Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Are things picking up?

I think maybe they are.  I'm averaging an interview a week now.  Granted, they are all with recruiters, (except 1) but technically, isn't that better than interviewing for a specific job with a specific company?  It should mean it's getting my name out there for lots of jobs, as opposed to just one.

I've been spending my time with some classic hobbies.  Besides the mid-afternoon unemployment nap (which really is the best thing about being jobless), I am learning the joys of reading again.  I recently finished Three Cups of Tea.  If you haven't read this book, it is a must.  It is about an American who is actually doing some good in the middle east, specifically, by building schools for girls in Muslim-heavy Afghanistan and Pakistan.  I know, it sounds super dry and dull, but it is really one of the better written books I have read in a long, long time.  I can't recommend it enough.  I am just now starting The Blind Side. Has anyone out there read this one?  Other recent reads include The Time Traveler's Wife, Peace Like a River,  and some nutritional books.  If you have any books to recommend, PLEASE DO!!

Another past time getting some heavy love and attention is my garden.  I used to do most of my gardening in pots.  It's a great way to grow tomatoes!  This year, I have 12 plants going strong that I have grown from seeds started in March.  This year, however, we are adding an additional area behind our back fence.  We should be able to get some real plants going there to supplement our dinners - spinach, lettuce, squashes (I've never grown pumpkins before!), maybe some cucumbers and herbs, too.  A friend and I have started a seed exchange.  Well, she sent me some.  I need to send some to her, I guess, for it to be an official exchange!

So now you see the true boredom of my life now.  I'm reduced to blogging about gardening and reading.  How can someone get a hugely successful blog on cooking, but I can't even get a quarter of my friends, nor even a quarter of  friends of my followers, to read this blog?

With a sigh of endured rejection, I depart... off to look at my fledgling plants and maybe read a bit in the sun while it's still here...

Eye Tee Girl

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Into every life...

... a little rain must fall.  But that's ok, because it makes the good stuff seem better.

I had a job interview today!  Yay!  The first one in a month or so.  It made me feel good, worthwhile, maybe even a contributing member of society again!  Well, it wasn't an interview, per se, but it was a meeting with a recruiter who had a specific position in mind for me.  I found the opportunity on Craig's List, so huge thank you's to all the people who kept nagging me to look on CL.  Anyway, the position is with Microsoft, I'm not sure that it's a perfect fit, but it sounds promising, regardless.  I must keep in mind, however, not to jump at the first job that comes my way if it doesn't feel right.  I did that for the last 2 jobs I had, and well, we know how the last one turned out.  But at least I know going in who Microsoft is, general expectations, and that likely, they are licensed to do business in the State of Washington.  By the end of our conversation, my recruiter said he would put me up for a phone screen, and we'd see where it went from there.  I'm excited, and scared, and don't want to get my hopes up, so they can't be dashed.  But... I will anyway, of course!

In this economy, is it getting easier to tell people you don't have a job?  It still feels like an embarrassment, like there is a stigma to it.  It's not right, but it's there.  Yet, so many of us are going through it!  If you meet someone new, the conversation always winds its way to "And what do YOU do?"  And invariably, you tell people what you used to do.  Then qualify it, with something like, "Or I used to, anyway.  When I had a job."  With the situation like it is, is it getting trendy to have bad credit?  When people have spotless credit, I feel like other people look at them and think "Must be nice."  I know I do, anyway.  I don't have the option to have good credit at this point.  A friend of mine was recently in a terrible situation.  She had to foreclose her house, sell her car, and move in with family after losing a lucrative position with a business law firm.  She immediately started interviewing, of course, and came upon an offer at a financial institution.  I'm not saying names, but the company's name might rhyme with kumkwat.  So she dutifully did all the post hire paperwork, things like background check and credit check.  Yes, they ran a credit check.  On someone without a job.  Oddly enough, it came back with a bad score, at which point, they rescinded their offer. When I heard this story, my blood boiled!  The very type of company that very nearly brought this country to its knees is now refusing jobs to the very people they have screwed over!  How on earth are we supposed to get out of these vicious credit cycles if companies are allowed to run credit checks?!  How is financial profiling any different than racial profiling?  Or gender biasing?  Something is seriously broken in this country.

Anyway, that's about it for my thoughts today.  A job interview, sun shining through the window, and new promise for my future.  I guess life isn't all that bad after all...

Eye Tee Girl

Monday, April 26, 2010

Well, there's always the lemonade...

You know that saying about lemons and lemonade?  Well, I have been handed a shit load of lemons, and I don't like lemonade.  So, I guess with this surplus I have now, I need to set up a lemonade stand.  Anyone buying?

