Bumbling Along

There I sit, and ponder my future.
It was nice to drive today, to get the vehicle home, and leave it in its place for the next two weeks : Easter holidays, what a good invention. We all were weary, time for a break.
I bought some necessities, went home, and called it a day. Tomorrow I’ll have to take care of my household, I’ll write an application, and sometime later I will go travelling to Suebia, maybe on Sunday or on Monday, no stress.
The Knights have always been good to me. I like my job, and I have a good rapport with my boys, my passengers, the parents, the colleagues. Some months ago we were greeted by custom officers in the morning when we drove into the “Zentrum” where our kids go. The officers looked at us, we looked at them – for me, it was that. Nobody asked me something. Some other colleagues were picked out, I think they simply counted the coaches, and went for every fifth or so.
The last pay was lower than usual. In the case of my co-driver and me not too much, but lower, for no obvious reason. I was told, when I started, that there is a formula (it is part of my contract) so that it is absolutely clear & comprehensible how the monthly pay is calculated, and what to expect every month – also & especially when we do not drive through vacancies. It depends on one’s “Tour”, mileage, time, the effort ; hours, and minimum wage. It was good practise and worked through the last years, gave security to co-driver and driver : You simply knew what to expect.
But the customs saw this different. Without boring details, it boils down to that there is now a factor of chance, something accidentally, that was not there before. And it is always to our bad. It simply means that one can not count on a fixed income by this job anymore : It can become obviously and noticeably less. Of course not more. And because this depends not on the personnel in the vehicle – we are simply there and do our job, for heaven’s sake ! – it is a bit of a gamble now. Nobody likes this.
Additionally, it hurts that this change was communicated very badly. Basically not at all, and tempers flared a bit in mid-March when all of a sudden less than expected (and promised) money came in. There was a big “Sorry – my mistake, at all !” by the man responsible, but it left a bad taste. The climate changed. And, what is worse, there is still no clear explanation.
Because of all this I have no qualms of writing an application for a job in a totally different region – it is Suebia of course, as you, venerable reader, may already have guessed – and have no scruples to make plans for moving. I am not totally “inept of life”, like Benjamin was, but a lot of things need to be taken into consideration – and I have to make meself familiar with these things, simply because I am basically a territorial, non-moving entity. But æons ago this blog started when I moved here, so it is not impossible that I will move again. I just need a chance, and I must be attentive & keen enough to see & grab it.
I only hope that my brains are still up to task.

10 thoughts on “Bumbling Along

  1. I wish you all success, dear friend! We here are waiting for “the go ahead” on a project, but not a move, so I understand the need for a chance and the ability to grab it! xoxo

  2. There’s nothing like a fixed income for financial security, but when it changes and one doesn’t have an inkling when or how it will change, it must be most disconcerting. Perhaps this is the “kick” required to continue your life in Suebia? Just be sure to continue to blog if you do move!

  3. Such “glitches” are, for some, a minor and temporary upset. But sometimes, it can be devastating, especially a financial glitch.
    I hope you see it all sorted and settled soon.

  4. Oh, that is horrible about the variable pay. I am shocked as I thought German laws protected workers better than this. Best wishes with the job application.

  5. Oh, how I hated this, when all is set & done and you have to wait for “the nod”. But it was even worse when the nod finally came and you start & get it rolling, and no cash comes in because some admin crap, that’s the moment when one really likes to go berserk … but I am not a free lancer anymore, I just try to get my a*** covered, and land a job so that I can start there. All me best wishes for the MITM and You, dearest Savannah ! (I only hope it’s not the deepestdarkest Africa again, but a less difficult region.)

    It is definitely a kick IDV, and a most perceptible one. I’m not in my twenties anymore, I need some reliability. And no fear, the blog stays where it is, it’s just me moving a bit around – the wonder called interwebs.

    In a way I am angry Dinahmow, not so much about the change itself, but because of the lousy communication. I mean it is not as if we would not see each other for ages, in fact the dispatcher and “we”, all drivers, meet regularily on a weekly basis. I am not the most senior, but I am one of the few employed with a real full contract, so a little bit of explanation beforehand would have been fine.
    I have no clue how large the “glitch” is, how all this sorts out, but anyway, I already knew that I’d have to move, and as IDV already said, it is the kick.

