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when doing the 'right thing' just doesn't pay enough...


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  • when doing the 'right thing' just doesn't pay enough...

    sooo... my truck needs a new tranny. Or, I need a new truck. Mechanic god, whom I trust implicitly, says: "I don't want to tell you what to do... and I'll put in a new transmission for you... but... you're probably going to need some pretty significant engine work before too long... and you might want to think about dumping this and getting something else."

    Easy for him to say.

    Three years ago I gave up my career of more than a decade, to work in Public Safety. Back then, when I bought the truck, the payment was less than one week's TAKE HOME pay. I won't be making that for another 3 years where I am now.

    At the time it seemed the right thing to do. I was dissillusioned by the direction TV News was taking (I was a producer/director/TD) and in fact they cancelled my NEWS for Gerry Springer and that's what helped me make the decision...

    Now I've got FOUR JOBS, well, three and currently non-paying FTO, and I'm still not making the bills. I stopped in at the "no-one-turned-down-for-credit-GUARANTEED" car place... and they can't do a thing for me. The Dodgemonster has a year of payments left, about 5k. According to blue book, even with the minor body work it needs, *and* accounting for not-perfect mechanics, it's worth closer to $7k. But I've got old bad credit from college, and now I simply don't make enough. Even with the other two paying jobs. I must have: truck, 4wd, beyond that, I don't even care if it has airconditioning for the 2 days a year I need it up here. (o.k., so it's nice for road trips... but... )

    I work FT as a Dispatcher, I'm a Reserve Deputy, I work PT Admin Assist at a Muni PD and I'm on-call with a unique program between Catholic Charities and the State Police. I literally work 7 days a week, even though 2 of them are "on-call" (but those are ON CALL for 48 hours straight!) I simply can't work any more hours physically. I don't live beyond my means at ALL. No movies, no going out, no LIFE. My expenses are mortgage, fuel oil, electricity, fuel for the truck and truck payments. I do have a small farm which normally pays for itself, this year (bad economy, no one buying) it's costing me about $50 a week. But that's $50 a week that most people spend just on entertainment.

    ...sigh... just looking for commiseration I guess. I know I'm not the only one that's chosen border-line poverty in order to work in LE. I just don't get why it has to be so damn hard.

  • #2
    Cancelled for Gerry Springer would be the last straw Good luck with finding a vehicle. I hate car shopping.


    • #3

      [ 04-04-2003, 08:40 PM: Message edited by: Frank Booth ]


      • #4
        Frank has the right idea here.

        If you were making more money working at your previous job and make a lot less now, you need to find ways to reduce your expenses. You simply cannot afford to live at the same level you used to.

        If your income goes for only the items you mention and you still do not have a surplus at the end of the month, there is a problem. My first guess would be that your mortgage is what's really hurting you. What's your home worth now? If it's over 2.5 times your current yearly income, you are asking for trouble staying there. Maybe you should be looking at an apartment, a smaller house, or a condo. If the farm meerly 'pays for itself,' then sell it. If it normally makes you a good deal of money, don't sell it. There is no reason to put many hours of hard work into agricultural work if it doesn't make you more than you could make working extra hours at your regular job(s).

        You work four jobs. Is there a way you could just work overtime at one or two jobs and ditch the others? One of my coworkers has a second job, which precludes her from working overtime (for more money) at her main job. This just does not make good economical sense.

        [ 12-04-2002, 07:08 PM: Message edited by: PatrickM98 ]


        • #5
          mortgage is embarassingly cheap. Less for 8.5 acres than I paid for a 2 room apt in the city. Even including taxes & utilities, still about $75 less a month than renting the cheapest apt. (I own the land outright, only mortgaged the house, mortgage is $45k... you do the math)

          Normally the farm pays for itself (taxes, feed, expenses) and nice little extras like a night out... I only use the entertainment as an example because it's frustrating that I know people who drink more on a Friday night than I pay for feed/bedding etc. It's a bad year though for everyone I know... ONE sale and I'm back pretty much on track, just haven't made that one sale yet.

          The Deputy gig doesn't pay 'till I'm complete FTO. That's been a big expense too, all my gear, vest, sidearm etc. After I'm off FTO, details are decent pay. Oh, and I will get to write off all that stuff I bought, and I'm so pitiful, I'll get back 90% of it.

          I used to work more OT at primary job, but I'll eat my glock if I work any more hours there than I have to right now. Hard work and dedication are not exactly rewarded, you make the old-timers look bad... long story, but for my sanity it's better to make a few bucks an hour less at the second paying job. The third-paying job is on-call. Only $50 a week, but heck, that's $50 a week for doing nothing (and sometimes even working job #2) and it does pay for callout and expenses...

          sigh... it's just frustrating. I have a budget, I stick to it. I get by week to week, but when a major crisis happens... I wonder what I was thinking back when I switched jobs. If I wasn't doing this, I'd be teaching, and I do know that's the one other career where I'd be working MORE and getting paid even LESS. lol.

          This world is not suited to lowish-income single people. Now, if I just had an illegitimate child, I'd qualify for all sorts of fuel assistance, food stamps, housing subsidies... Seriously, I was fine when I was single and upwardly mobile. Now that I'm in civil service/public safety... BLECH.

          oh... and Frank, what retirement? That's FUNNY. Took out the profit sharing after I left job #1 to buy the farm. Job #2 (lateral-promotion move) has such a piddling amount in it I'd have to pay *them* by the time I got through the early withdrawal penalties. Haven't started paying into any retirement in this job since it's so low right now... gotta think about it soon. But, I'm like Scarlett O'Hara... I'll always have my land.

          Just for giggles, what does dispatch pay in other parts of the country? Up here starting is around $10 an hour, and top step is $15. Pretty pathetic if you ask me... considering the gravity of what we do.


          • #6
            Just for giggles, what does dispatch pay in other parts of the country? Up here starting is around $10 an hour, and top step is $15. Pretty pathetic if you ask me... considering the gravity of what we do.

            No opening for dispatchers here. Not that they don't need them, the staff there hasn't been fully manned in over 10 years. The turnover rate is so high the city cops only use about 8 10-codes because dispatchers are seldom employed there long enough to remember them.

            BTW, the cops start at around $28k. This is completely inadequate, even for a 21 year old with no real responsibilities. They're hiring if anybody's interested.


            Last online ad I saw for dispatch listed starting pay at less than $20k. If I remember correctly, it was around $18k. The cost of living here is high enough to make that salary a serious insult to the people who do that job.

            What's really sad is that I make more than 3 times what a cop does here, and all I do is cut grass for a living.
            "But if it be a sin to covet honor, I am the most offending soul alive." from Henry V, by Wm. Shakespeare


            • #7

              [ 04-04-2003, 08:41 PM: Message edited by: Frank Booth ]


              • #8
                If I wasn't doing this, I'd be teaching, and I do know that's the one other career where I'd be working MORE and getting paid even LESS. lol.

                I hear ya, brother! LOL
                "When you guys get home and face an anti-war protester, look him in the eyes and shake his hand. Then, wink at his girlfriend, because she knows she's dating a *****."
                -Commanding General, 1st Marine Division


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Frank Booth:
                  [QB] How much money do you make being a reserve deputy?


                  SouthPaw (reserve deputy)


                  • #10
                    Yikes 10 dolla?

                    Generally dispatchers start out no lower than $14./hr but generally they start between $16-18/hr up here in Minnesota. They actually make REALLY good money up here. Ready for cold winters deputy?
                    Oh... Oh... I know you di-int!


                    • #11
                      southpaw took the words right out of my mouth...



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