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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!!


Why I Choose To Be Self-Employed

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So today I want to explain why I am so adamant about not getting a J.O.B.  In order to do that I want to give a brief description on what I have done since leaving the military.   

Corporate Executive Chef – Right out of the military I scored a great job with a very well known corporate restaurant.  They were in major expansion mode.  With my Culinary degree along with my Hotel/Restaurant Degree, plus my time as a NCO in the military, I scored 1 out of 4 positions in the company.  This title was just a fancy title for saying I was in charge of opening restaurants.  I was in charge of training all of the managers along with being in charge of about 75 Corporate Trainers.  Reason for leaving:  I was gone three weeks out of four, and my then fiance didn’t care for that..

General Manager – Stepping down allowed me to take on the position of being in charge of a single restaurant.  It was a huge pay cut, as well as had me working a lot more time in the opening year.  Reason for leaving:  Decided to move back home.

Traveling Manager – When I came back home, I immediately started to work with the company, but it was much different as this was a franchised restaurant and not a corporate restaurant.  Because of my experience with this particular restaurant, I believed that the franchise used me for all I was worth.  I basically travelled between the five restaurants they owned and was just a regular manager.  Reason for leaving:  It was so different then the corporate system that I had instilled in me.

Restaurant  Employee – For the next umpteen years I was just a regular employee.  I did everything in a restaurant.  Bartender, Server, Cook, you name it I probably did it.  Reason for leaving:  not enough pay

Inventory Specialist – After moving back to my hometown, I took up a position where I could travel again.  I basically went to all the WalMarts in the northeast and did their inventory.  After about a year of doing this, I decided I had enough travelling for a time being and went to the local district level.  Reason for leaving:  At the local level, you just never knew when you were going to be finished for the day.

Back to the Restaurant Employee – When they built a well known restaurant in my town, I knew that it would be my best chance at getting back to my roots.  But it turns out it was just a franchise and not a corporate.  I want to give you a picture of what it is like.  I got hired at $10/hr.  Within the opening month, the owner of the franchise saw my skill, and I received a $.50/hr raise.  For the next year and a half I worked my butt off and it really didn’t go anywhere.  I knew I wasn’t going to get a raise since I was already making more than the managers (which they begrudgingly reminded me quite often.)

My girlfriend at that time was moving away from the area and I decided to go with her.  Transferring to another restaurant.  Where in the next year I got numerous raises and even made manager.  I was now up to $15.50/hour, which is pretty decent in my area.  During this time, my girlfriend and I broke up and I tried to make it work staying up in the area for the next year.  But I grew depressed during this time and my family and I decided it was best to move back home.  So I transferred back to the old restaurant.  All my raises were taken away and I became even more depressed.  (Note:  During this last time is around the time I started doing independent contract work… As well as started looking into how to make money online.)

My Best Friend Opens A Restaurant – So I was unemployed for about a month… Well not technically unemployed as I signed a contract with Yellowstone National Park, where I would become a Manager for one of their restaurants.  I was set to leave in about two months, when my best friend approached me to help him open up a restaurant.  As I knew this was a dream of his, I decided to negate my contract and help him start up his restaurant.  I worked with him for about two years.

Last Job as an Employee (Server) – While working with him, a new corporate restaurant was starting to be built about 15 minutes away.  I decided to go and get a job.  The General Manager was impressed with my resume and cursed me for not applying two weeks ahead of time, so he could have made me a manager.  He straight up told me that they couldn’t afford what I was asking for as a line cook.  I was ok with that, I knew once I got into a corporate restaurant I could move up.  I decided to become a server that worked four nights a week, while working with my friend.  In less than six months, I became a corporate trainer.  And in less than a year I was up for management.

I didn’t get the position, and the lady that did held a grudge with me.  It was because of this clash that I was let go.

This was the time that I decided to go take what I was doing part time and make it full time.  I also took on a paper route.  I remember the beginning of last year on Saturdays and Sundays were really tough on me.  I was helping my best friend start late nights for the bar crowd (I worked 9pm – 3am), went immediately to do my papers, and came home to sleep for about a hour and a half.  Got up and traveled to do brand ambassador and traveled home.  By the time I got home it was between 6 and 7.  I would get another hour and half of sleep, then do it all over again.

