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3rd work week in the bag

June 13th, 2013 at 10:48 am

I wrapped up my third week at the new job. I am liking things better as I get meatier assignments, such as writing a bio of a Slovenian designer, which will appear on the website, as well as 2 promo letters related to a home makeover contest ($10,000 prize!) and some other website stuff.

I learned yesterday from the recruiter that they are "particularly pleased" with my work. He predicts an early perm offer, but again, I try not to count on that too much and just chalk it up to recruiter's optimistic/hopeful disposition.

I am not particularly happy with my seating location, though. I am surrounded by a bunch of guys (web developers) in their 20s; I'd rather be sitting with other women, or ideally, the two other people who are writers, which would be my two managers.

They are planning a reconfiguration of the workspace as they have space issues and we should all be sitting somewhere new by end of summer. The nice thing about these offices is that, though there are no cubicles and everything is an open floor plan, they do have these gigantic windows that afford great views of the city.

I told the recruiter/my friend that their payroll person calculated my state income tax according to the maximum rate charged to people making $250,000+. I don't make close to that and asked to be charged the lower rate or I'll have vastly overpaid state income taxes by year's end.

For some reason, instead of approaching their payroll person, he chose to consult some accountant he knows and the accountant said I was correct, so now the recruiter said he would have it taken care of. Just thought it was odd he didn't just ask payroll directly about it but maybe he didn't want to bother her unnecessarily.

So recruiter is asking me to keep him informed of everything I'm doing for the employer as he says it will help "us" negotiate the best pay rate. I assumed I'd be negotiating for myself, but i guess the agency must get some kind of payment if and when i'm hired on a perm basis. He said realistically, i should be able to get about $80K with benefits. Of course, if i got what i wanted, a 4-day work week, my pay would be reduced proportionately, to about $64,000, if I'm not mistaken. I could live quite nicely on $64,000 without a mortgage and with much more reasonable health insurance expenses.

Anyway, trying not to focus too much on that and just taking it a week at a time. And waiting for the better pay to start having an effect on my pocketbook. That won't really happen til next month, as i went on a bit of a spending spree, what with my new car purchase ($19,700), new clothes ($580), a cargo mat for the trunk and yes, a Maharaja chair from Ballard's Design for $187 that I had my eye on for several years now.

As for the commute, I'm finding that the right mental adjustment goes a long way in making the drive more palatable. Meaning, an attitude of quiet acceptance/resignation is far better than impatience/stress and banging on the steering wheel! They are doing some major reconstruction at one exit which should improve things by February 2015. (!!)

I spend about 25 minutes each way on Interstate 95 and I would say my average speed is about 20 mph. That's how congested it is. And that's not to say it moves steadily at 20 mph; it's more like periods of stop and go the entire distance I must go, which is 8 exits. I gave up (for now) exploring back roads or the Merritt Parkway; the congestion is everywhere; there's no escaping it. I do feel I should know those alternate routes though, for when there is a huge backup caused by an accident or something.

So my average commute is between an hour and an hour and 20 minutes. Sigh.

I have some stops to make today or tomorrow: Wal-Mart, Macy's, the gas station and BJs, but it's been raining all day and haven't felt very motivated.
We're supposed to have a nice weekend.

The Author had told me earlier she might want to put her 3rd book on hold for various reasons, which disappointed me, but then she asked me for a price on it anyway. I charged her the same rate I edited the other 2 books for, which is very, very low compared to what others would charge; i'm pretty sure the going rate is .01 or .02 per word, while i've been charging her just .0056 per word. Just becus I was determined to wrestle that first book editing job away from someone else she was going to hire, so when she told me the other person quoted her between $1,000 and $1200, i quickly said i'd do it for $1,000 and after doing a complimentary edit of a few pages, i got the job.

So when book #2 came along, i felt i needed to charge pretty much the same rate as the first one. Also, she's usually broke as she doesn't work much and her husband (wisely) doesn't pay for all her novel-writing activities out of his pay.

So anyway, I quoted her this a.m. $810. It would be nice to do it since it's a little side job i could do in my free time.

Still not sure how my insurance coverage for the rest of the year is going to pan out. My application to get on the state plan is on hold as they want proof of my previous Cobra coverage. I called the Cobra people and they should be able to mail it out in a few days, and then Iíll have to mail or fax that to the state plan. I SHOULD have enough time.

Normally, the state plan doesnít cover just anyone; they want you to have gone with no insurance coverage for at least 6 months before they pick you up, but there are exceptions to that rule, and one of them is if your Cobra coverage expires, as mine will June 30. It's just that I stopped paying for the Cobra after the May payment. It was the Cobra rep's idea. As long as I could avoid incurring any healthcare expenses in June, I could save myself the $770 premium for that final month of June since I planned to get on the state plan July 1 and would be set. I just hope the state plan doesnít hassle me about dropping my cobra coverage a month before I had to.

