kukla_tko: (own cat face)
[personal profile] kukla_tko
I've got some time to do some blogging finally. Brad had his second knee replaced on Tuesday. I'm his Joint Coach (and being a Joint Coach on April 20th is likely to be funny to certain people) which really means that I help with his physical therapy and I fetch and carry for him.
It's vacation for me; this is a lot less than I deal with on an average day.

On the other hand, I did have to pull the trigger on vacation pay so that I could take the time necessary. I was kind of hoping that my S.O. would get a two-day schedule (as he has been getting for almost a month) so that I could get some hours in and reserve that other week of vacation pay, but no. His employer suddenly needed him five days this week.

OH, well. I get to spend quality time with Brad, get some sewing done for him (and me), soak up the internets (MMMM SWEET DELICIOUS INTERNETS) and the like.

I do have an event on Saturday, which will get its own post.

Part of why I've had no time for all this is that we ran our BJD Convention back-to-back; The first five years it was in November, then this year we hosted it in March.

BUT that means that I won't be as insane this fall, which will be nice. March is a good time for it, so long as we do NOT schedule it opposite NakaKon again. (Not that NakaKon has paid the slightest attention to St. Louis events in the past...) The super good news is that Naka took the weekend of St. Patrick's Day, which is sacred to me for SO MANY REASONS so I can camp out on a different weekend next year. WHoo!

Our financial situation is still dicey. For those of you who are taking a big breath to join in, I want to be really clear about this: Rent is one of my whole paychecks. I get paid every two weeks. For the last month, my S.O. has gotten a schedule that included two whole days each week. This is "Choose which utility to pay based upon when they're shutting it off" poor, not "Oh, no, I can't afford to buy that fun thing" poor. This is "Choose between food/gas and insurance" poor, which is part of why we don't get a tax refund. We actually get the best deal if we file as "Married, filing separately" which almost never happens.

I'm trying to get more embroidery work, but my employer has basically told me that I'm not allowed to consult on the side anymore. Apparently, there was some employee at the other store who seriously said, "Oh, you don't have to buy that machine. I own it; I'll do your project for you for $$."
Which, let's be honest, is not professional or appropriate. However, the Powers That Be (who can afford their own insurance even if they don't provide any to us) also object to the following conversation:
"Kukla, you're a great teacher. I really need some help with my machine."
"NO problem. Bring it in and I'll do a one-on-one class with you here at the store."
"Yeah, but I just had knee surgery and I'm not supposed to be carrying it around. I was kind of hoping to have you come to my house and help me?"
"Sure, but I charge a consulting fee since I'd be driving to your house during my personal time."
"No problem. I'll pay you whatever you want to come over and help me in my own sewing room one-on-one."

I'm no longer allowed to do that.
I tried pointing out that our store only does in-home visits once per purchase of the big expensive machines. (Giant quilting machines set up on a frame and professional embroidery machines.) It's part of our deal. However, there has never been a fee schedule set up for customers who want additional in-home classes. I've even been told, "No, we don't want to do that."
So I did it on my own as a consultant.

Now I'm being told I'm not allowed to do that at all, but we still don't have a rate to charge customers for it!

It gets worse.
That in-home visit? That's me. I drive there. In my car.
I've been informed that my employer will reimburse me for mileage OR pay me for my time driving. I'm not allowed to be paid both.
That's some old bullshit.
When I was doing that once or twice here or there, it was less of a big deal. I've now driven to Eureka, Troy, Pacific, and the like. (50 mile radius is the theory.)
So I have to drive to work, clock in, then drive to Eureka (for example) but I don't get my mileage reimbursed. I pay for the gas out of my pocket.

So I'm going to renegotiate my deal with the owner.
The fact is, I'm their only full time educator. I'm the only one who can teach these big machines, particularly since our professional quilter retired. If they want me to pay for the gasoline and wear and tear on my vehicle, I am not going to do on-site visits anymore.
They can find someone else to do it.
What's more, the idea that I can't teach on my own time is ridiculous. I have worked very hard to avoid conflicts of interest; I'm not going to sell myself at the expense of my employer. However, my time is my own. I'm not working for another dealership; if nothing else I'm promoting my employer. I have never consulted with a client without recommending some particular product or service. I don't service machines in homes, I recommend bringing in the machine to be serviced. I don't sell clients thread or stabilizer out of my stash, I suggest products we carry in the store. On a couple of occasions, customers asked me to buy things on their behalf and hold them at the store; I do the transaction over the phone once I'm back on the clock and the customer picks up their goodies the next time they come it.
I also have particular customers who bond with me personally and don't want to deal with some of the other employees. One young professional was treated very discourteously by the actual store manager (which surprised me until I found out that the reason she was snippy was something my immediate supervisor screwed up.)
Some of the ladies "feel uncomfortable" around the current management. Some of them straight up don't like a particular employee. When someone like that asks me to help them out, I don't object to that. I should be paid for my time, and I'll use it as an excuse to sell them some stuff from my store in a way that keeps them from having to deal with the people they don't like.

Yet, somehow, the owner has been persuaded that we're stealing from her.

I know who did the persuading, too.

I may have to have a parachute ready. I need to be able to say, "Or I'm out of here." I might be able to work in sewing or something; one of my newly former coworkers has a great job doing alterations and I could probably get in there doing that work.

But I did this dance at the end of the year, and while there was a slight improvement, things are getting awful again.

Psst: Someone find me a job that pays well enough to support my household, offers good insurance, and uses something from my amazing skill set? Please?


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