Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Paychecks -- YAY!

One of my goals for 2010 is going to be "regain this mythic Work-Life Balance I hear talk of." But for the moment, I remain buried in gianter stacks of Things to Be Edited than I'd ever imagined existed. Possibly deciding "sure, I can manage 50 pieces for this upcoming big package!" was not one of my cleverest moments. (Caveat: I like my job better than any I've ever had, which is nifty. However, I wish I had 40-hour days in which to do said job.)

But while I've been toiling in the edit mines and not blogging, David returned to the working world. Six months after he quit his job, he's landed a new one.

Which changes our economic picture quite a lot.

We managed the one-job period better than I expected. Dropping to one income was always one of my personal nightmares, and it's been a happy surprise to find that we managed to pay our rent on time every month, cover the bills, and not slip into more credit-card debt than we can clear up in a month or two. This remotivates me to actually attempt some frugality and savings when we return to our usual two-paycheck state.

David's new job has two key features that make it very of-the-zeitgeist. First: It's a contract job. The general idea is that if both sides are still happy in a few months, it will convert into a standard salary-and-staff position. But he came in the door as a freelancer, and for the moment, the company prefers to keep it that way.

Which is fine by us, since we're covered on the only area of staff-vs-freelance job I don't want to live without: health insurance. My company has an absurdly good plan, and David switched onto mine as soon as I took this job. Paid time off, a 401(k), job security and other such luxuries would be nice, but as long as he's got health coverage and is getting steady paychecks, I can't get too fussed about 'em.

Second: David landed this job through personal networking, not a recruiter or job board. Personal networking of an especially oddball sort. He and a friend of his volunteer as Stats Dudes for the local roller-derby league. One of the skaters is a statistician. She and David got to chattering, and when an opening for a statistician came up at her company, he used the ref to get in the door. Ask me which of his many interests and hobbies would lead to a job, and I would never have guessed roller derby ...

We're still a few weeks away from actually getting that first check, and having to sort out freelancer taxes is going to be lots of fun. (I am suddenly very grateful for an excellent article a freelancer pitched me a few months back: "Freelancers: How to not screw up your taxes.") But we're at least tentatively back to full-operating-budget status.

And as the cliche goes -- David losing his job (in a roundabout way, since he quit) may have been, unexpectedly, the best thing to happen to us all year. He spent almost 10 years there, and many were good years, but things had gotten pretty rough. He needed new projects and challenges. Having a few months' break cheered him up astonishingly much, and he's really enjoying the new gig and the people he's meeting there. I thought quitting a job in the middle of a recession would be a horrendous mistake, but it seems to have led to much better things.

I like when life works out like that.

(Edited to add -- I've had this blog almost four years and never before made a "jobs" tag? How odd.)