The Reason

Except for the first three jobs I listed, I made on average between $10-$15/hour.  Back when I first got out of the military, this wasn’t that bad of a wage.  But now with minimum wage going up and with all the other variable costs This amount is still considered borderline poverty.  

All of my contracted work I do, the least amount of money I will accept is $15/hr.  And that is for more on the lines of one-three days.  My long term contracts, are more toward the $20.  Even the newspapers, basically pay me over $20/hour if I average it out.

Oh I forgot to tell everybody, I heard back from the one contract.  Even though I thought I tanked it, they loved my video!  Next week I have a training meeting, and will start later in the month.  This pays $25/hour. Even though it is for a few hours each week, it meets my requirements. Nowhere around where I live would I be able to make this type of money, with my history.

Now I just want to state that for the last four months I have had no contract work besides the newspapers, this tends to happen, since a lot of budget gets used up toward the holiday seasons.  I could take on more merchandising work, but it seems as the threshold I hold out for… Well it is not being met lately.  

What I make from just my newspaper route and my online stuff is actually a few hundred dollars more  than actually working 40 hours a week at a job.  Except for the first two jobs and now, I never had health benefits.  

Who here is self employed?  I mean can I get a shout out for tax deductions?  When my business scales, I can see adding on another $50k (at the very least) and still pay the same taxes as I do now.  I can’t possibly take all the deductions that I legally can.  Plus that isn’t even counting once I start retirement.

So Let’s Recap

  1. Spend More Time With Family
  2. Make More Money
  3. Health Benefits
  4. Tax Deductions

Umm… so yeah, I will be staying self-employed.  Hope that explains enough for everyone!


Could I Make This Up?!

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Maybe some of you saw the exchange between  me and Tiffany  in the comments after last night’s post on the housing post.  She asked about the promotion and I shared that we were told late yesterday that the boss and his boss were coming in for a lunch meeting.  This was somewhat unexpected although my boss had said it might happen when we spoke about 2 weeks ago but then when he came by in person last week, there was a suggestion that the entire thing was put off until September 1. 

Even as I prepare to type this out I am thinking to myself, “this sounds made up!”  I promise, this is my life and thankfully I have A) a total and complete faith in God’s plan and B) a sense of humor.  We knew we were having a lunch meeting and we all noticed that the HR manager was included on the calendar invite.  Then this morning the bosses met with my main competitor (let’s call him Sam)  behind closed doors for about an hour and twenty minutes.  Then we had our lunch meeting and nothing was mentioned.  Not a word about the position.  Nada.  Then they packed up and left the office.

I can’t even think of a word that can convey how silly I am finding this entire thing at this point!  One thought is an offer was made to Sam and he has the weekend to discuss and accept next week.  Then the two candidates (myself and another in the office) that were not selected will be told.  I’m somehow very okay with that scenario–I just want closure!  If Sam was selected, I am able to see the benefits to me personally.  I don’t think the major issues in the office will be addressed but I can also see very clearly how those issues don’t directly impact my work experience.  If I start thinking about the multiple people who ARE impacted by the decision, I can see how it is not the best decision.  Does that make sense?  If viewed just from my perspective and my experience, not a huge impact.  If viewed globally, I see that we aren’t going to be in a very good spot. 

There are a few other scenarios that may play out but I am very tired of guessing, surmising, speculating and wondering.  So, for this weekend, I am assuming I did not get the job.  I am ready to face that reality with grace and my dignity intact!  But, I won’t lie either.  I can’t imagine it taking near 90 minutes to convey this job offer.  We know what this job is about and I’ve got a voice in the back of my head on this that another opportunithy was offered to him instead of the original position. There’s a vacancy in an area he specializes in and I’m curious if he was tapped for that role.  This is not at all to say that I’m assuming the job is mine because I am not. 

I do feel okay about the whole thing.  I’m blessed to have a firm hold on reality in that it all happens for a reason and I am exactly where I am supposed to be on this day.  The situation is out of my control.  I am thankful for having opportunities and a very good job–in this economy, that cannot be taken for granted.


Phone Call with the Boss

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Last week the decision regarding the promotion at the office was again postponed.  I posted about that and then really took some time to think about a comment made by a reader referencing “what would a leader do?” given the impact all of this is having on our office.  After I read that I really took some time to think and pray and confirmed that my desire to call him did not come from a purely selfish motive of “Did I get the job or not?” but instead was truly motivated by my conversations with co-workers about our shared frustration with the state of our office.

