m741's ERE Journal

Where are you and where are you going?
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m741
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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by m741 » Fri May 01, 2015 10:21 pm

April, 2015

What happened?

A nice smooth month, exciting but not too busy. It started with a trip to Philadelphia, which I really enjoyed. I also visited my father in upstate NY.

I received a few plants for my birthday, and realized how much I missed having them around. Not that I had a lot of houseplants, but I did a lot of landscaping and gardening as a kid (mostly ornamental stuff). So I visited a local Home Depot and picked up a bunch of herbs that were on sale. I have no idea how they'll turn out, but it's something interesting when I come home at night - did they grow? What are they looking like?

I haven't been very good with my habits. I'm making another push with a buddy to exercise (run) more, as well as to eat better.

Job

This was far and away the most interesting. First off, we're wrapping up a project at work. I'm happy about that the ~2 months of debugging is ending. It's just so ugly. It's not really programming and not that rewarding, and mostly paperwork.

I'm faced with an interesting opportunity. The team that I was really interested has an opening. The position is a 'leadership' position, although there's only one guy on the platform I'd be working on (the entire team is 6-7 people). The position, "tech lead" is maybe a bit of a stretch for me, which could be good or bad. And the team does stuff related to charitable work, which after all was a direction I wanted to go.

On the other hand, I can't get a read on the team itself. The guy running the overall team, who isn't that familiar with the platform I'd work on, was friendly enough, but also asked my Myer-Briggs type in the interview... pragmatic? And I started looking at the code today and it's pretty bad. Which is a bit exciting, since I can make a huge impact there.

On the other hand, the team I'm on isn't an exciting area, and is really big. But the leadership is excellent and there's a lot of people to learn from (theoretically, maybe less so in practice). And they have a good plan for slowly increasing my responsibility, that seems pretty reasonable.

I'm working with the new team on a part-time basis, and haven't made up my mind. I can go either way, depending on my mood. I'll have to decide in 2-3 weeks.

We also had an experimentation week this month, where I could do whatever I wanted on the application I work on. This was awesome, I was able to hack together a very cool project that I'm pretty proud of. One of my teammates, maybe the guy I get along with best, was impressed. In a week I'll demo it to the team. It was a chance to do some actual programming. I get so depressed when I go a few weeks without legitimately programming, so at the very least this has been energizing to me.

Overall I have to say that I'm excited about work. I just need to make a decision. At the very least, I expect things to clarify themselves in a week or two.

Finances

Finances were simply steady this month. Net worth went up at exactly an average rate. Dividends increased by an expected $50/month, half through mutual fund investments and half through a slug of WMT which was in a slump and looked juicy.

I also bought a bunch of stuff in Lending Club - I'd accumulated a small balance in addition to the small amount I put in the account monthly. I continue to get very, very reliable returns. Maybe I'm just lucky or I do some strange screening.

I've been doing the normal regular donations as well, Kiva mostly. I'm thinking of setting aside an additional $100/month to donate to entertainment I enjoy, produced by people who ask for contributions. Stuff like podcasts, NPR, open source software, videos, websites, etc. A few months back I signed up to donate $3/month to Wikimedia Foundation. Not a lot, but it's something. After all, how often do you read Wikipedia? All the time!

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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by DutchGirl » Mon May 04, 2015 1:45 am

Nice to read that you've got two good options to choose from at work. Good luck with making the actual choice :-)

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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by Legthorn Brownboat » Sun May 10, 2015 9:20 pm

About the new job possibility, one of the advantages of the ERE mindset (and accumulated wealth) is the freedom to try your hand at interesting, if ambitious, opportunities. It sounds like you have a choice between interesting and engaging work, but questionable/unknown leadership, vs your existing mundane work with great leadership. If you weren't financially solvent, then it's tempting to stick with the devil you know, but your buffer should allow you the ability to make your own calls. You've earned that privilege, why does it feel like it has to be all-or-nothing, i.e. aiming for either full exit or full security?

If you're worried about not living up to expectations, what do you fear from that? Do you know of others who have been in that situation? What happened to them?

If you fear loss of job, then tactically consider the timeline before that can happen (likely many months), along with opportunities to make a jump to another team/project/job in time. It's likely that you can always go back to similar work that you have now. Even if it must end in termination, you were gainfully employed for enough of a product/review cycle plus termination period plus severance, which could put you firmly in FI, if that's your goal. At that point, you could find or even found a non-profit and program for something you believe in.

