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Archive for April, 2018

FUN STUFF

April 15th, 2018 at 09:32 am

I did two posts of work updates. I am ready to look forward and to talk about something else!

I kind of have no idea where we stand financially. We are definitely in "too busy to spend money" mode and in the usual "hoarding money" zone that we start every year off with. Usually MH's work is more slow in the spring but he's been busy.

Anyway, I usually eat out a bit more during my busy work season. Not a ton, but I figure if I go out one day per week it's covered by OT. Except in this case I am working more hours than ever but I am not getting compensated for the extra time. So that is the part I don't really know and am not sure of. I guess next weekend I can sort out April and see where we are at. I told MH that I don't think I have been spending any more money than usual, but it's just I am not entirely sure how to pay for the "Stress spending." If it will come out of his paycheck, or savings, or what.

In addition, I have been indulging in some bigger splurges. Definitely a feeling of "I deserve this," after months of working so hard. In this case, we don't have any vacation plans, and so might start tapping the vacation fund. It would be our "normal" to use it for treats that we can't otherwise justify, or more staycation-y type stuff. Our traveling the last few years has been unusual for us.

Splurges:

--I got front row seats to the symphony in a couple of weekends. Just DL and I are going. That was crazy expensive. If we have a great time and want to go back again in the future, we don't have to sit so close next time. Definitely a special treat.

--Robogames (robot battles) is in a couple of weekends. This is my absolutely favorite thing. It is SO FUN! So I am very excited about that. I thought we'd bring some friends and this might get expensive (if we are covering driving, lunch, dinner, tickets). But it looks like it will just be the four of us. Regardless, it will be pricey but I will pull from vacation budget or MH's paycheck. Is probably only $100 for tickets, but last time we bought some beer and food there, and we will probably want to go out for a meal or two that day.

--I got tix to see the Beach Boys in September at an awesome venue. There is a winery in the Bay Area that I've seen some great concerts at. It's maybe been 5+ years (10 years?) since we have seen any shows there. The lineup hasn't been that exciting the last couple of years that we checked. This year!? OMG! So many good shows. MH was "meh" on all the weeknight shows. Having no idea what is going on with my job, I agreed we should just stick to weekends. This left Steve Martin/Martin Short (which sold out in like 5 seconds) and the Beach Boys. I am glad I was able to get the Beach Boy tickets for the whole family.

I've also got piles of dining out gift cards to get through. Was thinking that DL and I might go to P.F. Chang's before the symphony.

I still owe my dad his birthday dinner at Benihana. We had plans in January, but the restaurant shut down that day and canceled our reservation due to "technical difficulties." Seriously! Maybe we can try again during the next few weeks. (I have gift cards for this).

It's good to have some fun stuff to look forward to.

My New Employer

April 15th, 2018 at 07:53 am

I am kind of working my way backwards through these posts, as I get everyone up to speed. This one is very SA relevant. I still want to go back and give more details on my job upheaval, but at this point I'd rather fill you in on what is going on in the here and now. When I have more time I can work backwards and fill you in.

The short version: Employer was ill: couldn't work, sold business.

I think new employer is honestly trying to be helpful by not telling us anything. They have hired on old employer for 2 years(?) which is just making everything more awkward because he has completely checked out. So is creating a vacuum of no leadership or communication. I touched on this in my last post about how unbearable this all is. But I really and truly think the situation is unique and awkward and that the new employer thinks that they are being helpful.

On the other hand, first impressions have been pretty dismal. & really, is it ever not awkward? It's got to be awkward to keep working as someone else takes over your *baby*. So, I don't know.

I honestly had no idea who was going to write my paycheck on April 1. We knew NOTHING except were told at some point (mid March) that the sale had gone through.

I'd say that around April 5 we were given HR paperwork and it came up that old employer needs to pay out PTO (which they have yet to do) through February 1. February 1 was when they decided to sell the business to this company.

This is the point when I was given direct contact with new employer. Since I have a million questions, I wouldn't even know where to begin. I am frustrated they couldn't even give us a single HR type handout?? I don't understand. They know we are busy and don't want to bother us. But this doesn't mean they can't communicate in some non time-intrusive way. So anyway, when given direct contact, and being told my PTO started with them February 1, I thought at the LEAST I wanted to know what my compensation was at the moment and how much PTO I was earning for the prior 2 months. My "new boss" (for lack of a better idea what to call her) told me that they use our hire dates with old employer and that I was accruing 4 weeks of vacation. She actually sent this e-mail to me on my worst day when I completely checked out. At first I thought, "Holy crap!" Was not expecting that. I had 3 weeks time off before, because have been here forever. But later I realized that had to include sick pay and wasn't that exciting in the end. But, will admit was better than I expected. Which is some of my feeling endlessly conflicted. Every time I am ready to quit, then I'll get some good news like this.

