:::: MENU ::::
Browsing posts in: Work

On the Job Hunt Again

by

I am on the job hunt again. I hate it. (It was just two years ago, that this same thing happened, just in time for the holidays.) And I hate writing this post. I am not going to mince words. During my job interview with my W2 job last February, I was very clear with them. In fact, after I started we were so clear, that the two owners (a married couple) and my boss and I signed a statement saying I would be in the office from 7am until 2:30pm every day. At no time during the interview process was it discussed that my job would require me to work almost every weekend, the first of every month beginning at 12am PT and many nights. Never discussed.

The Reality of My Working Hours

Since I started in March, I have worked all but 6ish weekends, and at least 3-4 nights a week I must do something either overnight or after I leave the office. I’ve actually been okay with that. Just did it. I’m used to crazy hours as an entrepreneur and I just did it.

In August, I worked 6 days straight with minimum sleep as a HUGE project was dumped in my lap just two weeks before the due date. A project that I had been told up until it was assigned to me that someone else would be handling it (a 3rd party vendor.)

Not one time have I been offered comp time for these extra hours, no flex options and typically no thank you. I have been truly fine with it.

We Don’t Like This

A couple of months ago, they started making noises about not liking that I left at 2:30pm every day. No complaints about my work, no missed deadlines, not a word about issues with my work. It boiled down to they don’t like where I sit when I do the work. Literally. If I am not at the desk in their office…absolutely crazy.

They then pointed out that if I wasn’t in the office I need to take PTO. I said, that’s fine. I will do that. But I don’t want to hear complaints or get emails all day saying “do this now.” (I took PTO last Friday for Gymnast meet and received no less than 12 “it’s on fire, fix it now” emails.) I am the only person who can do what I do, there is no redundancy or anyone with my skill set. That gave them pause, but not enough to say what they said next.

We are Letting You Go if…

If you don’t work 8am-5pm, we need to let you go and replace you. BUT only after you do all the work through the end of the year and take care of our big seasonal web flip in February. Seriously, we are firing you after you do everything we want you to do.

This is a snippet of the email they sent after the meeting (I added the notes in italics for clarification:)

  • Early January – we will determine if we will continue with this schedule or be able to adapt to another one at that time based on scheduling shifts that may be happening for Hope. (I have never wavered that I must leave at 2:30pm, Gymnast must be in training by 4pm, leaving at 2:30pm gives me just enough time to get him and get to gym. Then I sit down and work for another 4 hours on what ever I need to work on.)
    • If we do not see a schedule change in the future then we will all work towards a February 16, 2018 final day of employment.

If a February 16th final day is where we are heading (we will know for sure in early January 2018) then the following are the commitments from each side:

  • Company Name will not start the search process until after January 1, 2018 and will continue employment for Hope through February 16, 2018.
  • Hope has already started the job search process (I started the job search a month ago when the owner came in and made it clear she didn’t like my work schedule, the writing on the wall was getting clear to me then.), however, she has committed to complete the Spring & Summer 2018 website and iOffice transition (February 2018) without interruption – even if she finds another job that she accepts – she is committing to seeing this project through to completion for the company.

Here I am back on the job hunt. I love what I do. I actually really like most of the people I work with at my W2 job. I do not like being dumped on, taking advantage of and being bullied.

I know it won’t do any good and I’m over trying to fight for this job, but I am now documenting all the “extra” time I put in beginning with today. I received all the graphics, video and text for something that must be put out tomorrow night (Sunday at 12 PT – I must get up at 3am ET) at 4:18pm yesterday. This is very typical. I must now create the format, export contact lists, send the test emails and wait for approval (texting people to review since they aren’t working,) schedule the sends and so on.

I have learned a lot from my foray back into the corporate world after 11 years away. I don’t know if it is the right fit for me, but I am working with several headhunters now, and plan to begin pounding the pavement, literally, to see if I can pull in some new 1099 clients.


Open Enrollment Completed

by

Thank you so much for all the tips and comments on my Open Enrollment post! I really found the comments to be insightful and incredibly helpful as I decided on my plans.

In the end, I opted to keep my current insurance (a PPO) and a flex spending account for both health and dependent care purchases. I may still switch to an HSA in the future, but didn’t feel comfortable doing so without any EF whatsoever right now. So it will be a consideration in future years, but not at this time.