If you fear letting down authorities in your life or not meeting their approval, consider for how long you'll weigh their approval so high. Given that this is a forum where everyone is planning or at least contemplating an exit from their position, approval from higher ups is rather short-lived. Of course, even without a exit, that approval tends to also be short lived and under rewarded, but that's another conversation.

If you fear failure or letting yourself down, I think you already have the answer in your post. The code is bad, you can make real contributions, and you crave the chance to practice your programming skills. What is failure like in that case? Is that so bad?

If you fear opportunity cost, well it seems like you have a pretty good handle (as good as one can have in your position, at least) on what that cost is. You should know your current role well, and while the future is always uncertain and there might be a rainbow on the horizon, those also sometimes end up being carrots on sticks, always held just out of reach. From your description, it seems the new job possibility is the better opportunity.

Finally, make the decision early, before the supposed deadline, and own it. You'll be better served with decisiveness, once you've given it a fair consideration, and you never know when the opportunity will disappear. I've certainly seen more secure ones vanish for friends.

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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by m741 » Mon May 11, 2015 10:47 pm

Thanks, Legthorn. I think that's good advice. I'm not worried about losing a job or letting down personal authorities, or opportunity cost. Mostly about not living up to expectations - my own and others'. You're right, I can definitely do a better job than the way things were. So even if I don't do a perfect job, it'll be an improvement on the way things were.

I'm gonna push over the next two weeks and see what happens.

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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by zarathustra » Sun May 31, 2015 10:37 am

My vote is to surround yourself with as many inspiring/intelligent/fun people as you can. Whichever choice brings you a higher likelihood of that kind of environment gets my vote (because you asked for my vote, right? ;) ). This will allow you more opportunity to learn, be inspired, and have a good time doing it. Sure there are things to learn from moving "up", but not all of what you learn may be what you *want* to learn if you know what I mean.

"They" say you become the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with, right? Choose your environment wisely.

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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by m741 » Wed Jun 03, 2015 10:05 am

May, 2015

What happened?

Outside work, I visited Chicago for a weekend with the girlfriend. Definitely one of my favorite cities. Up there with Seattle, Dresden, Lucca, Ghent, Reykjavik & Verona as among the most livable cities I've visited. I liked it better than NYC, and want to go back.

Outside that, it's been a busy month, but nothing really notable.

Job

Well, I made the big move to the new job. It's weird because it's an internal transfer, and the transfer time is 2 months. So my manager knows I'm leaving, but nobody else. And I'm working part-time on the new team, and they have a big release coming up. So there's some pressure to work on that, but I also have my current job, where I don't want to let anyone down. It's a lot to juggle. Right now I'm not very happy, but the official move when I stop working on the current team is the start of August, and I can handle two months of this. Blech.

It's one of those situations where it's easy to second-guess. The new team is a lot less formal, less 'nitpicky', and much faster moving. I'm still getting familiar with their procedures and the people. I think it's a much better fit for me, though the people are a little more weird (not that I've spent a whole lot of time with them). On the other hand, the team I was on was really good, and very well run. I just didn't feel I was growing much. I'm already happier with the work I'm doing on the new team. I just wish I had a clearer picture of the management.

I'm sure I'll have updates over the coming months.

Finances

Another steady month. Continuing to invest (Lending Club, Vanguard funds), saw monthly dividend income hop a bit as some dividends got raised. Small increase in net worth. There's not a whole lot to say here. I haven't started my experiment to donate $100 to things that bring me joy. I'll do that this month.

I continue to donate and may try putting some more cash in Kiva as a temporary thing (historically I've viewed Kiva money put in Kiva as straight donations that would never round trip). But this would be a better use for cash than having it sit around.

Plans

I'm going to a few concerts this month. The girlfriend and I are also trying an experiment where we listen to just two bands/musicians in a given month. This month it's the Rolling Stones and Neil Young. Two bands I like as a casual listener but which I'm not very familiar with.

I run twice a week midday at lunch. I like it, it's a nice way to break up the day. There's showers and lockers, so it's pretty convenient.

Not much else. I expect to do a lot of work over the next two months and won't have a lot of free time.

