I realize it has been a week since I last posted, but times have been tiring. My new job seems pretty cool still. I am really looking forward to the telecommuting part three days a week when I am fully trained. Of course there will still be a lot of driving to audits, but it will give me a relief on the commute.
The duties seem fairly straightforward. My co-workers do have a lot of responsibilities, but I do notice that the technical skills required for this job are fairly specific. When I audited governmental agencies, I was required to keep up with all GAAP and GAGAS requirements (both the new accounting requirements for all types of entities and governmental requirements). I would perform financial statement audits, federal contract compliance audits and other audits that determined if the government was following state and local laws, along with following their own policies. These types of audits are specifically for one type of item, and totally different then any of the above things I did. It requires less accounting/auditing knowledge utilizing CPA firm type knowledge and more of a focus on specific tax codes. A bit more like an IRS Revenue Agent.
I found I get to investigate whoever I feel is at risk for avoiding taxes in our District Tax Office area. I have a quota of 3 UE audits (Underground Economy audits which means I have to find, audit and fine 3 businesses a month once I am fully trained) with an additional 2 program audits. Program audits are randomly selected businesses and they do not need to be shown to owe money, they are just audited to conform with the requirements from the Department of Labor (Fed agency for unemployment). It makes me nervous to not only have the power to select and investigate businesses but also to assess any fines. Along with that responsibility (which I have no problem with) I do have a quota I have to reach a month. I don’t think I would abuse it, but any person who has a quota, has the power to select and fine/penalize people makes me uncomfortable.
Although I have to say the people in my office seem really cool. None of them are UE (Underground Economy Auditors) I will be the only one for my office (they all do the randomly assigned program audits) who investigates people. It also makes me nervous that none of them volunteered to take this position. My position is actually on a higher pay grade than the rest of the auditors (even though it maxes out way below my last job). When I asked why no-one went for the opening, they all told me they like their current jobs (they have all been there years and years). Makes me nervous about this position, BUT I have to say everyone (including management, and people in Olympia) have been nothing but supportive. So I think its worth giving a chance.
Oh, last thing I forgot to mention was this is a perfect resume job if I ever try and hop to the IRS (which if the DoD doesn’t work out, is my next target). This is almost exactly like an investigative revenue agent, except instead of income tax I am looking for unpaid unemployment taxes.
Well today was my first day at my new job. My official title is Underground Economy Auditor (Tax Specialist 4). Basically I am responsible for investigating and auditing businesses that are not registered with the state or are not paying the proper unemployment tax.
I do have a quota system, meaning I have to do five audits a month (but no money recovery requirements, I just have to investigate at least 5 a month). The things to look for are businesses that seem to have more employees then they report, or new corporate officers that they haven’t waived their unemployment insurance (or a dozen other types of things). Casual labor I guess is a big thing.
Now, the commute initially is about 1.5 hours in each direction. The job itself is only 27 miles away, but the traffic is so bad it takes about three times longer than it should. This is one of the biggest things that was worrying me, it means my 9 hour day becomes a 12 hour day due to traffic (8 hours plus an hour lunch).
My superior though was awesome though. After being very warm and friendly she immediately approved that my work schedule switch from 8-5 to 6-3. Now it does mean I still have to get up at ungodly early (430-445) I save almost an hour each way in commute time. I should be home before 4pm instead of 630 or later.
I also found out (and this is the coolest thing) that once I am fully trained I get to telecommute three days a week. I will still have to drive a lot, but that is directly for auditing and is directly towards my time at work (as opposed to 3 hours a day before and after work). The idea that eventually commuting only two days a week to the office made my day.
I guess I am the only UE Auditor in the Tax office I am at, the rest of the staff are TS 3’s and they are responsible for investigating claimants and businesses that are officially registered. They get a list of places and people to audit. I have to find my own people/businesses (after all I am looking for people who are either not registered or haven’t registered changes, not something that the office knows about).
It does make me a bit nervous, but I am told that the UE Auditor for Seattle has found enough leads in his area to “last a 100 years”. So evidently it won’t be hard to find places/people to audit. I am a bit uncomfortable that I get to choose and then audit prospective problems.
It isn’t that I can’t handle it, but rather a bit nervous about that kind of power to determine who to audit (an example given to me is a restaurant that seems to have a lot of employees and when I look them up in their registration they have registered less employees I can then consider auditing them). I don’t think I would abuse that ability, but I worry others would.
I have stopped looking for other work at this time. There are a few fed jobs I would take though. I would happily audit for the DoD, or work as an IRS agent (btw this job is perfect work background to get into the IRS), but other than that I think I will try this job out. The perks seem pretty cool, a good work/life balance. The only downside is a 25% pay decrease from my last job. However, Jello and I can get by until he graduates, then its party central baby!
Today is a bit rough. I got a call back from the job I was waiting on and unfortunately I was passed by them. They were very gracious and they want me to apply for the next open position (and it felt like they meant it), but for now I have to surrender over to the person with more experience.
Honestly I am ok with it in a lot of aspects. I wasn’t looking forward to being gone for two months for training during the week (I would have to stay in a hotel). Ok, that was the only negative :).
I do have some even better prospects in the line, but they are for the Feds, and with the shutdown and fighting over money I am not sure when that might come up. This unfortunately leaves me with a few options that don’t make me happy.