So I sent him an instant message and asked that he give me a call and he did so pretty quickly.  I immediately explained I realized that my calling could look very selfish given the pending decision but I was confident I was calling with a “greater good” motivation–not purely selfish ones.  We first discussed an announcement regarding two employees in an out-of-state office (not in my department but from a group my department works closely with) being relocated. While that annoucement wasn’t entirely unexpected, the timing of it was such that it was another building block in the “Tower of Stress” that has become our workplace.  We also discussed some silly issues regarding ordering equipment and such that also have people talking.  Finally we discussed the 8 month wait for local leadership and that the impact of that cannot be ignored.  I’m not positive but it sure did seem like he was surprised that it had been so long.  I think that happens when you are not on site–no one’s fault really–just the nature of the beast.  Out of sight, out of mind?  He was receptive and seemed genuine when he thanked me for communicating and I told him it is either a sign that I’m the smartest or the dumbest in the office!  He expressed regret that we are feeling the way we are feeling b/c he has absolutely NO information to suggest our office is facing cutbacks or downsizing at all.  The staff members are rightfully worried and while I recognize there may be things at play that we cannot be privy too—I also think it important that if you give a group of people a date certain and then that cannot be met…they need more than just a cancellation.  It was a good conversation and he explained–to the extent he could–that the most recent delay was unexpected for him as well and had more to do with the schedule of others.

Here’s the great news though—I was really able to put all of this to rest again after that call.  Not because he said anything to reassure me or prepare me by any means–but instead because it is truly what needed to be done.  I’m a huge proponent of communicating and believe that so many of life’s problems come from a total lack of communication!  After our phone call he decided to come for a visit tomorrow–and clearly said there is no news to share–but that he understands that his superiors will be making the announcment the following week.  I’m not concerned with that at all–I just feel better having communicated the office issues.  That was the right thing to do and I am the person to do it–whether I get the promotion or not–I did the right thing.


Eek! Healthcare!

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I’ve been hanging on budget wise by the hair on my chinny chin chin. Added healthcare and daycare eat up everything we were applying to debt. Add diapers, wipes, and therapeutic wine, and the budget is pretty tight.

I’d been holding on, waiting to hit my milestone year at work. Once past the milestone, healthcare costs are greatly reduced – we’re talking a couple hundred a month.

…Until they released the 2012 rates and took away milestone benefits for longtime employees. My benefit package is nearly $200 more than I budgeted each month.

Sure, I get it. Healthcare costs are skyrocketing and I can’t expect my employer to cover it, but I was oh so sad to hear about the rate adjustment.

Hubby and I have to sit down and take a hard look at what we can adjust. I’m just hoping for a raise to clear the difference so we won’t have to cut the food budget. I’m not ready for a season of Ramen… again.


A Weird Thing Happened at Work…

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Last week was tough. It was my first week back full-time. Every night, either my husband was working or I was. On top of that, we had to squeeze in a Christmas photo and two Christmas shows with family. At most, I was getting 6 hours of newborn interrupted sleep each night.

By Wednesday afternoon, I began to wonder if anyone would notice me sleeping under my desk.

Before meetings, I’d stand outside the room, flip my head back and forth to poof my hair, tell myself “You OWN this”, and throw the door open with fake energy while praying, “Please don’t let anyone notice how exhausted I am.”

Friday mid-morning, I was called into my manager’s office. I thought I was being fired. I had failed yet again. I was about to launch into, “I’m sorry about this week. I’ll work harder to be better rested next week” when I was interrupted with…

“We’d like to offer you a promotion.”

And I choked on my caffeine-free tea.


Let’s talk about healthcare costs…

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I’m considering looking for a new job. But one of the biggest things that holds me back is healthcare – and sadly, healthcare is the reason some of my co-workers stay as well. My total cost for healthcare, regardless of how many children I have, will be $80 each month when I hit my milestone this year.

Obviously, if I can get a higher salary, it will offset my loss, but I’m curious…

if you pay for your family’s healthcare through work, how much are you paying?

I’m NOT looking to start a political debate on healthcare so please don’t talk about government or politics.


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