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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by George the original one » Wed Jun 03, 2015 12:20 pm

Dresden, Lucca, Verona I can see... Seattle if you don't have to commute or otherwise deal with traffic. But Chicago? Hmm, I suppose if you like NYC, then it fits. Haven't been to Ghent (Antwerp is similar, I think) or unpronounceable Iceland.

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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by m741 » Thu Jul 02, 2015 6:02 pm

June, 2015

What happened?

Another pretty slow month, outside of work. In fact, most of the month was working and recovering from work. That said, the girlfriend and I have a busy schedule ahead, through September, at least. Six concerts, two sports events, a trip to Seattle, a trip to Texas, and a trip to upstate NY. Phew!

We're going to a bunch of classic rock concerts. For example, The Who (with Joan Jett). My thought is simply that this is an acceptable one-time expense. I don't expect the performances to be amazing, but honestly, it's The Who. I'd like to see them once in my life. Same goes for Ringo Starr. I get to see a Beatle perform live. Ok!

We went to see rush play Rush earlier this week, and it was actually a great performance. Probably falls somewhere in my top 5 concerts.

Job

Well, it's been keeping me busy. I'm basically working two jobs, as I transition to the new team, which means a return to finance-type hours. It's exhausting... you sort of acclimate to the hours if you work them all the time, but you lose that adaptation if you go back to normal hours. Like an athlete getting out of shape.

I'll start with the bad news, which is that the team's planning process is pretty messed up. There's a lot that needs to be fixed, and the focus is pretty bad. The good news is that pretty much everybody realizes this except the manager. I think maybe this wasn't the case in the past, but we'll see what happens and if the team can adjust. There's also a lot more flexibility: I can have a larger impact. So I'm psyched about that, just nervous about the direction. Thankfully I don't really have a long-term goal at the company, so it's ok if it all goes to hell over the next year or two.

Finances

Net worth decreased a tiny amount due to Greek issues, but not a big deal. There's more buying opportunities and a chance to get things on sale. Dividends continue to increase. I also got an 'equity refresh' at work, which means I'll have more stock vesting in the future. It's relatively small by historical standards, but I'm not about to complain - the timing of my transfer was such that I expected to get completely screwed over and seeing something of value was a nice surprise.

Hobbies

I read a random article about bare-metal Raspberry Pi programming, and I found a good tutorial that I've been working through. It's assembly programming, without an operating system, reading and sending data directly to pins or the GPU. So far I've gotten an LED blinking and drawn a gradient on my TV. I like it, but apparently you can do the same thing with C, so I'm planning on switching after I get through the tutorial. I think it's a fun hobby and I picked up some additional equipment, including a long-deferred soldering iron purchase. I've been working with Arduino on and off for a while and want to pick all that up. You can get super-cheap electronic components from China, and there's tons of cool things to build.

I also started playing a lot more video games after work, due to the Steam summer sale (one of two times per year that I buy games), and also because I haven't had energy for a lot else after work.

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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by Chris » Thu Jul 02, 2015 7:43 pm

m741 wrote: We went to see rush play Rush earlier this week, and it was actually a great performance. Probably falls somewhere in my top 5 concerts.
Nice! This is the first Rush tour I'll miss since 2002.

Hope your other acceptable one-time expenses also make it into your top 10. For myself, I'll be seeing Joan Jett on Saturday.

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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by m741 » Mon Aug 03, 2015 10:51 pm

July, 2015 (Part I)

A lot of things happened this month, so I figured I'd break out the big developments from the financial minutiae (minutiae to follow).

The first big thing was that I asked my girlfriend to move in with me, and she said yes. I'm super-psyched. We always have a great time together, play tons of games, watch movies, and generally have a good time. She's a great friend and companion and I think we'll have fun. We haven't settled on a date, but it looks like she'll move in ~2 months.

A few things that fall out of that which relate to ERE: first, I think I know I'll be wasting less time on the internet, which is the primary bane of my existence. Which means that, even with watching more movies together and so on, I'll be more productive. At least, that's the theory, and maybe some of you are laughing right now...

Second, I will see some additional savings. It works out like this: toiletries will be split down the middle, which should save some minor amount (on soaps, etc), but I don't expect a lot there. We'll also be splitting some subscription services, which will result in a more notable savings. Right now I subscribe to Amazon Prime, Netflix and HBO Go. We'll definitely split Netflix, I'm cancelling HBO Go (until Game of Thrones returns - True Detective is a disappointment). I think we'll split Prime. I'd be happy to cancel my prime subscription, or vice versa. In total this will be $30-$40 month. Splitting utilities will net $30-50 a month.