Anyway, this is the perfect example of our communication issues. I just want to know WTH I am being paid and compensated. But since getting all this info, I Decided to take a week off in May. I just need it for my sanity. She did tell us we can take unpaid time off for already planned vacations, and because we are getting our old PTO paid out. Which is why my other co-worker is super excited. She was part-time for 10 of 15 years and only has 2 weeks vacation, and she would gladly take unpaid off. So she is super stoked at the minute. She maybe had like 4 or 5 weeks of vacations planned this year. So she has something planned in a couple of weeks and wanted to make sure it was approved through proper channels. So she also asked about it and received info about the PTO process. Then our awesome admin asked (also trying to plan a trip) and she was given the full PTO/sick policy. This PTO is in addition to sick pay. I was not expecting that!

So we all three pretty much asked the same thing and got 3 different answers. & why on earth would you send an entire policy to one employee without giving it to everyone?

But yeah, you have to understand we haven't had a single day off since January 1. So, that is why we all have pressing PTO concerns. For me, it was more of a compensation question. I guess there are multiple reasons.

Old boss has yet to pay out PTO, and I've been too busy to even remember about that. But Monday (4/16) is our old payday and I expect we will probably be paid at that time. I did decide to take a week off in May, unpaid. I just need it for my sanity. I think I made that decision before realizing that I also get sick pay, but whatever. When I almost applied for that job last week I was kind of bummed if I got it I didn't see any way I could take any time off in between. So this is kind of my "unpaid week off in case I don't end up with any unpaid time off between jobs." In addition to just being generally long overdue for a break. & I will get the check to cover it (I am due about 40 hours of PTO from old employer).

We were also told at that time that the new employer pays the 22nd and the 7th of every month, or one week later than usual. So I otherwise won't get paid Monday. How do I feel about this? *shrugs* I am just thankful that they don't pay every two weeks. I don't think my accounting brain could handle reconciling being paid bi-weekly with all the monthly bills. It would drive me INSANE. So I am good and fine and happy.

I was planning to transfer about $5,000 into savings on Monday, the result of all this cash hoarding. In the end, I think this probably works out better for me (for the long run). I pay all my bills around the first of the month, which is usually when I get paid. Anyway, I used my 4/1 paycheck to pay bills and my plan is to use the 4/22 paycheck to pay my 5/1 bills. Then I will do all savings transfers with the 5/7 paycheck. Switching that around, and not being paid for an entire week, puts me a bit behind on my cash hoarding schedule. But, in the grand scheme of things this doesn't affect us whatsoever.

{In addition to that, I pay all my bills more when I get them than when they are due, so I would have a large buffer and could delay paying all these bills for 2-3 weeks if need be. I mostly charge everything and like to pay the cards off the first of the month so that we literally start each new month with no debt. I decided at some point to do this versus putting more cash in our emergency fund. I presume this is largely playing into my *shrugs* feeling about all of this. Essentially saving my second paycheck every month is also a lot of it. The combo of the two means I am not sweating any of this in the slightest. I also pay my mortgage one month ahead, for the same reason. It's all a built-in buffer for when life happens. This is a 4-6 week "emergency fund" in itself.}

This is a bigger company and so I was sure we would get direct deposit. WRONG! That is one thing I am disappointed about.

I am guessing we will receive some more communication before the end of April.

There was a class (one day seminar) I wanted to take in May. I have no idea if the class will be reimbursed, or I will be paid for the time out of the office. It's stuff like this I still know nothing about. I will take the class regardless.

Surviving

April 15th, 2018 at 06:01 am

The Black Cloud still remains at work. It is so beyond ridiculous that I wouldn't even know where to begin. Everyone but me seems to be in the middle of a full on crisis. & the bombs keep dropping.

Surprisingly enough, the work side of things is going pretty well. I anticipated infinite more problems. A lot of my fear (besides the sheer insanity of the workload) was spurred by having a rough tax season last year and clients NOT being understanding at all. In this case, clients have been TOO understanding. I am not aware of losing even a single client. ??? But it's been okay if they are being super understanding in the interim. & I do expect that some of these clients will move on next year, which might things more bearable. I understand why people told at the very last minute just stayed, but doesn't mean they will be back next year.

