bostonimproper's journal

Where are you and where are you going?
Scott 2
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Re: bostonimproper's journal

Post by Scott 2 »

Your posts read like someone who doesn't want the project, but fears missing out or disappointing.

What could they change to make you really excited about the project?


I declined a leadership / second in command type role in my company's IT department maybe 3-4 years ago. Had I taken it (and not failed!), I'd be earning about 20% more, have 1-2 teams reporting to me, and be on track to an equity stake. I'd also have worked an extra 10-20 hours a week since then, travelling away from home at least 25% of the time. Lots of stress.

Instead I have no reports, am working remote close to 100%, have much less responsibility and will probably never have that opportunity again. A more recent attempt to take on a lesser leadership role was rejected. I was told "you don't want people working for you". It's true. I ended up on the mgmt. team anyways, but with less influence. I have a secure job, earn more money than I need and I get interesting work. Little stress.

It's hard to know that I could have been "more". It's frustrating when I can't execute as well, because I'm not as important as I once was. However, I think in aggregate, my life has been better as a result. My role is much better aligned with my constitution and values.

bostonimproper
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Re: bostonimproper's journal

Post by bostonimproper »

In an academic way, I'm *extremely* excited about the project. I love the subject matter. If I had to characterize it: I want to do the work (as in, rally the teams, help frame the hard problems, make sure we're actually moving toward an approach that'll be successful, etc.) but I want none of the corporate politics, micromanagement, or even the recognition. My ideal role would be as an assist, but one that's taken seriously instead of systematically ignored.

In the long term, I'm definitely happier without the stress. But there are also little gremlins in my brain that want the power and to "level up." Not in a higher position at the company way, but to prove to myself I can do this sort of thing.

bostonimproper
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Re: bostonimproper's journal

Post by bostonimproper »

My brother has it. I'm so scared.

mooretrees
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Re: bostonimproper's journal

Post by mooretrees »

Oh no! I feel for you, I'm waiting for that call myself. I hope for the best!

bostonimproper
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Re: bostonimproper's journal

Post by bostonimproper »

@mooretrees Thank you! Luckily his cough & fever have mostly gone away (he had about 10 days of symptoms). Still waiting on official test results, so we'll see if it was really COVID-19 or if I was really overreacting.

bostonimproper
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Re: bostonimproper's journal

Post by bostonimproper »

Family:
  • Grandmother (78) is still going to work in SoCal. For this age bracket, estimates are 30.5-58.7% hospitalization, 10.5-31.0% ICU admissions, and 4.3-10.5% death rate. I feel helpless that her choice may lead to her death, but there is nothing that I can do.
  • Brother is mostly recovered, still with a lingering cough. Still waiting on test results a week later.
  • Father's family's business, run in a tourist town, is barely afloat. He's trying to find useful things for workers to do (capital improvements) while waiting for demand, but will need to layoff people soon.
  • Mother who works in real estate and property management has been in quarantine, notes multiple previously-reliable tenants for properties she manages have reached out to say they'll be defaulting on rent due to COVID-19 layoffs.
Work:
  • I took on the big aforementioned project. I am now completely submerged.

bostonimproper
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Re: bostonimproper's journal

Post by bostonimproper »

Dafuq is going on with the stock market?

Where my head's at: The stock market is not the economy. Rather, there are two economies: those of the rich and few and those of the normal and many. The stock market reflects the beliefs of an ever-narrowing monied class. Fed-supported debt means big companies can stay afloat while individuals do poorly. Too big to fail is the new normal. Real growth will continue to slow while inequality remains.

What does that mean for stocks? Maybe they stay at sky-high valuations forever, at least so long as the federal government is willing to support it. Eventually this comes back and leads to high inflation, but we're not quite there yet.

I haven't put anything back into the market since a month ago. I'm not sure I want to index anymore.

Work is impoverishing my life

I feel I've been sucked into the capitalist ethos: You are what you produce. Your capacity as a worker is your value as a person.

I hit a breaking point yesterday. My anxiety to be productive and useful in a capitalist sense is causing me to shrink the rest of my life. I am too caught up in what other people at work think about me and it's affecting me all hours of the day. I forgot your employer is not your friend and doesn't actually care about your wellbeing. Management never practices what it preaches.

