My first lay off……

This is a first that I never thought I would experience.  It isn’t that I thought I would be immune to it, but just that up until 2pm on this past Friday- there was no hinting that this was coming.  My place of employ was making our budget and we were exceeding our forecasts in a spectacular way.  Room nights were up, occupancy was steady, but ADR was down. 

They are taking 8 positions, 7 hourly and 1 managerial, and merging 2 departments to create 4 new positions.  Aside from the fact that it does not seem like they have done their research when it comes to implimenting this change, they blind sided us with it- and THAT is what I resent.  The merger is something that I had supported quite a while ago and was ignored, but the way that they have gone about this is just uncalled for.

I worked for a company that prides itself on the way that it’s associates are treated and quite frankly- for a group that is being told that performance was not a factor in the decision- this does not feel like anything more than a knife in the back.

Positivity is what has been suggested to me by those higher ups and they aren’t wrong, but it sure doesn’t seem like it will be very easy to come by at this moment.  I have no idea where I will be in 3 weeks and I don’t like that feeling.  This isn’t even taking into account the people in my department who have more obligations than I do! There were 3 single mothers, 1 disabled woman (knee surgery), and 3 of us who are already just getting by and they couldn’t have approached this any other way than- here is your severance, please feel free to re-post for this new job.

All economic concerns aside- when did we stop caring about each other?

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First Lesson of Debt Management

Those of you reading this will probably say- silly moron, you should have know that!  BUT I can say I did not know that the date on a paper check has ABSOLUTELY no bearing on it’s ability to be cashed.  So, I sent in a check to the IRS and I didn’t want it to be post marked too late, but I knew that they couldn’t cash it until a certain date.  In my genius I though that it would be OK to date the check for the day that it would be good, but noooooooooooo.  So I’ve now got $140 in overdraft fee from my bank (soon to be former bank) for this error. 

I NOW know that pre-dating a check is not valid way to make a payment happen on the day that you need it to and I won’t be repeating this mistake, but seriously?  ALL, I repeat ALL of the overdraft fees were for charges that hit on the same day that they posted the check and they were categorized after the check.  I didn’t believe the news article about how banks are stacking their overdraft fees to maximize penalties, but I am staring right at it on my account statement.  I mean- how is this in any way fair? 

I can understand that a fee for the amount of overdraft would make sense.  I can understand if the bank changes me for the check with insufficient funds and doesn’t honor it- THAT MAKES SENSE.  But, I’m just not understanding how these policies- which are rampant not only at my personal bank- are anything other than extortion.

Personal Debt Management in a Recession

Happy Saturday Everyone!

I’ve finally thrown my hands up and stopped creating unrealistic “plans” on how to pay off all of my debt.  I called a debt management company and have entered into one of the Debt Management Programs.  I’m still not sure how I feel about this move, but I can’t honestly see a way around it.  I’ve gotten myself into quite a pickle.  Living in DC doesn’t help, but it is all my own unfrugal fault.  So I’m now only 1 month into this and haven’t seen any huge problems, but I don’t necessarily want to see my credit score either.  Now- let me clarify, I’ve been told that what I’ve agreed to is NOT the same as the lowest rate that can be gotten in a similar program, but I am not 100% versed in the ins and outs of this industry.

The largest hit that I’ve been told to expect is from the closure of the multiple lines of credit, which, again, is to be expected, but not a drop as severe or as long lasting as bankruptcy.  So, here are the steps that I’ve taken:

1. Gotten all of my unsecured debt into a DMP, you cannot do this if you have under 10k in unsecured debt.  This type of program also does not apply to car loans or mortgages.

2. I’ve changed the number of deductions on my paycheck from 1 to 0 to try and help me at the end of the year though it means a smaller paycheck in the short term.

3.  I have NOT changed my 401K contributions.

4. I have NOT changed the $35 per week contribution that I make to a high yield savings account.

With the lowered monthly payments, hopefully I can get myself back into a shape that doesn’t resemble a pear financially.  Though I’m not sure why, I’m relieved while being alternately ashamed for having to take this step.  The shame comes from the fact that I have admitted defeat and the relief comes from the knowledge that the maximum time frame on this is 5 years, so long as I don’t put myself right back into this mess! 

My mission at this time is:

Find a way to live an active and social life (which I am not doing right now) while sticking to a budget that does not ignore retirement savings and keeps me out of credit card debt. 

I’ll keep you posted on the progress ;D

Book Review- All Together Dead by Charlaine Harris

Here is the publishers synopsis-

“Betrayed by her longtime vampire love, Louisiana cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse must now not only deal with a possible new man in her life-the oh-so-handsome shapeshifter Quinn-but also contend with a long-planned vampire summit. With her power base weakened by hurricane damage to New Orleans, the local vampire queen is vulnerable to those hungry for a takeover. Soon, Sookie must decide what side she’ll stand with. And her choice may mean the difference between survival and all-out catastrophe.”

This was definitely more of a murder mystery than a love story this go round and I liked it!  A Vampire summit and Quinn as a Supernatural Event Manager put me right into my comfort zone (I work as a Housing Manager at a Convention Center Hotel).  I really enjoyed the convergence of all of Ms. Harris’s Easter Egg hints as we again see Barry from Texas, but on the arm of the King of Texas!

The tension between Bill, Eric, AND Quinn (who I personally think could whoop both vampires to kingdom come) is just yummy and we get to see more of the “human” side of Pam continued from the evolution in book 6.

Book Review- Definitely Dead by Charlaine Harris

Here is the publishers synopsis-

“As a person with so few living relatives, Louisiana cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse really hated to lose one. But she never guessed that it would be her cousin Hadley — a consort of the Vampire Queen of New Orleans. After all, technically speaking, Hadley was already dead. And now, as unexpected heir to Hadley’s estate, Sookie discovers the inheritance definitely comes with a risk.

Someone doesn’t want Sookie looking too deeply into Hadley’s past — or for that matter, Hadley’s possessions. And they’re prepared to do anything in their power to stop her. But who? The range of suspects runs from the Rogue Weres who reject Sookie as a friend of the Pack to the Vampire Queen herself, who could be working through a particularly vulnerable subject — Sookie’s first love, Bill.

Whoever it is, they’re definitely dangerous — and Sookie’s life is definitely on the line . . .”

Can I just say MEOW!  On top of the fact that Quinn is a smoking hot as I’ve seen a literary character get this book answers SOOOOOOOO many questions that I loved it.  I loved it enough that I’m not going to throw in any spoilers- it’s too fun and this is a turning point in Sookie’s evolution that makes me want to keep reading.

Book Review- Dead As a Doornail by Charlaine Harris

Here is the publishers synopsis-

“When Sookie’s brother Jason’s eyes start to change, she knows he’s about to turn into a were-panther for the first time. But her concern becomes cold fear when a sniper sets his deadly sights on the local changeling population — and Jason’s new panther brethren suspect he may be the shooter. Now, Sookie has until the next full moon to find out who’s behind the attacks, unless the killer decides to find her first.”

After the excitement and travel of the previous 4 books this is like that weekend you spend at home with no plans.  We get to learn much more about Sam and it is truly intriguing!  There seem to be little Easter Eggs of mysteries that we know we won’t get answers for in this installment, but that we really want to know the answers to. 

For Example: Why is Sookie like “catnip” to vampires?  When did Claudine become Sookies Fairy Godmother (previously introduced in book 4)?  Where did the back woods were-panthers come from?  Will Eric ever remember what happened while he had lost his mind?  We know that he won’t stop trying until he knows and then Sookie WILL be his!