I increased the amount of deductions for my health HSA but reduced the deductions for my dependent care HSA. And the cost of my medical insurance went up a little as well.

In the end, here are the benefits-related deductions I’ll see per paycheck:

In my open enrollment post, I’d posted all of my paycheck deductions (including required investment, taxes, parking permit, etc.) But to do an apples-to-apples comparison of just the benefits-related deductions (including health insurance, dental insurance, and the two FSA contributions), here’s how things stack up:

2016 per paycheck deduction = $382.90

2017 per paycheck deduction = $340.33

So I’ll be saving a little bit per check, but its really a pretty negligible amount. I also hope to reduce the amount of taxes taken out (pending the CPA’s review), so I may be able to “add back” a little bit more money to my take-home pay after our 2016 taxes have been finalized.

All in all, it’s still a pretty large deduction per paycheck, but I have excellent insurance and am happy with our coverage thus far. I pay for my dad’s health insurance (albeit out of his own funds, but I am the money-manager), and he pays $1,000/month for private insurance for a single individual with crappy coverage! Ugh! So I know I am really very lucky to have such good coverage at such a great rate! And as an aside, my Dad’s birthday is in March and at that time he’ll be eligible for Medicare. So hopefully that means a big reduction in his  health insurance costs.

I just wanted to follow-up to let everyone know what we’d decided regarding open enrollment. Thanks, again, for all your helpful suggestions!

~Ashley

 


“Fun” Little Freak Out

by

Let me share with you a story about an all-out “FREAK OUT” moment I recently had regarding my pay.

In terms of back-story, I am on a 9-month contract which ends May 19. When my new contract goes into effect I’ll be switching to a 12-month contract. But that contract does not go into effect until the start of the fiscal year, July 1st. In the interim (May 20-June 30), I will be receiving pay designated as “supplemental compensation” at my current rate of pay (my raise doesn’t go into effect until the new contract).

Since the academic year is soon ending, I emailed our business manager last week asking if I needed to complete any paperwork/what I need to do to get the supplemental compensation to kick in. There was a bit of a process involved last summer and I can’t remember the exact steps.

The business manager replies back basically saying (paraphrasing), “I have no record of you receiving supplemental compensation this summer. Your new contract starts July 1st.”

And I’m like, “WHAT THE WHAT?!?!?!?!” (insert the Scream emoji face)

I’m instantly reviewing old emails and re-living old conversations in my mind. Is it possible that I misunderstood? That I simply thought I would be receiving supplemental compensation but that I’ll actually be going AN ENTIRE 6 WEEK PERIOD WITH NO PAY WHATSOEVER?!?!?!

I call my husband in a panic. How are we going to survive? Here, I was just saying how these next two months are going to be super tight…I didn’t realize we’d literally have NO INCOME during this entire time period! We (stupidly, in hindsight) sent our entire $5,500 emergency fund to the IRS when we were setting up/establishing a payment plan for our 2016 taxes. What were we thinking?! The IRS felt like an emergency at the time, but with the gift of hindsight, I now realize we never should’ve entirely wiped out all liquid savings. What are going to do?!

Deep breath in. Deep breath out.

I allowed my heart-rate to come down. I emailed my boss to gently inquire into this issue. Was I mistaken? Or am I supposed to be working for the next 6 weeks, as I had planned (not to mention, I’ve got work meetings piled a mile high on my calendar, and all kinds of tasks to accomplish over that time).

My boss was at a conference at the time so it took what felt like an eternity for her to respond. My initial email was sent around 2pm in an afternoon and I didn’t hear back until nearly noon the next day. It was just a simple clerical error. YES, I am supposed to be working (as planned). And YES,  I will be receiving supplemental compensation under my current rate of pay until my new contract goes into effect on July 1st (at which point my nice raise will go into effect).

Just breathe.

I have taken a couple lessons from this experience. First and foremost – we made a horrendous mistake in completely wiping out our EF. We need to get back to at least a “baby” $1,000 EF ASAP!!! Not sure how that’s going to happen given that we’re still grappling just to tread water and not lose ground over the summer. Either way, regardless, we need to have at least a starter EF to help us if, heaven forbid, we face a similar crisis in the future.  Second, rather than rushing to panic – maybe just reach out to my boss immediately and try to save the panic for later. In this case, I would’ve been able to sort out the situation and no panic was needed at all. Also, I’m glad I was proactive in reaching out to the business manager BEFORE the semester ended. It would’ve been a terrible surprise to have the semester end and then all the sudden have NO MORE PAYCHECKS when I was depending on them to pay our bills and feed our family! Yikes!