My plan is to be stricter about when I'm "on" and when I'm "off". No more 70 hour weeks. If things go up in flames, so be it. I've asked for assistance multiple times and been turned down, so at this point I need to do what I can with what I have.

bostonimproper
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Re: bostonimproper's journal

Post by bostonimproper »

Asset prices versus inflation

Interview with Steven Eisman (of The Big Short fame) rumbling in my head. Prices on publicly traded assets can inflate separate and apart from everyday goods incorporated in inflation statistics. Monetary policy can drastically affect asset prices concentrated on the high end without necessarily fueling inflation on low end goods. QE and deflation. What does this mean? Increasingly segregated economy and goods.

Work work work

I have utterly failed in work-life balance. It's starting to take a toll on my physical health, in addition to my mental health. Not sure what my ramp off this path looks like. Mental fixation is high.

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Egg
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Re: bostonimproper's journal

Post by Egg »

bostonimproper wrote:
Sat May 02, 2020 12:15 pm
I have utterly failed in work-life balance. It's starting to take a toll on my physical health, in addition to my mental health. Not sure what my ramp off this path looks like. Mental fixation is high.
I feel you on this (and the various similar things you've said in the past). I wish I knew the answer. The only thing that works for me is music, which can sometimes get me 'out of my own head'. I don't know about you, but FIRE for me is partly about being able finally to say one big "no" to professsional work, because I'm bad at saying the many small "no's" that a more moderate, 'Type B' personality would be doing in the same professional context. The ultimate "off ramp" if you like.

Of course, learning how deal with these issues would be an alternative route, but I've not figured out how to do this, or even if it's possible (i.e. not immutably hard-wired into personality).

Scott 2
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Post by Scott 2 »

I hope work gets better.

AnalyticalEngine
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Re: bostonimproper's journal

Post by AnalyticalEngine »

bostonimproper wrote:
Fri Apr 10, 2020 8:16 am
I haven't put anything back into the market since a month ago. I'm not sure I want to index anymore.
I feel you on this. I've been holding cash longer than I probably should have. Indexing is starting to scare me. It's unnerving to see the stock market skyrocket while unemployment is at the highest it's been in years. Maybe I'll be wrong and valuations will stay high forever, but for now at least, I'm going to keep holding cash until I can trust myself enough to invest it in something.

bostonimproper
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Re: bostonimproper's journal

Post by bostonimproper »

@Egg Yeah, to me it feels like an addiction. I can imagine being either all in or cold turkey, but nothing in between.

@Scott 2 Thank you, I appreciate the well wishes. :)

@AnalyticalEngine I'm looking at this as an opportunity to perhaps change my long-term investment strategy. I still have some amount in stock/bond funds (whatever I said in my AA earlier), but I'm toying with the idea of buying cheap real-estate in places that'll be neutral or positively affected by climate change in the 20-50 year time frame. This seems like an opportunity to take out some debt, which if done in a responsible way will probably be eaten away by inflation too. That's just where my head is at now.

bostonimproper
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Post by bostonimproper »

After two months, I think I'm finally past the worst of it at work. Also, I cut my husband's hair for the first time today (undercut with a fade). I think I did a pretty good job.

And, uh, that's been my entire life.

In money news, my net worth has finally gone back to its pre-COVID peak. I'm still not actively rejiggering my asset allocation back into index funds. I am still stunned/astonished/confused by the market rebound. In any case, I feel like I missed a big opportunity to throw some money into AAPL while it was down (its late-2019 run-up is a little bonkers too). With the US-China tensions beginning to escalate, I increasingly think the future of financial markets will rest on a private company that's able to expand into both markets to bridge market segmentation. Yes, I'm still yammering on about Apple setting up its own stable coin.

Hope all are staying safe and healthy.

bostonimproper
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Re: bostonimproper's journal

Post by bostonimproper »

I'm not really sure what happened but in the past week I've become completely disinterested in my work. It has gone back to a thing I do for money rather than what I want to focus my time on. I think part of it is that the big hurdles/challenges of getting a team started are over and now we're in the grind-it-out phase which I find a lot less interesting.

In any case, my mind wanders. I've been looking at remote activities to do with my Little Sis, and found some STEM kits that might be fun (build your own stereo, headphones, flashlights, etc.). It's inspired in me a desire for more gadgets and activities to entertain myself and maybe do as date nights with my husband. I want to get a DJI Mavic Air 2-- it might be fun to fly around and see a city I can no longer really walk around peacefully in. Or a 3D printer to make... stuff? In any case, I'm sure this frenzied interest will pass soon enough.

bostonimproper
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Re: bostonimproper's journal

Post by bostonimproper »

