Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Income! yeah!

Well I was going to write about the emotional roller coaster that my financial problems bring me. However I guess more important news deserve an interruption of the planned schedule.
A couple of months ago I did some IT work for a company in the US that has hired a Honduran sofware development company. They needed to network both locations and so I was called since people on both companies know me. That was just random money that I used to pay some part of my debt.
The Honduran company moved to a new, cheaper location and needed help in setting up the networking again so I was called to do it. Then a few weeks later they changed internet provider and again I had to reflect that change in their network.
Finally the US company had a failure on their internet connection and was using an alternate connection and I was called once more to reconnect them both. I was lucky or know more than I think and was able to reestablish communications very fast.
And so the IT head in the US company started to email me about my time availability. He knew me from a previous visit to Honduras and knew me from a job interview many many years ago in which aparently I made a good impresion on him since he still remembered me.
I told him I was available on mornings and explained to him my internet accesability at home.
Then out of the blue he called last friday and said "Hey, do you want to be our new IT support guy?". After a bit of explaining I said yes and to cut it short I have to say that this past monday I started working mornings for them. I go to the Honduran company offices to connect to the US company's network and do IT support from there.
This job pays $16/hour. My friend from MO (my job guardian angel of sorts) says that i'm a very cheap IT support cost for the US company even if doing this work remotely entails some logistical problems.
If I work 4 hours every day (8am to noon) at their location, plus an extra hour on the day for being "on call" for problems that come up during the afternoon hours, which I would tend to at night, it means $80/day for doing the type of work that know how to do. For a "quincena" it means I would look at $800 or $1600 a month. I'm very happy. Very happy. I see myself going to the banks and paying my credit card debt and the phone calls stopping.
There two concerns I have. One is burnout. I'm waking up at 6:30am to drive my girls to school and then come back home to get ready for work. I drive during the terrible rush hour and as much as I try to get in at 8:00, i've only managed to get in at 8:30 so that cuts a half hour of my morning time. Fortunately I can recover that time at night. However at noon I have just one hour to get lunch either by driving back home or eating somewhere in the vincinity of my day job. Both jobs are very near each other so going home to eat lunch is not something I look forward too from the expense point of view. Then I have to get in to my other job at 1pm and work here until 9pm, then drive home and be with my family and do some odd stuff until I go to bed at about midnight.
I'm getting support from my family , mom and dad in that they are happy that I will be able to pay more of my debt. They don't know how deep in debt I am but they know part of it so they are happy. I'm getting some support from my wife, she doesn't like the fact that she won't see me mornings now and maybe not even for lunch but she understand that we need the money. She says she does need some of that money to buy clothes for the girls because their clothes are almost rags at this point. I've learned that I have to make my own mind on how much money to spend or otherwise she would spend most of it.
I've arranged with my wife and girls that I will try to get as much sleep as I can on friday and saturday nights, let's see how well that works out in practice.
The other concern is job stability. When they hired me they told me I would be an interim IT guy. So those $1600/month could be for one month, two months or who knows. However today I chatted with the IT head at the US company and I asked him to explain to me what he meant by interim. He says it meant that if I like the job and we (they and me) can make it work logistically then I could be permanent. Otherwise they would look for a IT guy to work over there.
He also stated that he know I have skills not only for IT support but also for software development so he would like to keep me and so when the IT support requests die down from time to time then I could switch gears and help with the software development, either in testing, documenting or actually writing software.
He makes it look like he wants me there for the long haul. However I have the feeling that it's not entirely his decision and so someone higher up will be watching to see if a part-time/on-call IT support guy for about $19,200.00 is worth the logistical difficulties of me being here and the equipment being over in the US.
I know that almost no job is guaranteed in the the US so I just hope to be able to hang in there for as long as possible to make a big a dent as possible on my debt.
For now all other income options, except for the calling service at are mostly on hold. I think I have to concentrate on just a couple of things that make me the most money for my time.
I still have a commitment to a US friend to help him finish an application for which he would pay me $8,000 once it's completed and paid for. That I will still continue at nights but he is hard to reach at times and so that money will come slowly since we are slow in making progress with that because i'm learning a new language with him and because we have difficulty finding times to talk about the project. Eventually I will know enough that he will be able to let go of me and I will finish on  my own. For now I feel it will take at least another month of emails, chats and calls to pour his knowledge on my head. Then I will know how much time it will take for me to finish that application by working only one or two hours per night on it. We are using a new language that is supposed to make programming faster so I'm counting on that to make up for the learning curve.
What do you think? I'm happy for the new job and the money that I will mostly send to pay my debt. I hope it allows me to sleep better.  As LG stated in one of her comments, my current main job income barely covers my monthly expenses so I have little of that left to pay off debt. So this job I hope it last long enough to get my debts paid in full or at least cut the down to a manageable size that I can finish off paying with some other source of income. What do you think about my concerns about burnout and job stability ?
I wish I could write some more since there is lots more to write about but this post is long enough as it is.
Well at least this blog is free. Have a good day


Jacinta Mucosa said...

That's great, AJ. I think it was a smart choice to focus your time on the most profitable jobs. You're on your way to financial freedom.

La Gringa said...

This is great news (and what a contrast with your other post).

I hope the job lasts as long as you want it to last. Do be careful of getting burned out. And try to pay off the highest interest rate cards first. You'll get the quickest benefit from your dollars (or lempiras) that way.

Oh, and just between you and me, ;-), keep a rein on your wife! I'm sure that your daughters' clothes are not rags!

Keep your eye on the goal and don't be too soft-hearted. You are making a great sacrifice by working two jobs, the rest of the family needs to understand that they need to make some sacrifices, too.

One thing you might do is to set some mini-goals. For example, when the debt is paid down to L.xx,xxx, then we can spend on clothes. Whatever you do, don't charge them!

My dad used to say, "Money doesn't grow on trees!"