 

Have you had any financial “close calls” recently?


Healthcare

by

I thought the kids Medicare might carry over for a few months while I got settled in at the new job and decided on new health insurance, but because we moved states it will only cover emergency room visits. I could apply to move it to GA but with my new job and income, I no longer need too. Yippeee!!!

I am keeping it for emergencies while I get everything settled, but now I have to figure out what to do. Here are my options as I see them:

  • Sign up under my corporate sponsored healthcare at about $700 per month with a $40 co pay and $6000 deductible for in-network. It would not take affect until May 1.
  • Evaluate plans under Obamacare’s website if that is still a thing.
  • Sign up for Samaritans Ministries or something similar. From a quick query, this would run me about $320 a month for all 4 of us.

I know health insurance talks can be like beating a dead horse, but I certainly want to hear what the BAD community has to share about these options.

I have already opted to go with the corporately sponsored vision and dental options.  The costs are nominal, coverage decent and with three of us wearing glasses, we will definitely take advantage of it.  (Back in VA, we went to a dental school for our dental coverage, but living in the boondocks now, that is not a convenient option.)

By the way, second day at the new job complete.  It’s going great. I have my own office, my boss took me to lunch today and my co-workers are all really nice. I’m getting up at 5am and spending an hour at the gym before getting in a couple of hours at my contract jobs then I show up to work a little after 8am.  I’m hoping that by doing this I keep my nights and weekends as free as possible to spend time with the kids. Oh, and I’m down TWO pant sizes as I found out when I went to buy new jeans tonight.  Woot, woot!


Today is the Day

by

In just a few short hours I report for my first day of my new job. It will also be the time I get a better grip on what this will mean for us financially as I see the health plans, 401K options and so on.  Pray for wisdom as I make those kind of decisions.

I’m grateful for Ashley’s recent post on her Tax Issues, not that she has the issue, but it raised a flag for me as I go to fill out the tax paperwork for this new job, that I need to really evaluate my tax withholdings since I am planning to keep my contract jobs along with this new one.

Prior to starting my new job, I’ve worked out at the gym for an hour, had a full and healthy breakfast (thanks to my Grandmother) and put in a couple of hours of work on my contract jobs.  I spent most of yesterday prepping school for the kids for this next couple of weeks and getting ahead on my contract jobs.  I feel like I’m ready.

The kids have all stepped up in a big way to make this adjustment as easy as possible.  My youngest decided that he will be in charge of packing me a lunch, I think he put one of everything in the house in my bag.  He says that I am going to be gone a long time so he doesn’t want me to be hungry.  My daughter laid out my clothes for the day.  I’m not sure how leggings and a flannel shirt go as far as corporate apparel, but seeings at it is freezing and my wardrobe is limited at best, I’m going with it.  As I fretted about it last night, my very wise 12 year old daughter said to me, “Mom, you already got the job, now you just have to go wow them with your skills.  After that, they won’t care at all what you wear.”  I’m taking that confidence booster and wearing my leggings and flannel to work today.

There are a couple of things I am going to have to buy sooner rather than later like a lunch bag with a way to keep things cold and a few nicer pieces of work clothes, but for now, I am ready to get started.  Wish me luck!

Non-finance related:

Gymnast competed in the Level 6 VA State Championships Gymnastics Meet this past weekend and competed at the Division I level.  He brought home 2nd on high bar, 5th on rings and 6th on vault.  I couldn’t be more proud.  And an even bigger highlight for the kids, was there Dad made an appearance.  He and I planned it as a surprise.  He hadn’t seen the kids in 19 months.  It went well.  Here is Gymnast’s 2nd Place High Bar routine if you are interested.

 


New Job and a New Outlook

by

I am slowing shedding the feeling of shame I’ve been carrying for the last couple of years since we moved out of our home and into the apartment.  For the first time in a LONG time, things are really looking up!  It has been a really rough time, especially since December when everything changed so suddenly.

As I mentioned in the comments of my last post…I GOT THE JOB!!!

It’s full time, full benefits, work in an office…real life job!  And the way it happened could not be any more providential!  Here’s a little back story.

