They'll give a blog to anybody.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Faster Than A Speeding... Glacier?

Martha posted a comment a couple of posts back about making my old company suffer before I come back as a consultant. I can relate to the sentiment, but it's not the fault of the people I work with that I'm leaving. So, it's not fair to make them pay for it.

But, the not making it quick and easy part will be handled.

I guess Microsoft had an issue in the last few years about the classification of staff as employees or consultants. The fallout is that companies don't want to hire a consultant directly. Most companies are going through staffing companies to insulate themselves from any wrong doing. Even the staffing agencies are gun shy and misinterpretting the law. Anyway, going back to my old company as a consultant won't be easy or quick. I have a bunch of meetings on my calendar next week and, as of right now, I won't be there for any of them. Unless I feel like donating my time, which isn't likely because it devalues my time. I've done my part. It's up to them, now.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Mixed Feelings

There is a lot going on today. I will be going through a lot of different feelings.

I just submitted my final timecard for my old job. I already miss the people, even though I'll be working with them through next Tuesday. This was only the second job I had since I graduated from college and I have had some of the same co-workers at both jobs, that's over twenty years. I've known them longer than I've been married to my wife. That part of changing jobs is hard.

My daughter is being installed as Honored Queen at her Job's Daughters' Bethel tonight. This is kind of a big deal. She has worked hard and learned about responsibility in the process. Not that she has completely succeeded at handling all that responsibility, but she now knows that some things in life are hard and that sometimes you have to do things you don't want, for a delayed reward. I'm proud of her. I'm also impressed by Mrs. Dirpus, who has had to pick up the slack where my daughter didn't get everything done in addition to all the event coordination she had to do for tonight's ceremony and reception. Having this the day after Christmas makes it extra tough.

Yesterday was Christmas. That was fun, but it's always a busy time. I did what I could to take some of the load off of Mrs. Dirpus, as she was still working on Job's ceremony stuff yesterday. We've managed to find some ways to take some of the work out of the holidays. We love Dream Dinners, Super Suppers, and the other pre-made meal places. Being able to take a good dinner out of the freezer and pop it in the oven is amazing. The people that came up with these franchises should be sainted. I had a musical Christmas. I got some sheet music and more gift cards to my local music store. I think I have enough for my next bass.

I forgot where I was going with this, so have a good week everybody.

Friday, December 22, 2006

What The Heck Am I Thinking?

This is for Martha, who can't wait for the next installment of this soap opera.

I got my list of things I have to do and forms I have to complete as part of my out processing from my old job. I'm looking forward to just having to go to one job per day. It'll seem like a vacation. Although, I am burning up some of my vacation time at the old job today, so I only have to go to the new one. Woohoo!

The interesting part is it seems my old company is having a difficult time finding someone to replace me. They can't find anyone with my qualifications that will work for an amount that fits within my current bill rate. Not my current salary, my current bill rate. I guess the going rate for my skills is higher than what I've been getting paid for the last few years. Hence, the reason I changed jobs. My boss called me yesterday to see if he could talk me into staying. We agreed I would stay for $1 million per year.

Like the joke says, we've established that I'm a whore. Now we're just haggling over price.

Right after that, we talked about me coming back part time as a consultant until they can find someone to fill my spot permanently. I'm a nice guy. I'm willing to help out. But I ain't cheap no more. I'm already staying around until the end of the year, at my old salary, to give them a chance to find someone. That has cost me quite a bit of money. I'm only working part time at the new, higher paying, job for now.

Here's some advice for everyone. Don't change jobs at Christmas time. The extra stress isn't fun. I also think it's not such a great idea to quit the old job after you've already started the new job, unless you're on terminal leave.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Pass Me That Blowtorch

I've been weighing the merits of burning bridges. I've always tried to be a "take the high road" kind of person. Some people make it hard. Mrs. Dirpus would prefer I destroy the bridge back to my previous employer to keep me from being enticed to go back. I think I may need a reference or a job, some day, so do I really want to mess with that? I could, easily, just walk away.

One of my favorite lines from an Eddie Murphy album, that I probably remember wrong...

I'll show you how to build a fire. Hey Eddie, hand me that cord of wood and two gallon can of gasoline.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Month That Killed A Dirpus

I don't know if I'm going to survive this month. Over the last few years, the four months from September through December have become the 'busy' months. Events from all areas of our family's life come together at roughly the same time. There are planning meetings regular meetings and special events for church, community organizations, school, kids' activities, and holidays. It seems that if we want to do something out of the ordinary, it had better happen before the end of August.

December is by far the busiest month of the four, but not by much. It is also the most fun. Many of the activities are Christmas parties and other social gatherings with friends. I live for these. I'm starting to acquire a collection of Christmas print tuxedo vests. Mrs. Dirpus thinks they are hideous, but I like them. I even made one this year.

This year, December has a few couple of extra time killers.

On December 26th, my oldest daughter is being installed as Honored Queen at her Job's Daughters bethel. This is probably taking up half of Mrs. Dirpus' time as she gets things in order and tries to get the kid to take care of her own responsibilities.

I have started my new job as a self employed consultant. I am still working my old job until the end of the month. That is where most of my time goes. I have been working four, ten hour days per week for the last year. Now, I'm working five, twelve-plus hour days per week. I'm falling behind in my Christmas preparations. I've got the lights on the house and the tree up. But I haven't decorated the inside of the house, yet. Maybe I can get most of that done tonight. Tomorrow night, I won't be home, and Friday, there will be guests.

