Monday, October 10, 2011

On a More Personal Note

I tend to play it close to the vest when it comes to my personal business. I don't mean books coming out or other writing related news, but my very personal business, like losing my job a week ago Thursday. I've been hanging on by a thread for about three of the 6-1/2 years I've worked for the company, ever since they dumped a lousy account on me and took away 30-40% of my income, still demanding I maintain quota while taking away 30-40% of the work that I do. It's all about how many pages are typed and when the pages are not properly paginated, as in the account dumped on me, that cuts out a big portion of the money I earn. Two typed pages become one and you begin to see the problem.

I don't like putting my private business out here, not that I don't trust people, but because I don't want pity or people reading just for the thrill factor of someone else who's in trouble. I prefer to look on the positive side, like seven years ago when I was diagnosed with breast cancer only to find out, after two months of worry and hassle and testing, that I didn't have breast cancer. The doctor's office mixed my file up with someone else's. I never did find out whether or not they caught her in time and saved her life. I was so looking forward to perky breasts with upturned nipples. Oh, well. The same is true of losing my job.

Long story short: I called off work because the rain took out my electricity and phones -- again -- and I wasn't able to finish the day. I had vacation time coming and my boss took that opportunity to email me with a termination notice and demand I send back their equipment overnight at my expense, an expense that cost me $700, a month's rent and the groceries. I had some money saved and looked forward to my last paycheck and clearing out my 401K, but I should have known that would fall prey to the boss's tender mercies as well. It did. After a 20% bite out of my 401K, taxes, and surcharges, and the loss of all my accrued vacation time, I was little better off than when I had a job. Not a problem.

I filed for unemployment and am now waiting out the waiting week, which is government speak for not getting paid for one week. I wanted to take off six months, enjoy the unemployment and the time to read and write (mostly write), and kick back and relax after so many years of work without paid vacation even when I earned vacation time (she didn't pay me for that or compensate me for the vacation time in three other instances). I find that I need to go back to work and work I shall do.

I was offered three jobs (I'm a hot commodity with great skills and a solid background history) and accepted one of them. Now I need to decide when to start back to work, and it's looking like Oct. 25th, just in time for the Nov. 4th paycheck. It will be slim, but it will be a check and I do have other resources, and another job that pays a guaranteed salary each and every month without fail -- until it fails. It has before.

In a way, writing about my little pot hole in the road of life makes me wonder if I should share that information when so many people I know are either on disability or have been out of work so long their unemployment ran out. How can I talk about my little hiccup when so many others are in much more difficult straits? It seems unfair and needlessly cruel.

Suffice it to say, I always land on my feet and, aside from having to start over at a new job, I will get better pay, shorter hours, bigger paychecks, more vacation time, and cheaper benefits (benefits from the old company cost nearly a month's salary each and every month) with disability benefits. Like I said, I usually land on my feet. I do have to buy some equipment and may have to buy a program or two, but they are tax deductible. It's best to get on with the show. I still have two months off from writing book reviews after nearly nine years of nonstop reviewing and that I won't give up and may extend to three months, going back to reviewing at the beginning of the year, the same time I am giving up handling the PPRAA VE team exam sessions (someone finally stepped up to the plate after four years of me doing the job). Life is not all beer and skittles (I hate beer and don't really know what skittles are, except for the candy, and I know that skittles predate the candy), but it's workable.

That is all. Disperse.

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