Saturday, April 04, 2009

Frustrated, Aggravated, Determined

Don't be afraid to tune in to this Sunday, 4pm Central Daylight Savings Time (Illinois time) for my special guest -mystery and horror author, JA Konrath a/k/a Jack Kilborn. Learn about his new release, Afraid. You can hear it live at that time from the above website or about 15 minutes later on the player there or in the left column here.

I'm frustrated and aggravated because yesterday I lost one of my most valuable commodities - Time. The law firm I work for deals in workers' compensation law, which pertains to injuries on the job. Not as many people are working. Those that are, don't want to rock the boat when they're hurt. It all boils down to the firm not getting much business.

So, on Friday the boss called us each in separately and laid out new rules. What pertains to me is my 4 day work week is history. Starting immediately, I'm now working 5 days per week, but only getting paid for 4. This hits me especially hard, since I barely had enough time as it was to write, promote, blog, and spend time with the DH and Rascal.

I know the economy is bad. At this point, I can't afford to quit my job. I don't see any point in looking for another one either. On the plus side, I still get to keep my vacation time and sick days, which total 23 days. I don't want to lose that, since it's almost summer and that's when we visit our cottage in Wisconsin. Also, I still have health insurance, and definitely don't want to lose that.

At this point, I know I should be grateful I have a job at all, but I'd already put in my time by working 16 years full time at the firm before getting the privilege of a 4 day work week. The irony of it all was yesterday was my 37 year anniversary of starting work there.

So, right now I'm stuck. Losing a free day each week means I don't have that valuable time any more to play catch-up. I have less opportunity to visit my friend's blogs and leave comments, less time to get a few of my own posts ready ahead of time, less time to concentrate on Forever Young, my work in progress, less time to finish my edits on Killer Career.

When I was called in, I'd almost hoped to be fired, so I could go on unemployment and get my writing life in order. That didn't happen to me, but it did to another secretary who was actually a good worker and depended on her 2 days a week to make ends meet for herself, children and husband. Realistically, if I'd been laid off, I couldn't afford living on unemployment, but I would have loved to have that extra time. It's such a valuable commodity.

Anyway, the bright spot is I'm over 60. Who would think that would be a blessing, but it is. When I hit 62, I'm going on social security and taking a 2 day job close to home. Until then, I'll tough it out, unless a miracle happens. I'm determined to get my books completed and published, because they're important to me. It will require more finnagling, but I'll manage somehow.

What about you? Has the economy affected you? If you're a writer with a full time job, do you have trouble getting writing and promotion done?


  1. How does that work? You only get paid for four? That doesn't sound legal. Are your hours stating the same?

  2. We took a 5% pay cut, then we are asked to voluntary take a 10% for this month. As we were a transfer from another company, we are actually safe from the cut for 2 years> what they then did which will save a lot more for a V large global company (HP) is ask contractors to take a week off. When you have them charging the money I saw being charge that is where you save money.

    When you think about it giving an extra day is basically costing you a 25% cut which is even worse.

  3. That sucks, Morgan. Really.

    For your blog radio sessions, do I go to the site and listen in from there? Or do I have to call in to listen? I didn't see anything on your page that explained. it.

  4. I didn't mention the other secretaries who were retained were told they were getting 20% pay cuts.

    I'm not sure what the associate attorneys were told, but they are being made to come in extra early and encouraged to work on weekends.
    not good.

    I'm now working for 2 attorneys instead of 1, but I don't mind that because I'll get more variety. I definitely will not do overtime.

    Morgan Mandel

  5. I know double-edged sword, right? But... cuts yeah, and I bet not one bigshot or lawyer got any cuts, right?

    Morgan, I never would've guessed you at over 60. You must be doing something right!

  6. Wow, that's quite a blow to your ability to have time for writing and other things you want to do! I'm sure your determination will cause you to find a way to get your books completed and published. Hopefully the economy will improve and you can get back to working only 4 days again!

  7. I own businesses and we have a church. Right now, our offerings are about $60 per Sunday though we have nearly 40-50 people per Sunday. We have to carry the load of the ministry now, $1500 per month. Two of our members had severe pay cuts, one lost $2 per hour and a work day. One lost two work days. We had four members who lost their jobs due to layoffs, so I know what you mean.

    I'm losing sleep to keep writing. I normally do it in the wee hours of the morning, or sometimes in the middle of a work day, on lunch breaks, or long trips. It takes a lot of juggling because I have to work to pay these ridiculously high bills. I'm definitely with you, Morgan.

  8. Anonymous1:49 PM

    This is exactly the kind of crap I rant about on my Tie dyed Tirades blog. It's Big Brother at work, bleeding us to death with crappier jobs, longer hours, and less pay. Watch the video clip I posted a few days ago from George Carlin. the one that got him killed shortly after with a "mysterious" heart attack.

    5 days work for 4 days pay. The collapse of the economy is all part of a grand design to take from the poor and give to the rich. Sucks.

    We need to wake up, people.

    Marvin D Wilson

  9. I'm a full time writer, but not by choice. I have a lot of post high school education but I kept getting the 'overqualified' rejection when I applied for work. It actually works in my favor from the standpoint that I found out my true talent is writing. I'm not making any money at it, but I love it. I start on SS this June since I hit 62 this month. I won't get rich, but at least I can buy a cup of coffee every other month.

  10. I'm sorry you're dealing with this Morgan. I don't understand how they can actually expect you to work 5 days and only pay you for 4. That doesn't seem legal at all.

    I've been able to stay home with my girls since the youngest was born five years ago, but even I am beginning to look for work--and it couldn't be at a worst time because of the economic situation. It's just not an employee market.

    There's a hiring freeze at my husband's place, no one got raises this year, and bonuses were almost unheard of.

    I know it will get better at some point, but I am sick and tired of waiting.


  11. This does sound *really* frustrating...I don't blame you for being upset by it. Hang in there.

  12. I'm afraid it's going to get worse before it gets better. Don't mean to sound so glummy.

  13. Because hubby and I hit the Soc.Sec. age awhile ago and he has his retirement from 20 years in the SeaBees, we're doing fine.

    My son though, has a job where he works every single day, sometimes 12 hours a day. Since it's in California, I know it's illegal, but he likes the job even though he doesn't nearly get paid for the hours he's working--and getting a new one right now would be impossible.

    I remember the 2nd WW years, and things were bad then too, but in a totally different way.

    aka F. M. Meredith


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