  6. Can only say something as far as I understand it – and I have no clue about employment law & bookkeeping, sorry.

    I think it is a farce in this special case LẌ. The Knights had a simple thing going : For all “fall outs” / Ausfälle – that is when a driver does not drive to a place, when a part of the “Tour” is not done because the kid / passenger is ill (so less kilometers, less time spent), when the driver is ill or takes time off – GOd, whatever ! – there was a fixed amount of time (and hence money) calculated in. Time missing from / by us, drivers, that is. This was deduced.
    So for a “Tour” a time is found, kilometers and time (“Kilometrierung”, when at the start the driver writes down exactly the kilometers, time and date, where are you when, who embarks when etc.) are fixed, and on this basis a price is calculated (and what you earn). And from what is found there, the fixed amount for “missing” – as mentioned above, when the driver does not come up because a passenger falls ill, or the codriver is drunk in the bathroom, anyways, less than three hours – was deduced. A value found by experience. They did not suck this from their thumbs, but experience told that this (these 2.8 hours) would be a realistic thing.
    But it is a fixed thing, a standard value. And for whatever reasons the custom officials told the Knight’s Dispatcher that this is a big no-no : No fixed value. Single settlement : Because what you (The Knights) monthly account (to the parents) is variable. Hence the drivers shall only get payed for what they really work : If a kid is ill for two weeks, and the driver does not drive to the kid’s place, this is what you bill the parents less – so the driver can’t have his fix and shall have less : What you reduce your customers must be handed through / down to the guys / idiots who do the work.
    Actually I have five boys in my vehicle, if two are sick for a week, and hence I do not drive to their place, my co-driver and me will earn less. Nobody, my co-driver, my fellow drivers, nobody knows, how much less. All we know is that what shold have according to our fine formula in the contract is crap, it will be less. And it seemingly depends upon the illnesses of the kids we are driving.
    What one could call this an alleatorical moment.
    Or plainly shit.
    That is exactly what The Knights tried to avoid at all costs. That is exactly the reason why other providers do their jobs with one driver only and vehicles stuffed to the brim with kids. These colleagues only can make a living by driving as much as possible with as much kids in the car as possible, so that one or two missing for some days are of no consequence.
    But with The Knight’s actual model of billing something like two kids off for a week does hurt the driver’s income. So the “law protecting the worker” is in this respect, and in this case, just a farce. The Knight’s model would be better for all of them, drivers, co-drivers (the other providers skipped them), kids (not so crowded), parents (continuity, good rapport with the kids) – but it would cost more. All institutions involved only do reduce costs, and do not care for service.
    Anyway, according to the law – at least as I am told & just now undertand it – it has to be handed down. So if I am in a village in bumf*** Hohenlohe at 06:30 and one of the kids I have to collect there is ill, I will earn less, despite the fact that I get up at the same time, do drive the same distance, and in the afternoon (when I bring them back home) also have no less effort – forget them ten or twenty kilometers less, that’s really not a point.
    IF this is reality – I simply do not know it. All I know is that over the last four weeks some of my boys were ill, and I simply did less kilometers as usual. Nobody explained to me what this will mean. All I know from a pretty vague statement of the management is that things will change. What that means in my pocket I will learn at the fifteenth of April, no clue what I’ll find on my account. What we – co-driver and me – already found were thirty € less – as far as we remember it was one boy out for a few days. If this is a model, we’ll have not too much left next month, because some boys were off for some days, it adds up.
    And this is shit. I do drive a certain “line”, whether somone boards or not. And besides, my income can not depend on the health of disabled kids.
    As much as I love them boys and all, I do not get up in the ddm for fun, I need to make a living from this. And if all this sinks under a certain margin, it’s simply curtains, sorry to be blunt.
    Thank you for the good wishes LẌ, I think I need them !

  7. I am cheering you on as you take steps towards a positive change. The hardest thing to do is to move on after doing something for while. Change is good. It’s an adventure. And you’ll never know unless you try. Follow your instincts. I know you’ll do whatever is best for you. Good luck!

  8. I think what all our friends have said is right. You have to have a job the fulfills at least your basic needs and then some or you’re working at a loss. Good luck with the new job. I know moving and job hunting are both energy draining, but they both pay off.

  9. It seems that you have to keep the boys healthy if you want to get paid. Do you not have some sort of union you can consult…. or something like our Citizen’s Advice Bureau?
    Meanwhile, I wish you the best of luck on your new adventure…. I am almost in the same boat… my pay has been all over the show for the past 6 months… but I don’t feel equipped to do anything new, and I am beginning to panic.
    A BIG THANK YOU FOR THE POSTCARD!!! It made me smile.

  10. Yes, an adventure, this is what I tell meself, Eroswings. My instinct says it’s time to move on. And to go to another region, too. Now I just need a little bit of luck …

    It is nothing and pales in comparison to what you are preparing for, dear MrPeenee. But if I should move this summer, it would be a nice chance to get rid of stuff too.

    No union here, dearest MsScarlet, I wouldn’t even know which one to turn to ? Ah yes, panic – sometimes a good motivator, but one must be able to contain this wild animal from some point onwards, otherwise one may turn blind, and end up somewhere in the nowhere.
    Great to learn that it arrived !

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