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Catching Up: Employment

January 5th, 2013 at 01:16 pm

During the time I was away from SA, one of the biggest changes as far as personal finances go was that in late spring 2011 I became eligible for benefits through my employer. I opted in to the following: 401K (contributing max allowed, and getting 4.5% employer match), medical insurance, dental insurance, and new for 2013 vision insurance. All 3 insurances are for both myself & my husband (he is self-employed). We pay for them (deducted from each pay check), but it's less expensive than what we would pay for individual policies, with better coverage. This means that we no longer have our HDHP and made our final, partial-year HSA contribution in 2011. We still have a healthy balance in the HSA that we use to pay deductibles, copays, etc. At the current rate we are spending it down, it will last many many years.

I also now get paid holidays, vacation, and sick leave. Smile

The non-profit I volunteer with had wanted to hire me as a paid employee, and shortly after I became benefits-eligible with my employer they did offer a job to me, but I had to decline. I still volunteer with them, and a very nice older woman who had been unemployed for awhile was offered the job instead, so everything worked out nicely.

For anyone who is job hunting: I first connected with my current employer when I did some temp work for them in another city about 10 years ago. It was during a period when I was between jobs. I took the temp job even tho it paid a LOT less than what I had been making and was even less than what I could have made on unemployment. I eventually started my own little business, but after moving to Austin several years ago I reconnected with my employer and have been working for them ever since. My point is that sometimes it really does pay off to take ANY job that you can find, even if it means a short-term income reduction.

5 Responses to “Catching Up: Employment”

  1. patientsaver.com Says:

    These last few years, I have become acutely aware of the various benefits of jobs, depending on their classification. In order of preference, they are:

    Salaried employee
    Temporary full-time
    P/t employee
    Contract worker

    The contract worker is the lowest rung on the ladder because not only do you not have benefits, but you also pay higher taxes on income and the work does not earn you any "points" with your state unemployment office. If you lost the job, there are no unemployment benefits, unlike a p/t employee job with the same employer. So p/t employee is much better than p/t contract worker, IMO. It seems many people don't understand that distinction.

  2. patientsaver.com Says:

    How do you like Texas?

  3. Amber Says:

    Sounds like you had a great year. As far as job hunting, I volunteered with my current employer, then worked temporary, and was then hired.

  4. baselle Says:

    I have to agree with your assessment about jobs, with twists: always look for and develop the next opportunity. Far too many people either stop looking or actively destroy their other chances once they get something.

  5. scfr Says:

    Amber - That is wonderful news! I'll bet it took a lot of guts to agree to start out volunteering, not knowing if it would lead to paid employment. Obviously you proved your worth to your employer.

    Patientsaver - We are happy that we made the move to Texas and feel really settled in to our life here.

    Patientsaver & Baselle - Great insights, as always. Thanks.

    The lot of the contract worker sounds like an "all the risks of the self-employed with none of the benefits" type of situation ... not good at all.

    With my current employer, I am basically in "coast until retirement" mode. It brings in some income, allows me the flexibility to do my volunteer work (which feeds my soul) and help my husband with his business. And of course there are the benefits, which are currently the most important reason for staying.

    BUT ... I do feel a bit of a longing to be a business owner again. So, I have started doing a little brainstorming on what sorts of side businesses I could start up that wouldn't interfere with my employment. It will need to be something REALLY flexible, because there will be months when I won't be able to put any time in to it at all.

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