We'll also be splitting rent, and I came up with a deal that seems equitable. Rent is $1275, so she'll pay $637, but half of that will go to paying down student loans. Thus, I'll be saving $318 per month. I really don't want her to have student loans hanging over her head, and I have none. So this seems fair.

All told, I expect I'll end up saving about $400 a month, give or take. There'll probably be more toiletry expenses, and less grocery/restaurant expenses, tough to estimate but I think it'll net out.

The second big announcement is that I discussed my long-term travel plans with the gf and she seems to be on-board. The plans are this: in 2017, I'd like to quit my job and travel for something like a year. Could be 6 months and I get sick of it, or it could be 2 years if I love it. Who knows? I'd like to do some off-the-wall travel (buy a van in New Zealand and travel there for a few months; hike the Pacific Crest Trail; etc) but I'm still in the dream phase. I'd also like to do some off-the-wall work to subsidize costs and because I think it would be interesting. Crew a sailboat/yacht; WWOOF on tea farms or volunteer, etc. Some things that could subsidize the cost. I feel so provincial in my outlook and experiences.

Also, my father is getting older, and I'd like to do something big with him before the trip officially starts. Maybe a few hundred miles of backpacking, or riding motorcycles or something. I don't know what this would be either. But I've seen so little of him since I started working...

My overall goal, as my 20s run out, is to have had some major adventures that I'm proud of. Right now, I've had one. I want to see more of the world, in a slow, deliberate way that's impossible while working (maaaaybe I'll try to finagle a remote work deal of some kind).

This is all super-tentative. I'm just happy to have brought it up with my gf; I'll have to have more serious discussions in the future, but I think we'll be able to iron out the details.

I've discussed this all before, but I've gotta say it feels like it's really happening. And now I've got a list of things I want to do that have a real timeline. Things like learning spanish, getting in shape, and picking up skills like photography. There's a specific reason I want to do these things, so I have a new sense of urgency.

Suggestions for cool adventure are welcome!

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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by bigato » Tue Aug 04, 2015 8:06 pm

Congratulations on the great exciting news!!! Good luck there! Living together is never easy, but I think it's very worth it the effort; if nothing else, you'll learn a lot more about women and about yourself.

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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by m741 » Tue Aug 04, 2015 9:13 pm

July, 2015 (Part II)

I posted the exciting stuff first... here's the routine stuff!

What happened?

I took a trip to Austin, TX, with the gf, to go to a wedding. It was pretty exhausting for me - I don't enjoy spending extended periods of time together with people. The two exceptions are the gf and people at work (where I can be with people but not *engaged with* them). On the other hand, I had a great time at the wedding.

I grabbed a near-complete set of homebrew supplies for $20 (6-gallon carboy, wort chiller, various valves and tubes). I'll be making some beer as soon as the weather cools down a bit.

Finally, I picked up tickets to Seattle and London, which will be the two big trips for the remainder of the year (Seattle at the end of this month and London over Christmas/New Years).

Job

I officially changed jobs at the end of the month. I was really working with smart people before, and I'm interested to see how the new team pans out. I don't have a lot to say here - nothing changed until the very end of July. I'm more detached, of course, because there's an even more tangible end-date.

Finances

Pretty good month financially. Markets took a big hit but then more-than recovered to bring me to a long-awaited positive month. I didn't make many discretionary purchases, mostly dumping the dead-weight Seadrill, a company I bought for dividends, but which cut them and hasn't recovered. Good riddance - I purchased it on an impulse and it doesn't fit with my other companies.

In total, my expected monthly dividends rose $40 this month, mostly from scheduled mutual fund and ETF purchases.

Finally, a small note: I signed up for a Patreon account, and there's two Youtubers whose videos I now pay $1 for. Not a lot, but it's the start of paying for free things that bring me enjoyment.

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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by m741 » Tue Sep 08, 2015 10:19 pm

August, 2015

What happened?

August was super-busy. I flew to Texas for a 4 days at the start of the month, took a 3-hour (each direction) bus ride to visit my father and step-mother midmonth, and then did a week out in Seattle at the end of the month. Lots of travel time, and I hate buses and airplanes...

