Work

Last few weeks of work have been weird and uncomfortable. The job itself is fine, I don’t mind finding people avoiding taxes and honestly for the most part I don’t mind nailing them. Unfortunately it isn’t my job duties itself that is bothering me.

My work schedule is killing me. In order to drop my 3 hours of commuting to about 1.5 hours I need to leave the house by a few minutes after 5am (meaning I have to be up around 4am). This is bad enough, but on top of this I get anxious about work, if I get anxious and I need to get up too early, I end up waking up even earlier (around 2:30 am after going to bed around 1030pm). Now, that last part isn’t my job’s fault, it is just a program bug in my head. However this is resulting in my being exhausted all the time and not wanting to do much but nap. Although on a good point, I might be exhausted but I am not depressed anymore from my other horrible job.

I found out today that I won’t be considered for part time telecommuting for at least three more months (originally a month ago I was told February). This is frustrating, especially so since I took a 25% paycut because of the flexibility of this job. However, it is turning out there isn’t much flexibility. It is ok though, it will keep us going until Jello graduates.

The next problem is training is all over the place. I can do the audits, but the fine details are still not completely explained to me and results in a fairly steady stream of “please do this again and do it “x” way”. I never have to repeat this, but it bothers my own sense of self that this keeps popping up because I wasn’t told how to handle specific circumstances.

What worries me is that both the nitpicking and the moving back my date of telecommuting by months came after I mentioned in passing my husband’s proper pronouns of¬† he/him. I can’t say for sure my boss realized what I had said, but the behavior has changed since then and alarmed me. In all fairness though, my agency is undergoing some upper echelon changes so maybe it is that as well. That would almost be worse as it would be a sign that the agency itself is going downhill and that would be bad.

I have talked to my husband and will continue to use the she/her pronoun forms until my probation is over in May (I haven’t come out to my work on the transition, they had interviewed me before Jello had decided to go all the way so at the time I had talked about my wife). I absolutely HATE doing this, hate hate hate, but I cannot risk being able supporting my husband financially until he has graduated and is working.

There is a possibility I might get a call from my old job at SAO (at the Seattle office, which is about thirty miles from here), I am kind of hoping that it works out, but I am not holding my breath.

However, even if they don’t hire me I think I am going to start putting apps out. Low pay with no flexibility is not something I want. The job is interesting, it is a combination accountant/auditor/private investigator but the payoff is just too little at the moment.

Job stuff

I figured I would give you guys an update on job stuff/possibilities.

Current Job: Honestly the job itself isn’t that bad. I investigate businesses that pay employees under the table. I ensure that unemployment insurance is paid by the employers, protecting the employees and ensuring they get unemployment insurance if they get laid off (if they get paid under the table they don’t get unemployment).

I have been picking up a lot of businesses who are avoiding taxes (surprisingly, or maybe not software companies are a big issue, along with housecleaners and dog groomers/sitters/walkers). I don’t feel bad auditing them, nor do I feel bad when we find they owe money. Does that make me bad? Maybe, but I don’t think so.

I have a lot more to talk about my current job, but I figure some of them deserve their own posts so I will wrap this up saying I do have a few dislikes about my current job.

The issues are the commute sucks (I-405 to Bellevue and then I spend half the day driving to different audit sites) but I can deal with that. The pay is very low, especially compared to what I was getting paid at my prior two jobs and while I think the job is fairly flexible and honestly I like busting people avoiding taxes, the actual scope of the job is very limited. I am so used to doing full GAAP/GASB based audits and this would only represent a very tiny portion in duties.

DoD: I had a weird thing happen with the Department of Defense job. I wasn’t picked up in the first round of hirings, my app was returned to central place for HR, but then the next day my app got returned to DoD management and I was told by email to disregard all prior notices (it sounds like there was a mistake made) and that it was forwarded to management. Does this mean they will hire me? I think its an eventuality, but it is a federal job and if it does happen it can take months. So, while I am interested I won’t hope too much.

State Auditor’s Office: Now this is the real news. I got a call on Friday from a friend who works for the Seattle team. She asked if I was interested in coming back (I made a lot more there then I do with ESD there and I had a lot more authority). Evidently their team is short people, and extremely short trained people (most of their team are new auditors). Evidently one of her assistant managers asked her to talk with the main manager about me.

