California Law

California Law

Recent California legislation, in a move to reclassify ride-share drivers as regular employees, brings up traces of an old memory.

Early in my career, I was working in the psychic sewers, the then-dreaded 900 phone lines.

The first company I worked for, after about three or four months of just an occasional call, the business exploded. I was living in old East Austin, and I was available for phone calls about 45 hours a week, topping out, at the peak, at 40 hours or more, actually on the phone.

Good money, but problematic.

One supervisor was upset, and “yelled at me” because I wasn’t available and apparently, I had phone customers requesting me. Turned into a pissing match and the supervisor told me that it was job, and I was expected to be available, show up for my shifts.

My memory is none too good, but I’m thinking it was, like 30 cents a minute, and I had to pay for my own, dedicated phone line. Numbers don’t add up, more like 50 cents a minute, to me? Think they charged $3.99 per minute?

What I did? I sharpened my skills, before anything else, I got really good at the ten-minute reading. Get a first name, birthday, and start talking about — where that person had been, what was going on, and what was coming up. In order to satisfy my own, internal sensibilities, I developed the ten-minute reading, at, maybe $40 on their phone bill? I delivered enough information so I was satisfied, and so were the callers.

I don’t know.

I toyed with a couple of similar venues in the last decades, but there’s a scammy, oily side to phone work like that doesn’t feel wholesome to me, and the company, the pimp, keeps most of the income.

What I do recall, would’ve been mid-90’s, an IRS query about whether I was expected to show up, and if it was gig work, or hourly employee. Think that one company changed, and paid hourly, eventually.

Things changed, and I was no longer their sub-contractor.

California Law

The business arrangement is gig work, but that one company certainly treated us like employees. Looking at the recent California decision? The sentiment is back. I pay my own taxes, healthcare, and equipment overhead, so I keep what I make.

In other terms, this is “1099 work.” That refers to the IRS income form that comes at the end of the year. Gig work. But with gig work, I don’t have to keep any kind of schedule.

Recently, a client texted me, “I want a reading,” and my simplest answer?

Many years ago, when I set up Grace’s website, I remember her being very forthright about options on her e-mail form, “Tuesday through Friday, 10 AM to 4 PM. Offer three choices. No more.”

I haven’t looked lately, but I admired that model.

Simplicity is important. Having toyed with various scheduling apps and widgets, looking at services, I found my methods work just fine. E-mail for availability.

It’s that simple.

The changes in California legislation brought this up, the difference between gig workers and proper employees.

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For me, I don’t know the right answer, but I was, at one time, a gig worker treated like an hourly employee. Probably why those companies always felt so slimy. It was good work, for me, at the time.

California Law

Is the law good? Is this positive change? I would think so, but I’m not doing gig work. Always did prefer Lyft, as my data was safer.

So the current ruling, and I’m not really watching this closely, as it now has zero impact on me, but out of curiosity, what does consist of gig work versus paid employee?

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