Saturday, December 17, 2005

This Looks Like a Job for Software Man and His Sidekick, Doughnut Girl!

Author: Nick
Category: Money

Now that you know the who, what, and where of this blog, it’s time to get into the “how much.” Fortunately for all of you, our financial situation is not that complicated … yet. (Give us a year of intense financial activity and constant scrutiny from your watchful eyes and I’m sure we’ll have money working for us in 48 states and Puerto Rico.)

Our primary source of income is my weekly paycheck from being the best darn software engineer this side of the pond behind our apartment. I started in this position right out of college a year and a half ago, and after an annual raise and promotion, I’m now bringing in regular pay of just over $60,000 a year. Even though I’m salaried, my employer also pays us some overtime–half time for every hour after the 45th each week. Our primary customer is the Federal Aviation Administration, and our product is a suite of air traffic control software that has been keeping planes in the sky for decades. Because my workload depends heavily on the performance of our software at the customer’s sites (software works, quiet day; software breaks, OMGWTFLOL), I can have a 40-hour week with not a dime of overtime one week and an 80-hour week with gobs of extra cash the next.

This past week and the next, with most of my department off until the end of the year, I’m looking at 80 hours easy each week. Why am I not off with them? It’s certainly not because I don’t have vacation time coming. Here comes Nick’s Dirty Little Secret #1: I don’t know the meaning of the word “vacation.” I can take off a hundred days and I will find something resembling work to occupy most of my waking hours. I guess you can call me a “workaholic,” except I prefer the term “relaxation challenged.”

Tegan, my loving, beautiful, and patient wife, is in college part-time studying to become a teacher. With the rest of her time, she takes care of her “child” (me) and puts in some hours working at the Krispy Kreme a five-minute walk from our apartment. She makes a respectable $7.00 an hour for hanging around the most delicious food in the world. Occasionally she’ll break the 40-hour mark after which she starts making time-and-a-half. Since she’s between semesters right now, she’s been working full time, but that’ll probably stop when school restarts in late January.

I feel I should mention that Tegan has the best benefit of any job in the world: free doughnuts. Surprisingly, I actually weigh less than I did when she started the job. I must metabolize torus-shaped foods well.

Tegan and I are newly wed, and since weddings in both our families are big events, our wedding carried quite the price tag–a price tag paid for 95% by yours truly. Even at the expense of half our savings, the wedding was amazing and totally worth every penny. One day I’ll share some of our money-saving tips for those brides- and grooms-to-be out there.

That covers the vast majority of our income. We make some money from high-yield savings accounts and investments, but we’re pretty new to both games, so those will come into play much more in 2006. I’ll talk about those accounts as well as our costs of living in my next couple of entries.

Tegan says hi! Oooh, she has doughnuts! Sprinkled are my favorite…

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