What a field day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly saying, "hooray for our side"

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The weird games my mind and my perceptions play on me

Yesterday I received my first pay since having a promotion and raise. The raise was significant, and, hey, I"m a senior designer again. But through it all, no one discussed the actual money. At least not with me. When I heard second hand about the amount, I was ecstatic. Like I said, it was significant. I was told it would be $10,000 more.

So, as usual, the math side of my brain started to kick in. That would be an extra $6-$7000 a year. That's almost a motorcycle. Whoopie! We could do that, or finally go on a decent vacation. Yeah, one with air travel, somewhere out West or Southwest, or, heck maybe even the Canadian Rockies or Europe. Or we could go back to the more aggressive payment schedule for the house debt and finish out in 3.5 years instead of 5.5. Or, I could get the laptop I've had my eye on, and probably still finish out the loan early. Steve was a happy camper even as he was working his tail feathers off on several "special projects" (ie. projects that need to be done NOW, and projects that take precedent over the other pressing projects - or the reason why when people ask me "When do you think we could accomplish this long-term on-going project?" and I look at them like "How did someone with that level of intelligence get to be a manager?")

However, the raise was $10,000 more than my starting salary, not $10,00 from from current pay. Now, that's still about $8,000 more, or a little over 15% (and what now looks like an extra $4700 a year in take home). But I was very disappointed for some reason. And now I'm not all that happy as I was before (20% less happy? I don't know).

And I know the standard answer to rhetorical questions that hinge on "does this mean" is "yes", but does that make me a dick? Hell, just two weeks ago we had a round of layoffs, of which I was happy to keep my job. And then I get a promotion and an extra 15% in pay and my brain is thinking, "Well, that sucks." WTF is wrong with me? I still can make more aggressive payments on the debt, just not as aggressive as I originally thought. And while it might not be a motorcycle (at least not one less than 8 years old and above 600cc) it still more than what I was working for, and it more than replaces the money lost from the council gig.

Maybe that's the rub, it is just barely over what I made from council (which I lost at the beginning of the year when my term ran out). So, my brain did the long calculation and came up with it only being about 103% raise over what I made last year, and the realization of that was the cause of my not being as happy.

And yeah, I know, I should be damn happy that 1) I have a good paying job and 2) the recognize my value by giving me a good raise and promotion at the same time they're cutting back elsewhere and 3) I continue to have said job in this economy. And 4) I have a job that allows me to pursue (at least financially) my writing habit.


Rick said...

Just keep writing, make a lot of money at it so you can consider "senior designer" a habit and writing your main income.

Mer said...

'Cuz that's what thwarted expectation is like. Doesn't matter if it's still a good deal.

If they had said, "It'll be 5,000 more, you'd be super stoked right now.

Steve Buchheit said...

Hey Rick, well, that's the retirement plan. I know I'm not going to be able to keep the design stuff going all the time (and who knows if I'll have another design job after this one). But the writing part, that I think I can keep doing until I get senile or drop over.

Mer, yes, I'm sure it was the expectation and then not meeting that. It's that reality part of my brain that was interfering saying, "Damn it, you ought to be happy". The cognitive dissonance between the two was causing too much bouncing around. Also, having worked my brains out on the supposed "spring break" wasn't helping much either.