The $12K that I can’t stop thinking about

I work in a unionized environment. I know, I know, there’s been a lot of bad talk flying around on unions lately. But I’m not here to talk about that – I’m here to talk about a potential $12,000 windfall that I can’t stop thinking about.

A pay equity plan was ratified at work this week. There are tons of details in the contract, and the one thing I know for sure is that I have more “headroom” – instead of my salary topping out at 68K at my current level, I can now make up to 75K (if I stick around for 8 years). The way the new salary grid works, I should actually see a difference in my pay in September 2012, when I get to step 2 of the grid. Prior to that, my pay is almost identical to the pay I would have received under the old pay grid.

However – there’s this nice little clause in the contract about retroactive pay. This retroactive pay is supposed to go back to July 1, 2007, which is when this pay equity plan began. It also happens to be exactly one month before I started at this company.  So theoretically, I may get back pay going back all four years I’ve been working.

I calculated how much I should receive, and I was kind of shocked at the number: $12,000. I would be paid this money at the end of September 2011, so not that far away.

The thing is – I don’t know for sure that I’ll get this money. Because this is a pay equity thing, it’s all about bringing female jobs in line with male jobs. The fine details of the clause state that “If the salary of an incumbent in a female job class fell below the salary range for the pay equity band, a One Time Only payment will be made…” etc. I’m not clear on the female job class bit – the union’s been rather slow getting all the info out, so while I’m pretty certain I’m in a female job class, I don’t know for sure. And if I don’t know for sure, I’m not going to count on this money.

But that doesn’t stop me from thinking about all the things I could do with this money. I would probably net around $8K, after taxes. With this money, I could…

  • Buy a MacBook Pro for $2,000
  • Put $2,000 into my TFSA emergency fund
  • Make a $2,000 RRSP contribution
  • Go on a four day trip to NYC with sister for $1500 (includes $500 for shopping)
  • Make an extra $500 payment towards my mortgage

I get really excited looking at this list. The more I look at the list, though, the more I think about the money, and I don’t want to think about the money because I don’t know if I’m going to get the money.

Why do we spend time thinking about stuff that may or may not happen? Sometimes I think that doing this is a big waste of time. There’s no point in worrying about something that hasn’t happened. Since this is a good surprise, though, I guess that’s what makes it harder to stop thinking about.

What would you do with $8,000 of unexpected income?

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2 Responses to The $12K that I can’t stop thinking about

  1. Cassie says:

    That’s an exciting possibility isn’t it!

    $8000… Right now I’d stick it into my checking account until I find work again.

    If I found work and then came into $8000? I’d pay off my car. That would free up $400+ a month to put towards debt payments again.

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