Anyway, hopefully all will work out all right with that.

There are 2 does and a fawn spending a lot of time in my yard at dusk and dawn, and i see a doe here now. Once the apples and mulberries begin to fall, they will REALLY hang around. So yes, they are dropping their Lyme-infested ticks everywhere. She is not huge...about the size of a Great Dane.

8 Responses to “3rd work week in the bag”

  1. snafu Says:

    Terrific that you've been able to adjust to the commute. I hope you'll track the cost along with the time as a negotiating point should you be offered a full time position sometime in the future. Do you see any employer barrier to having you work from home some of the time? Can you identify any benefits to the employer to strengthen your views, particularly snow days, for example? Does the HeadHunter Agency role would they play? Will J continue to pay the differential each week? can you ask to be signed in as a potential hire for other opportunities for your qualifications? Is there an agency that specializes in Editors?

    While July 4th doesn't impact you, Labor Day, September 2 is a Monday. Since you are not paid for statutory holidays, do you lose the pay or work an alternate day? You didn't mention your experience/adjustment with MAC.

    I guess I missed, did you get your deposit back from Ford?

  2. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    Glad work seems to be going well so far!

  3. LuckyRobin Says:

    If I remember right you have a fairly large yard, right? Over an acre? You might consider keeping a small flock of guinea fowl. They are great for controlling ticks. Chickens will eat them, too, but they are not nearly as efficient as the guineas. Just a thought.

  4. My English Castle Says:

    Good for you handling that commute. That would be tough for me. My London bus sometimes took 45 minutes, and I thought that was bad.

  5. PatientSaver Says:

    Snafu, I can always count on you to ask the penetrating questions!

    My manager said right at my interview that she wanted someone there 5 days a week, on site. I doubt her opinion would change much, but perhaps, if she really likes my work, she'd be willing to ease up a bit and be more flexible about it. Everything about this, and my employment in general, seems so in flux that I haven't really allowed myself to think much about how commuting down there would be in winter weather, and I dread the thought. It's something I will definitely need to bring up if another offer is negotiated, because on bad weather days I'd just prefer to stay home.

    I don't at all have the mindset yet that this is going to be a lasting thing. I've been through so many short-lived jobs in the past few years that I know things can change very quickly. For now I'm content to take it week by week and see how things pan out.

    J. has acknowledged he can't pay me the difference between the initial pay rate offered and the lowered rate indefinitely, but it's his opinion a permanent job offer will come fairly soon so he won't have to; plus he is willing to do it for now becus he considers it an investment in the client relationship (meaning, the recruiting agency and the employer, not me) and hopes to get more business from them, ie, more jobs to fill.

    There are a few agencies around here that specialize in "creative" jobs, mainly writers and designers. I am registered with them though truth be told, I'm not good at keeping in touch.

    We haven't discussed what would happen on weeks when a holiday fell on a workday for me, but I intend to ask ahead of time if i could simply work a different day so i don't lose that pay. I don't think that will be a problem.

    As for the mac, it's slowly coming back. There are certain little things or commands I can't always figure out right away, and surprisingly, the guys who sit around me don't always know the answers either, becus the nature of their jobs is such that they don't need to know those things. Like, I was having a tough time finding the icon/command on Mac Word to check the word or character count in a document. I know you'll see the word count at the bottom of the page automatically, but in PC Word you would normally go to review and then word count. Don't seem to have that on the mac.

    As far as getting back the deposit for the Ford, if you remember, I charged it to my Chase credit card, and Chase has told me i don't have to pay it, so there's nothing to be repaid. The charge still appears on my online statement, though, but Chase explained they give the merchant 30 days to process the credit and they will keep me up to date on what happens. I'm watching it very closely. It does bother me the charge is still there on my account. If it's still there when my next bill comes due, i'll call Chase again to make sure I won't get hit with any late payment penalties for not paying that portion of the bill.

    One thing I really like are my hours, particularly, not having to be there til 10 am. It means I don't have to leave the house til 8:45 am, which seems very late in the morning to me. In the summer months, I'm up with the dawn, usually around 6 am, so that gives me plenty of time to wash the dishes, tidy up around here and have my ritual leisurely morning cup of tea in front of the computer.

  6. PNW Mom Says:

    Glad to hear it is going so well!

  7. snafu Says:

    1st, apology that this only a couple of months old MacAir idrops parts of sentences but only on this site - yeech. It's frustrating because I can't get the 'edit' feature to work.

    No wish to cause offense but experience has taught me it easier to have answers to potential questions or solutions to latent problems to avoid being caught off guard. I avoid that 'I wish I'd said yadda yadda' or "I could have avoided..."

  8. PatientSaver Says:

    Snafu, please be assured, no offense taken at all. I like all your questions becus they often get me thinking about different angles that might not have otherwise occurred to me.

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