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Auf Wiedersehen

Well kiddos, The time has come. I am on my way to the airport to embark on an epic 17 hour journey to Deutschland (Germany for those that are a little slow). For the next 42 days (6 weeks), I’ll be doing as the Germans do…wait…what do German do? Oh that’s right, drink a lot of beer and eat a lot of Schnitzel.

I’m hoping I’ll be able to stick to my regular blogging schedule, but if for some reason I have internet issues, sleep issues, work issues, or having-so-much-fun-blogging-is-the-last-thing-I-want-to-do issues, you might not be getting your daily dose of Ninja. Why do I have the feeling some of you just squealed with excitement?

I’d like to pretend that I volunteered to go abroad to expand my cultural horizons, but in reality I saw an opportunity to make a lot of money and jumped on it. Here in the states, it is basically impossible for me to work overtime. In fact, I think it might be illegal, okay not illegal, but I do think my boss would get in a lot of trouble if his subordinates were puttin’ in more than 40 hours.

When I go on business, however, it’s a whole different story. I am required to put in at least 10hrs of overtime a week. 10hrs/wk x 6wks = 60hrs of overtime.

All good right? WRONG! Apparently, my GS level (government pay grade) does not qualify me to get paid time an a half. My base rate is like $35/hr. If I was getting paid time and a half I’d be making $52.50 each hour of overtime worked. Instead, my overtime caps at $40/hr. Definitely not as exciting as time and a half.

So now I am left with two options. I can either elect to be paid for the 60hrs at $40/hr. Meaning, I’d make an extra $1,600ish (after taxes) on top of my salary. Or I can elect to take it as compensatory time off and accumulate an extra 6.5 days of vacation time. Kind of a tough decision. If I was making time and a half, I wouldn’t even consider the comp time, but since the pay is only a few bucks more than my base rate, it makes things a little trickier.

Like usual, I’d like to open the floor for your input. What would you do? Would you rather get paid for the extra 60hrs (at your normal rate) on top of your base pay, or get paid to take the next week and a half off work?

FYI, I have about 6 days of vacation currently saved and accumulate 1.5 days of vacation a month.

p.s. I just realized there is a good chance my rental car is going to be a manual. I’ve never driven a stick shift before…no better time to learn how to drive stick than in a foreign country on a freeway with no speed limits..right?



  1. Manuals are regular here, but most rental places have automatic shift available as well.

    Word of caution: There are indeed plenty of speed limits on the Autobahn. There are barely places left where you can limitless.

  2. If it were me, I’d take the vacation time and tack it onto the end of my trip, get a eurorail pass and see a bit of Europe.

  3. Well, you already mentioned that you may buy a ticket to Germany for Girl Ninja with the money you guys are saving on living expenses. Instead of her coming when you will be working your 50 hours a week, why don’t you take you overtime as comp time and tack it on the end of the work trip so you both can do some travelling together. Is Girl Ninja allowed to take vacation during the school year?

  4. I’d take the vacation time; it’s not like you don’t make a healthy wage and don’t save money already. I love FGA’s idea of tacking the vacation time to the end of your business trip… if that’s an option, perhaps that would be the best time for GN to visit. Seeing Europe with a Eurorail pass is DEFINITELY on our bucket list!

    Never driven stick shift before, eh? You and my husband both! He found it a tad “immasculating” when he found out I had to learned how to drive at manual car when I was 16; buying a manual car will never be an option for us ;-). Hope you have an awesome time in Germany and that you’re still able to post your blogs, at least on a semi-regular basis!

  5. I’d recommend taking the comp time. After taxes, the “overtime” won’t be nearly as attractive.

  6. I’d take the comp time too. and if you can tack that time on to the end of your travels to Europe I’d totally take advantage of that! Ugh, now I want to go back to Europe!!

  7. I’m actually royally annoyed right now that I worked a ton of overtime for my job last month and was only told AFTERWORD that I could only take it in cash, not time. This is the first time they’ve done this, and I am not happy!

    For one thing, it’s much easier to accumulate comp time than it is to try and ask for unpaid time. The other is that comp time isn’t taxable like overtime is.

  8. Take the comp time. You aren’t NEEDING the money, and you will probably enjoy the extra week of vacation.

    For what it is worth….Hubby is at a point where he earns a day of leave per pay check. He always ends up in use or lose by the end of the year. How insane is it that he still will have 240 hrs of vacation, and he HAS to take time off? Oh, and his bank of 800 sick hrs….man do I wish we could cash some of that in!

    Safe travels!

  9. How do you consider yourself a man if you can’t drive a stick? Oh, and take the time off

  10. As everyone else has said: vacation, most definitely. You have a possibly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spend a lot of time in one of the most interesting parts of the world. (If GN is not available to join you, you can always contact one of your devoted readers.)

    As for the car, I can’t help you. In all my European travels, I have only used public transportation. At least Germany will probably be more user-friendly than the UK, where they drive on the wrong side of the road, or Italy, where they dispense with any kinds of traffic rules altogether.

  11. Take the time off!!!! Time off is way more valuable than making a few extra dollars. Especially since you can use that time for travelling. And, if you want to look at it in terms of personal finance and more importantly, personal investment, travel can expand your horizons in ways that saving an extra $1,600 can’t. And, it’s a lot less expensive to stay an extra week-and-a-half to travel around Europe than it would be to fly back another time (so you can look at it as saving money in the future too. Plus, it would be great for you and Girl Ninja to spend time together on a really cool European vacation 🙂

  12. I am sure you are the first person to unite a stick figure with Air Force One. For your situation take the comp time and enjoy it with the wife before you have mini-ninjas in the picture.

  13. Take the time! Use it to chill with Girl Ninja OR know that if you ever leave there they’ll have to pay you it anyway so you wouldn’t be leaving the total 1400ish on the table.

  14. Have an awesome time! Guess I won’t be seeing you at the meet up this month. Then again, I’d definitely take Deutschland over D&B. Awesome! Envious. Totally.

  15. Yep, take the time off. There’s lots of opportunities to make a few extra bucks somewhere. Not a lot of opportunities to bank large amounts of lieu time.

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