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Monitor Worker Time with App Services

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The ability to monitor employee time sheets has greatly evolved over the course of the last 10 years. For decades, employees relied on the clock punch-card. This effective, yet flawed method for monitoring employee time proved straightforward, but it also opened up the potential for fraud and other issues. Eventually, as technology evolved and new options came to pass, it made fraud far more difficult. Now, it is possible for you to monitor worker time directly through your smartphone or tablet. With the Internet, data or Wi-Fi connection present, looking in on real-time employee time can make it far easier to meet payroll on time and to adjust worker hours accordingly.

Time Card Shift

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As more and more work shifted to the computer and Internet-based applications, software designed to run employee time cards came to fruition. This made it easier to monitor employees and current worker hours by logging into the software and checking the logs. The software also made it difficult for employees to log in for other workers who were either late to work, left early or had some other reasoning. The new tech shift allowed business owners such as yourself to save money on overpaying workers for time not spent at the work. However, in order to check employee time you still had to log into the computer and have a physical presence in the building. Now, this is no longer necessary as it is possible to install an app directly onto a mobile phone or tablet, which in turn gives you real-time access to employee hours.

App Based Monitoring Advantages

When you set the schedule, you make sure all of your shifts are covered and everyone receives as much work as they like (whenever possible). There are often exceptions to this rule, but for the most part, it is rather straightforward. So, why would app based employee time monitoring prove all that more beneficial to you over needing a presence in the building to check? Often times, other employees, especially on hourly based shifts, need to find someone to cover a shift. This on its own usually isn’t a problem, but if one employee picks up a few additional shifts, they might start to push closer and closer to overtime. Workers’ running overtime is an added expense you likely want to avoid. By monitoring worker time, you know when you may need to have someone go home early or when to tell one particular employee to not come into work.

Should you travel for business a good deal, you’ll likely miss a payday. Regardless of if you perform direct deposit or checks, missing a payday can prove difficult for employees. With the application, you can submit payroll information to your bank or other financial institution to make sure everything is covered. This way, no matter where you are or when payroll needs to go out, you shouldn’t have an issue with this ever again with the timesheet app.

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Technology has shifted in recent years to make monitoring worker time far easier than ever before. Now you don’t need to wait until the end of the week or pay period to determine how many hours someone has worked. Instead, you can check this in real time from any device with an Internet connection. To succeed in business, you need to set yourself up for success. Reducing time theft and improving productivity helps you expand your budget and reach a better bottom line. Worker monitoring in real time allows you to do this.


Making That $$$

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Did everyone see Hope’s awesome post yesterday? Fingers crossed for her to get her choice between the two different jobs!

To piggy-back on the good news train, I’ve got some good news of my own!

Remember how I asked for a title change and a raise way-back-when? I first brought it up with my boss in early December, then had a meeting in January, and things kind of went stagnant (see last update here).

Well, we met yesterday and my best-case-scenario* happened!!!! (**kinda…see below).

For the time being I stopped pressing about a title change because I was more concerned with my actual salary right now (but the title change is still in the forefront of my mind. I’ll be working on that behind-the-scenes).

Remember that, last time, I mentioned one of my negotiation tactics was to frame my “raise” like it wasn’t a raise at all. Instead, I was simply asking for more time to work. Instead of a 9 month contract (which I’m currently on), I wanted the same exact rate of pay (no raise), but for the additional 3 months of the year. This is equivalent to a 33% raise in terms of annual salary, but it’s the same bi-weekly pay rate that I currently receive so it’s not a raise in the sense of an increased pay rate. Make sense?

The decision wasn’t solely up to my department head because funds had to come from another source on campus. In the end, what was decided is that I’ll get a short-term contract this summer. That means I’m still officially on a 9-month contract overall (so, next summer I’ll be “off” work with no obligation to work). But for this summer I’ll continue working and will receive my same exact rate of pay.

I’m thrilled with the results!

I was always a little bit torn because 12 month contract = significantly more money (literally 33% more on an annual basis!). But I also really love the academic 9-month schedule. I’d been looking forward to having summer off with my kiddos, etc. So I actually think this is a great compromise of sorts because it allows me to make extra money this year, without the requirement or expectation of working every summer going forward.

So 2016 is officially dubbed the year of “Making That $$$$$.” I’m a little shocked and blown away by exactly how much I’ll be making this year. Between my full-time job (and now the summer pay) + my part time job, I will be making over six figures on my own (not counting hubs’ income). This is absolutely insane to me given that, literally a year ago, I was making peanuts (false:  at the time I just had a part-time job, but I’m lucky in that my part-time job does pay very well. But you know what I mean. It’s nothing compared to my current salary).