So Rae called me to verify if I would be interested in coming back. I am not sure how interested I would be in coming back to my old team, but the Seattle team is a new team and I plan on working down in that area anyways. It also doesn’t hurt that the Seattle team gets paid a 5% boost in cost of living due to the area (but its the same cost of living as where I live now so it would be a boost over my old wages).

I told Rae that I would be interested (after talking to Jello). I miss auditing, and if there is office drama at least it would be a new place and new issues. So Rae talked with her manager at a meeting and they both looked me up in the system. Evidently my old resume/application had already been expunged (they dump apps/resumes after 90 days) and so he (the manager) told Rae to have me put in my resume ASAP and then call one of the HR people on Monday to confirm it went through.

I think that is a good sign, and if it worked out at minimum I wouldn’t be living on the edge of my paycheck (having to use credit cards on occasion with no paying them more than minimum). It would be at least $800 more a month, the commute would be comparable with no driving during the day except for special items (unlike now, I put 100-200 miles on my car a day). Plus, after getting past probation I could take a job down in the Vancouver office if one opened up and live near Portland (I know Jello really wants that, and I would like it).

Is it definite? Absolutely not, but it is ok either way. I would go back to SAO, and if that doesn’t pan out I can get by on my current job (I should be telecommuting part time in a month, that would make up a lot at that time for the low pay). Will I take the Department of Defense job either way? I think I would. Jello has been telling me for a long time to take the jobs I want, not to work at any place out of a misguided sense of loyalty. I should have listened to him last year, I had debated many times (and had a couple of options) to dump the County, but I felt I owed the County at least a year before I started looking for other jobs. Obviously that was an erroneous thought as the county dumped me in less than a year when I wouldn’t agree to do things that weren’t acceptable to an auditor viewpoint.

So everything is still in the air, so I thought I would just blab to all of you.

Rough

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.

  1. 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? ūüôā
  2. 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)?
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

 

Changes

Life has been interesting. I am looking at changing up my career choices. I don’t like what I do, with the fiery hate of a thousand suns. I am looking at going back to auditing. There were problems, but I liked the actual job.

I won’t say anything publicly negative about my current job, except to say it is definitely not for me. I have put my app in with SAO again, and talked with Casey my old manager. I am definitely rehireable, but my team doesn’t have any openings at the moment. I am going to look at the Cascadia team (they handle south of Lynnwood to North of Seattle from the water over the pass and on the other side of the mountains. I am also looking at Central King County.

I know CKC has openings coming up, and if I got the job it would be in Seattle area (about a 30 mile commute, not bad for auditing). The big advantage is CKC is the one team that gets a 5% pay bump because of the cost of living in the area.

I am also trying a couple of other governmental entities, and considering a CPA firm as an auditor (not a tax accountant like I did before).

Almost assuredly I will take a pay cut when I leave my current job (probably 500-1,000 a month). It means we would be living on a student budget, but I can swing it and the wife graduates next July/August so 12 months is all I would have to handle.

I was thinking about the reduction of money and of course part of me is worried, but the other part knows we have computers, computer games, tv and each other. I lived almost all my life with much less, so I shouldn’t be too worried.

Work

Well it has been a week off from work and I am feeling much better. I am still off on Monday and Tuesday so there is no complaints. However I have determined some sad facts about my job.

1. Our office is becoming more political, we are told to play nice far more often now with other entities then when I first started. I had one audit finding opinion changed on me in Olympia to something not quite so bad. However, the error was so bad that I had to do a write up in my audit workpapers saying that I didn’t agree with Olympia and why. I think I covered that a little.

2. I have always worked a lot of overtime, I work extra on the weekends, evenings, whatever it takes to get my job done. I don’t get paid overtime (whereas if I worked somewhere non-governmental I would either get OT, bonuses, or a raise).Hands down I am the hardest worker out of all the auditors on my team (and the other team members will say it).

However, I needed to take the wife to several doctors appointments and I asked for the hour off for each appointment (however, I would make it up same day, I was actually working more than 8 hours a day, I was just asking to take an hour off in the middle to take her). They had a cow because of the deadlines. They didn’t force me to do anything but there were intimations that I wasn’t working hard enough.

Funny enough, the temporary manager (our normal manager is out on maternity leave for the next 5 months) kept going on how my supervisor was implying I was slacking off. I asked him if he had looked at my schedule and noticed I was working triple the amount of overtime as any two other auditors. He said no, he hadn’t the time to look at that and he had to just trust my supervisor. Yet the very next words out of his mouth were “But don’t have a knee jerk reaction and maliciously work only 40 hours a week”. WTF!!!???!?!?!

