March 17, 2006: Turning Down the Job, Almost

Today is the one day this week that I don’t have to go anywhere. What a relief.

I spent the morning working around the house. I had some paperwork to do for New Jersey along with plenty of work here that just needs to be completed before I can go. Plenty to keep me busy.

I scheduled my drug test for first thing on Monday morning. I have never done a drug test before so this should be interesting. I have to drive up to the city for that. No big deal. Dominica decided that she will go along with me and we will get breakfast and then go look at doggie daycare places for Oreo.

I also had to schedule my fingerprinting. Now this is going to be a problem. The paperwork says that I need to get to New York City to have it down. Um, what? That is a little ways away and not exactly something that is going to fit into my schedule over the next week since I only have five days left before moving (five business days that is) and they need me doing my drug test on Monday, I am lecturing at FLCC on Wednesday, flying to South Carolina on Wednesday night and returning on Friday night. That doesn’t leave much of a window for an unplanned trip down to New York – especially when I wanted to use that window to get new tires for my car before I have to do so much driving.

Fortunately someone in the Rochester office managed to work their magic and managed to get me fingerprinted in Rochester. But it absolutely had to be done today. So that is tough to do but way better than trying to deal with a trip to New York. Boy are things getting busy. Ugh. And I thought that today would be a nice, relaxing day at home.

While I was going through the paperwork for the job in New Jersey I noticed that my employment agreement was changed from what our verbal and email agreements had been and they were lowering my pay rate significantly. This was hidden in the form of us having agreed (verbally and in writing which I had kept) to an hourly rate but the contract was written for a hybrid salary system that involved me only getting paid for eight hours a day but being required to work up to ten (a professional daily rate is the term.) Well, since I am expected to be working long hours down in New Jersey I figured that this was a pretty big deal, 20% cut in my expected pay expected and possibly more. That wasn’t going to fly. So I called down to see what was up with that but my rep was on the other line and had to call me back.

I called up to the Rochester office to warn them that I probably didn’t need to do the fingerprinting today and to stop wasting time on my paperwork since I was definitely not going to be accepting the job given the drop in pay. We had actually been a little nervous about the low rate that I had taken in the first place but I have had a really good relationship with this consulting firm in the past and I felt that it was worth taking a much lower rate than I usually ask for. Also this position is an incredible experience for me. Tons of really great experience both from a technology side but also from a corporate culture and peer interaction perspective. The woman who does my paperwork was out to lunch but the receptionist asked what company the job was for and the world wide rep for the contract just happened to be in Rochester today! What are the chances? Actually they must have been pretty good since this had to be God watching over me. No way this was coincidence since it required that the world wide rep be in Rochester, not be on the phone, the person that I was calling to be out and the receptionist to decide to find someone to handle me instead of sending me to voicemail like any other time.

So the rep called down to New Jersey after talking to me. Then the rep in New Jersey called me back to explain what had happened and profusely appologized about the miscommunication. After he explained what had happened I could see how he had missed one step in the process and had thought I knew how they were doing their billing and payment systems. He admitted to having missed telling me that piece. I wasn’t too happy, though, and was definitely not going to be accepting the position whether the mistake was intentional or not. (It is important to note that my BASE rate, i.e. the amount that I would be paid should I work forty hours a week, had not changed – only the amount that I would get paid between forty and fifty hours a week. But we have been expecting me to be working long hours down there so this dramatically affected our expected pay.) So I turned the job down.

After I turned the position down they decided to raise my base rate (the “hourly rate” if you will which is difficult to explain because I am only hourly after ten hours a day.) Dominica and I talked about it and felt that the mistake was legitimate and that no one was trying to pull a fast one and that the raised base rate would probably be better for us in the long run. Here is the quick explanation:

Old System (what we had agreed to originally): Hourly at a set rate. Forty hours a week at flat rate and then overtime at time and a half. We are expecting that I will be working long hours and I will be on call almost all of the time. This is expected but not guaranteed. Any budgeting that we do would have to be based off of the “hourly rate times forty hours” equation.

