Saturday, February 25, 2012

Very Long Short Week

As is usual when you have a week that is a day short of a full work week, this past week seemed very long. And the next three weeks are going to be absolute insanity as I have classes and other things going on so I have three 3-day weeks in a row coming up and there is no reduction in workload so I will be incredibly busy (and likely incredibly stressed out).

I had every intent of finishing up the 1099's this week (you have to put a 1096 "cover sheet" on them and mail them to the Infernal Revenue Service (spelling intentional)). However, there are still people who have not responded to my urgent requests for W-9 forms (that I have been bugging them about for 2 months now) and without the information I can't finish up what I need to finish up. I am, as you might imagine, somewhat less than pleased.

I hope to get back here at some point or points during the next three weeks, but if I don't it is only because I am insanely busy and I will then have to come back and write a long post catching you up!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

How Not to Impress Applicants

This is not actually about something I directly experienced, but rather, is something a friend just experienced. However, I have experienced similar in the past and was not impressed.

Dear Potential Employer,

I came for an interview at your company. I was qualified for the position. I was dressed nicely. I had showered. I had a copy of my resume and a copy of my references. I didn't stumble on any of the questions you had in the interview and thought the interview went well. I left your facility really wanting to work for your company. I sent a thank-you letter (as applicants are supposed to do). The one hitch was that because of my current job, I needed an answer fairly immediately. I let you know that and you indicated that you would have an answer for me by that time.

The time for the answer came and went. I called you, I got voicemail. I left a very polite message. You finally called me back and gave me a non-answer. You told me you'd decided to interview through the end of the week. But you didn't tell me no.

I held out hope, then, that once you had concluded the interview process that you would perhaps give me a call with a definite answer. 5:00PM Friday came and went with nary a call or an email. Apparently, my time has no value to you. Good to know.

I am left to wonder what went wrong. Was 15+ years of experience not adequate? Obviously you thought at one point that I was worth hiring but then could not even extend the courtesy of a short email to tell me you'd decided to hire someone else? A little hint... you can store a "form letter" type thing to send as an email. It'd probably take a skilled Admin. 3 minutes to write.

I'm disappointed, potential employer. I expected better of you.

Sincerely,

Potential Employee in Limbo

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Sometimes predictable is a good thing...

Because I have always worked office jobs, which tend to be 40 hours a week (unless doing freelance work) I have pretty much always had a fairly predictable paycheck. So, I tend to take that sort of thing for granted.

Recently, I was talking to a friend who works as a truck driver. He drives all over the US and is what is referred to as a "company driver" meaning that the company he works for owns the truck he drives. To put it in a context that might be more familiar, it's like an apartment situation in a way. You don't own your apartment but you live there and if maintenance needs to be done you call the office and they take care of it. Some truck drivers own or lease the truck that they drive which is more like living in condominium. You "own" your condo and if something goes wrong, you are responsible for paying for whatever needs to be done.

However, there are a number of expenses company drivers pay and then submit for reimbursement. Which is fine if the company decides that whatever was paid is ok with them. And while there are guidelines, sometimes a driver pays for something he believes he will be reimbursed for and that never happens because the company decides that it doesn't meet their criteria. You are also not paid for any "down" time. So, the time you are being loaded or unloaded is all unpaid. You are also at the whim of where the dispatcher sends you. Meaning that one pay period you may have a couple hundred miles and another you may have a couple thousand miles. This means that one week you may get a check for $10.00 and another week a check for $200.00. Meanwhile, the bills that you have keep coming and the people sending those bills don't care that your income was only $10.00 this week.

The presentation when you first start driving is that you will "average" 3000 miles per week. At the mileage rate paid, that's about $700 a week. Not bad, right? Except that you have to factor in that you are only allowed by Federal Law to drive a certain number of hours in any given day and then there is another rule about how many hours you can work in a particular week and if you run over that and are stopped for a random inspection, this can lead to huge fines and/or the suspension/revocation of your license.

I am guessing that for someone who is single, has no children, no debt and maybe has a friend they can stay with so they don't have to maintain an apartment, truck driving might not be a bad deal. But if you are looking for a steady paycheck, this isn't your gig. And there is no trucking company in the world who will offer a weekly base salary + mileage because they'd argue that their expenses if they did that would be way too high. And maybe they would. It's not a business model I've explored extensively.

I can say that the conversation was an eye opener and made me grateful for my predictable paycheck.