When we began our Christmas visit with my grandmother, I spent a great deal of time applying for jobs…everywhere, all over the world.  Well, I had been through this before, know the holidays were not a good time to be in the job hunt, but I continued to persist.  The job I got is one of those jobs.

Then while we were in Texas visiting my immediate family over Christmas, I got a text from our ‘landlord’ that the camper we were living in had been damaged and was no longer liveable.  Can you say full panic mode!?!  Up until that point, I had planned on us living in the camper until April when we could 1) wrap up the school year and 2) finish Gymnast competition season at Regionals.  Then was planning to move to GA to my grandmothers or travel for a bit.

With nowhere to live any longer, the timeline moved up for the GA move, but I was able to secure temporary housing in VA for a month while Gymnast finished his regular season meet. And to give us time to pack up and get things into storage and so on.  My grandmother graciously let us move in with her with first week of February.

On our trip to GA with our final load of belongings, I got the call. They were interested in my varied skill set for a brand new position, but I lived in VA. Oh, how funny, I’m was actually driving down to GA with our last load of belongings to complete a move to a town, that is literally one town over from the corporate base of this company.  They headquarters are 12 miles from my grandmothers home, 12 miles!

Our first three weeks in GA were filled with in person interviews, personality test, reference checks and phone follow ups, and our last Friday night there (before we returned to VA for a week) they called at 4:12pm and offered me the job, met my salary requirements and I start NEXT WEEK!!!!!

The timing of the call, the timing of the interview process and the start date…after over a year and a half of searching, I can only say that God had a hand in this.  But there is more, this company gives back to foster/adoptive charities (hello, near and dear to my heart,) the owners actually know some of my extended family (small town but wow,) and one of their goals is to empower women/moms.  Holy cow, can it be any more perfect!

Granted, this will be a BIG adjustment for my little family.  I will be going to an office for the first time in 13 years. My grandmother has insisted we remain with her for at minimum another month while we adjust to the new life and she will help with the kids.  She’s watched us homeschool all these months we’ve visited her over the past couple of years, and is comfortable with keeping the kids on track to finish out the year.  We will have school on Sunday evenings where I will give assignments for the week and then we will meet a couple more times during the week to make sure we are on track.  It’s not going to be easy, but I am confident we can adjust.

I am keeping both my part time jobs for the time being both for security and to help me get back on solid financial ground more quickly.  All jobs are aware of the situation as far as me working them all.

And just a small financial win…okay two wins. Maybe three.

  1. I was able to replace the tires on my car, yes, I waited until it was dire, but I paid in cash!
  2. The kids have all received a small stipend for some summer clothes and are looking forward to getting to shop. (They have had a couple of weeks to make lists and think through needs and wants, etc.)  This is especially crucial for the two youngest since they hit major growth spurts this year, so nothing old fits.
  3. I have almost $500 in an emergency fund, consistently saving 10% of any monies received.

I am so grateful for this community and the constant encouragement. I’ve still got a wait until I get my first paycheck and see how all the deductions and so on work out before planning a budget and starting to look for housing.

Keep us in your thoughts and prayers this week as Gymnast will compete at his state meet this week, his last with his current team…it is bittersweet and he is really struggling with the move the most because of it.  And then we will return to GA to start our “new life.”

 

 


Cross Your Fingers for Me

by

Later today I have what I think will be a final interview for a full time job here in GA.  It’s the one I referenced here that called me on our move down.  I’ve been through the first interview, personality test, submitted professional references, so I think this should be the last in person part of the process…

Not counting my chickens before they hatch, been through too much of this in the past year and a half to do that, but I am hopeful. We’ve got one more week here before we return to VA for a week for Gymnast state meet, Princess orthodontist appointment and so on. (Yes, I did let this potential job know about this commitment in the very first phone call and again in the person interview.)

This move has been a BIG change for us all.  While I am really enjoying the lower cost of living (gas and groceries,) we are all filling the pinch of lack of activities for the kids.  We’ve been exploring the surrounding counties to see what their parks and rec departments have to offer.  I know once they get plugged in and make some friends it will be easier on them.

trying on shoes

Princess and I spent Friday night window shopping and trying on shoes just to get out of the house while Gymnast spent the weekend at cousins.

Oh, and Sea Cadet has a job interview as a vet tech tomorrow. I’m not sure how that will work since he has unofficially committed to the same summer camp as last year. If he gets this local job, he will have some decisions to make.


Pages:1234567...24