Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Look At All The Neat Stuff They'll Get!

I started today walking down Queen Street. It's surprising just how slippery Queen Street really is.

It doesn't help that I had on a pair of shoes where the soles have worn down to a smooth surface (and it was raining this morning). Unfortunately, apart from my black leathers (which could also could do with replacing), they're the only shoes I've got. Holes in the tops above my toes give them the appearance of "once well loved". The black leathers are at least passable except that I'm trying my best not to wear them out too much. Between them and my shirt, I can look kind of formal.

At school, I noticed that the thin patch on the knee of my jeans has also frayed into quite a healthy hole.

Whenever I want to dress up, I wear the same shirt. It's my most comfortable shirt and the one which covers everything. i.e. Doesn't have any holes in it.

I'm quite comfortable with the things I have. They do me well. It's just... well... they're all getting just a tad old. Their age is measured in some terribly faithful years. Heaven forbid I have two days in a row where a dress shirt is appropriate or I need shoes with a bit of grip to them (and which don't tear up the back of my feet) or that I need more than one pair of jeans that don't have a hole in them (I really should have a look and see if I even have a suitable pair of dress pants any more).

In other words, I'm starting to look just a tiny bit tatty.

So to top off my day, IRD gave me a call. On my mother's cellphone (I'm playing secretary while she's in India and simply can't afford to top up my phone). Heaven knows what they thought of that. Weird that they'd be calling her.

A couple of years ago one of my brother in laws convinced me that it was a good idea to register a business and for GST. I soon found that I had an accountant as well (I say I "found" that I had an accountant. I was introduced to him and suddenly he was my accountant).

So it just so happens, this same brother in law had also found a "contract" for me. Paying $18 / hour for Visual Basic for Applications (on top of MS Excel) development work. So I went to fulfill the contract. The problem was, the more I did, the more they were relying on me - I wasn't making myself redundant.

So after a while, I tried to convince them to switch to a database where something ... sustainable could be done. When they wouldn't go for a database solution, I stopped charging as I knew the bits I was doing wasn't sustainable. I wasn't accomplishing what I had been hired to do, and was just tidying things up so that it would work for the time being at the very least and I soon left. That and the approximately $480 / week ($18 by 40 hours a week assuming I was given 40 hours in the week, minus GST, minus tax) just wasn't worth the cost and time of the paperwork.

Long delays caused by various issues (such as the boss's Mother mentioned in an earlier post, lack of timely feedback and having to reprogram things based on feedback eventually given - after I had thought myself finished with a task and had then done up the user documentation etc) had me quite bitter by the time I finally left.

It came time to pay a GST bill, which I needed to borrow money for - which the accountant (or rather, his associate) saw as income which in turn, had me paying GST and PAYE on top of that rather than actually reading my emails to them explaining where the money had come from. To top it all off they then sent my brother in law my tax statements and other confidential data. Definitely reason to get rid of the accountant.

I then went to work on CIMS. CIMS never got finished - I still have plans to complete it one of these days though if I'm completely honest about it, I was seeing this life of little sleep, loads of stress and no life outside of it. If it were to work, I would have to put EVERYTHING into it. Not much of a lifestyle. Still, it was something that I could see helping people.

I realised that approaching WINZ would limit my ability to work on CIMS (given their insistence on meetings every week and weird condescending courses, their inability to see the difference between a really awful job and a half decent one, and their non-people focus etc.) I decided not to approach them.

Fast forward to today. CIMS was never finished because of a family issue. My volunteer efforts got me actually enthusiastic about something. The fact that I was never actually asked to do what I'm doing at the moment and volunteered to do it means that I really am doing this out of love. I've never wanted to go on the dole and so haven't. Why should I get paid for not doing something?

And IRD are looking for their cut. I wonder if they'd take a hug as a down payment.

When I said to the woman on the phone "I have no money", I don't think she quite got it. I really have NO money. I don't usually eat lunch at the moment because the $3 for a sandwich is half of the following days bus fare. The less I take from my parents, the better. After all, I had to borrow some money off them for a GST bill just a little while back.

Her rather snippish attitude and, her last line, "it was never really your money in the first place", which really describes the whole phone call, was interesting to say the least. Paying GST on money I had borrowed to pay my GST. It really wasn't my money at all. Perhaps IRD could look for friendlier staff? People who are willing to talk with you rather than at you?

So I guess all that's left really is for IRD to do is to sue me. Look at all the neat things they'll get! Two pairs of shoes that need replacing, a pair of holey jeans, another pair that's looking pretty close to having a hole in much the same spot, a shirt (which is actually my father's but which I've conveniently nicked because it looks much better on me) and a netbook (covering both my birthday and this Christmas' presents for the year) which, when it was brought for me, cost $280 (factor in depreciation and it's probably worth quite a bit less now).

And the really silly bit? I would have had to work around 65 hours every week of the year at that same rate in order to go over the $60,000 threshold. Instead, I have a tax bill, an accountants bill and a receding hairline. Perhaps I should have negotiated on my own behalf rather than blindly taking what my Brother in law had found for me?

I know I'm playing the victim here. But really? They can't talk to me with some civility? I'm just some scum who's trying to dodge his taxes? It's actually a bit of a relief that they've gotten in touch with me. It was a great big sword hanging over my head. Perhaps I could marry IRD up with WINZ and see where that goes. Either which way, this is going to be an interesting little battle. However, given the tone of the phone call, I don't think IRD have a problem with shooting an unarmed (moneyless) man.

It's a pity - I rather like my shoes. They make Queen Street interesting on a wet day.


  1. oooh, i might have a couple of pairs of old shoes you can give them so you dont have to give away your ones. complete with holes in the bottom of them too.

    as to marrying IRD with WINZ. its would be a marriage made in heaven as IRD take and WINZ gives (when it feels like it and the stars are in the correct alignment). Unless you're lucky enough to get a payout from IRD then WINZ takes away any money entitlement if they know about it.

  2. Oh course, the question is, do I have to play mediator? If I could get them talking to each other directly, I needn't get involved. Less paperwork for me (which is what got me in trouble in the first place. That and some really dumb decisions).

    I get the feeling though that both IRD and WINZ would be a couple that insisted on having a counsellor at the wedding.

  3. counsellor, a pre-nup and litigation managers to completely strangle any relationship.

    Add to that a healthy dose of paranoia and it still might work. For two seconds ..

  4. The way of the world. Great isn't it? We've somehow managed to find ways of making ourselves more miserable.