New System (what we have now agreed to): Daily Professional Salary Rate. I am expected to work eight to ten hours a day at a fixed rate. If they need me less than eight hours I don’t have to stay but I get paid for eight hours anyway. Between eight and ten hours on a given day I get paid nothing, basically. Then, after the tenth hour I get time and a half overtime based on the higher hourly rate. So with the new rate I have over a ten percent pay increase in the base rate, the minimum that I would get in a week. But if I work a fifty hour week then I am getting less than before. So, under the new system I make out significantly if my day is less than ten hours long and very significantly if it is under eight hours long. I also make out if a single day is over seventeen hours long – but that isn’t very likely. I make out the best if I get called in on the weekend.

So the whole thing is a gamble because we don’t know how much I will be working or how it will be divided up. It is a very complex system and you would have to do some cool linear algebra using an awesome tool like Microsoft Excel (or, I suppose, a calculator and a piece of graph paper and a nice No. 2 Staedtler mechanical pencil) to show the comparison between hourly, daily professional and salary and to see how different base rates compare to different hours works. The thing that makes it so complex is that now my overtime is a day to day item and not a week to week item. Very strange. And hard to keep straight in your head.

The bottom line ends up being: We are still on for New Jersey and everyone is pretty much happy. After really looking at the numbers Dominica and I felt that this really ended up being to our advantage. We lessened the gamble on our end. We are less likely to make tons of money but more likely to make enough. This is the “safer” way to go. And is better for preventing burnout since I am not as encouraged to work insanely long hours.

I had to run to Rochester quite quickly after dealing with all of that because I still needed to be fingerprinted. I had to run to Bushnell’s Basin. It is almost a forty five minute drive. Then it took about forty five more minutes to do the fingerprinting and associated paperwork. Then I had to drive back home. Oreo was riding along with me. I got home and dropped off Oreo and changed so that I could go to the Castile Christian Academy’s Teacher Appreciation Dinner in Castile. But before I left I realized that our email server was effectively down (probably slow to the point of being down.) So I got stuck working on that trying to get it functional enough to make it through the evening. No rest for the weary… again.

I finally got down to Castile and walked in just as everyone was finishing their desserts. There was plenty of food for me, though. It was really good and I was really glad that I had gotten to eat because it was 7:00 in the evening at this point and I hadn’t had a chance to eat a single thing all day! Dinner was delicious and I was early enough that I got a chance to hear dad’s speach. He did the “sermon” portion of the evening talking about the importance of teachers and their role in a Godly education process. He did a really good job. Tonight was really hard for him because tomorrow would have been his and mom’s anniversary so being at the dinner tonight was on the anniversary of the rehearsal dinner in probably a very similar setting.

I drove back to Geneseo and stopped off at Pizza Paul’s to get dinner for Dominica and I for later. Yes I was just coming from dinner but remember it was my only meal of the day and I didn’t get all that much because I was so late. So I got the pizza for Min and I to share when she got home from work.

On the way home I talked to Josh and he said that Phil and Kate’s house warming party was this evening. We have been so out of touch recently it is just horrible. We haven’t talked to just about anyone in months. I have been so busy with work that I just never get a chance to do much of anything and Dominica’s schedule is just murder for seeing other people. She gets home late enough that we can’t even call people once she gets home and she works both Friday and Saturday nights so nobody is able to do things with us on nights when we are available. I called Min at work and we talked about meeting up in the city so that we could go to the party and see everyone but Friday nights are the worst night of the week for Min. She gets out the latest of any night (same as several nights) and Saturday is her early day and by Friday she is all ready exhausted and not looking forward to returning to work. So we decided to pass on the party even though we really wanted to get up there and see everyone. What a lonely life we live 🙁

Dominica got home a little before eleven as usual. We ate our pizza and watched an episode of Remington Steele before heading off to bed. I stayed up a little to keep doing some server work but not very long.

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