Wednesday, December 27, 2006

So, the State of Alaska gave me a Christmas gift today. My pay check today was $800 smaller than last time. It turns out that the State was supposed to make some withholdings and had miscalculated the cost of some benefits. So, without any warning, they corrected the problem. All. at. once. A few days after Christmas. Before I learned this news I had the oil tank filled today. ($300 plus). The State does not pay the Alaska Bar dues, unlike everywhere else I know of. $550 due by February 1, 2007 or I can't practice law. No break for Public Defenders either. That is something I wish I had known before I took this job. Budgeting $550 is not easy for a family and something you think I would have been advised of before the bill arrived. On top of that, the house in California has not closed. So I am still paying two mortgages which total over $3000 a month. The clutch on the truck is out ($1000+). To give the State credit, someone was supposed to let me know. That is nice. I will have to relay that to Wells Fargo. Bank of America. Sierra Nevada Memorial hospital (who I am still paying every month for Kadee's birth). Chrysler. Discover card, the Royal Bank, etc. etc. The worst part of this is that I really enjoy my immediate office. My co-workers are all talented, hard-working lawyers. I am impressed. But working for the State has it's drawbacks. Since I know that the State monitors my blog, when the higher up's read this, I sure have some suggestions how to improve my morale. Let people know when a mistake has been made. Give people all the information you can before people accept employment. My advice to anyone who makes such a huge move (such as California to Alaska) is do your research. Learning after you get here that the State will not pay all of your medical dues or your bar dues or your case load will be huge does not do you any good. I'm sure it is just not Alaska. I'm sure it is the same everywhere. But going from a private employer to a public employer has it's drawbacks. In a private office there is someone you can go and directly bitch to. The State just shrugs and says "hope you don't ruin your credit or go hungry over our mistake but what can we do?" Here's a suggestion: if you are going to cut my pay by $800 let me know. I know you don't know my financial situation but maybe at least pretend to care.

5 comments:

FishTaxi said...

You make a very good lawyer.

This rich state needs to do what the state of Hawaii does. Pay 50% towards health insurance and the employer pays 50%. ANd every business with over 5 employees has to provide it. This law blanks out a lot of the small, family businesses but it means even if you work at McDonalds you have full-coverage free health insurance. Of course its all HMO type doctors but the list is bigger than the Valdez phonebook.

Lots of the employers up here act like they are doing business a foreign country. Including the state!

Anonymous said...

That's awful! The B.C. Government did much the same thing to me, Personnel allowed me to have it taken off several cheques, rather than one. Would Alaska do that? Governments have all these rules that make no sense and it can get frustrating.

I hope that things will brighten up for you. You seem to be having one thing after the other.

I agree that Alaska should let possible employees what will be expected of them. It stinks that stuff can happen. I don't think that Alaska is a poor state, and it makes sense to keep good people by being good to them.

Ask if they can take the $800 off on a couple of cheques. I know you can be persuasive, so go for it.

Hope things get better.

Love, Mummy Dearest

Anonymous said...

nice. nice. Well, the good news is, when the Cali house does sell, you'll be in the green on a monthly basis and will be able to then decide where to put that extra dough. Debt reduction? Nicer house? A little bit of both?

I realize your house is way too small and you're going to kill eachother if you don't get out. I would caution you, however, to not go crazy and buy a house so nice that you are stretched ultra thin every month again. Give yourself some room. A little disposable income for savings, investments, and fun will go a long way.

Jeremy

Anonymous said...

Hi Ben,
This sounds a little like the TV show Northern Exposure. You are the doctor that was conned into coming to the small Alaskan town where they could not get any one to voluntarily go. You get there and you are trapped. Well kind of like that anyway. Maybe this is a sign that you need to come home and move back into your house that did not sell that overlooks the Yoga Farm.

Nice picture of rough riding Kadee. Charley was so careful when she was on him. That mule normally does not like anyone else but Bonnie. Well, keep your powder dry. You may need it to ward off things up there until you fully adjust. Did not know I will need a guide to hunt Moose next year up there.
Phil.......

A Public Defender's Life in Alaska said...

Phil you do NOT need a guide as far as I know. Only non-resident aliens need a guide. You are a US citizen so can hunt for big game EXCEPT bear WITHOUT a guide. You are good to go.