bigato's journal

Where are you and where are you going?
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LiquidSapphire
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Post by LiquidSapphire »

Welcome to the journals!


m741
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Post by m741 »

Glad to see you're keeping a journal. I always enjoy hearing your perspective on things. As with Jacob, it's quite different from my own - but I can always see where you're coming from.


m741
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Post by m741 »

10 years of expenses saved is pretty good. I'm at about 80 months and I definitely feel free. I might have trouble for a few months in an emergency. But I don't feel like I could have continuous trouble for 7 years.


LiquidSapphire
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Post by LiquidSapphire »

That is really interesting, that if you have 10 years saved you can semi-retire. I am coming up on 12 years. I still don't feel comfortable jumping though because half of it is in tax deferred accounts I can't easily touch until I am 60... but there is a way to convert it here (called Roth Conversion) so maybe I'd look into that...
Isn't having savings great, I LOVE having options, there is nothing sweeter.


palmera
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Post by palmera »

Hi bigato, I'm so glad you started a journal!


akratic
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Post by akratic »

Your expenses of R$565/month is the equivalent of $303 USD/month or under $3.7k USD/yr.
I think you might officially be the most frugal poster we have! Well done.


George the original one
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Post by George the original one »

Food is essential and I know you're targeting it in the budget, so I doubt more focus will help you there. That leaves electricity as the next largest expense... what does it do for you and can you find any places to trim usage? And, if Brazilian electric bills are similar to American ones (at low usage levels the connection fees & taxes are the predominant costs), does trimming usage actually provide any real relief?
I'm also asking about your electric useage because I'm curious how it might be different from Americans. Heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration are the bulk of our useage, then followed by television, computers, lighting, cooking, and other trivia. Heating and cooking might be handled by using other fuels; a lot depends on what's locally available.
I really like how you're getting the expenses below Brazilian minimum wage. Is that for you alone or does it include your wife?


LiquidSapphire
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Post by LiquidSapphire »

Hi bigato -

I don't know what the difference is in cost of living in Brazil vs the US but it sounds like you are reaching a point in diminishing returns. It sounds like you have cut all of the superfluous stuff out and to cut even more would start to hurt. Life is meant to be enjoyed and not a sacrifice so I think you're doing fine as you are! I think you are doing great to be supporting two people, owning your own house, and your pets, on just minimum wage! Even if you go ERE and it doesn't work out for whatever reason, you would think it wouldn't be that hard to just go get another minimum wage job again for a little while to replenish savings.
On the point of No Eating Out. Maybe you could buy some things at the store (Crackers, some kind of cheese spread that doesn't require refrigeration) and just keep them around for those times where you didn't have time to make a lunch, then at least you will have something ready to go when you want to go out and meet people. Cutting back on meeting with people because you don't have food ready to go seems a little sad to me, why not just have food ready to go all the time for those days? I know you are thinking that it is not as healthy as fresh food or the food you normally eat, you are right about that but life is full of trade offs, and it can't be that much worse than the food you would have gotten eating out. It might be a nicer way to transition to not eating out, maybe. Less harsh.


J_
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Post by J_ »

Hi Bigato,

Reading your Journal, I am impressed how well you and your wife have allready reached such a frugal way of life, and that you at a young age have already saved such a lot. As acratic says, there no much to improve, I think.

As I have read a lot of your comments it is as if I know you for a rather long time, and I have seen the care you take to live healthy by knowing a lot about food and how to keep your body in shape.

Sometimes I get the impression that you are a little bit frustrated by your bosses or that your wife has another feeling about being frugal. For the bosses: you can never be too carefull in choosing your boss!!, but you have seldom the choice.

My wife has sometimes also other views but I am gratefull for that, I learn from her point of view that there are other possibilities, and very often my views are changing for the better!

As FI is not the meaning of life but only a good start to be free to choose how to live as you want, I wonder what you dreams are, the moment you quit your job. Hope to hear from you.


Surio
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Post by Surio »

@bigato,

Got to rush, so here's my brief thoughts.
1. The journal really resonated. The cultural similarities in thinking and lifestyle really resonated.
2.

> One of the main points to be improved in next year is,

> absolutely NO EATING OUT.

I also have a martial arts background, and I also understand the cultural outlook that prompts such strong stands. So, I simply say, "Go bigato!"! It is a great move.
Discipline towards every aspect of life must become as natural as the act of breathing. No thinking, no straining, no worrying about silly things as "Am I breathing enough to make it enjoyable?", etc. Just breathe, and stop worrying about external factors.
So from one martial arts practitioner to another: "Go brother, go".
> Yes, my wife sometimes complain about being too much frugal

This behaviour used to see-saw in our household... Sometimes it is me who is wondering if we are shaving away at nothing, and sometimes it was DW.... Oh well, it has died out largely.
Hmm, now that we have a non-US developing world journal, should I also start one?


