• Hurrah for work benefits!

    I’m ecstatic!

    Got a cheque today for $390 for my glasses from work. They cost me 474, which means they were virtualy free…..relatively! They cost me less than $100 out of pocket, which is basically free.
    Not sure why they cut me a cheque rather than just direct depositing it…it’s not like they don’t have my details.

    I still can’t quite believe I got reimbursed at all….let alone to such a large percentage (I’m sure I read there was a $150 limit somewhere…

    So I’m gonna use $100 to pay our water bill, $30 for my Christmas present (finally decided to splash out and get me that awesome makeupcase….$30 from almost $200. I waited a bit long, there was a pink version for $20 earlier, but whatever). Then the rest goes into savings, as it’s looking pretty low. After the almost $500 I paid for my glasses, plus $350 for the boy’s present, and the $400 I lent him for clutch repairs, and I haven’t been paid yet for my four freelance articles…….

    As if I needed a reason to love my company right now..
    And this is why I want to be in a job with great benefits. As my mum says it’s better to start out in a large business, get contacts, get experience, get benefits, progress up the ladder, then later on move to a smaller more intimate place where you can really shine with your invaluable experience in a smaller team.

    If teh boy ends up officially resigning from his non-job he’ll lose his free health insurance, so I will probably go see the Southern Cross rep at work (she comes in once a month) and see about getting coverage through work. If it’s reasonable then I would probably go with that. (But first, gotta sort contents insurance, which I’ll probably do after the new year now.) If it’s cheap, say a few bucks a week (I have NO IDEA how much basic coverage might cost, so talking out my arse here) I’d jump on it. Not so much for me, but the boy, who’s much more prone to injury at work, has a bad back and may need dental work soon. It’s a great thing to have if possible, as big medical bills aren’t something we can afford right now.

  • Getting ahead

    Suze Orman raises some interesting points in Young, Fabulous and Broke.

    She reckons it’s your job to support your boss and make them look great – your time will come once you’ve helped establish their strong position, become indispensable, and endeared yourself to them.

    And I agree, you gotta put in the hard yards before expecting anything in return. Aside from that, I am
    not so sure, but i guess if you can prove yourself to be invaluable to your company you’re in a very strong position. Volunteer for extra projects, overtime, and do whatever you may be asked even if not in your job description.

    That’s stuff I do by nature anyway, but I think it’s even more relevant in this “economic climate” if you intend to hold onto your job. I’m hoping late next year my efforts will be rewarded. I’ve done two night shifts this past fortnight, after never having done any in a year and a half. I don’t know if it’s hurt my chances, me working upstairs half the time, but it’s been an invaluable experience I wouldn’t give up for anything. Much as I bitch about its down sides, and feeling out of place in my chain store clothing and ‘expensive’ $50 dress compared to their immaculately tailored outfits, I never would have scored such an amazing opportunity if I hadn’t got my foot in the door with Online.

  • Sim card error

    Sim card error – three words that strike fear into my heart. This usually comes after my phone takes a slide off my lap and into the middle aisle of the bus, landing with a sickening thwack.
    So far it has revived, every time, after being turned off and back on….but one day surely i won’t be so lucky. And I’m not looking forward to that day! i don’t want a new phone! i’m extremely attached to my gx17. it is lacking in many departments such as camera quality, but i hardly ever use that. it has minimal features, compared to the superphones of today. but its sturdy, pretty and easy to use. it’s lasted me three years and im not willing to fork out hundreds for a new one, esp as almost all phones these days are butt ugly. i have to admit i’d love a phone that did everything – and i mean absolutely everything, because i’d use it as an organiser – but imagine how lost i’d be if i ever lost or broke that phone.

    In other things…we have precisely enough this week for groceries. So gas, lunches and any incidentals will send us into the red. Woohooo…..

    OTOH I worked almost 50 hours this week (and may do more tomorrow if I feel up to it) so next paycheck will be nice and fat, comparatively. And man did I work hard for it! I’m hoping IT don’t monitor our usage too closely, beause I must have downloaded over 100mb of stuff today trying to get that java problem fixed. And I did (and it’s cemented why I will never get a mac). I’ve been leaving late this week, 5.30, every day, and it sucks.

    All the staff on level 4 work 8.3 to 5.30; I guess I might be expected to do the same, although it’s never been voiced. I’ve just been coming in 9-5 as I would do on my days downstairs. But this week it just got too much for me…I felt guilty andlazy and slack for taking off at 5 everyday. Hence my staying till 5.30. And yet I’m still the first to leave! God knows how long people actually do stay at work. 9.5 hours? 10? I never want to have to do that, especially on a salary. I see how stressed some of them get too, and I pray I’ll never be like that. I’d rather have a less prestigious, less well paid job and have some balance in my life.

  • I didn’t really expect to be unlucky enough to be in a major recession at this age. At least i’ve still got a stable job and haven’t graduated or i’d be job hunting pretty fruitlessly! and i don’t have a massive mortgage or CC debt.