To put it more literally, I have started helping friends with computer problems.  I have one in the house right now I'm working on, and have another friend who needs three laptops worked on in the future.  So there is promise of a brighter future.  I guess this is a roundabout way of soliciting further - if anyone reading this needs help on their computers, let me know.  Or if you have friends who need help... I can provide references!  I'm really good! Especially at saving data on hard drives that are going belly up.  And of course, if you know anyone hiring IT people right now... Hopefully, that goes unsaid.  

The job search has been meager at best.  Occasionally, I have a few promising leads, but they have all fizzled.  It makes me wonder if I need to lower my pay requirements by almost half of what I should be making, or if I need to just stay strong through the dry spell and, well, sell more lemonade.

As for Acme, I have totaled up the money he owes me, and it's more than a thousand bucks.  It never ceases to amaze me how crooked that guy is.  I never really believed that people would have evil or meanness in their hearts, but he has changed that opinion.  I know if someone asked him "Don't you care about this person?  Don't you have guilt for what she's gone through?  What you have personally done to contribute to her pain?" he would just blurt out "I don't care!!" in a mean voice with a sneer and shrug it off.  It truly doesn't bother him one bit that he has lied, and that those lies hurt someone.  He doesn't care that people rely on him as an employer, as their source of money.  While his own credit flounders and flops in the mud, he continues to destroy others'. Yesterday, I had to drive near that office building, and I realized... I had broken into a cold sweat.  Just being near that place affected me physically - elevated heart rate, sweaty palms, nausea.  I went through that 10 times worse every morning I went into work.  Why did I do that to myself?! For such a beast of a man?  Nobody will ever have that control over me again.

As for Jen, I hear she is doing well.  She is looking for sales work, preferably in the medical field.  If any of you out there could help her get out of that place, please contact me, and I will put you in touch with her.  I also hear the new guy who replaced me is pretty cool.  I think I'll call him Greg.  I don't know his name.  I even heard that he found the blog pretty quickly and figured out immediately who it was about.  So, Greg, if you are reading this, welcome!  You are working for a gem of a guy.

Off to Craig's List, Monster, Dice, and WorkSource for now... I hope to blog more regularly again so my many fans (ha!) don't think I've disappeared into the sunset somewhere, happily ever after.


Friday, March 5, 2010

Who IS this guy?

Seriously, who does he think he is? 

The worst part is that, apparently, he can get away with all this ... crap ... he is putting me through.

Let's start with the insurance. For the history, see this entry: http://eyeteegirl.blogspot.com/2010/01/hes-unbelievable.html

Now that you're current, here is the latest.  As you know, I filed a complaint with the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries.  It didn't do me a lick of good.  Here's why.  I applied for the medical insurance, it was indeed effective (because I bullied him), so I went to the doctor in January.  I paid $200 on my January paychecks (and my February paycheck!) for my "insurance."  After my employment was terminated February 1, Rod called the insurance company on February 7 and backdated my termination date with the insurance company, saying my term date was 12.31.09.  So, of course, because the doctor's office didn't bill immediately (Who knew the billing window was so small?), I have now gotten an "ineligible for benefits" statement from the insurance.  Of course, this means I will soon be getting a bill from the doctor - in the amount of $190.

So here's the kicker. (Yes, it gets worse)  Because my insurance was actually effective for about 15 minutes, the Dept of L&I can't do anything - whether or not the deductions were authorized and regardless of the fact that he backdated, effectively wiping that 15 minutes of eligibility off the map.  It became a civil matter the minute he actually activated my insurance.  Can you hear my sigh of frustration?  Can you see the tufts of hair that I'm pulling from my head in chunks?   My feelings of helplessness are nearly overwhelming right now.

But wait, that's not all.

He still has not paid me for January 22nd.  Because this is a new development, it cannot be included on my current complaint with L&I.  It has to be filed as a new complaint.  Considering it took a month for L&I to respond to the complaint I filed already, and considering that there are only 2 people responding to all King County complaints, it would be at least another month before they could look at that (valid) complaint.

At least, now that the L&I complaint has been "assessed" and will be "closed" (just writing that makes me want to cry at the futility of my situation), I now have a path open to file a small claims suit against him. 

I just really, really wish I could nail him from the legal (government) side of things.  But alas, the employee just doesn't have any rights in this state.  And at least I have the satisfaction of knowing I will cost him money - likely more money at this point than he would have paid if he'd just been honest in the first place.

