Recently i had my "yearly review" wiith my current employer. This has been done over the phone the past five years and has turned into an "uncomfortable conversation" to say the least. Same story the last three years, " you are our most billable tech, no customer complaints, wish we had 10 more like you " BUT " you have kind of reached a plateau, the economy is flat right now, BUT we are giving you a 3% raise." Last year was 2% the year before was 7%. Last year my hospitalization went from 80% company/ 20% i pay to 50%/50%, the year before they stopped the 50% matching of 401k contributions. Our Christmas bonus was @ a weeks pay 5 years ago, it kept getting smaller untill it vanished this past Christmas. 25% to 35% of my work is for customers i"ve serviced since the 90s. I use my vacation durring the slower times (late winter early spring) of the year, have yet to use all my vacation/sick time for the year(it is paid if not used). My work van is an 03 but runs great, I know enough to know how to get help when i don't know enough. I do my job with my mouth shut, show up on-time, reasonably clean, and help out when i can. I average @ 46 hours a week per year, do on-call and back-up, and am greatfull to have a job. There are two other techs in this outfit with more time than i and most everybody who works here is decent. Of the 40 or so employees 25 will stay here for many years, they have cut the install crews in half and we all have to monitor sytems on-line since they got rid of the two IT positions. they still replace broken tools, with approval. I really don't envy the owner the headaches/pressure of running a company. Taxes, insurance, permits, licenses fees, work permits, taxes, bad new hires, workmans comp., taxes. yea i wrote taxes three times. I just don't see it getting better. Retirement on a tropical beach with a cold beer in my hand is not very likely. I'll probably die with my multi-meter in my hand, my nut driver in my bak pocket, while wearing my safety glasses and hard hat. As a business owner do you see it diferently? Am I missing something? Or is that just the way it is? And why so? And DAD, Thanks for letting me "VENT" I do feel a little better now.