- Possibly get back in with my old employer, the Auditor’s Office. I liked the job, and the only reason I left was to try out what seemed to be a more lucrative accounting position. The good part is I discovered I am an auditor not an accountant. The disadvantage to this is the first position that “may” open up is December. I would definitely go for this (and would probably do it as my primary target) but the positions are rare to come up, and there is always drama with old employers isn’t there? 🙂
- Unemployment Office as an Underground Economics Specialist (looking for people who are avoiding paying taxes). I don’t mind that kind of work, but the quota thing worries me. I was offered the position but the pay was about half of what I was getting paid at the County, there is no way I can swing that. The manager did say she could try and get me up another 25%, still way under what I was making, but we could tread water until Jello graduates. The only other disadvantage is this is a federally funded job through the state. With the shutdown they are not running at all (this also begs the question why is the pay so extremely low when its federally funded, how many “management” do they have in the department that has to split the money they get)?
- L&I Auditor position is still possible. They contacted me yesterday and should have an answer for me next week. The problem with them is even less pay then the Unemployment Office (but the team seems positive), not sure if they can even get close to something I can live on (it has to meet the same pay as my unemployment plus $300 after insurance). This is because my student loans will come out of deferment as soon as I start working again.
- Temp work, this is possible but unreliable. One of the local accounting temp services contacts me regularly asking if I want to work. The problem is no benefits (which is fine, I can live with no benefits for a few months, try some ACA) but the jobs aren’t permanent and can be changed around with a week’s notice (ok that is also good because I can get out of a job I hate that way). The big worry is pay is all over the board and I can’t be sure how much I will make.
Now, we are good for at least three more months. I have unemployment into January and we could go a couple more with no money if needed. I am trying to avoid that option (and would definitely work as many part time low wage jobs to avoid it).
So I am just a little anxious today. I didn’t expect I would get the OIC job, but it is a disappointment. I will put off Unemployment Office until next week and see what L&I says. Although that wouldn’t matter since the UE job is federally funded and probably put back a few weeks due to the shutdown anyways.
So the world isn’t over, I still have about half my time with unemployment left and we can get by on it (this is without any extensions). I just wanted to bitch and whine to any who would listen.
I have been unemployed for exactly three months now. I figure I will go into detail on the problems of my old job once I have a new job and am safely employed.
Yesterday however I had something unusual occur. I have had four employers circling me as a possible employee. One of them was a job that was relatively low pay (about 40% pay cut for me) but it sounded cool when I applied. I went into the interview a couple of weeks ago and found some things I didn’t like about it (once again I will go into it when I have a new job for reasons that will become clear later in this post). After the interview I decided I did not want that job, unless I had no other options (and then I will still go look for something else after starting for them, unless I am stunned and find I like the job).
After that interview I had an interview with the Insurance Commissioner as a Financial Examiner this last Monday. Basically I would go in and audit insurance companies and brokers (especially brokers) and ensure they are abiding by state law. I want this job, it fits with my personality and is better paying then my job as an Assistant State Auditor. I was hoping they want me as well.
So on Tuesday I got a phone message from the job I don’t want, asking me to call them. Since I am on unemployment I have to be careful about refusing work, although this job is fairly low pay and lots of travel so I am sure it would be considered acceptable.
I avoided returning the call on Tuesday, and on Wednesday the Insurance Commissioner indicated they wanted me to come in for a second interview the following Monday. Bazinga… That is the job I want and things are looking optimistic. Right after I got done talking to the OIC, I got a call from the job that I don’t want. I figured what the hell, I would answer.
Now, first let me say that the manager for the job I don’t want seems nice. The parameters of the job is what made me unsure, not the people that interviewed me. She was happy to hear me answer and told me they wanted to hire me. She seemed surprised when I asked up front what the wages offered were. She told me, and they were about 40% less then my last job. I told her that wouldn’t work for me at all.
I guess I was spurred by the fact that I had that second job interview, so I pushed it. I told her that I couldn’t accept the position for less than 25% increase on her offer. She seemed surprised (not mad, just surprised) that I hadn’t hesitated for asking for money (this is a state job, so I know what the benefits are). After a few moments where I explained that I knew what the payscale was and that they would have to start me higher on that scale (they were trying to offer the lowest scale). I explained I have a certain level of income I need to support my spouse and the fact is her offer after taxes would be about what I make on unemployment. After a few minutes she said she completely understood.
This is where I followed it up with another item. I told her I wanted to be up front and that even with the increase I couldn’t give her an answer at the moment. I told her that I was a finalist with the Insurance Commissioner and that the payscale for them started at about where her agency ended (and I probably wont be offered the lowest). She seemed surprised and impressed. The impressed part is what surprised me the most. She seemed even more eager to hire me. She told me she understood, they really want me and she would go to bat for me with HR to get me an increase. She just asked to let her know when I know if I take the OIC job, then she can push for a raise for me.
The whole reason for this post is that it was weird. I was dismissive of the offer, countered with a number 25% higher then what she offered and told her even with that she was my second choice. She was even more interested in hiring me.
Wolsey was there the whole time listening (my spouse for those who aren’t familiar). Wolsey said I had a lot of confidence in my voice and that the prospective manager’s response is really common for that kind of confidence. I am not normally confident, and it was a weird feeling that I was so uninterested and dismissive that someone wanted me even more after that. Wolsey explained this is why sometimes assholes get really interesting and highly sought after mates, because the confidence exuded is what people are attracted to. Wolsey suggested I keep doing that with everything.
I guess that was my first real bout of self-confidence in over a year (my last job hired me on October 8, 2012 and my confidence and self outlook has suffered greatly since accepting that job). YAY for self confidence.