Wednesday, July 13, 2005

One more day for the pics…

I did something to my back yesterday, I’m not exactly sure what, but it was ‘not happy’ today. I got up this morning intending to head off to work like I normally do, but as I rolled out of bed I had extreme difficulty just standing up.

So, I took some muscle relaxants and an anti inflammatory and emailed the boss letting her know I would be working from home. Normally, the meds kick in, the pain subsides enough to let me work and as long as I don’t have to move around a lot, things are fine.

The morning went pretty well, I got some progress made on a couple of the items on my plate, but then, around 1:00 or 1:30 I became extremely tired. So I thought I’d lie down, take some weight off of my back and get back to work in an hour or so. Well, I woke back up around 7:00 tonight with us in the middle of one of those weather channel ‘severe thunderstorms’. Needless to say, not much else at all got done for a while, and certainly no ‘electronic’ work.

I’m glad you all like the story about Frank. He was a character, of that there’s no doubt, and one I’m glad crossed my path. He was one of those people, who, if you’re around them, can get you thinking everyone is like they are.

The employer I’d had before going to work for Frank had cheated me out of nearly $20,000 (This was in 1976 folks, at lot of money today, a ton of money then). As a result, I’d become rather cynical when it came to promises prospective employers made me. Frank sort of ‘restored my faith’, in that he never, one time, ever told me anything that wasn’t 100% on the money. Despite only working for him a short time, he and his ‘way’ had a lasting impact on my life.

The guy who cheated me, well, he too taught me a very important lesson. There’s a large difference between earning, and receiving money. Prior to working for Mike, like most people, I’d gone to work and each week got paid for that week. Mike’s deal was a little different in that it was a ‘commission’ job. That means, in theory, I’d get paid a percentage of every sale made in my territory.

For me, this was (I thought) an incredible opportunity. I could go out, work hard and get paid in line with my efforts and success. The truth is, I was pretty happy. I was making more money than I’d ever made, I was setting sales records in the territory and I was having a lot of fun.

Things came to a head, because Mike got a little greedy. At the end of the year my 1099 (which is the independents version of the W-2) was about $20K higher than the checks he’d sent me. In and of itself, not a big thing, especially if I had a bonus check he was holding, or some other clerical oversight. The biggest problem was, I would be paying taxes on that $20K, and I had never seen the money!

A fairly large battle followed, I quit and opened the shop in Oneida, lawyers got involved and eventually I got about half of what he owed me. I could have gotten it all, but the court/lawyer fees were more than I could have ‘fronted’. Mike was a multi-millionaire, I wasn’t, he had a law firm on retainer, and I had a lawyer working by the hour.

When it’s all said and done, the lesson was worth far more than the money.

Anyway, I’m not sure what corner of my mind that all crept out of tonight, as I rarely think about him and those times, preferring to leave it one of those closed chapters of my life.

Tomorrow, I’ll process all the pics off the camera, and write up a narrative to let you know what you’re looking at. I enjoy sharing my progress on this project with you all, your comments and encouragement help me stay focused on moving forward.

Thanks again for stopping by and for taking the time to let me know what you’re thinking!


Joy said...

Im not sure what type of backpain you suffer from Bill but I know one thing I found that works far better then I ever expected. Its those peel and stick heating pads they sell now. You cant get all crazy wearing them though because they are only a security blanket method, the pain goes away but dont go doing any cartwheels because you feel better for a moment. If the pain is bad enough those usually work long enough to wait for the meds to kick in. Hope you feel better asap!

Trevor Record said...

Oh my god, that is really crappy Bill. People like Mike are al too common.

Bill said...

Joy - Thanks, I am feeling much better thanks... My back pain is part of the ongoing payments for the 'sins of my youth'... rather than complain though, I'm just glad to be here, and making those payments! I have, and use those 'patches', I've found they work especially well for wuscle strains!

Trevor - It was crappy... but I'm a lot more careful ever since to make sure I'm getting what was promised, and "getting out early" when it's obvious I'd been mislead!! It's live and learn... I hope to keep learning for a long time yet!!

Beth said...

I hope you're feeling a lot better now, Bill!

Karyn Lyndon said...

Hope you're getting better so we can see those pics!

Spirit Of Owl said...

Get well, and look after yourself there on in. If you have to use a power tool, use a power tool! LOL

The Mike's of this world. Oh, ptooey. I weary of them, and we all know anyway. Scumbags.

Looking forward to the pics!

Whit said...

I worked for a woman once who sounds like Mike's evil female twin. I recall a time once when our accountant-type person was gone, and for some reason I was going through expense reports, and noticed some rather LARGE irregularities that favored her (definitely not the clients), so I asked her about it. Try as she might to explain it, I continued to stand firm and said that I cold not in good conscience proceed with that. (We're talking charged 2-3 clients for the same First Class plane ticket which she didn't even pay for to begin with! I finally said that I would not put my name or initials on that expense report or the accompanying billing statement. And you know what, she never EVER asked me to do anything with regard to accounting again.

People can be completely smarmy and greedy and may have lost out on $10K (*gulp*), but I am betting that you are able to live with yourself that you were in the right and did an honest day's work.

(Hope your back feels better!)

Firehawk said...


It's a sad fact that we all get taken for a ride, big time, at least once in our lives. The rule with employers seems to be that they'll take advantage of you if they see a way. Whether it's not paying you at a proper wage for the job you're doing, shorting you on hours, or flat cheating you out of cash, it's very common.

Hope you back feels better, man. That's a real drag to be sidelined for any "not feeling good" reason. Look forward to the pics!

Bill said...

GK & Karyn - I am, and thanks.. unfortunately the work load and the meds have kept me from my 'pics' chores!!

Spirit - I definitely use a 'power tool' whenever possible!!

Whit - Mike wasn't the 'only' person/employer to not make good on monetary promises... he was just the first! You're right though, choosing to do the right thing let's ya sleep pretty well most nights!!

Firehawk - Yes it is a sad "fact of life"... However, sometimes the 'ride' is worth the cost, and, like I said, this lesson was worth every penny!! I'm doing much better today.. I'm hoping to get back to a more normal schedule tonight and forward!

Master of None said...

That must have been a good lesson learned if it was worth $20,000! I'd settle for being ignorant and richer.

Cylithria™ said...

Oh bill, I'm sooooo sorry to hear about your back!!! I think back pain has got to be one of the worst to bear. I'm sure Maryann is taking great care of you though....

I hope you both have a great weekend :)

erin said...

I hope you're feeling better and that we get a break from the heat and the evening storms soon. I've always loved thunderstorms, but this may be too much of a good thing.

Bill said...

MasterOfNone - You may be right, but I suspect that lesson has saved me far more than it cost over the years, and, at the time, it was money I hadn't spent, yet.

Cyli - Thanks, and Maryan takes very good care of me all the time... and goes over the top when I'm not feeling 100%.

Erin - I love T'storms too... but I'd give up a few of those wonderful light shows for a break in the heat and humidity (either one actually!)

Comfort Addict said...

Ouch. My back hurts just hearing about yours. My pain tends to come in the middle. It probably happens because of trombone playing or bad posture or both. Fortunately, it hasn't happened lately.

Bill said...

CA - Mine gets sore in the mid back if I stand and bend over slightly for long periods. Like when I'm cleaning up the shop and sorting stuff out on the workbench.

So I try to avoid that and 'clean as I go'!

I'm feeling much better by the way, thanks for the well wishes!