I was also starting a new job and doing a lot of other things besides. So, I'm glad that I don't have any travel plans for a few months, though weekends in September and early October remain busy. I'm looking forward to getting into a good routine. The next big trip is for Christmas.

I'd go into more details, but I remain busy and setting aside enough time for tabulating monthly totals was enough.

Job

The new job is, I guess, a "hot mess". I'm learning quite a bit, and I like working on a smaller team much more than a larger team. But the team dynamics are all over the place. I'm still letting things settle out, trying to figure out my role. I remain sort of detached, as a defense mechanism.

Finances

Yuck... like most others in the market, I took a bath this month, seeing my net worth down 4%. Strangely, every single holding was down month-on-month, stocks and bonds alike, except for my small holding in gold, which didn't exactly skyrocket.

It's a bit of a shock, and though I always like seeing small modest gains, I'm not really panicking. Right now it just seems like a good buying opportunity, though as always I'm leery of a dip. I'm simply continuing my regular spending/dividend reinvestment for now.

The one bright point is that a few late payers on Lending Club paid their outstanding balances. And I found some good buying opportunities there as well - I only trade on Lending Club, never buy new (I guess maybe people were liquidating after taking hits on the market, not sure).

What am I doing?

My three focuses right now are on Spanish, getting healthy (this time for real, I swear!), and drawing. I'm simply using DuoLingo for basic grammar and vocab right now to build up a base for conversation. As for drawing, I'm reading through "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" and doing the exercises. I enjoy it.

I'm also doing some work scanning old photo albums, for backup and so I can discard old photos that I don't care so much about. It's relaxing and kinda fun.

---

I'd post more, but it's been pretty hectic for me here and I was late enough as-is!

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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by spoonman » Fri Sep 11, 2015 11:30 am

I rememer the days, back in grad school, when I actually enjoyed business travel. The last time I had to fly for a business trip I can back sick, as usual.

Indeed, the market is down but you can back up the truck and buy more good companies on the cheap.

DuoLingo...I'll have to check that out, thanks for the suggestion.

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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by m741 » Wed Sep 23, 2015 11:17 pm

August/September Follow-up

I mentioned in my last post that I was pretty busy. I'm a little less busy now and thought I'd give a bit more of an update.

It's a pretty weird situation for me - I've got a lot of things that I'm juggling right now, even outside of hobbies and interests. Here's a rundown:

- Still settling in to the new job. It's a bit stressful (more than the other job), but I think that's just how work is for me generally. I postponed any attempts at promotion this year, since I was changing jobs, etc. But I'd like to push for promotion early next year, so I'm thinking about paperwork etc. This promotion is 1/3 better money, 1/3 vanity, 1/3 resume fodder. Maybe 1/2 vanity :D . to top it off, I just spent two weeks in 'crunch' mode, finishing the end of last week.

- Girlfriend is moving in later this week (!!!) So there's been a lot of organizing, cleaning, donating, etc. Plus of course I'm nervous as realistically this is my biggest lifestyle change since college (excepting the 2-month roadtrip).

- I was out in Seattle with the GF a few weeks back, and I went through the storage unit I'd had out there since my mother passed away. I brought pretty much all the personal stuff back: scrapbooks, videos, photos, etc. It was a lot of luggage... Anyway, I don't want to hold onto this stuff forever (it's probably about 4 rubbermaid containers worth of stuff), so I've been pulling apart and scanning scrapbooks (scanning _everything_), then tossing 75% of the photos and papers. I have a device that records VHS to my computer. Then, I back everything up online (photos on Amazon Cloud Drive, and videos on Google Drive). It takes a long time, but it's also interesting and satisfying, and something that I'd been postponing forever... the kind of thing where you worry a fire will destroy things. It's emotionally exhausting at times, though.

- I've been thinking about how I want to discuss money with GF. We've talked a bit about things, and I mentioned that I want to take time to travel in somewhat under 2 years, but there's been something of a veil. I think financially we're fairly compatible: I'm not quite as conservative with money now, and she's still sorta in a college mindset. We're in very different places financially: college debt vs savings. But my biggest concern is that her family is not good with money, and they're right at retirement age. I believe they have no savings. They're working, right now, but how long will they be able to, and what will we do at that point?