I kept my words to myself, and moved on.

3. We just got informed that for the fourth year in a row we won’t get a Cost of Living increase, plus we will maintain the 5% paycut. In addition we just found out that the state is raising my rates for medical this month (not at the end of the year when we can select a different plan). I am now making what I was making in 2008 when I got hired…. A bit of frustration.

I do like the variety of my job though, although that is starting to fade with the politics.

4. Two of my coworkers are getting hired away for a lot more money, and the last two audits I have done the people who receipt payments for water bills make 15% more than I do (and they only receipt a few customers a day).

I just thought I would bitch and moan, but I do have some possibilities.

I just got a call from the City of Mukilteo, I applied for the Accounting Manager position and they just called asking if I wanted an interview on Wednesday. I am stoked. The payrange at the very minimum is 15% more than I get now, plus better benefits and will max out at 50% more than I get. I could focus on getting my CPA and CFE as well. The other cool thing is they have the same retirement system as the state so my retirement won’t be effected.

Honestly the biggest deal would be better pay for no travel. Right now I average about 45 minutes to an hour and a half travel each way (unless I luck out and get an Everett audit). Its not a big deal, but it eats up my time and four years later I make the same now that I did before.

I am not expecting the job, I know several people who currently do that job at other cities are also applying, but I am crossing my fingers. If this doesn’t pan out I will probably settle down for the rest of the year and at the beginning of the year I will start applying for federal auditing jobs (maybe even IRS Revenue Agent if I can swing it). It would still take six months to a year to get hired (if I got hired) and that would let me vest my 10% of retirement from the state.

I am feeling better though, this week off has been incredible (and I still have 3 days of furlough time and 6 weeks of vacation still available). So this summer I am going to take another week off in August.

False Patriotism Day

¬†Well I survived False Patriotism Day. Don’t get me wrong, its sad that 3,000 people died that day, but lets put it in perspective.

1. Iraq War: 4,474 (and slowly creeping)
2. Afghanistan War: 1,776 (and not so creeping)
3. Dead due to drunk drivers: Approximately 130,000 since 2001 
4. Dead due to lack of Health Insurance: +45,000 PER YEAR (approximately half a million people dead since 2001)
5. Trillions spent on a war machine and on a Police State level worth of infrastructure.

We laughed at the USSR in the 80’s because of the checkpoints, pat downs, and abridged rights. I think Russia is laughing at us now (the terrorists certainly are).

While giving away our rights, the same people screaming NEVAR FORGET are the ones screaming they don’t want healthcare for all US citizens.

I think our priorities are screwed. We are declaring wars on multiple countries for the death of 3,000 (and at least one of the countries – Iraq, had nothing to do with it). Yet we wont take care of our own people when 15 times more people die yearly from lack of health insurance.

http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2009/09/new-study-finds-45000-deaths-annually-linked-to-lack-of-health-coverage/

This doesn’t even really get into the lost of our freedoms because we are scared. I would rather take my chance that I get killed in a terrorist attack then to lose my freedom (3,000 people in 10 years, you have a bigger chance to be struck by lightning). Oh, and lets not even get into the idea we have been “protected” and thats why there haven’t been more attacks. Our new agencies only take our freedoms, they haven’t protected us.

Yep, ranting this morning to make up for the hypocritical BS that occurred yesterday.

edit: Evidently I woke up in rare form today.
 

Oh, I know why I woke up on the wrong side of the bed, a bit of anxiety due to interview today. 
I had people ask if I disliked working for my office, that is actually farthest from the truth. This was the only position I have seen in the local government area that I thought I might like as much (with more pay and less travel). Otherwise I am fairly satisfied at my current job (unless more pay cuts occur, then there may be issues).

Battling Stress

This week has been fairly stressful. Well to be honest the whole summer has, with the amount of travel and lack of relaxation has meant my summer went by for the most part without me realizing it. I am lucky now, I am working in Arlington so its only a 30 minute ride each direction. The audit there is going well, we finally had our brainstorm on Thursday and we also had the County exit on Thursday.