    …but still. doesn’t make things any easier. the boy wants to quit and find a job at, say video ezy. which is such a bad idea. a) there are a million other people out there also fighting for jobs. his chances are slim to none. b) in that case, i don’t think he’d even be eligible for the dole, it’s only if you’re actually laid off  and don’t leave on your own accord (must confirm that), leaving us even worse off. even a job in name if not  actuality, is better than nothing.

    what to do? stick it out till the new year? (especially in view to the materialising apprenticeship). that’s over a month away. and there’s never a guarantee really is there? christmas now is also meant to be busy, doing shutdowns for the companies, but again no guarantee. after applying for a bunch of temp jobs and the like he’s all “i don’t want to do this, there’s no point, by the time i do get one of them work will be back to normal (or seminormal). well, theoretically. but murphy’s law and all that, the exact opposite could happen too. Keep looking for temp jobs and if work is back to normal by then, just back out? Leave and just take any sort of job to keep something coming in for awhile (well, TRY to find any sort of job)?

    In the meantime at least he’s managed to make further progress in the apprenticeship department, getting in touch with skills4work, done their tests and passed with flying colours and going in for the next interview tomorrow. Of course that’s another can of worms. They may not be able to work with the current employer in which case that amounts to some serious time wasted for us and maybe a bit of bad blood should he leave to do it with someone else next year. Then of course the whole training wage thing of $10 an hour, or about $320 net a week. which is fine if you have a near new car that never has problems and is paid for, no debt and an emergency cushion, otherwise… but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. and surely there’d be some sort of assistance for someone actually making less than minimum wage.

    In the meantime, he can’t even get payslips from work to show his zero income for two weeks to show Work and Income – apparently no timesheet, no payslip. (How can you have a timesheet if you’re not working?). I suppose they might accept bank statements showing the absence of pay, but then again, probably not. As they say, you technically still have a job, but if you can show you’re in hardship for three weeks, all’s well and good.

    I feel shitty coming home and being all stressed about money. i expect him to try and be cheerful, but really that’s not fair; if the situation was reversed i would be super worried and angry and frustrated too.

  • Ranting

    Marginally more composed now.

    B+ for journo. Can’t actually remember what my other two marks were; i’m thinking an A and A-. So hopefully an A- average overall. Pretty annoyed with myself for making a couple of stupid mistakes, and for having had my moment of clarity AFTER the exam in regards to one story, but oh well. I’m on tenterhooks now but we’ll just have to wait and see.

    Onto more pressing matters.

    Second full week of nonemployment for the boy. this disgusting cutback of hours is worse than being laid off. at least with redundancy good ol Key’s package would kick in (although it hasn’t been actually organised yet, as such) and unemployment would be available.

    God, sometimes i feel about twenty years older. with every new development i feel further and further removed from everyone i know, who mostly don’t REALLY know what it’s like to be dealing with all this and definitely not to this extent. of course most of these are joint problems and not really mine, but that’s what relationships are about, aren’t they?

    as it is we have to try and get an appointment with work and income, along with the presumably thousands of others struggling and wanting the exact same thing. then trying to show that an average income of 2-300 a week doesn’t cut it especially with two straight weeks of no work. it’s bad for the wallet and it’s bad for the soul. i can’t singlehandedly support the two of us. our assets are separate and should be counted as such. however the fact that i have any money in the bank probably precludes the boy from qualifying for emergency help.

    if nothing else, this experience has totally cemented my belief that we need to work to feel valued and have motivation. sitting on your ass all day simply stagnates you. i don’t know if i totally support making single parents go back to work, but i certainly believe in working for the plain old dole.

  • Work to live, live to work…

    It seems to me there are two distinctly different attitudes toward work. Either you enjoy work and really make a career for yourself, or you’re just working a job – any job, doesn’t make too much difference what. I’ve always been in the first category.

    Musing about what I was going to be when I grew up, being really driven to do something big (oh, idealism).

    The boy doesn’t really know what he wants to do (you know, IN LIFE) and I don’t think he was really pushed to think about a career much when he was younger, just concentrating on his sports. A different kind of culture really (I mean in terms of values, not ethnicity). More of a live for the present thing, rather than looking ahead.

    We both assumed he’d stay in this field but depending on how it does next year we may rethink that. I told him now’s a good time to retrain, maybe in IT or something.

    That was a few weeks ago…now he’s looking at taking another job next year (closer to home, Avondale) – no training/qualification prospects, but actually steady work, and the kind of place you tend to stay all your life and move on up. Old school. I don’t know how I feel about that. Education has always been so important to me, and in this case, getting qualified was really important to him. The plan was we’d pay for it ourselves if needed and take out a student loan for him. But I guess things change. In the end what really matters is if he’d be happy. And if he’d enjoy working there, not just doing it for the money, well then it’s the right choice. I’m just not sure that it is.

