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There’s a lot of things I wanted to talk about when I wrote my Balloon Day post on Tuesday. . It’s a quick summary of where I am now, but it doesn’t cover everything. I need a sounding board. There are so many things up in the air. Forgive my rambling...

We’ve been in some level of Lockdown since 23rd March 2020. DH works upstairs in the box room (aka “the study”) and I’ve set my desk up on the dining room table.

Most of our day-to-day habits haven’t been changed by Lockdown; we’ve been LBYM-ing for years. We used to take our lunches to work, now we eat them while watching Bargain Hunt and the lunchtime news bulletin. My choir meets via Zoom on a Monday, instead of in person for rehearsals. We watch football and cricket on the telly instead of going to matches. (We got lucky and scored tickets to the only match that Chelsea has played this season in front of supporters. 2,000 people present.). We play table-top RPG’s via Discord and Roll-20 a couple of times a month, instead of meeting up with people “at the club”. I’ve filled up the car 5 times since the first Lockdown.

DH’s job finishes at Easter. He’s been working as an IT Trainer in the local government of a medium sized town about 25 miles away. It was a fixed term contract and the IT department decided not to renew the funding for him. (DH was officially in HR, but IT paid for him.). He’s been there 2.5 years. He interviewed for a job in a Government agency on Monday and they’ve already told him they want him back for a second interview. So far, so good.

The fact that I’m employed at the moment is pretty much down to luck: my good luck and someone-else’s bad. I‘ve been contracting at the Swedes since I was made redundant in 2016. In June last year, they gave me a month’s notice. Somehow, I managed to talk them into extending it to the end of September. At the end of August, a colleague suffered a head injury and ended up in Intensive Care for over a month. I was the spare pair of hands and have been covering for her ever since. She started easing back into work a month ago, so there is a probability that my contract won’t be renewed when it expires at the end of June.

I’ve asked to stay. The Swedes are selling our division and the sale will complete on 30th April. The buyers have bought us as stand-alone entity. I reckon the Finance team will need another pair of hands, but it’s wait-and-see. I want a forever employer; I don’t want to be a contractor again.

In the meantime, Britain is implementing a rather nasty tax regulation: IR35. What it means is that instead of contracting through my own limited company, I have been forced to go PAYE through the agency the Swedes use to manage their contractors. In one respect, that will mean a personal pay rise, since I paid myself less than 2/3 of what my company billed. (If you look at headline rates, I know it is a pay cut once the agency take their cut, but in my mind the money in my company was not my money. It was quarantined. I was just the wage slave.)

I’m contemplating winding up the company. I’ve had it for 5 years. The running costs if it is isn’t paying me a salary are a massive £10/month, but there’s no point in keeping it now. It has a 5-month cash “float” in the bank, about £25k. What to do with that, is something I’m mulling over. Last May, I paid £10k into the British equivalent of the 401k; I plan to do the same again. Just have to work out how much. Got to do the statutory accounts first.

Anyway, I ought to shut up now. Thanks for listening. All opinions welcome.

- Pam
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