Also as a side note, I¬†applied at the Health District as a Financial Systems Accountant. Basically its the person second in charge of the finance department for the Health District. The good points is the job is only a mile away, wouldn’t require any travel, would start at more than I¬†max out at my current position (about 10-15%¬†higher)¬†but itself tops out near 85k a year (sadly enough I would be making 85k a year now if I¬†worked in the private sector). The Business Manager will be retiring in three years and they are looking for the Systems Accountant to hopefully step into his shoes so it would be a move up higher into that position if things worked out. I¬†have audited them for three years (and I¬†am the Health District Specialist for the State of Washington’s Auditor Office) so I¬†have worked with those people on a semi-regular basis. Also the duties they perform for the public are something I¬†can believe in. In addition to providing health inspections, food handling permits, biohazard emergency response, CDC emergency programs, they also provide a lot of medical services to those to the poor. As a side note, if I¬†do get this job I¬†am going to probably have to get my¬†CPA, which would be even more valuable in future job searches.

The disadvantages to that job is that I will be at the same place day in and day out (one of the reasons I¬†enjoy auditing is I¬†don’t get in a rut). Although, I have discovered now that I¬†have worked three years and three months at my current job, that even though I¬†move around I am still in a rut. I¬†would have to learn the other side of auditing (being the auditee not the auditor) and it would also mean I¬†will be living in Everett indefinitely. It is not that Everett is bad, I¬†actually like living here, but we were planning on moving to Portland in a couple of years.

Overall though I think its worth it, if I could make a bit more money I could take care of my parents better. We might even look for a house if I made a little bit more. If we got a house I think I could convince my parents to come live down with us in a separate mother-in-law suite so we could offset a lot of their bills. It would also be working for a cause I could believe in and once you get into a position like that, its easy to get jobs anywhere in local governments as a Finance Director.

I¬†think part of my problem lately is that, I am a little disillusioned. Our office is meant to audit local and state government agencies, unfortunately lately my office has been concerned with “customer service” with those agencies and in my opinion has “softened” up on our reviews (and on some issues) in order to not rock the boat. With all the budget cuts I¬†think there is a fear that the local governments may lobby the legislature to slash our ability to audit. This seems sort of counter to what we should be doing. Times are tough, and instead of lowering budgets, softening our responses I think this is the time we need to be reviewing to our fullest extent. This is the exact economic environment that would pressure local governments into doing things with their funds that are not allowed, to cut corners in violation of RCW (state law) and to perhaps take position on financial/RCW issues that are more “grey”¬†in their interpretation. I¬†am sure my disillusionment will lighten, but I¬†am a little frustrated on some issues.

So that was earlier this week. For some reason all week I have been unable to sleep much, enough that even though I had yesterday off I was up at 3am (so was wife), but we ended up going to bed around 4am and slept until 9:30am. I then get a call at 1pm yesterday and my dad told me that my mom was in the hospital. Evidently last night her shoulder hurt so she took her nitro, then she woke up again hurting, took more nitro and did this three or four times. My dad asked her to go to the ER, but she was too embarrased to have the ambulances come up. So my dad took her in this morning.

She is fine now, they put another stent in, one of the stents from her original heart attack in 2005 was closing again and she is feeling better. My dad is pretty angry with her for not going in the night before and I¬†doubt he will let her get away with it. So I found all of this out yesterday, was a bit stressed but calmed down and I¬†got to spend a great afternoon with my wife. Last night I¬†had a cider, but as every time I¬†have a beer or cider before going to bed I¬†had stressful dreams and I¬†ended up not sleeping well. I¬†am not meant to drink ūüôā

So here I¬†am, early morning and feeling tired. I¬†may go visit my mom this afternoon (she is coming home today), maybe while we are up in Bellingham (if we go) we will stop by the Lynden Fair, we haven’t been there in three years (actually four now that I¬†think about it).

So overall I am having a stress reaction, but the wife is helping me battle it. I did a bit of meditation today and I feel a little better. I am starting working out again, that helps a little too.

Edit: I am evidently tired so if my above post came out redundant, at least you know why.

Productive Day and Strange Week

This morning has already been extremely productive (and I haven’t even hit 9am here). I woke up at 5am bright and bushy. This is strange considering I have quit coffee and my tea isn’t the largest habit. I woke up, fixed myself some oatmeal, worked on my CPA study material for about an hour¬†and then deleted almost 2,000 duplicate photos in my iPhoto. I then backed up my photos. At this point I turned on Burt Lancaster’s 1964 movie “The Train” because I felt in the mood for an old school World War II movie. I then got on my exercise bike and did 30 minutes there.¬†¬†Then I showered and am now backing up the rest of my stuff and I should be good to go, all before 9am.

