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 ofย  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.

Possible New Job

I am pretty excited, the Department of Defense wants to interview me for a Defense Contractor Auditor position. Meaning I get to audit defense contractors for the DoD. I have a coworker/friend whom I worked with at the State Auditor’s Office and she really wants me to work with her here. She feels the auditors have more teeth and do more help for DoD then they do for SAO. Evidently if an auditor finds the contractor did wrong, the contractor often times has to repay large sums of money, instead of ignoring the auditor and continuing what they do.

If the interview doesn’t work out on Monday though, I won’t be too sad. My current job is pretty cool if albeit a bit lower on the income spectrum. Either way though I am still stuck at getting up at 4:15am so I can commute almost an hour (the DoD is slightly further). However, hubbie will graduate in June then we can move a lot closer. So six months of commuting hell (either way) then to a normal life.

Just a quick work update ๐Ÿ™‚

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.

Update, Web and Home

I thought I would give a brief update of everything. I think it might be a lot of things so I will try and separate them out and address them in small paragraphs.

1. Home Hunting: Things are going pretty well. We put an offer on the good condo I mentioned in the prior post. It started at 80k. After we looked at it, it went down to 75k a few days later. After talking a bit, the wife and I decided to put an offer in for 70k plus they cover closing costs. The owner accepted after asking for 15 more days for bank approval and we pay two months of HoA fees instead of one. Considering they agreed to $2,500 more in closing costs for $257 more in HoA we were ok with that. The snag in all of this is that the condo is a short sale. So now Chase bank will take 2-3 months to decide if they will take it or if they will counter-offer. W really likes the home so I am willing to pay the list price. In the end even list price the condo, with HoA and taxes will be the same price as our current apartment, so if it works out its a win win.

2. Job: My new job is working out fairly well. The people are nice, and very patient. My only issues lie mostly in the fact that I have never been an “accountant” before so tossing me on the hardest fund as basically their full time analyst, plus giving me two other funds and two outside agency oversite is a little overwhelming. While my experience as an auditor and tax accountant has actually added a whole ton of things I bring to the accounting, I still have to dust off accounting techniques that were in school about 7 years ago. Two months down, I will know more in four months how I feel about accounting as opposed to auditing. Both have positives and negatives, we will see where the chips lie then.

3. Family: Things are doing ok, while it looks like my dad has lung cancer, it isn’t confirmed until his next appointment in January. I am going to do the best I can to avoid worrying about things. The wife is under a lot of stress with school, I feel like I haven’t seen her in months, and with the new job and new possible living situation my stress has probably made it hard for her to feel like I have been around.

4. Hobbies: I haven’t felt like doing much video game/web wise. I do have a ton of LP’s that I had wrapped up early that are scheduled and coming out fairly regularly. But strangely I really haven’t been playing much. I have been digging around the idea of drawing/writing again. I think I will start doing that, even if my content is usually fairly “adult” in nature. I want to get one group game going again, maybe that will get me out of this funk. I am thinking though it wont be a real space game, I am considering a google plus hangout game. I keep most of my stuff online anyways, and there are a lot more people available to play if I do it online.

5. Online: Finally my online habits are in the air. Currently I post a lot on Google Plus, and W and I have tumblr accounts (right now it just mirrors here). We have talked about shutting down most of our websites and using tumblr, but my problem is the lack of format capability with tumblr. So next week or so I have to figure out if I want to use tumblr sites or continue to use my domains. While originally I was considering tumblr only, I think I may keep a couple of domains open just so I can keep gaming campaigns going (and just have them repost to tumblr).

I am rambling now, so I will let you all go. I want to try and post more. I will post up W and I’s tumblrs in the next few posts.

Stressful Day

Day started out great, liking my job a lot (will post about my new job in a bit). Day became stressful, wife found a single roach in a back closet. She talked to manager, manager thinks its our downstairs neighbor.

I then called our actual landlord (the owner) and left a message. He left a message that someone would be out tomorrow to “take care of it” and then next week they will spray the entire building at once.
So that is partial good news… ok, its just crappy news that only partially offsets the bad news.
The day ended well though, we went to BECU and preliminary they think they will be able to approve a loan (but wont get confirmation until Wednesday so I wont hold my breath). We are thinking of a condo (or perhaps a mobile home).
So we are tentatively looking for a condo/mobile, and when full approval comes we will do that. We will probably have to jump our lease unless we take a long time and don’t find a place until next summer. However, I am willing to do that.
It is remarkable timing though, I am waiting for 200 hours worth of vacation and that should be enough for the 3.5% (or more if we get a cheaper place) downpayment.
Maybe this was all destined ๐Ÿ™‚
Oh, and we noted no other roaches, we ripped apart the closet, then all the rest of the closets. Then we ripped apart the bathroom and kitchen and not a single sign of anything. We are hoping it was only a scout (we hadn’t seen one in the three months we have been here before this). We are crossing our fingers.

Life Changes

Be still my beating heart, I am actually posting a typed entry along with a video :).

Things are undergoing some major changes, I have mentioned some but not very clearly. Today is my last day on the job as a State Auditor (tomorrow is my last official day, but I took a furlough day to take it off). I accepted a position with the County as a Senior Accounting Analyst. Its a lot of changes, but I think overall it is for the better. I start the County on October 8th (next Monday).

The biggest pros are money and travel. Currently as a State Auditor my pay is lower mid range for my profession, and I am almost capped out. The problem being is the state already has us under a 3% paycut due to the economy and no COLA (Cost of Living Allowance, increase for inflation) for the last four years. Supposedly this year we will get the 3% paycut back (no COLA still) but the state is short by almost a billion dollars again and we all know we wont get it back and in fact it may go up to a 5% paycut. This doesn’t include the fact that in the last four years my benefits out of pocket cost as quadrupled (yes four times) and the coverage has dropped so much its almost a why bother (but not quite).

Local and federal government (at least in Washington) pays more than state. My new job will start me above the max I can make with the office, the benefits are better and and cheaper. Both of these things alone are worth it. In addition I get my own cubicle, dear god how I look forward to that. I like moving around for the fact that if something goes bad I only have to deal with it for a few weeks. However, I am tired of working out of basements, electrical closets, no bathroom within five miles. Having my own space will be great.

Another reason I took the County job specifically is I have audited them three years in a row. I am familiar with the operation and the position I will be in. I will be directly across the table in conferences from where I hae been currently (meaning I am one of the people being directly audited). The people there are pretty damn cool as well. The Controller and the lead Analyst are both ex-State Auditors. The person I am replacing was also a State Auditor so they will understand that while I know how to audit fund balances and controls, I don’t have the other side experience. They are already prepping to get me training.

Oh, and ย a side note, I have the same retirement. All local/state employees in Washington (except for three cities that have their own reitrement) use the same retirement, so I maintain my same retirement with no drop in contributions.

Another huge reason for the jump is travel. Right now I put 20+ thousand miles a year on my car for my job, depending on the audit. I spend up to 1.5-2 hours each way in travel (also depending on audit, probably at the moment closer to 1.5 or slightly less). I don’t get reimbursed fully due to state cuts and my work days end up being 11-12 hours for only an 8 hour job (that is the worst side, it can go down to a 9-10 hours normally). The County building is directly on the “Swift” route of buses. The Swift is a bus line that has something like 12 stops along its entire route (which spands from Everett down past my house in Lynnwood, approximately 15 miles). I live four blocks form a Swift stop, and the County is a Swift stop. It means that I can get on a bus, and 35 minutes later I will be at the County, not driving. 35-45 minutes is the absolute minimum drive for me with my new apartment so it matches up. Plus the County reimburses for the bus pass.

Another thing I hadn’t realized I wouldn’t ย miss was lugging all my equipment. A overstuffed backpack with a laptop, and then a roller suitecase with printer, router, paper, manuals, and office supplies that i lug everday to whatever audit site I am on. Now I will just get my coat on, maybe bring a lunchbox and if I want to bring something I can use my own backpack, but I can mostly just walk on the bus with no luggage.