This comes at such an opportune time, as we are not used to this level of income so we can continue living on significantly less and throw all this extra money toward debt and savings for a house.

I’m still having a bit of a “pinch me” moment. I mean, I figured they would pay me for the summer (as I said in my previous post…they really need me for some pressing and time sensitive work). But I honestly did NOT expect to get my full rate of pay. My current pay rate bumps me WAY above several of the tenured faculty members and it just blows my mind. I mean, I’ve literally only been in this position for a semester and a half. Mind-blown.

But I also don’t want to act like it’s all dumb luck. To some extent there was a “right place, right time” aspect. But this is also due to my hard work, experience, and trying to make myself invaluable. I’ve taken active measures to network across campus, meet the various powers-that-be (not just in my department, but elsewhere) and set myself up for success. Sometimes this has meant doing additional work outside of my job description just to build some good will and favor from others and (hopefully) position myself to eventually grab that title I want, too. All in good time.

For right now I’m very busy, but very happy. I’m lucky that I genuinely love what I do. It makes a world of difference, too, having my Dad safely settled in Texas. I don’t think I even realized at the time just what an impact the Dad-stuff had on my day-to-day stress level and functioning. We still have ongoing issues with that (e.g., we’ll be putting his house on the market within about a month or so, and that will be a BIG ordeal), but now that he’s closer to my siblings and able to be watched over and cared for, the stress has reduced dramatically.

So there you go. Hopefully good news all around in blog-land (I can’t wait to hear an update on Hope’s job situation, too!!!) I hope you readers are having great success in your careers, too! Tell me about it!

Any advice on job advancement or career opportunities? Any good book recommendations in this regard? How are things going in your career?

Edited to add:  I forgot to address vacation because someone had asked about that on my last post. Since I’m technically not on a 12- month contract (still just a 9-month contract + a short-term summer contract), there’s nothing like a 2-week vacation, etc. However, I do get vacation pay normally (as part of my 9-month contract) so that will still continue. Plus the beauty of my summer work is that it is 100% online. I still plan to be on campus here and there for meetings, to hold workshops, etc. But I should be able to do the majority of my work from home. We also aren’t planning to travel this summer. Since we have Cruise 2016 in April, we’ll be staying in town over summer. In lieu of any big summer travel plans, I’ve invited my family to come out and visit in June for the girls’ 4th birthday (can you believe it!? When I started blogging they were 18 months old!). We’ve never had a party for them before but are thinking of renting a pavilion at a park or something and having a proper party for them this year. Nothing crazy over-the-top, but at least acknowledging and celebrating them a bit with family and friends. Nothing set in stone yet, but that’s our thought/plan. And, of course….we’ll probably be looking for new homes around that time as well! Eeeek! Crazy year!!


Work – maybe

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One week ago today, the kids and I were in Cincinnati as I prepared for a final interview there. The company paid for our trip out there, we got to look around for a couple of days in case of a move, and met with the company.

And later today, I have a final interview here.

As I write this, I hold out hope to get offers from both jobs…but only time will tell.

So time will tell….


Is it Worth It?

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Continuing along the lines of last week’s post on Lessons I’ve Learned Being Poor I’m having an internal debate /struggle with myself.  On one hand I am applying for all sorts of corporate IT jobs that should reasonably pay $80K+ per year with benefits.  On the other hand I am applying for anything that peaks my interest including but not limited to: teaching English in China, church secretary, social work liaison and so on.

I want the corporate job again.  I want regular income, I want benefits, I want travel.  But on the other hand, I want to make  a difference, I want to stay home with my kids (or at least work from home,) I want to feel good about what I spend the majority of my time doing.  I’m really torn.  But I keep moving forward and am just waiting for something to stick.

So here’s where I’m at as I write this.  Today I interviewed for a part time church secretary position.  It is one of my “makes my heart feel good” job applications.  I could do Powerpoints, graphics, some technology and also answer phones, support people through tough times, really build community.  Kind of the best of both worlds in my mind at the time I applied and even after my interview.

Now, as I’m writing this, I have no idea if I will be offered the position.  But I started thinking as I returned home…of the money, benefits side.  It’s part time, no benefits, other than the fact that for the most part they would be willing to work around my kiddos schedule.  Big win there in my mind!  But it only pays $11-12 per hour.  After taxes, I was guesstimating bring home pay would look like $8 per hour.  At 20 hours per week…that’s $160 a week coming home, $640 a month.  Ouch.