- I'm trying to settle all sorts of inherited accounts. I won't go into details, but I botched some of these accounts about a year ago. Not horribly, but it was a costly mistake. Now I'm trying to figure out how to salvage things. There's a bunch of accounts that I've had to go through, and just lots of phone calls to financial companies figuring out how annuities and IRAs work.

- I'm reaching the final draw-down of my cash reserves, with about 3 months of cash left. Maybe that will carry me through bonus season? I'm starting to look what I can do to maintain cash reserves without reducing my regular investments, but I'd been investing at a really aggressive rate. Now the market's down and I'm running low on cash! Boo!

- I've been tracking lots of little long-deferred tasks (eg, oiling boots, contacting landlord about basement storage, emailing people), and I've been good about knocking things out. It feels good to resolve these things. The inherited accounts bit mentioned above is part of this.

---

So, yeah. It's been busy.

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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by spoonman » Fri Sep 25, 2015 6:38 am

I think you'll enjoy the benefits of having things digitized. It's a pain the neck at first, but eventually you'll have everything backed up and easily accessible. It's literally a huge weight off your life. It took us months to get everything digitized (it could have been less time, but it was daunting task), but now we're far more mobile than we were before. One side benefit of digitizing things is the sense of closure that comes with tossing that stuff to the cloud, it's kind of difficult to explain but I think you'll get my meaning.

You should definitely sit down with the GF and talk about her parents. It would be a shame if YOU come on the hook for someone else's irresponsible parents.

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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by m741 » Wed Oct 07, 2015 7:39 pm

September, 2015

What happened?
My girlfriend moved in! Plus, lots of other stuff: her mother visited and stayed with us. We did some travel at the very beginning of the month, then I was swamped at work, and I've been keeping a busy schedule. I'm looking forward to some rest.

Job
Job's going ok, though I find it difficult to focus for an extended period of time. I was super-busy at the beginning of the month on an exciting project, and now I'm working on the stuff that nobody wants to do (but somebody has to). Hoping to change things around a bit in the coming months. At least there's an opportunity to learn.

Finances
This was my big quarterly dividend month, so I saw dividend income grow by $70/month, mostly from re-investment. I've been buying SolarCity bonds pretty aggressively - including the new 3-month bonds, which offer better interest than letting money sit in the bank (though of course with some risk).

The market recovered, so while I'm not quite at maximum net worth, I don't have a net loss in investment income, which is all I cared about psychologically. I'd happily let the market stay steady now and continue to invest.

What am I doing?
I've been using a to-do list for about 2 months now, and knocking things off of it pretty aggressively. Digitizing was part of it, but a lot of it is mundane things: (repot plants, list stuff on Craigslist, send emails to family friends, brew kombucha, write blog posts, clean refrigerator, etc). It feels good to finally be organized in this area of my life.

I guess that's a bit lame! I've also been doing a bit of drawing, and exercising regularly (2 weeks now). I try to meditate a little each day, and I've been listening to podcasts aggressively and doing more reading than normal. I'm staying pretty busy overall.

----

There's a lot of other things going on, I'll do another mid-month post in a week or two.

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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by spoonman » Thu Oct 08, 2015 9:28 am

What kind of to-do list do you use? A phone app or a good-old (physical) notepad?

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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by m741 » Thu Oct 08, 2015 6:53 pm

I use Google Docs. I have a tab open on my desktop and at work for consultation or if I think of anything at all I want to do (anything that takes more than 5 minutes or which requires some planning/supplies). If I'm on the go, I can open it on a phone. It gives me some flexibility for organization/structuring as well.

I don't included repetitive tasks like "do dishes," "do laundry," etc, but everything else goes on the list.

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C40
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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by C40 » Thu Oct 08, 2015 9:47 pm

Congrats on the girl moving in. Less rent!! (?)

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m741
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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by m741 » Sun Nov 01, 2015 8:45 am

October 2015

What happened?
A busy month with lots of events, but no travel. Multiple concerts, parties, gatherings with friends that left me exhausted - looking to recover in November. Of course I had a good time but it was draining for me as an introvert and I'm ready for a regular schedule.

Job
Job's ok. Got to experiment with a bunch of stuff so felt like I learned a lot. I feel like my capacity for work is limited. From burnout (not recent, but 2 years ago), or maybe because I know I can walk away at any point, I work less hard and less diligently than I actually want to, but it feels like there's an upper ceiling to my output. This is the number one thing that's bothering me right now.

