Monthly Archives: May 2009

…Lives to Work Another Day

Well, I remain, at least for the near duration, employed. I survived my 24-month anniversary.

Getting to work this morning was an uphill battle, naturally. I didn’t want to get out of bed. Dragged my feet getting out the door. Blanked out on the drive to work, dreading the day’s potential unfoldings. I arrived, walked through the lobby, and approached the locked door to my lab. I swiped my contractor badge at the card reader and cringed, hoping the light would turn green. With a modicum of relief, I was granted access.

According to my manager, he and his manager are working to get an employment position open for me, hopefully before the end of this quarter. The more I talk to them, the more I believe it. At this point, I have no option but to believe and cling to that hope. And since they’re going the extra miles to bring me on board, I’m hoping that I can live up to their expectations. I come from a short line of “oh, don’t trouble yourself over me, I’ll be fine”, so you can kinda see my trepidations.

With all the stress of not knowing if I’m going to finish out another paycheck without it being my final one, I’ve been all amped up and somber in preparation for the worst, with a short list of contingency plans should the worst actually happen. Luckily, it hasn’t happened, but time will tell. HR may have a dirty trick up their sleeve.

Take a Picture. Hope It Lasts Longer.

It’s been a while since I wrote something here. Let’s see…I went to see Nine Inch Nails and Jane’s Addiction at the Erwin Center a few weeks ago. I had bad seats, but the show was good regardless. The extreme strobelights on stage during the NIN set were unbelievable, and sorta gave me a headache. I’m just glad I’m not an epileptic with a floor seat. The venue site said cameras were allowed, so I took mine. Tons of people took theirs. I shot a ton of pictures; a handful are even what some would consider “good”. Amazing.

My problem with cameras — and I’ve discovered this the past few shows I’ve taken my camera to — is that my attention ends up getting split between my camera (and the technical and aesthetic aspects thereof) and the actual show itself. I don’t remember some of the show because I was too focused on my camera, and some of the joy of being there is diminished. As a further injury, almost everyone has cameras, and almost everyone is taking pictures of the exact same thing I am…so my pictures are close to worthless to anyone but me. Do a search on Flickr for Austin NIN|JA and you’ll find at least 100 photostreams with shots 100 times better than mine.

I had a great time, but the camera thing gets to be too much. Does that make any sense?

So, what else? It’s Memorial Day weekend, which means I have three days off. Three unpaid days off. Life as a permanent contractor has its downside. I don’t get paid sick leave. I haven’t had a vacation in three years (and I wouldn’t even call that a vacation…I went to Texarkana for that trip). If I don’t work, I don’t get paid. It’s that simple. After the paycut I got a few months ago, I’m living just below my means, so I can’t really afford to not go to work.

That being said, this Wednesday the 27th is my 24-month anniversary as a contractor at AMD. This is important to me, and scary for certain reasons. AMD’s human resources rules state that contractors cannot work beyond 24 months, unless certain conditions apply. At such a time, the contractor should’ve already been converted to a permanent employee, or they’re walked out the door. Luckily, I have a certain condition, but it is my hope that HR will continue to let it apply: back in February, I got a six-month extension on my contract, which puts me three months beyond my anniversary. Which means I’m done after August 27 if I’m not converted already.

My hope, my prayer if you will, is that I am not unceremoniously walked out the door this Wednesday. I’m kinda in-between projects, and it would make sense if they did, but my managers keep talking about future projects. The contract I’m working under isn’t between me and AMD…it’s between AMD and Volt Technical Services, the company I actually work for. Whenever HR deems, they can end Volt’s contract for my services, and that is perhaps the shittiest part of contracting. I am not an employee – I am a capital expense.