Archive for the 'work' Category

Coping with loss (of many thousands of dollars)

October 18, 2006

I’m not a rich man. I’m not poor either. I’m also not unique in my predicament. I’ve been stuck in a job for the past few years (has it been five years already?) — for a couple of reasons, but with real consequences.

I like the people I work with. I even like the work on occasion. The problem comes in the form of compensation. Let me preface further discussion with the following; I know there are a number of things I can do to change this. There are also a number of reasons that I haven’t.

Here are a couple of them:

  1. As I stated before, I like the people I work with (No, I’m not blowing smoke up anyone’s ass here).
  2. The health benefits are excellent — This is important when you have three children.
  3. I seem to lack some “testicular fortitude” with the boss.
  4. I like having an office (with a window and a door). It’s a nice space.
  5. In many ways I prefer a small company (although this isn’t all it’s cracked up to be).
  6. I’m not interested in another “job” — my next move is working for myself, making my own decisions.

It’s also been years since my last pay increase. I’ve supplemented things in a number of ways over the years. I’ve overspent on credit cards. I’ve refinanced the house to pay off the overspending. I’ve eBayed things on a number of occasions. Ang has gone back to work — which has the additional benefit of giving her a bit of sanity (in, quite literally, one of the most insane places). I’ve done some hit-and-miss side-work after hours — and even been paid for it a couple of times. I’ve planned and continue to plan on bigger and better things moving forward, but the reality is that I’ve shortchanged my family of between $20,000 and $30,000 in salary over this past five year period — figuring in only Cost of Living Increases, and this lower wage position.

My salary bubbled up along with other technology folks in the late nineties — to a point that wasn’t maintainable — so I took my 26% pay cut in stride after the Plural layoff. It sucked, but it was a reality I understood. I also figured it would get better. It hasn’t. In real dollars, I’m making 9% less now than I was in 2001 — at the already reduced salary. Figure in more dramatic 26% initial cut and I’m now making 68% a year of where I would have been.

Let me reiterate, that I know I am not alone, but that only takes the edges off of the pain.

Want a real big number? I’ve missed out on over $160,000 if the bubble hadn’t burst and I had just done a good enough job to get the bare minimum salary increase. It’s not as big a number as those seen by the truly rich, but it’s much, much bigger in ways that really matter.

Like most Americans, I’d have probably just spent it all on hookers and blow. Right?

So I’ve become a real bargain shopper. I dig thrift stores — I found an amazing number of like and brand new shirts the other night for about $5 each. I like to find ways to simplify. It’s amazing how this “slip down the ladder” has changed my perspective on what is important. I still have pride. I’m much more comfortable with who I am. I couldn’t care less about how big my television is — I don’t watch TV. I don’t care that my car is 11 years old — in fact it’s a fact I revel in. It’s economical, paid-for, and a blast to drive. I smile every time I climb in. I don’t go out like I used to. I’d rather grab the camera and find something interesting to shoot or hop on the bike than head to the bar. I spend countless hours coming up with ideas for new products. I fill Moleskine after Moleskine with jottings and story ideas. I continue to work towards a better life.

Oh, but that’s all so boring!

My wallet’s not as fat — by a long shot, but I’m not bored.

Your Training Will Begin Next Week…

March 6, 2006

So Ang, God love her, got a new job. She’s been a Health Unit Coordinator (HUC) for the past year or so at a big local hospital. She needs to do something patient-facing along with her CNA certification to strengthen her resume for nursing school. This new position as a Psych Associate will fit the bill nicely and will add even more of a challenge to her life. I’m proud as hell of her. The bonus of this, is that it works pretty well around our schedule. I come in early on Mondays and every other Friday and leave early and she works a half-time position in the evenings. There is very little child care we need to coordinate. She accepted the position a few weeks ago, middle of February I think. She starts next week — 6.5 days from now.Today… Let that sink in for a second… she get’s a notice with her training schedule. FULL TIME DAYS FOR TWO WEEKS — starting, as I’ve mentioned — in 6.5 days.

Full-time days… for two weeks. Holy shit, how are we going to deal with that? And wouldn’t a little more time have been nice to set something up? So, our options right now are paying a small fortune to someone to watch the kids for a couple of weeks during the day, making the fruits of her labor for the training minus the childcare costs plus the inconvienice of finding someone to watch the kids for a couple of weeks during the day equal a big negative number, OR having me watch the kids at a time when we’re trying to wrap up a project at work and then trying to backfill at night.

This is tough — and could have been avoided had someone alerted Ang to this “situation” a bit further out than 6.5 days.

The Joys of Programming (books)

January 12, 2006

I like being a developer. I like the acts of designing software, developing software, and I like reading about developing software. What I don’t like is the shelf-life of the books. I bought quite a few books last year on ADO.NET and various .NET topics and now less than a year later, they are of little use. It’s not that there isn’t decent information in them, rather the newest version of .NET has enough differences from its predecessor to make finding answers in these books only partially useful and in many ways futile.I’m going to make a resolution right now to find a good title for each of the following topics and but them. Then, I’m taking a box of the old ones to to Half-Price Books.

* IIS 6.0
* ASP.NET (2.0) with C#
* C# .NET (2.0)
* ADO.NET (2.0)
* SQL Server 2005
* Biz Talk (the new one — I’d like to know more about this product)

If you have any suggestions, let me know.

Cryptic Ramblings

January 6, 2006

I really like posting my stuff here, but I’ve just been so busy trying to keep up with “Project X”. So busy working and documenting things. Once the kids are in bed, it’s time to get to work. It’s tough to compress a full-time project into the hours between 9PM and 1AM.Getting together with “Partner J” tomorrow night to go over some details. It’s all starting to come together.

Some day I’ll be able to get back at this. I hope!

new office art

March 8, 2005

Not my idea, but I did raid the supply closet for the Post-it notes and work over lunch the other day for this!It’s majestic with the sun streaming in.

Now I wish I had a bigger window.

Much more here!

mario