Finances
A huge month for me financially. Of course the market recovered, which was reassuring, but a lot of other things for me personally as well. I talked to my tax guy, who's very helpful as a sounding board, and came up with a few actionable items.

- I opened up a 529 plan. At some point I'd like to take some college classes, whether for a degree or simply my own interest. And even if I don't, I'd like to have an account for my kids someday. So it makes sense to open this.
- I'm continuing to max out my IRA, which will be converted to a Roth in ~2 years (legal reasons for the delay).
- I'm ready to switch to an HSA+high deductible health insurance (thanks to the Mad FIentist post about HSAs as the perfect retirement account). That option will be available at work in November.
- Finally completed the transfer of a bunch of inherited accounts.
- Completed a bunch of tax-loss harvesting and end-of-year selling.
- Opted in to autosale of vesting stock at work.
- Moved emphasis on high-dividend funds to tax-advantaged accounts (though I still have plenty in non-tax advantaged accounts).

What am I doing?
Besdies all of the above, I'm continuing to draw in my spare time. I haven't had a whole lot of time to work on other personal things. I'm considering purchasing a grow light for herbs but would need to run the numbers. The gf and I are experimenting with mixed drinks, which incidentally seem more cost-effective than beer - and are more interesting to make. Especially with fresh basil.

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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by DutchGirl » Fri Nov 06, 2015 12:33 am

m741 wrote: I feel like my capacity for work is limited. From burnout (not recent, but 2 years ago), or maybe because I know I can walk away at any point, I work less hard and less diligently than I actually want to, but it feels like there's an upper ceiling to my output. This is the number one thing that's bothering me right now.
I don't know you very well, and I can't see how you're actually doing, but it could also be possible that you're judging yourself too harshly here, and are expecting superhuman dedication from yourself. Could that be the case? I've experienced that myself: sometimes you want to care and think you should care, but you just can't or don't (and looking back, sometimes there's also a good reason why you didn't care). And I've also seen in my IT-boyfriend that work dedication just comes and goes. Some months he enjoys his work a lot and stays up late to finish some exciting new bit of code, other months it's all "meh" and he works much less and is way less excited about it. Maybe everyone's like this, or maybe some people are capable of producing a certain level of work year-round, and others show a more or less ebb and flood pattern.
So maybe you're just human?

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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by El Duderino » Fri Nov 06, 2015 10:55 am

DutchGirl wrote:So maybe you're just human?
Or maybe he's adjusting his equilibrium point in the Gervais 'loser' sense. I certainly get that way a lot and I've found the cure is some serious goofing off while I'm on the clock. Eventually, this gets dull too, so I turn back to work but since I've got my funglasses on, it's actually enjoyable and I end up with a much higher quality product.

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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by spoonman » Mon Nov 09, 2015 2:51 pm

m741 wrote: Multiple concerts, parties, gatherings with friends that left me exhausted - looking to recover in November. Of course I had a good time but it was draining for me as an introvert...
Spoongirl and I had the chance to go to a party recently, the first one in many months. I felt the same as a you: had a great time, but felt tremendously drained. Part of that may be due to aging, but man my tolerance for extroverted environments has gone way down.

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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by m741 » Mon Nov 09, 2015 7:58 pm

@DutchGirl - I'm sure there's natural cycles of enthusiasm and boredom. For me, I just seem to land pretty consistently on the boredom side of things. And have for about 3 years now (since fall 2012, when I felt like I just ran into a wall, work-wise). Of course every few weeks I get a bit excited about something, but I just don't feel the same way as the first ~2-3 years of my career. Maybe the honeymoon wore off... though looking back I wasn't that excited even then!

@El Duderino - You're certainly partly right. I realized I never needed to work as hard as I did. And I have little reason to push myself. On the other hand, I feel like slacking off reflects poorly on myself... and frankly isn't even that much fun anyway (I mean slacking off while at work). I want to take pride in my work. But the motivation is somehow missing.

@Spoonman - Yeah, I enjoy social events, but they exhaust me for a few days. Plus, I'm just generally more social, since moving in with my girlfriend. I used to not talk to/see people after work ~3 days a week. Of course, it's different with her and doesn't exhaust me, but it's also not a mental reset, either.

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