Earlier this week was a little strange. I have been working out in a county school district doing their annual audit. Wednesday I got to work and noticed two older high school girls standing outside the window. They were probably 16-18 range. The little blonde noticed and and walked up and knocked on the window. I looked up and she waved at me. I smiled back and waved. Something told me I had just done the wrong thing.

After the next period (I could hear the bells) the girl shows up with three of her friends. They all knock, wave and giggle. I am now uncomfortable. There is something very predatory about a gaggle of teenage girls. I have always been uncomfortable being looked at by teenage girls, first in high school because I was attracted to them and felt shy, now because I am old enough to be their dad and am even more weirded out (not for the same reason). The flirting then commenced for the next 2 hours. I ignored them and didn’t respond but they came by every break. One of the admin people at the office commented that something had the girls in a strange mood.

This eventually stopped when another auditor arrived (a woman) and they left me alone for the day. Of course¬†¬†gave me a hard time. At least I am not stupid enough like many guys to think they liked me (nor would I want them to). Its just a pack of girls testing out social boundaries. However, this morning I hadn’t had caffeine and I wasn’t in the mood to be nice (but I wasn’t mean). As I walked up to the building with my laptop the blonde came running over. She started asking me questions but I shushed her and said I had a question. She stopped and a huge smile came across her face. I then asked her what lipstick she was wearing, she said something (but I have no idea what it was except red). I smiled at her and said thank you, that my boyfriend would really love that color.

I had never intended to say that, I was tired and wasn’t thinking and that came out of my mouth.¬†She just stared at me for a second, then the howls of laughter started up from her friends behind her. The laughter wasn’t directed at me, it was directed at her. I had evidently won some sort of exchange (not sure what it was). I wandered into the building and haven’t seen hide nor hair of her the rest of the week. Part of me feels a little bad, but I don’t have the time to deal with it, and honestly last thing I need is someone else seeing me talk to a high school girl.

Other than that, everything has been going fairly well. I hear the wife moving around so I should go ūüôā

 

Sunday Update

This week has been hectic. I have only seen my wife  for two days up until the weekend. I spent most of my time working on the  magic rules for shadowrun as detailed in  . On Friday the dell technician was supposed to show up to fix my PC, but he no-showed so maybe he will show up Tuesday. The good news is that my PC is still under warranty (will need new MB and RAM), this means I do not have to get a macbookpro so quickly (will still want one).

Saturday we spent the day visiting my mother, her fourth of 18 weeks of chemo. It was rough on her, but it wasn’t the chemo, it was the shot they gave her to keep her platlets up so she can keep taking the chemo. I baked her a peach custard pie (which I am going to have to post here) and sat with my parents for a couple hours. This week I also worked out a whole bunch. Our trainer ran us hard Wednesday, and then yesterday was even more intense. We worked for a half an hour on chest presses, bench presses, incline bench presses, decline bench presses. True, my capability is not what I would like, but he worked us hard. Then he worked us out for 30 minutes in the pool, swimming laps, crunches, water sprints. That truly was the ass kicker of the week, however it made me feel great (albeit tired). I think I am going to go swim laps starting later this week on top of weight lifting. I had not realized how much it hurt to do a single lap, that will definitely be a good overall workout.

I only have 7 more working days before I am done with Sultan. Then its one week at Everett, then two days in Olympia for training (and I am taking ¬†with me, two days in a hotel with a pool). Then back to the city and county courthouses for another week. After that it will be three weeks of Coupeville over by Oak Harbor. That will suck, a 1.5-2 hour commute each way. The good thing is I will gain 2 hours of “exchange time” each day. By the end of three weeks I will have gained an extra 30 hours of basically vacation time. Well better get ready for the game, I will follow up with an after-game update tonight.

Official

Its official, I am now an Assistant State Auditor at the Everett Branch. I start June 23rd and I will end up taking home $50 more a month then I do currently (after we offset the old insurance with the new). 40 hours a week, a week extra of sick/vacation time, 7 more holidays and not having to work with ‚Äúthe asshole‚ÄĚ. I am giving my two weeks notice starting Monday (maybe tomorrow if Natalie is in).

Heck, once I am at my new job I might post a bit about ‚Äúthe asshole‚ÄĚ or how they are teaching us in class to ‚Äúroll the dice‚ÄĚ and risk an IRS audit to save our client money (one of the most recent reasons I can‚Äôt be a public accountant at this firm).