Sunday, July 24, 2011

Twenty Three Doesn't Seem Like Much

It's not a huge number, depending on what it references.  In this case, it's the number of my approved overtime hours I have yet to work.  Government jobs are not like public sector jobs in that overtime is not driven by the amount of work that needs to be done.  Overtime in a government job is purely budget driven, at least that is the case in Texas where a balanced budget is a requirement of the state constitution.

In the last half of the fiscal year, the state legislature examines the amount of revenue remaining in the current year budget and doles out overtime allotments according to the needs of the various state agencies.  It's then up to the individual agencies to dole out the hours to each office according to specific needs projects proposed by their managers.  I'm not sure if it works this way with all state agencies, but in the branch I work for, a total number of overtime hours are alloted to each office and workers who are at all interested in working overtime sign up for the hours.  Some workers sign up for a limited number of hours and others, like myself, sign up for as many as they will give me.  After all the 'limited hours' requests are subtracted, the remaining hours are divided among the 'as many as you'll give me' group.  I was initially authorized for 55 hours to be worked between June 6th and August 19th.   You could work up to 12-1/2 hours of overtime per week and up to 6 hours on certain Saturdays but you had to complete whatever hours you signed up for by August 19th.  If you took any sick leave or vacation time or there was a holiday in any week, you could not earn overtime that week.  So you had to pay attention to how many hours you committed to and you had to be serious about that commitment or risk not being allowed to work overtime the next year.

Two weeks ago, a few workers dropped out and reneged on their overtime commitments and the hours they reneged on were up for grabs.  Again, some of my co-workers opted for a limited number of the newly available hours and some of us opted for as many as they would give us.  I ended up with 12 more hours.  So instead of winding down and looking forward to a regular 40-hour week beginning in August, I had to step up the pace a bit to insure I got all my hours worked by the August 19th deadline.  I worked 10-1/2 hours last week, which leaves me a balance of 23 hours yet to be worked and four weeks in which to work them.  I could push hard for the next two weeks and have only a few hours to work the third week but I'm tired.  I'm tired physically from the extra hours, I'm drained mentally from the long days and I'm worn out emotionally from seeing everything else in my life falling off schedule, either slightly or drastically. 

I could relax a little, back my schedule down to just six hours of overtime per week and take the whole four weeks to finish.  But if something came up during one of those weeks missing a day due to illness or a personal emergency of some kind causing me to take a day of leave ...I would lose the opportunity to work overtime that week and might not be able to finish all my hours. I'm a procrastinator about some things, but never about work so I will probably keep up the current pace and just get it done as soon as possible.

Yeoldfurt has been a good sport through all this.  He is patient and uncomplaining about whatever falls off schedule at home and has pitched in more than once to take up the slack on some chores that are usually mine to take care of.  In appreciation, the one thing I make sure doesn't fall off schedule is meals.  Neither he nor the critters have missed any and we've only been out to eat three times since I started the overtime.  He'll come home from work this evening to a clean house, a cold Frappacino on ice and a dinner of barbecued pork ribs, potato pancakes and green beans.  I even managed to catch up the laundry.  It's been a productive day.          




Blogger Modern Day Redneck said...

That's great that you are able to get the overtime you want but on the other hand I know how it means having no life. I was on one project where I was getting 30 to 40 hours of overtime a week. Yes the money was good and after a few months of that we made the mistake of setting our lifestyle to that income. The project I am on now only give 8 to 10 hours of overtime a week and it has been a real shocker. I have not seen paychecks that small in a long time. The first one I thought was a mistake.

July 24, 2011 at 8:12 PM  
Blogger HossBoss said...

I can tend to be a workaholic, so a job with limited overtime confined to a couple of months per year is probably a good thing for me. But I also haven't had a raise in over two years so it's hard not to feel like I'm spinning my wheels sometimes.

The overtime money is cashed and kept in an envelope for a designated item or project. At the top of this year's wish list is a paint job for the 96 Camry we bought last December. It's reliable transportation but it is in pretty desperate need of a new paint job. I'm not a prima donna about what I drive, but I also don't want to let it rust out from under me. No sign of rust yet, just down to the primer on the hood, roof and top of the trunk if I make enough with the overtime, it's getting a new paint job. If what I make on overtime is not enough to paint the car, I will probably buy that deep freeze we've been wanting. I know it will be enough for that plus some left over.

July 24, 2011 at 9:17 PM  
Blogger kx59 said...

Lord Almighty, that is a complicated overtime protocol.
@MDR: been there, after you drop into the managing the exhaustion groove, you begin to believe it will never end, and I can do this forever.
I work in a feast or famine profession. The famine phase has been running since the last year of Bush's term.
Hang in there HossBoss. Too much work is a much better problem to have than not enough.

July 24, 2011 at 9:22 PM  
Blogger HossBoss said...

KX ...I work for the government, remember? Albeit at the state level and not the federal level, when have you ever known the government to do anything that wasn't COMPLICATED? LOL

You're right, I'm glad to have the problem of too much work for a change. Last year when I was doing the overtime thing, Yeoldfurt was in his 14th and 15th month of unemployment. My overtime was a small part of what got us through that little sticky wicket.

I hope your feast cycle hits soon. After November 12th, right?

July 24, 2011 at 9:34 PM  
Blogger Stephen said...

Good for you. Being self-employed and since my boss is a butthole, he makes me work 55-60 hours a week whither or not I like of these days I gonna kick his butt.

July 25, 2011 at 9:34 AM  
Blogger HossBoss said...

Been there, done that, Stephen. I was self-employed and worked out of my house for about four years back in the 90's. When you 'never leave the office' you tend to work all the time, all hours of day or night. Sixty hour weeks were nothing. I enjoyed those years at the time, but wouldn't want to go back. Now mere fifty hour weeks are wearing me down.

July 26, 2011 at 4:56 AM  
Blogger Arsenius the Hermit said...

I guess the money is good but it sounds like it is wearing on you.

July 26, 2011 at 11:37 AM  
Blogger HossBoss said...

It does wear on me, Arsenius. That's why I want to use the money for something useful but also tangible. I never count overtime in the budget so we don't get spoiled to it. I could use it to stock up more on food stores, but that's a consumable and we have a good supply now. I would rather use it for something like the paint job ...that will probably last as long as I'm hoping to drive that car. Or a freezer that will expand and improve our capabilities for storing food.

It's almost over. I'll knock out at least 10 hours this week ...maybe 13 if I push it.

July 26, 2011 at 7:16 PM  

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