  • Being done with uni for the year is freaking awesome. I don’t have anything I NEED to do in my weekends/evenings. However, on my to do list

    Get new guitar strings/get back into playing

    Weed, rake up garden

    Get lawn mowed

    Organise contents insurance

    Read books on the list I compiled last week

    On Friday I actually dusted in our room (first time since we moved in, disgusting, yes?) and was revolted at the thick dark dust on all our surfaces. And I organised my stuff on top of my dresser and drawers (really want new dresser, but can’t afford one. Come to think of it, I’d like a fabulous new closet with tons of room, sliding wire racks, heaps of storage space, etc. but hey.) I even threw out a bunch of stuff – bottles, makeup, other detritus – unheard of for a hoarder like me! And without feeling a single pang of loss. I guess after starting to put together a story on spring cleaning your makeup bag I thought I should put that into action for myself. It’s disgusting that I have lipsticks from back in intermediate school.

    It also leaves me lots of time for blogging (obviously) and thinking… like, maybe I’d like to get into publishing some day. It first occurred to me after reading Marian Keys’ The Other Side of the Story and thinking Jojo had a pretty cool job and wouldn’t it be fun being a book agent? But I couldn’t do the whole selling thing. I’ve never been in retail/sales and I think that’s for a reason. Then I thought maybe I’d like to be a reader, going through all the manuscripts sent into agencies by wannabe JK Rowlings and Dan Brows. I love reading. What could be better than getting paid to read? But you’d be reading all the crap stuff (99%) and I wouldn’t ever want to lose my love of books. Plus, readers are low level and presumably low paying jobs, and by the sounds of it, it’s hard to move up. And I’m not confident I could pick hits as my reading taste is sometimes a little eccentric. I could get into editing – but it’s a bit dry, really, and my grammar is passable but nothing special. Spelling, though, I’d cut up. I always wanted to be in a wicked spelling bee…

    It’s just amazing to realise just how many different kinds of jobs there actually are out there – ones you never really consider or hear about. You tend to think you’re restricted to the main degree areas, like business and law and engineering, etc, but there’s so much more out there (albeit less common ones).

  • Argh!

    No work for the boy at all this week. He’s already been at home Monday and Tuesday. Fuck the economy.

    It’s one thing being the breadwinner; another entirely to be the sole earner.

    I’ve asked him to ring a couple of temp places tomorrow, but really don’t know how feasible that will be given he needs work ASAP, like, tomorrow, and there’ll no doubt be paperwork and HR bullshit to get through first which can take days.

    Now for the good news.

    I really should have gone through our work benefits before buying my glasses. I found out we have a subsidy for glasses (up to $150, which would mean almost a third of the total cost for mine) and eye tests…well, not really, since I’d read that before and technically kinda knew. but that was a long time ago! And in the year and a half since being here, that little perk slipped my mind.

    Now I just need to find out how to go about applying, if I still can. Any money I can get would be icing; $475 is still a lot less than $600 or $700, but that’s not exactly small change now is it? Tried looking throuhg Lotus Notes at work in the policies and procedures section which had a handy yet rather useless overview of our entitlements, and no application form. Same for the intranet, which was basically the same thing but online. I probably should have done this BEFOREHAND. there’s something about gettin gmanager approval before getting your eye test (49 would have basically covered the whole exam) but then it went on to say something about “if it is determined glasses are required…”, so maybe that’s just for those who don’t currently wear specs?

    Then something about the prescription needing to specifically say that glasses are requried for working at a computer, and an original receipt. Hmm. My eye prescription is freakin awful (willing to bet nobody at work has worse vision than me). Do i really need that? Anyone who knows anything about eye prescriptions could tell you that I can’t do squat without glasses or contacts on; can’t function, can’t leave the house safely, can’t even read for crying out loud, unless the book is practically touching my nose. Or Google would surely confirm that.

    Anywho guess I need to talk to admin about qualifying for that, and how to go about applying! Forms and more bloody forms, I bet.

  • Crappy work situation

    Things are kinda depressing at the moment. The boy has been going to work and regularly getting sent back home (about half the time). There’s just no jobs happening at the moment, and if no one’s contracting them, he’s got no work to do. Having your income almost halved is somewhat inconvenient.

    What can we do? Could try and find another job. It sure wouldn’t be in the same field – it’s dead out there (except possibly in the South). Could spend this time retraining and go into IT or something. the reason we’re trying to stick it out, and have been for months, is he’s due to start his apprenticeship. or he was about four months ago, but with all the upheaval of staff apprenticeships have definitely fallen into the ‘not a priority’ category. Apparently it will right itself after New Year, and things will be back on track and he can start getting accredited, but that’s still a bloody long time away. Another 10 weeks of going in only to be told to go home, and do nothing. Thank Christ Monday was a stat holiday.

    It would be ideal if he could do some kind of odd jobs on the days he has off. Still thinking on that one…