Here I Go Again

packing, suitcase, new home, empty room, moving, starting over

I am making a move one more time in less than 6 months, but hopefully this is where I will put down roots for a while. Although frustrating, it didn’t take me long to cram all my things into two giant suitcases, and my newly acquired books, which I will lug around like chains of academia for the next few years, in a separate carry-on.

Although I have been very excited at the thought of finally having my own space, its actually pretty scary. I have gotten used to my house-share and boring neighborhood, and have made acquaintances at my local gym. It doesn’t help that my last day here was the most beautiful day in London and the fair has just opened at a nearby park.

Well, that is life. Hopefully I will settle into my new place quickly and adjust to a different schedule.

In fact, this week calls for quite a few adjustments. Not only will I be moving tomorrow morning, but I will also be starting new work. I found another “temporary rolling contract” at a company that pays better. These rolling contracts seem to be very popular in Europe; thus I guess its common too, for folks to just roll from one job to another month to month. The labor laws in the U.K and the rest of Europe are quite strict once you are a permanent employee, and that’s for government and private organizations. It is difficult to fire someone once they are given a permanent position and the “benefits” are apparently very expensive.

I’m not sure what benefits an employer pays for its permanent employees, because things like healthcare and pension are provided through the government and the taxes paid by the business and employees. If anything, it seems to be just vacation/holiday pay that an employer would shell out-of-pocket for. In the United States, an employer pays for healthcare insurance for an employee and any dependents he/she may have, as well as its common to pay into their private pension (what we call 401K), alongside what the employee is contributing too. Of course there is the public pension, called social security, which Americans get after the age of 65– but most Americans will have their SS, 401K, and maybe another separate private savings called an IRA to live out their glory days in old age.

But I digress –back to moving into my apartment all by myself, in a strange neighborhood, in a country where I’m not established, and as a single woman if I were to get trapped in an elevator or slip and fall and die, no one would notice that I was missing until a few months have gone by.

OK, maybe I’m being a bit dramatic. But as I continue cleaning up, please enjoy these first (of hopefully many) pictures of my walk around in sunny northern London! For those of you in Europe if you took any pictures today, tweet me or post it on my page!

 

28 thoughts on “Here I Go Again

  1. Permanent employees in UK get a lot of benefits including private healthcare, childcare vouchers, free eye test vouchers etc. Depending on the company you work for, you might also get subsidised gym memberships, discounts for certain things like holidays (if you book through a certain company), supermarkets etc.

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    1. Hhhmmm….good to know! I certainly knew there were some perks. For example, my company advertised some money for college students. But since I was not offered a permanent place to reap those benefits, the wage is so low, as well as I do not enjoy the job — I figured I was wasting my time there. I’d rather volunteer doing something I like, then do something I don’t like.

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  2. Good luck, my online friend 🙂 And don’t be so glum about slipping in an elevator an no one noticing – I’m sure A) That won’t happen and B) You would be missed by many. It’s all a wonderful adventure and there is nothing like the joy of living alone!

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  3. (In the Netherlands) One of the benefits is that if you have a permanent contract an employer needs a very good reason to fire you. If you get sick, they can’t just fire you, they need to start a re integration process where they have to see if they can offer you a different job within the company or they have to guide you in finding a new job. These processes can take up to two year.
    Also, the taxes we pay are being used for a lot a benefits, like subsidy’s when you take your child to daycare (officially 1/3 has to be paid by the employer). Pension is something you save for at a job. In the Netherlands we do have something called AOW, but that is payed for by the government, pension is added to that.
    All this stuff makes it quite expensive to hire someone on a permanent contract.

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    1. Ah, I see. Interestingly enough France just passed some new labor laws to ease some of these restrictions so hopefully can employers can hire more people. Especially about firing people, but to “re-integrate” sounds like a time-consuming/expensive process.

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      1. That’s the reason why a lot of company’s that don’t have a steady workload (like warehouses and logistic company’s) work with a small crew of people that work for the company and a very large ‘flexible’ shell.
        They changed the law here as well. Where the amount of temp contracts is reduced to 3 or 2 years (instead of 3). But instead of people getting steady contracts, they just get fired after 2 years. I’m lucky, I’m on my second contract and if they want to keep me after this I’ll get a steady contract instead of a 3rd temp.

        But yes, the re-intergrations process takes a lot of time and effort, but most of these laws are in place to protect workers.

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      2. So they get “fired” but do they get re-hired? I know the U.S Post Office does the same thing as a temp can only be a temp for one year, so right before your first anniversary, you are fired for five days and then rehired again.

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      3. Before the law changed they could re-hire you again after 3 months, now they can re-hire you after 6 months. The idea was that you would get a normal contract sooner. From what I heard about 1% more of the temps get the normal contract

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      4. Oh wow…I imagine though, this is for low-skilled jobs where they can get an abundance of people for? For professional or high-skilled work, it would be difficult for them to have such a high turn-over rate?

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      5. Mostly it’s for the low-skilled jobs, like order picking and stuff like that. But also in jobs like teaching. A lot of teachers that are just getting started are unemployed during the summer and they can start again at the same position at the start of the new year. But yes, higher-skilled jobs are better. But you often get 2-3 temp contracts before getting a steady one.

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  4. The pension guaranteed by the British state is pretty minimal, so most people need to top it up with or without help from their employer. There’s a fairly new scheme that requires employees and employers to pitch in equally, but how far this goes to plug the gap remains to be seen. As to the health service, a lot of people buy top-up cover privately, particularly in London, and this is often offered as a “perk” to valued employees. So it’s not as different from the US as it may look.

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    1. Right, I was speaking to someone about that today. He has private insurance offered by his job, but that is only to “top-up” what NHS doesn’t deliver, like if he had a very serious medical condition. But he said paying for private insurance, like Bupa, is not worth it. This scheme that you mention about employee/employer contribution to pension sounds exactly like what we have in the States. An employee can choose how much he/she wants to save into it, and an employer will match usually a certain percentage. Only top companies will offer 100% matching with employee contributions.

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  5. Your employer also pays a big contribution towards pension and healthcare through employers NI. If you earn more than a certain amount (£10k pa last time I checked) after three months they must put you in the pension scheme and contribute too even if you’re a temp unless they are a very small company and from 2018 even the smallest employers will have to. You also get paid leave 20 days is legal minimum some people get up to 35 days. Also sick pay and maternity pay. The statutory minimums are low but a decent employer like mine will give you full pay for six months in both cases.

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    1. So now they are giving benefits to those on “temporary rolling contracts” thats fair, because again, so many people I’m meeting have been on these rolling contracts for years with the same employers and they come to work everyday.

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