I thank you all profusely for your insightful remarks. I have only begun to digest your input. I have re-read several posts several times, getting a bit more out of the thinking about them each time. I have received several excellent replies off-line. I also sent this question to some people whom I think know me well enough to understand my comfort levels. It was not my halved job that asked the question of employee vs. subcontractor, but rather what I faced when seeing what opportunities there might be for a second part time job, or a third. Prior to job halved, I considered myself full time. I took many projects home with me to work on outside the office. I invited co-workers to use my home phone # as an extended help desk any time they had a problem. They thought they were paying for 40 hours, but they were getting 50 plus each week at the office and 25 plus from me at home. Now they do not want me doing any home work any more. Now they think they are paying me for 20 hours, and they are getting damn close to that. There is a tiny amount of home work that is unavoidable. Since I am twinax at the office, I use my home PC for some work-related documents, such as access to IBM manuals, and a check list of stuff to do on a recurring basis. With the reduced hours it will be longer between cycles so the check list helps me make sure nothing gets overlooked. They have given me access to a PC at work to access IBM manuals, but I am not allowed to print out stuff there unless get permission for whatever scenario, so what I do is send the url to home PC to print later, because when I surfing, it is pretty much HERE IS SOMETHING CONSTRUCTIVE TO HELP ME - print it & move on. I have got some pay from a second source that I have not yet paid taxes on & my first job says that they can increase my payroll deductions to compensate. I like the idea about not having to do any more paperwork to satisfy government requirements. I not sure yet whether I like the idea of my first employer knowing how much I making from secondary. I might be more comfortable sending check to IRS for say 10% of each check from secondary, as it comes, but IRS probably wants quarterly installments. I probably don't have much time to figure out how to deal with that for first quarter of this year. I enjoy participation on many discussion lists in which I try to give answers that are fair to the person asking the question, biting my tongue only when it would be inappropriate to share some information that is confidential to my employer. In some lists, such as BPCS_L and eThesis, I think I give back more to the community than the education I get from them. But if I am going to be working with a vendor who is a player in the population of the list, then I also have to balance what is fair to the person asking the question with what is fair to the vendor contributing to my income. This is going to impact my comfort level with list participation. I have enjoyed a diversity of job responsibilities: brainstorming; troubleshooting; conversions; develop new applications; modify existing applications; on going projects with many variables; general user tech support; application analysis; programming; testing; operations; security; I would hate to be doing only one of those things. Kenneth's contrasts were a dynamite presentation, in which my score on his scale is smack dab in the middle between the two extremes, which illustrates how neither end is an entirely comfortable place for me. On a few of his examples I was closer to one end than the other, but in the vast majority I was at the middle. I get satisfaction from: the actual work; the deliverables; witnessing co-workers doing their job productively using deliverables that I created. So long as my bills are paid & I am able to sock something away into savings, I would like to keep this up forever, doing work I enjoy doing. Thus I am working for both the money and the satisfaction, not one or the other. I never reach a point where I think a deliverable is perfect. I always see opportunities to further improve it. But the end users are paying for my time & there are lots of other things they might want me to work on, so ultimately they have to say whether it is good enough & I should move on to something else, or consult with me on what further improvements they need. Thus on money's worth vs. deliverables, I am in the middle, passing the buck to the customer to define when it is satisfactory. Some friends have asked if I interested in relocating from Evansville to some other community where they think the jobs market is superior. Well I got here by doing analysis of nice cities to live in, then only job hunting in those cities. For example, the bookstores per thousand population is astronomical, and my apartment has several thousand of each kind of publication. I am not eager to pack this up. The last time I moved, I gave away half my collection to disabled veterans hospital libraries, nursing homes, and such like, then I still had over 10,000 paper backs, and about half that bulk again in hard backs & magazines to move. I estimate that my collection is triple that now. I am almost age 60. One of the reasons I want to stick with the company that halved me is that there are a lot of people working there that are older than me. I have witnessed people who continued to work until after age 80 in which their hours diminished over time & some were doing one day a week for several years before they finally retired. Assuming my duties continue to drift into areas of less stress, then I think that what I do for them is of such a nature that they can continue to mine what I know about their business & computer system as the actual hours diminish. Assuming the economy & company get turned around so that they build up the hours of overall staff, I would expect they would build up customer service, engineering, and other application based positions before needing me to tinker more heavily with some software. The main project I working on right now is disk space consumption analysis to try to identify & get rid of what is not really needed. This involves tens of thousands of tiny objects, and I am seriously considering writing some software to do some of this work for me, especially with respect to what will be a future recurring need. We are on version 4 BPCS which uses new releases of software in library list ahead of earlier version sets, but the exact collection of objects don't match. The largest program is 5 Meg & we have 6 copies. There's tens of thousands of duplicates like that & I figure we can recover approx 750 Meg if I consolidate it all, so my planned software will compare object for object across 2 library versions at a time & if there's a name match, delete the older version. I can already see that I am slowing down. I used to be able to read a several hundred page novel in several hours, reading several novels in one day. Now the same length novel takes me 2-3 days. When I was 30, I was able to do several weeks in a row of 100+ hours no sweat so long as I could focus on doing the work without a lot of friction. There was one year I did a conversion in which I was working 8 am to 2 am Monday through Saturday, then coming in for 6 hours each Sunday ... we were going from a punched card environment to on-line in a home brew environment in which everything had to be re-written & thoroughly tested, in addition to the conversion process. I did our Y2K conversion in 1998 & I would do 80 hours one week & it totally drained me & I would have to limit myself to 2 consecutive weeks of 60 hours before putting in more time. Last year I told my boss that I felt some strain & needed to take some time off. I had no intention or desire for getting this much off. The idea of telecommuting appeals to me, but everyone I have ever met who has a good telecommuting job, they started out as an on site person then migrated into that position. For example, I have had some tech support people who started out in the HQ city of the vendor, then spouse moved job to another city, and now they do the same tech support they did all along, but from a different city & slightly different time zone, which is also to the benefit of the vendor, in having a wider range of service hours. MacWheel99@aol.com (Alister Wm Macintyre) (Al Mac)
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