Tomorrow's activity is rehearsal for the band I'm with which, I've gotten involved. It's nice. It takes all my focus and distracts me from everything else in the world, except for the song we're playing at that moment, for two hours.

Anyway, I need to wrap this up. I have lots to do.

Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Last Day

Today is the last day of my companies contract with our current client. We are all packing up four years worth of stuff to move to our company's office on the other side of town. Most of the paper has been recycled and we mostly only have computers and personal items to haul away. Monday we will start a new project downtown. Except for me...

I will be here at the same place on Monday, at the same time I have been coming in for four years. I just have a new badge with the name of the new contracting company. The REALLY fun part will be that for the next three weeks, I will also be going downtown to work on the new project with my old company. My last day is January 2. I see some long days in my near future.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Leap of Faith

I told my immediate company supervisor that I am leaving the company at the end of the year. This was tough to do because I don't have anything in writing that assures I will have a new job. I am confident the paperwork will come through. I have already gotten a seating assignment and paperwork to process my ID badge from the new job's client. Everyone involved is expecting me to have this job.

My supervisor was disappointed I am leaving the company. We talked about it and he understood my reasons. I said I enjoyed the people I work regularly work with, will miss them, and would like to work with them again. I felt like I had to tell him now because a lot of innocent people were going to be put in a difficult position if I kept acting like I was still going to be with the company indefinitely. We also decided that I should hold off on submitting a written notice for the moment. Technically, I can wait until December 19th and still give two weeks notice before my final day. We both thought it was best to keep this between ourselves until after a meeting with some senior executives next Monday. They won't take the news as well. I appreciate him letting me wait to officially give notice until after I have written confirmation of my new job.

On the plus side, I'll be able to work a few hours a week at the new job for a few weeks and start the invoice payment process working. Apparently there is a lag between when the new company gets an invoice and when they pay it. Once you're rolling it goes well. There is just an initial lag. To have my current paycheck still coming in will be nice. Plus, I'll get Christmas and New Years paid holidays.

Still Waiting, Inc.

I'm still waiting for something in writing to tell me I have a new job. In the mean time, I STILL haven't given my two weeks notice at my current job and have been jumping through hoops for the temp agency I have to go through for a year.

The new job is supposed to start next Monday. At the rate things are moving, by the time I am finally able to give my notice, I won't be able to start until Christmas. At that point, I may as well wait until after the New Year to get the two paid holidays that week.

One of the hoops I had to jump through for the agency is that I had to become a corporation in order to work as an independent contractor to them. They seem to be a little unclear on the law. After they tried to tell me that it's because of IRS rules, I quoted the rules back to them and told them how they were wrong. They finally admitted it was actually a corporate policy. Don't try to use tax excuses against someone who gets paid to do taxes. I see a big class action lawsuit in their future. Not from me, but some disgruntled contractor with a lawyer. Maybe it'll be Mrs. Dirpus. She's getting ticked off enough by all of this to do something like that.

So now I'm a corporation. It was a little unsettling to see how easy it was to become one. I had done research on the process a few months ago. It seemed pretty straight forward, but appeared to take quite a while. HA! I filled out about five blanks on a one page form I got from the Secretary of State's website, turned that in with a $100 check and a $15 dollar counter fee at the appropriate counter in their building, and waited about twenty minutes for them to process the paperwork. Congratulations! I am now Dirpus, Inc. That's not my real corporate name. The agency paperwork was already done using another name. Maybe that'll be my next corporation, since it's so easy. No one out there better steal my nickname. You can have Chumley, Inc. I won't be incorporating that nickname.

What other hoops have I had to jump through? Hmmm.

I had to sign an independent contractor agreement. I got this six page contract with all kinds of lawyer speak that took a while to read. It's like the lawyers have their own language. After deciphering it all, I concluded that everything in that contract was written to protect the agency. I couldn't have that. I crossed out about half the text in the contract and replaced it with language to protect me. I signed it and sent it back. When I spoke to the agency, they were a little flabbergasted. They had never seen anything more than a one line change to that contract and didn't know what to do. They had to send it to their corporate headquarters to get their CFO to review the changes. It took about two days for them to say they had accepted all of my changes except one, and I didn't have to do anything for that one. It's amazing what happens when one has leverage. They need me to be available to start next Monday and I won't be available because they have been dragging their feet. So don't let anyone EVER tell you that you can't change a contract. You can change anything you want, especially if it's with a private company. My boss is now using my changes a starting point for HER new contract with these people. I think I started a trend. They aren't going to like me down there. As Mrs. Dirpus would say, "Too bad, so sad."

The kicker in all of this is that it started because my current company didn't have any work for my team when we lost the re-bid for our current contract. We were scrambling, writing proposals for other things, and looking at some part time and short term projects within our company. I got the verbal offer from the new company on a day I was making corrections to one of our proposals. We ended up winning that contract last week. Now it looks like I have one full time project and two part time projects in my current company, all starting next week. I'm even supposed to fly to the mother ship tomorrow to meet the current management and staff on the two part time projects. I would like to be able to give my notice so my friend, "rhymes with Buster Luck", could go instead. He's already on one of the part time projects and would like to do the other one, too. It seems wrong to act like I'm going to be around when I won't. But I REALLY don't want to quit this job until I am absolutely sure the next one is in place.

So, here I sit, still waiting. But at least I'm incorporated. Hey, if you need to clean some currency, we can probably work something out for a modest fee.

At least I have band practice on Thursday nights as a diversion. But, that's a different post.