That is, if the law is on my side... who knows, I've been wrong with everyone else I've called so far...  Here's my phone log from this week:

Receive ineligibility of benefits notification
30 minutes with Premera, trying to find out 
     a) Why I was ineligible (I was term'd 12.31.09 on 2.7.10)
     b) How I can prove the term date was not, in fact, 12.31.09 (I can't)
     c) How I can prove I paid for January benefits (Doesn't matter)
     d) How I can report employer-side insurance fraud (I can't)
15 minutes with Insurance Commissioner
     a) How do I report medical insurance fraud?  
     b) If this isn't insurance fraud, what is it?
     c) Determined the Insurance Commissioner regulates the insurance companies, not the employer side of medical insurance.
     d) Wrote down number for Attorney General's office for consumer affairs.
10 minutes with Attorney General's office 
     a) Had to explain why this is not, in fact, an Insurance Commissioner problem.
     b) Found out that I could, in fact, file a complaint as a consumer, we guess, of insurance.
     c) Letter would be sent to both insurance company and employer.  We think.
20 minutes with Department of L&I to discover status of claim.
     Spoke to an agent who explained their back log and got info about how to contact my agent.
     Left voicemail for Agent investigating my L&I claim.
50 minutes with L&I 
     a) Withholding money without authorization for medical insurance that is never activated, they can help.
     b) Withholding money without authorization for medical insurance that is activated, then taken away, becomes a civil matter, they can't help.  (I did get an apology for "the system")
     c) Received helpful information about small claims court and a phone number to file a civil suit.
10 more minutes with L&I
     Agent called back to let me know I should also contact Department of Human Rights and the Seattle Civil Rights Commission.  Received those phone numbers.  Received personal, off the record advice, a wish of good luck, and gained a friend.  Maybe even a blog follower!

Oh, dear readers, I thought I had such a tight case with the Department of L&I. I'm not sure how much more energy I can garner for filing all these new complaints - especially in light of my failures so far.  I guess court is inevitable at this point, and my sense of justice will kick in after a few hours, and I will rebound, I suppose.  I will keep doggedly filing complaints until I finally nail his bigoted, sexist, cheating, lying ass to the wall.  

Sorry for the downer today, everyone, but have a terrific weekend, celebrating the fact that you don't have to work for Rod!  I know I will!!!!

Eye Tee Girl

Monday, February 22, 2010

Money Don't Grow on Trees...

I have decided to give up calling Rod.  I've been calling every other day and still have not received my money for working more than 10 hours on January 22.  It has been a full month.  I have filed a complaint with the Department of Labor and Industries already with several complaints.  Hopefully, I can add this and will get my money as a result of that.  If not, I guess I will have to take him to small claims court.

This makes times tight.

Along with the money he has illegally withheld for insurance (have I told that story yet? I can't remember, I've told so many!) with each paycheck, the raise that never actually happened, and now withholding legitimate pay - it just isn't fun being me right now.  Also, because of recent lack of work woes due to the Boeing RIF and my contract being canceled when I worked in data security at Regence Blue Shield, my unemployment is about $400 less than it used to be.  I am having to worry about cars,  basic bills, heat for the house, and even food.  My poor dog still hasn't been back to the vet to see what's wrong with his legs, and they both need shots.  The worries are starting to keep me up at night, especially considering the hospital situation.

I would like to post a follow up about Jen.  I think it is an understatement to say that she wasn't pleased with my last post.  However, I have made it a policy to be completely honest with you my readers, and telling that story would not have been possible without detailing my frustration and feelings of betrayal.  I hope Jen understands why I had to type up her involvement, as unflattering as it was.

But the sunshine beckons now, and if there's one thing I can get out of unemployment, it's getting out and enjoying a beautiful day.  My dogs are bored, I'm restless, and we could all use a little exercise. I will post some pictures from our walk a bit later!

Eye Tee Girl

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Day Late and a Dollar Short

It doesn't really surprise you, does it?  The title of the blog?  I can only shake my head.  Thankfully, I have this blog and I take good notes.

I got paid, finally, on Thursday.  It had a note on the check itself, initialed "RA" that said "Final check."  Well, I guess that answers that question! At least now, I can stop calling in sick (the hospital is keeping us very busy.)  Included with the paycheck was a photocopy of a handwritten note that, word for word, said:

Katie 12/1 Payral

$1000 ÷ 10 days =
$100 / day

Missed 4 days x$100=$400
1/18, 1/22, 1/25, 1/29

$400-$100 health=$500

(I did change the numbers and names but the math, scratch outs, and misspellings are all true.)  As my grampa would say with his Irish smirk:  "What a maroon!"  (Then, I think he would go kick Rod's ass.  Literally.)

Now, I'll help you out, Dear Readers, since nobody helped me out. I was at work 1/22.  How long will it take you to figure it out?  The proof is out there for the whole world to see in this blog.