We will "Survive" though no doubt my customer service and quality of work has decreased. It's at an okay level, that I can probably live with, but would not be happy for the long run. I have no one to hand off any busy work to. Our admin was told by a doctor last weekend she should be home on bed rest for the week. She came in to work because she knew the place would fall apart without her. The workaholic in my office is super human and I have no idea how he did all the work he did. None of this is sustainable. & it's a horrible first impression re: new employer.
My old employer would have never done this to us.

But...Everything on the work side has gone pretty smooth. Phew! Lord forbid if any of our clients had any complex tax issues though. We just wouldn't have had the time to deal with it.

I haven't quit yet because I'd say most tax offices have far worse hours than I've dealt with this year. I don't mind taking my time and finding the right fit, but I doubt I Will be happy with the hours in any similar type firm. For now, I am just waiting it out. If we go back to 9-5 the rest of the year, and next year we have more of a plan and is a little less chaos, may be worth staying (more short term). Just don't know. I am job searching but am not considering similar jobs at the moment because of the hours. If my only complaint is the hours, it's realistically just going to be worse anywhere else.

As to all of the work to cover for my old boss, it was surprisingly clean and easy, and it's all DONE. As I come up on tax deadline (April 17th this year) I am just dealing with my usual flakes. I am relieved not to have any new clients in my "last minute flake" list.

What's been bad at work has been the (lack of) communication and leadership. Unbearable, really. I almost applied for a job last week. Looking back, I worked almost 70 hours this past week and no idea how I would have done it (a job interview). It's for the best that I put a pin on that. If I want to get out I really need to be more prepared when I do apply. But I had just had ENOUGH one day the prior week. I think I've been clear all along that I know this is how it ends. But I came to some 100% certainty last week that I can't keep this job.

What's making it worse is that our lowest level employee thinks she is in charge now. ??? We all ignore her, but unfortunately she keeps bossing around our awesome admin. I don't know WTF is wrong with her. Yeah, great, drive away all the awesome employees. Just what we need! But if she is kind of sort of her superior then it makes it more awkward for the admin. I talked to our awesome admin earlier this week and she was just DONE! She was in the exact head space I was the week prior. I think all else being equal she would have resigned April 1 or will resign tomorrow, but her husband just had some big life changes and wants her to find a higher paying job. Just to say her ability to just quit, has suddenly changed, financially. But she is going to end up in the hospital if she doesn't take care of herself.

MH thinks that lowest level employee is just trying to make herself relevant. Not really sure what she does and she seems more useless than usual this year. I think she's been doing a lot of work with the changeover. This is actually some of my zen as we approach April 15th, because anything important that I needed done, I routed around this person. (She keeps letting tax returns pile up in her office for days, which is driving everyone CRAZY. She's always been this way, but you know, yesterday was April 14th!). So yesterday I heard a lot of, "Where the F is the tax return I finished 10 days ago?!" going around the office. I even looked through her pile to see if any of my clients got caught up in it and none of them were mine. Phew! Glad I anticipated and worked around that mess.

I wouldn't even know where to begin, in her attempts to be "helpful". It's all the complete opposite of helpful.

In the end, my other co-worker (we are a package deal at this point) is feeling pretty optimistic and she talked me off the ledge. I am going to document my concerns though because I want to be clear and don't want to forget anything if anyone ever asks me for my input. I think the writing is clearly on the wall. But if this co-worker is positive and workaholic is super human, I can take the excellent paycheck while I figure out my next steps. I may have a good 7 months to take my time with the job search.

I feel endlessly conflicted because this was my "dream job" before. Of course it would be best and good to wait and give new employer a chance, but all first impressions have been horrible. That ship has sailed. Instead, I am just sticking around for the paycheck while I figure out my next job.

My plan for now is to switch to 9-5 mode on May 1. I have too much deadline work to get through the next two weeks. But after that, I am just putting in the bare minimum. I will also be very seriously job searching. It seems that it will take time to find something that pays so well, but if I do find something where the work/pay/hours look good, I am definitely willing to jump at this point.

{Note: Old employer only worked about 3 months of the year, and so we don't have to shoulder his workload the rest of the year. That part is done, to be clear}.

Mentally, I checked out last week. & I can walk away mid May, tying up most loose ends. So I am ready to apply for jobs.

I do also have a week off planned in May, which is good for my sanity. More on that in my next post.