Most people in Bakersfield don't do their own lawns. We all employ gardeners. In all our years as homeowners, we've never actually fired one. We're pretty loyal and never "shop around." Our current gardener does a wonderful job, and I know his family desperately needs our business, but if my pay gets cut, he'll lose our account.
Here in Bakersfield, having a house cleaner is quite normal, especially in families where both partners work full time. In my case, having a house cleaner is definitely a luxury. I could easily clean my own house, especially during the summer, but I know she needs the business.
Many teachers lay off their house cleaners during the summer months and then rehire them when we all go back to school. I've never done that. My pay is the same in the summer, so I think it's only fair to keep our house cleaning lady employed during the summer. She's been with us for close to 15 years, so firing her if my pay gets cut would be really hard. But honestly, she would likely be the first service I let go, as it's the easiest to do myself.
Also to go would be my trainer, Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables. I know business is already a little slow for her. Some of her clients have had to put their lessons on hold since they're not working as much right now. One in particular is a psychologist (?) who would normally meet with clients for counseling, but with the stay at home order, she's seeing less clients which means she's making less money which means no lessons. If I lose my job or my pay is reduced, I won't be able to afford lessons either.
For every person who loses their job, someone else probably loses theirs. If I lose my job, or if my pay is reduced, I will be responsible for five other people losing a part of their income. You can only lose so many clients before you can't operate a business.
As we seek to eliminate risk of contracting the Coronavirus, please consider how interconnected we all are. I am willing to risk contracting COVID-19 so that others can get back to work. Everyone needs to assess their own risk factor, but please don't let your fear ruin someone else's life.
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About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2023 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2023 Show Schedule
2023 Completed …
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%: