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Thursday, December 21, 2006
An Update...
...After having lunch with a good friend recently, she reminded me that I don't talk about work in my blog, especially after letting in some insight about how things were going over the summer.

Well, there hasn't been much to say. Then again, there has. So here's your end of year update on what's going on in my work world.

I'm still here. I'm also still looking for that perfect opportunity that will allow me to jump off and leave. I'm not nearly as fed up as I was when I last spoke about the frustrations. To tell you the truth, I'm not fed up at all (but now that I've said that, I'm just waiting for something to shove me back over that edge). I wouldn't say I'm happy either, but I've got some people snowed into thinking that I am.

I've been busy building Excel models left and right, after building a new schema for granting improvement and quality awards. That was a really fun build and it was made known to me to make sure that I don't get this one stolen away from me. I did what I could, and completed the model a couple of weeks ago. Feedback from the users has been excellent, and I'm already plotting a second revision.

Another model has been slower going, but it's close to completion. I'll probably be able to finish it off before the end of the year. Maybe even the end of the week if I can.

I know what you really want to know about... the clueless doorknob that I report to. He's been leaving me alone. The other folks in the building (and the ones in Finance that he reports to) are trying to drive him insane. I think they're coming close to succeeding, so I've jumped on that bandwagon from time to time. He is a really nice person, he just stinks as a manager, so yes I do feel a touch guilty about trying to push him over the edge.

I have, however, laid off for the holidays. They're crazy enough, coupled with end of year closing from a financial perspective that he may just snap without any help from me. And he's one of those quietly going crazy people. I know that if he yells at me at any point I can just break into tears or shock and he'll be done-for. So I sit and I wait.

Meanwhile, he leaves me alone to work my models and that's just fine by me. In the realm of good news in the world, I got a raise instead of a layoff this year (no, no one's getting laid off here, but I was so sure I was going to get the boot by now). A good raise. An unexpected good raise and the doorknob was apologizing to me that it wasn't more (they wouldn't let him give me more). Apparently I impress him, and that's after I slacked my productivity off by about 50%.

Now, why is it a better raise than expected? Well, the percentage he gave me, I mostly expected (it's about 1% higher than I thought I'd get), but the end result... it's actually a 10% raise when all is said and done.

You see, in years past, we've had a screwed up compensation system where you have your take home pay, and then this amorphous 5% of your base pay is the number they use to figure out how many shares of stock that you could purchase at the beginning of every month (a monthly stock option grant... that you still have to buy). If you decline the 5%, which you had to go through hoops to decline) you don't get that 5% in cash. After all, you don't get the options - you have to buy them.

I thought that the whole thing stunk, especially when they rolled it out and said there was only going to be a 2% cost of living increase that year instead of the usual merit/productivity raises. After all, it's not real money they're giving us, but they were calling it our total compensation. So for the last 3 or 4 years I've had a total compensation that's 5% higher than it actually is in the paycheck, and I don't want any of the options.

Nice for the company isn't it? Paying us without paying us. Well this year something changed. They decided to give us the option of declining the 5% options. I cheered and took that - it's not real money, the stock is priced rather high (because it's priced against current market price instead of how ESPP is priced at the beginning or end of the period). Didn't matter anyway because either way I'll get the same money, right?

Wrong. Apparently they based the raises on total compensation instead of the take home pay we were getting. That's right - instead of what I was getting per year pre-tax, they took that number, added the virtual 5% to it, and *then* calculated my new salary.

Now, I don't know if this was a mistake on their part or they failed to communicate something out to employees but I've been waiting for the other shoe to drop. And no, I've not asked after it either. I'm definitely in 'take the money and run' mode. And the election period for deciding what percentage of options you want is closed, and my salary number is still that nice pretty high number (which is almost what I should have been paid for the last couple of years, but that's besides the point). It's locked in now, and I have it all printed out with my electronic signature just in case they try and pull something. No one else has said anything about it either, so I'm just going along life as usual.

Merry Christmas to me. That's right - Merry Christmas. None of this Happy Holidays business - I still believe in Christmas. I can raise my asking price when going somewhere new, and my contractors price (should I ever want to go that direction) is higher yet. Life is good.

So that's where I am with work. I still like what I do, I still want to do it for someone else, and now they're paying me even more money to do what I do. I might stick around for the money for awhile. It all depends....

... but if that right opportunity raised it's head, you bet I'd jump on it in seconds.

My apologies if it sounds like I'm bragging, but if you knew what I was paid and what I actually *do*, and compared to others who do the same in this Valley, you'd understand that this is an "about time" instead of a "neener neener I got a raise!"