I was in a hurry.  But I know I was not absent on the 22nd (funny, some things you just, well, know.) So I texted Jen before gathering proof : "Please leave a message for Rod that I called.  He docked me for pay on the 22nd, but I was there"  Now, I was busy - another emergency was calling me to the hospital, but I needed this message delivered and I needed to cash this check.  Unfortunately, Jen was not helpful.  "I don't think you were here sorry... You didn't send any emails out either.."  Well, this made me roll my eyes.  I didn't really ask her opinion, I asked her to deliver a message that I called.  It was frustrating for me as she knows how tough it's been for me lately. It also felt like a shift in our relationship had just taken place.  It now felt as though Jen was no longer on "my team."

Anyway, I cashed the check and rushed to the hospital.  I got a few minutes of down time while waiting for Durwood to show up, so I went to my blog.  Sure enough, I found the post from 1/25 titled "Busy as a Bee" that talked all about my day on Friday. If you recall, it was the day that Goldmine went down (which is why I sent no emails that day) and it is also the day that I started working on the PeachTree problem. That was one long day.  Happy that I was right, I walked into the hospital, texting Jen quickly before I lost signal: "Fri 22nd was day Goldmine went down.  I was totally there. Please shoot Rod the message for me!"  The text I got back "I left. Let him know tomorrow."  I took this to mean, in my haste, that she would let him know the following day.  Persevering, the next morning, I asked Jen if she had delivered my message for me.  She told me she wasn't willing to.  "Please handle with him.. it is no fun to be in the middle.. I know you understand. ;)"

Fucking great.  No, frankly, Jen, I don't understand.  All she had to do was to leave a written message that I called for him and needed pay for the 22nd.  It's up to him to work it out with me.  I do know Rod, and I know he most likely wouldn't have said a word to Jen.  But now, I was left in the situation of having to call Friday evening (I certainly wasn't going to call with the intent of speaking with Rod) and not only did I have to wait for Rod to leave, but because Jen wouldn't deliver a simple message, I now had to wait until after Jen left, as well.  This meant Rod wouldn't be getting any message until Monday.  Whatever.  I texted Jen back to let me know when she left.

She didn't.

So, I finally just called around 7 on Friday night telling Rod what the situation was.  Of course, today being Tuesday, I still haven't heard a word back, so if I don't get a check in tomorrow's mail, I will wait till after 7 and once again leave a voicemail.

Anyway, on a lighter side, the good news is, that for the first time since starting work at Acme, I have been able to make my car payment and house payment on time.  Thanks be to the reliability of unemployment and direct deposit!  Who'd'a thunk it?!

In the meantime... does anyone need any work done on their computers in the home or office?  The combination of fighting Rod for the money he owes me and the hospital situation has now left me with a huge cold sore... so I could use some work!

Eye Tee Girl

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Still no pay...

It's bad enough being over-worked and under-paid, but hey, at least then, you are getting paid.  Even worse is getting abuse heaped on top of lies and not getting paid at all. Payday should have been Feb 1, and here it is, the 10th, and I still have not been paid.  I'm not sure why. 

My (soon to be) father-in-law had a massive stroke affecting the dominant side of his brain.  I guess that's a fancy way of saying "it's just a matter of time, now."  He has been laying in the hospital since Jan 31, barely reacting to any stimuli, with, at times, over 12 different tubes providing liquid life.  This isn't including the wires and tubes monitoring his heart and mechanically keeping his lungs pumping oxygen into a body weakened - not just by age - but by his body's cruel betrayal, sending a clot to plug up the main artery that feeds the entire left side of his brain. This is not an easy time for our family.  We are going to the hospital for hours a day, sometimes more than 12 hours a day, to watch him, to meet with family, to discuss the situation with doctors. I haven't had time for Facebook, for blogging, for any time at work.  I've been focused on DNR orders, physician reports, brain mappings, and blood pressure monitors.  I certainly haven't had time or options to do anything online.  Even this is being typed up while at the hospital and will be uploaded whenever we go home again - when I have an hour or two that isn't directly related to the hospital.  That could be days from now.  In neuro ICU, it would seem, they don't want any type of wireless signals that could affect the IV units.  All texting, cell phone conversations, and wireless "stuff" needs to be done "beyond the double steel doors, please."

I have told Jen what's going on, I have asked her to tell Rod, I have left multiple messages for him, all telling him what is going on.  But still, no word, and no paycheck.  I filed for unemployment when he reduced my hours, and I certainly don't consider myself employed if he's not paying me... so we'll see where this latest chapter in my book of life takes me.

On the bright side - I haven't been abused, called names, or had to hear random bursts of anger - either at me or at co-workers.  As for the new guy, I have no idea how things are going.  I do know, however, from Rod's complete refusal to deal with Dave, and using me as the "middle man," that I will likely never hear from Rod again.  I can't say this is a bad thing.  ;)  I can only hope my final correspondence from Acme will be a paycheck, adorned with Rod's very own John Hancock.

I hope all is well for everyone reading this, I miss the catharsis of writing to all of you everyday!

Eye Tee Girl