So is it even worth it for me to pursue these types of jobs?  With my current part time job and this type of job, I would be working 40ish hours a week bringing home just at half of what I was making prior to November.  A very tough pill to swallow.  I don’t know.  I just don’t know.

I’m still hopeful for some other interviews I’ve had and have scheduled shortly…but I am looking at an considering everything until something sticks.  Lots of moving parts in this job search and considering options that come up.


Job Title/Raise Update

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Hey guys! Thanks for all your awesome suggestions on this morning’s post! I haven’t been able to read/reply to all of them yet, but I did see a sampling of great ideas and I’ll be sure to reply later this evening. Thank you! As always, you’ve come through with great tips!

So, remember in mid-December when I mentioned wanting to ask my boss for a title change and raise? Well our meeting was just a couple hours ago and I wanted to give you a little update.

It’s a mixed bag but I’m happy with the results.

For privacy issues I’m going to try to be a little vague about exact title, etc.

Basically, I was hired as a non-tenure track faculty. However, my role has included a lot of administrative duties as I have worked both within my department and externally to really get our department’s online program off the ground (it just launched this Fall and, as you know, I have lots of experience working online since that’s what I’ve done the past several years).

Anyway, I’ve been taking on lots of duties that are really far beyond the scope of “non-tenure track faculty” as an intentional and strategic move to try to get my foot in this door. Of my own accord I’ve been taking additional training classes for online course design/instruction and have been meeting with people across campus in all kinds of departments (including people from content-based departments, IT staff, ID staff, etc. etc. etc.). I’ve been trying to forge relationships and get my name known amongst the various powers that be.

So in today’s meeting, I had a strong case for why my current title no longer matches up with the actual job duties I’m performing. I also typed up an actual proposal of title change that listed (in bulleted fashion) duties that I could perform in my new role as well as a second list of ways that this will benefit the department (of course, mostly revolving around money since dollars are the name of the game).

I didn’t write any actual numbers in my proposal. I wanted to be open. I’m currently on a 9-month contract but know my department head had wanted me to be on a 12-month contract. So what I’d had in my mind is that if I stay on a 9-month contract that I want a 20% raise (and I had lots of reasons to back up this specific figure). If I moved to a  12-month contract I would be willing to keep my current monthly salary (framing it as though I’m not actually getting a raise), but my salary would continue across all 12 months instead of the 9-months I currently work. In my last post I referred to this as a 25% raise in salary (I was thinking instead of 3/4 of the year, I’d now be working 4/4 of the year, hence 25% extra). But thoughtful commenters pointed out that I was being a dummy with my calculation. From a dollars perspective, this is actually a 33% raise over my current salary. So those were the two competing figures I had in mind, either of which I’d be happy with.

And here’s what I was told…

Basically, my department head does not have the authority to give me a raise. She would need to get approval (and funds) from another entity on campus that is control of online programs. She indicated that if things continued going well and the program continues to grow, she believes she could make a strong case for it “in the next year or two.” That was a huge bummer. I wasn’t expecting an immediate change, but I was hoping for a change over summer or by next Fall, so hearing the 1-2 year timeframe was a bit of a blow.

BUT, I’d made this compelling case for why I really needed this new title. So I was told that in the meantime, department head doesn’t care what I call myself. I’m totally seizing the opportunity, changing my e-mail signature, and am now going to give myself this more prestigious title (albeit, without the raise). I still think this is a good thing, because it will look good on my resume/vitae, and if I ever make a move down the road it will show longevity in this position. Good things.

But here’s where salary comes into play.

Remember how I mentioned that they really need me to work this summer? Like, bad. They need me to prep 3 courses AND teach a course. For any non-academic folks out there, that’s a full-time load! But I’m only on a 9-month contract. I don’t get paid over the summer.

So for this summer, specifically, I was told that department head thinks she can justify the need (from the separate entity in charge of online programs) for continuing my full-time pay all summer. In essence, giving me the 33% raise I was going to ask for had we ever gotten to talking about numbers!

It’s still not in-the-bag because department head has to get approval from the powers that be. But from my perspective there’s really no way around it. They NEED this work done NOW. There’s no putting it off until later down the road. They need it.

So I continue with my current contract for now. I’ve given myself (with department head’s blessing) a fancy new title. And I’ll (very likely) continue getting paid all summer. At the end of summer, maybe I can try again for re-negotiations. I really plan to make myself super invaluable not only to my department, but to the larger online program entity as well. As long as I continue doing good work and showing how this change will be mutually beneficial for all parties involved, I have to hope that this will be leading to a permanent increase in pay down the road. For now, I’m happy with the compromise.