LonerMatt
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Post by LonerMatt »

@ Surio
Of course you should start one. Mine's coming in the new year as well, time for us internationals to get on board.


palmera
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Post by palmera »

@surio YES start a journal, please :)
I'm starting one...first post is early Feb 2012. Yay!


J_
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Post by J_ »

@Bigato:Thank you for the generous answer: the long term dreams of you have become quite clear. I think it is for many of us a good thing to formulate for themself the goals in life. I share these goals with you.

as an aside:

Perhaps it only a word thing but don't you think that by hating your bosses or by hating the consumerism lifestyle you put negative forces in your mind? Which tap your power? Perhaps your bosses do stupid things and consumerism is a unsustanable way of life. To your boss you can speak out, that will give you relief. For a another lifestyle you set yourself allready an exempel. As you do/see it these way it will give you a positive force, as you will be more happy in your job and in life.


J_
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Post by J_ »

Bigato: "sometimes I'm worried to be changing and becoming a worse person". That's a grave remark!
Twice I worked in a situation more or less the same as you. First time I found another job, second time I started to work for my own, two important steps, I struggled before I took them. In both situations I left well paid jobs and changed them for less paid and uncertain futures.

But what a relief and the results: the steps backwards let to leaps forwards, making more than good the initial financial loss, and more important, I gained trust in myself. And as you know I reached rather "early" financial independence.
Everybody is different, perhaps is keeping posture for you a good solution, but from the way you tell about your job-circumstances which exists allready for a longer period, I advise you to consider a soon way out.

BTW I wish you your best in 2012!!


Riggerjack
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Post by Riggerjack »

well, it sounds like an exciting opportunity. USING linux is fairly easy, SUPPORTING linux takes far more knowledge than i have. plenty of places to download it for free to play with.
as to the hostile bosses, been there, done that. the best solution i found was learning how to say no in a nonconfrontational way. it was truly foreign to my nature. to me, if i was told to do something and said no, then it escalated to a battle of wills or fists all thru my life.
then i watched a coworker (sean) do it right.
"no." with a laugh, like it was an unreasonable request. of course it was, or he wouldn't be saying no. this caused the boss to raise is voice and go confrontational. sean just looked at him like he was a little crazy, go even more calmly explain why not. it's important to not be sarcastic or address him like he's a child. at this point, the boss can escalate, clearly loosing self control, or back down. either way was a victory for sean. now that didn't make the boss want to promote sean, but it allowed sean to do his job well, not make the unreasonable sacrifices, and eventually transfer elsewhere.
when i asked him about this, he laughed and said it's just a job. i can get another one anywhere. i do it well, and if the boss wants to replace me, fine. i can get another anytime i like.
and that was one of the big differences between sean and i. we were both good at what we did, but for sean, being a tech was a paycheck, and no more, and for me it was tied into my self worth. who i was, and how i related to the world around me was dependent on what i did, and how well. this gave the boss too many leverage points to manipulate me.
i found i was much happier transferring to a different dept, and taking a job i don't care nearly so much about.
and having my wife help me keep that perspective helps, too.
good luck.


m741
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Post by m741 »

Sorry you're having such a tough time. Are there any IT jobs in your current town? What would your commute to Sao Paulo be? Is there any severance if you get kicked out of the company?
If you suspect that they are going to try to fire you, I would take a few actions. First, I would take their advice in the review at face value. Really do try to improve your ability to sell things. Make changes, and discuss them with your co-workers. There is a possibility that you have a blind spot in your performance. Plus, it looks like you are putting forward a good-faith effort.
Second, I would start to record everything. Keeping good records is important - you could write down what you did in a given day and also if your supervisor said anything that they shouldn't have. You could get co-workers to corroborate what you say, and in the worst case if your supervisor is saying something rude/aggressive towards you, you could make voice recordings. You could also elicit feedback and keep contact numbers from customers/clients to build up a list of people who were happy with your work. It's quite a bit of effort, but if you want to keep your job, or feel more comfortable about your situation, it might make a difference. You could also try talking to a lawyer, for an hour consultation - or maybe you know someone who is a lawyer and could give you some advice.
Assuming all your suspicions are correct, then your supervisor is trying to build evidence for a case against you over time. So keeping a counter-record is important, as is putting forth a good-faith effort that your co-workers can see.
Personally I would continue to work at your current position for as long as possible (you said end of 2013 is target retirement - you could make it a firm deadline instead). Knowing that there is an end in sight makes a huge psychological difference. In the meantime, I would be cautious and I would try putting out feelers for jobs in your current location. Maybe one of your Jiu Jitsu students is in IT? Maybe the father of one of the kids you teach knows somewhere you could work? Just casually discussing it with people could open some doors.