Some things on my mind, in no particular order:
  • Considering refinancing my mortgage from 3.25% interest rate to 2.75%. That plus resetting back to 30 years would drop my monthly payment by $300. That said, this would also require me to let a stranger into my house for an assessment. Is it worth it?
  • In other news, my husband has to start transporting people for work again-- mostly kids in foster care visiting their parents. Apparently convincing a seven year old to wear a mask resulted in the same "I don't have symptoms so I probably don't have it" conversation as when he travelled with his seventy-year-old mother, a retired nurse. I feel like we're bound to get it, it's only a question of when and how bad it'll be.
  • I miss my friends. I wonder, since our risk profile is higher anyway with my husband's work, whether I can take this as an invitation to live life if only a little. I recognize from an epidemiological perspective this is the exact opposite of what I should do. But maybe we can just walk outside or play tennis or something. Bargaining is the third stage of grief.
  • I don't like who I am at work. Political games are tiring and I feel like I'm constantly debasing myself in order to stay in the good graces of key stakeholders to help my team move forward. Also, all the directors I work with (all from different orgs) are in some weird Game of Thrones shit where they frenemy each other, politely agreeing with each other face to face, and then try to use us petty pawns as the go between messengers to suit their particular end. Kind of tired of the whole thing. It all feels very high school/Mean Girls and I don't need that kind of drama in my life.

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Re: bostonimproper's journal

Post by jacob »

bostonimproper wrote:
Sat Jul 18, 2020 4:07 pm
  • In other news, my husband has to start transporting people for work again-- mostly kids in foster care visiting their parents. Apparently convincing a seven year old to wear a mask resulted in the same "I don't have symptoms so I probably don't have it" conversation as when he travelled with his seventy-year-old mother, a retired nurse. I feel like we're bound to get it, it's only a question of when and how bad it'll be.
You can't fix stupid, but you can still protect yourself against it. Consider a P100 mask with safety glasses. You can still buy this for ~$50-60 because the crowd hasn't discovered it yet. You would have to consider the inside of the car contaminated.

I haven't sprung for the safety glasses yet but probably will. There are various other solutions like face shield and safety goggles. I have modified a pair of tinted shooting glasses (shield) to keep the nose bridge from interfering with the mask. This does make me look like a crazy mall ninja (rather than a drywaller/painter), so I'm looking around for clear (mask-compatible) glasses.

Smashter
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Re: bostonimproper's journal

Post by Smashter »

bostonimproper wrote:
Sat Jul 18, 2020 4:07 pm
[*]Considering refinancing my mortgage from 3.25% interest rate to 2.75%. That plus resetting back to 30 years would drop my monthly payment by $300. That said, this would also require me to let a stranger into my house for an assessment. Is it worth it?
I refinanced recently and they didn't have to come into my home. I had the option of someone driving out the paperwork and dropping it in my mailbox. I'd pick it up, bring it in, and get on a call with another loan officer who would walk me through the signing.

Alternatively, we could both wear masks and do the signing outside. That's what I opted for.

I'd inquire if they can do something like that for you.

bostonimproper
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Re: bostonimproper's journal

Post by bostonimproper »

@jacob Good call. We have P100s we haven't been using recently, since we opt for more comfortable two-ply cloth masks with HEPA or flannel inserts for everyday distanced wear. Also just got the face shields I ordered when he told me he was doing transport again. He's also only transporting kids to outdoor visits and keeping the windows rolled down while driving, so we're doing as much as is reasonably possible to keep him protected. But, still, there is always a risk.

@Smashter Did they not have to do an appraisal on the property? Signing I can see happening outside on the porch or something. Appraisal walkthrough less so.
Last edited by bostonimproper on Mon Jul 20, 2020 11:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

Smashter
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Re: bostonimproper's journal

Post by Smashter »

Ah, gotcha. My refinance did not require a walkthrough assessment, I guess because I had one done when I bought the house less than 2 years ago? I dunno, I live in Wisconsin, maybe things are different in Boston.

bostonimproper
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Re: bostonimproper's journal

Post by bostonimproper »

Still spending too much on food. Waiting for the election to decide whether/where to buy property (Boston area, Detroit, or Ottowa CA). If the stock market doesn't collapse again, we're likely to hit the double comma club by end of year. Otherwise who knows.

Took a week off this month and found myself thinking about work fairly often. The access I have to tools I can't afford myself, I feel an urge to lean into that opportunity while I have it. Though why do I care at all about this nonsense while the world is falling apart?

Also been considering how I've framed my life's purpose-- taking care of, protecting, setting up a couple of offspring-- dictates my life. Should I be thinking larger than myself and my own family, or is that the siren call of vanity and power coming to distract me?

I keep thinking: am I spending my life well?

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