What are your thoughts? You’ve got to remember that this is my first ever full-time job so I’m super inexperienced in terms of negotiations and such. I really value your expertise and would love to hear if you think I could’ve done something differently (or maybe can do something different in the future), or what your thoughts are on the situation.


Ashley’s Year In Review (2015)

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I know we’re now a full week into the new year, but I always like to look back and reflect on the previous year around this time. So indulge me in a week-late review of some of the big highlights of 2015.

Personal and Financial Goals

The year began (or really was preceded by) setting some big goals. We had one list of financial goals, and a second list of goals related to “growing up” (in my mind this meant doing things like getting wills, life insurance, etc.). By the end of the year we hadn’t quite met all of our financial goals, but we’d made incredible progress. In all, we paid off over $26,000 in debt!!! We did even better on our “year of becoming an adult” goals. We fully accomplished 3 of our 4 goals and are well underway on the 4th goal (see update here). We’ve set some pretty lofty financial goals for 2016, too!

Budgeting

In early January, we made some pretty big changes to the way we did our budget. This eventually lead us to using YNAB for budgeting (we’d previously used an Excel file). I still can’t say enough great things about YNAB. I really think it’s made a huge impact on how well we’ve been able to stick to our budget and, therefore, how well we’ve done with paying off debt (see my full review here).

One of the categories in our budget that we really struggled with this year was our grocery budget. I talked several times about our efforts to make cheap meals, saving money by making homemade yogurt (super easy and so tasty!), DIY-ing pumpkin spice coffee (a personal fave), and trying my hardest to meal plan (which was much easier when I worked from home compared to an office-setting, and I’m still learning to balance competing needs).

I also saved a lot of money on self-maintenance this year. With the exception of 2 professional cut/colors (which I did prior to big job interviews), I’ve saved money in our budget by cutting and coloring my own hair for the past 21 months (but who’s counting? hehe). I’ve even received compliments on my self-maintained hair and really like my new darker color. To be transparent, I did just barely receive a professional cut/color from my Mom as a birthday gift, so this totals 3 professional jobs (only 2 that I personally paid for) in nearly 2 years.

Employment

I interviewed for 3 separate jobs in 2015:  one in January (recap), one in March, and one in June. I was offered the third job (third times a charm!) and accepted the position soon thereafter. I started the position in July and have been very happy in the job ever since (though I have plans to try to negotiate for a title change and more money).

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Gift-Giving

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Before I started our debt reduction mission we really spent a ton of money on gift-giving. Since starting to blog here, I’ve drastically reduced the amount spent on gifts. I now try to spend an average of about $15-20 per gift (though hubs and I set a $50 limit on gifts to each other). I talked about a cheap classroom gift here and waxed poetic about the impact of a hand-written thank you note (as opposed to an expensive flower delivery). I also talked about a cheap going away gift basket, a cheap Mother-in-Law (or grandparent) gift, an inexpensive alternative wedding gift, and relatively inexpensive ($50 limit) anniversary gifts.

Kids Crafts

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The kids did lots of fun and cheap crafts this year. A sampling of crafts include: a  Valentine’s craft, a Mother’s Day craft, and an Easter craft. All of these doubled as cheap cards/gifts for family, too!

Entertainment

Our entertainment budget was really bare bones this year as we tried to funnel all our extra money toward debt. But that doesn’t mean we didn’t have fun! I talked about a free family activity here and a free painting class (courtesy of Yelp Elite) here. I also shared how we got cheap Halloween costumes for the kids and had fun with a cheap-ish birthday day date for hubs’ 33rd birthday.

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Successes

In April we celebrated kicking hubs’ license fee debt to the curb! That left us with only the car loan, some medical debt, and the monstrous student loans to contend with. That same month I did a balance transfer of a higher-interest student loan (8.5%) to a 0% APR credit card to pay off one of my Navient student loans at a lower rate (just paid a 2% initiation fee). I also celebrated when we paid off another of my Navient student loans back in October. It’s no secret that I freaking hate Navient, so I can’t wait to rid them from my life!