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C40
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Post by C40 »

Wow Bigato, sounds like some rough times. Two years of being this miserable at a job will wear you down even more than it already has.
Have you been looking into jobs with other companies as well? Might it be good to have one of those carpentry or farming jobs sort of lined up as a backup plan (since they are ran by people you know, it might not be hard to speak to them about it - to say "hey, I'm really not enjoying my current job.. if I decide to bail or get fired, could I work for you?". Having that option might make the days at your current job easier.. Sort of like having "fuck you" money makes it much easier to laugh off the bullshit. Maybe getting job offers for IT work from other companies could work as leverage to get the IT role or telecommuting position you want with your current employer?
Don't give up on being happy. Have a positive outlook. Consider your options and pursue them aggressively. Don't give up when they don't work out - you only need one good job offer or internal transfer opportunity for things to improve significantly.


LiquidSapphire
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Post by LiquidSapphire »

Hi bigato -

Sorry to hear you are having a hard time. Seems a few of us are lately.

I don't know if it is the same or not but my ex boyfriend used to work at a bank and it was the same thing, a LOT of sales pressure. You had to ask everyone who came in if they wanted a credit card, a loan, a mortgage. This bank was inside a grocery store, so they made you walk around and ask people if they wanted to sign up for stuff. He didn't sell very much and they did end up firing him for sort of a silly reason. But he did not have the worker protections you have.

It sounds, based on other posts you made, like your boss personally does not like you. Perhaps they would welcome a transfer for you. Do you think, if they knew you wanted to transfer out and away from them, they would help or hurt you? Helping you would get you out from under their team and they could replace you with someone they liked, so that would be win win... or they might hurt your chances just to be assholes. Only you can really make the best guess here but worth thinking about. If you think they might help you, maybe you should just mention about how you want a "change" and might like to go back to "IT"... they may lay off of you if they think you're leaving soon, might even help you leave sooner!
OK my first bit of advice is try to keep your nose clean if you think they are building a case against you, especially since you say it would have to be pretty strong for them to fire you. You admit you don't sell things well and you admit that there were some complaints against you. Maybe make it your personal mission to try to have no one complain against you ever ever again. Everyone gets a smile, no matter what. If some guy is being a jerk, just tell them you will get your manager, and let them deal with it (Maybe?) It's better than getting complaints, after all. They can't say you were rude, just say you don't have the power to help them, maybe the manager can make a different decision. Then you're helping them by getting them in contact with someone that might be able to give them what they want. Maybe go to your boss and ask for sales tips or pointers or ideas. What are some easy ways they can come up with to sell more? I know it will be hard to do and swallow but it will make them feel good about themselves, and hey maybe they will actually have something valuable to say. They might like you more just for asking.
I think you should stick it out the best you can because your other options don't sound like a good tradeoff, much less money, still not something you'd enjoy much, unless you can find an IT job somewhere else. I know what you mean though about being in a job you hate, that you have no passion for, all of that. It helps to just not think about it, at all, once you leave. I refuse to check my work email, at all, except during office hours. It can take just one email to ruin my entire weekend. Fuck that, they get 40 hours and that is ALL. I have been trying to work toward other things and goals in my off time, things I would do after ER, to keep me busy. Maybe that will help you.
What about starting your own IT business? Like the local computer repair guy, you can build custom computers, de-junk other new computers (get rid of all the yucky software that people end up with on their systems) and you can maybe design some websites for some small businesses. You could do it on the side, and maybe even get some references from some of your Sao Paulo friends.
Hang in there bigato - 2 years in the grand scheme of things is not that long, you have been there 10 years already! If you want to stick it out I believe you can do it. If it helps, I like to remind myself that the only constant is change; it can't stay like this the next two years, something will change, hopefully for the better.


pooablo
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Post by pooablo »

Hi Bigato,
I hope things get better for you and remember your health is most important. This might mean working at another job that you like for 5 more years than the current one that you dislike for 2 more years. On the other hand, you could do what I am doing and take a sabbatical for a year. After the year, you could go back to working for the 2 more years. A break might give you more energy again to handle another 2 years of sales.


Spartan_Warrior
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Post by Spartan_Warrior »

I can empathize with a lot of your post. Work sucks enough when your boss likes you, let alone if they have it in for you. In that regard I'm better off in my current position than I was at my last job, but regardless I still have "those days" sometimes when the daily grind gets the better of me. I don't know what to say except to second LS on this:
"It helps to just not think about it, at all, once you leave. I refuse to check my work email, at all, except during office hours. It can take just one email to ruin my entire weekend. Fuck that, they get 40 hours and that is ALL."
Seconded.


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