I have a lot of spite at the moment with the Auditor’s Office. I will probably post some on it later after I start my new job. Even with the spite though, I will miss some of my coworkers, and the ability to walk away after a few weeks. However, I have had problems in the office with supervisors so its not like I can walk away from that. So I guess I am wrong, its not so easy to get away from drama.

TL;DR: I am leaving the Auditor’s Office this week, this is my last actual working day. I start at the County as a Senior Accounting Analyst (basically a Fund analyst) on Monday for better pay, better benefits and my own actual cubicle :).

edit: I uploaded a quick video for those of you who don’t want to read. I am trying to do both video and post at same time. Oh and I didn’t prep for the video so my appearance not the best ๐Ÿ™‚

High Anxiety

The last week has been full of anxiety on many fronts.

Work: We have a new manager (temporarily) and that has been stressfull. In some ways he is pretty cool, he will back you against an entity without thinking. However, like I have bitched about earlier he sucks on interpersonal interactions. He has further limited the flexibility of my job, which sadly is the only positive at the moment. With paycuts, benefit cuts, and no COLA in the last five years the biggest plus for this job is our schedule flexibility. He has instituted (at least until my old manager returns, if they don’t keep it permanently) changes that are limiting the flexibility. So that has been stressful. I don’t hate my job, its still not a bad job, but its frustrating.

Possible Jobs: City of Mukilteo was a no-go. Not a big deal, I suspected with as many experienced people that it wouldn’t pan out. However, now a week from Friday I have a job interview with the City of Seattle as a Senior Accountant for the Department of Retirement Services. It pays about the same as that Accounting Manager job (minimum it starts 15% more than I am making now) and the benefits are a lot better. The only stressful thing would be its the same job day in and day out and I tend to get bored, and the commute. Although I found if we get that new apartment its only a 40-45 minute bus ride from a block from my house to the front door of that job, so it wouldn’t be bad at all. If this doesn’t work out, I probably won’t apply anywhere until winter, which case I will apply at Fed jobs since it takes six months to get hired. So if I apply at the end of this year, I should get the interviews around my five year mark with the office.

Although, even with all the bitching I am doing, my current job isn’t horrible. Its weird to have work that I don’t just bail on when I am not happy (in the past I bailed on jobs left and right, hence 50+ jobs into my career its weird to work four years at the same place). I think that gives me a bit of anxiety. Because of my retirement vesting in 11 months and because of the medical needed for wife I can’t just say “screw you” :).

Tomorrow: Tomorrow is probably the most anxious part of everything. I am going in to get snipped. Now first let me be clear I have no interest in kids. I haven’t even considered kids in the last 18 years at all. I don’t want kids, and if for some reason I did want kids I think I would like to either foster or adopt. There are a lot of kids out there that need a parent, I don’t need to make my mark with my genetics.

Yet for some reason last two nights have been full of nightmares and stress. I am sure the snipping is part of it, but I also suspect the relocation and job situation are just adding onto it.

Relocation: Relocation is a bit anxiety ridden as well. We haven’t heard back yet for sure, but the manager did call to say they are behind because the owner is sick. The new place is cheaper, only a block away from wife’s school and near several shopping/hobby locations. Plus its going to be closer to Seattle when I eventually get a different job.

It is a bit smaller, but we have already gotten a car load of stuff out of our current place, sold the weight bench (tattoo money) and its starting to look sparse in our current place. Honestly we don’t use huge chunks of our apartment, its a waste we have that extra space. I always feel better when we reduce our possessions. I guess its a flashback to being young and having to be ready to move at a moments notice (until age 24 I could fit everything I/We own into a pickup truck). I am hoping to cut out another 50% of my belongings, not counting electronics, before we move.

Oh, and one final bit of anxiety, our landlord had some people come in and measure our current apartment (she doesn’t know we are moving yet). Either they are selling the place, or they are going to try and raise our rent a second time (not worth it without a washer dryer). The landlord claimed it was for refinancing, but the wife said it didn’t feel like that.

So, I guess overall I am just saying I am a little anxious today.