Personal

In June I let you know something I’d been keeping a bit of a secret. I have a very close family member experiencing a debilitating illness for which there is no cure. I later told you all that the “close family member” is my father and divulged that his diagnosis is frontotemporal degeneration (a type of dementia). I had a rough time in regard to processing this information. I was painfully honest about the scary feelings and emotions experienced knowing that his health is quickly declining and my siblings and I will be tasked with becoming his caretaker and all of the other financial implications of the situation. I also discussed prioritizing the costs of therapy so I could take care of myself. I never updated, but I did in fact search for therapists but there was only one person who really stood out to me as a good fit. Of course, that person was not accepting new clients at the time and, feeling overwhelmed by life, the new job, etc., I never pursued any other options. To be honest, I do think I’ll try again to find someone to talk to in the New Year. I feel like I am in a much better place mentally than I was when I first wrote this post (or this one, too), but I know my Dad’s health issues will continue to be a HUGE deal in my life and I would like to see someone at least occasionally to help me process everything as his disease progresses.

Summary

2015 was a wild year! Lots of great successes – Can I get a high five for that $26,000+ of debt that was paid off!?! and some tough times, too. In 2016 we plan to split our priorities a bit between saving for a house and continuing to pay off debt, but I know that we’ll continue to make great progress along the way. I’ve admitted before that I may loosen up the purse strings slightly. I think it’s important to have more regular date nights and such. But I also can’t wait to make some big dents to our debt this year. This will be the first full year of me having a full-time job and income (in addition to my part-time job & hubs’ job). With the additional money we really hope to do some crazy things in 2016. A house, a car (not a new one, but our current one being paid off), punching Navient in the nose, and so on. Great things ahead, friends! Thank you for joining me on life’s wild ride!


Asking for a Raise

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Asking for more money has never been easy for me. To be fair, this is my first “real” (traditional) job in my life so I haven’t had a lot of experience. Prior to this I worked in the service industry for years (bartending and waiting tables), worked for universities in adjunct/contract positions, and other miscellaneous work with set rates (and often on short-term/contract bases).

I’m going to use a little ambiguity to try to preserve some anonymity here, but when I was hired in my current position my contract listed job duties and responsibilities. Although I’ve only been in my position for a single semester, I feel as though my list of responsibilities and duties have grown. This is totally fine with me and I really enjoy the work that I do. But I no longer feel that my title accurately describes my position. And the pay doesn’t seem to quite match either.

I foresaw this happening when I was first hired (and, indeed, I’d tried to negotiate for a different title from the beginning). Because of my foresight, I asked to have it specifically written into my contract that I would have a performance review after a single semester (the norm is to conduct annual reviews). This would give me a chance to discuss with my supervisor what I’ve done well and to identify opportunities for improvement. But more than that, it would give me a chance to try to re-negotiate my contract a bit.

But wait, there’s more….

I am currently on a 9-month contract. My department head has already asked if I’d be available in summer and I eagerly said yes. The way this is typically handled is by providing an additional short-term/summer contract. But when my department head (who is new to the position and not actually the person who hired me) learned that I was on a 9-month contract I could sense the frustration. I believe the words, “well that was a mistake” were actually uttered.

Here I have an opportunity to expand my job duties/role, gain a more prestigious title, and get paid more all the while. While I like the idea of a 9-month contract simply because of the flexibility it provides in allowing me to be with my girls, I also like the stability of a year-round job with a year-round paycheck.

So I’m thinking my proposal to my boss will be to change my contract from 9-month to 12-month. Because I’ll be working an additional 3 months (25% of a year), I’ll ask for a 25% raise. The way I’ll frame it is that it’s actually the same exact rate I currently get paid (same exact $ per month), but it will be year-round rather than only during the academic year. From this perspective, I’m not actually asking for a raise…I’m simply asking for more time to work!

I don’t know if it will fly. A 25% hike could cause some serious waves in the department, as I’m already paid more than several people who have been there longer and this type of raise would throw me up into the upper half of the department in terms of earnings. But, again, I’d be working more than others too.

Even if my boss doesn’t want to re-negotiate with me for a 12-month contract, I know I’ll still be getting extra money this summer because they really need me to develop and teach a class over the summer. So that’s already kind of a raise, in the sense that it’s more money than in my current contract.

This is such a crazy time of year. I had hoped to be able to have our official meeting prior to the semester ending but the last day was Friday so it wasn’t in the cards just yet. But we’ll be meeting in early 2016 to discuss these issues. My assumption is that any change will not take place until Summer 2016 and, again, I’m really only asking for additional work time so my monthly pay wouldn’t actually raise. Of course, if we stick with the 9-month contract but change my title and increase my duties, I could still have grounds to ask for additional money. Basically things are just really up in the air right now. But things are looking up. I feel pretty good about my performance and where things are at so (fingers crossed) I feel confident that things will only continue to improve across time as I become more comfortable in my role, etc.

Wish me luck in my (future) negotiations!


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