An American Millennial

Where are you and where are you going?
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Viktor K
Posts: 281
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2016 9:45 pm
Location: China

Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K » Fri Jun 08, 2018 7:36 am

Early-June 2018

Just got June's paycheck. Also, I accidentally edited over my May journal entry above. I believe it is gone for good.


ERE graphs

Image

Net worth has inched back up. However, there's only 1 paycheck left, plus end of year bonus and then I'll be losing some money until the new school semester starts. At least, my net worth has received a positive (in the form of less of a negative :geek: ) increase of some $150/month. See below.


Image

Assets are down because I took that fat chunk of USD from last month and threw it at my loans. ~20% of loans gone.


Personal
Dog: Feels like a zoo as an animal subsection seems to be a monthly occurrence. My girlfriend rescued some pup off the street. After weeks in a cage getting its vaccines and waiting for an adopter, I finally caved in to her persistent begging to bring it home. It pisses all over the spare bedroom every day and screams bloody murder when she leaves the apartment. Thus, I've been spending time at lunch and after class each day coding at the office to give her a little extra time to beat me home (I usually get home 30 minutes before her), mop up all the urine and walk the mut. The deal was if she wanted to bring it home, she'd have to take care of it all, but I didn't foresee it being such a PITA. It is cute, though, quick learner with regards to training, and otherwise quiet. It also has started chasing the smaller cat. I'm definitely not a dog person. Sorry if my horns are showing.

Health-food: I'm back to the Chinese fast food diet. It's really hard to eat healthy here. Food-health alone is one example, where the only nearby restaurant with a passing health-rating is McDonald's. Everywhere else is a B and below, and some don't even post the rating. Simple carbs, pork, and high-sugar drinks are the norm, which you pretty much need to cook each meal or pay a premium eating out to avoid.

Health-other:In other news, still greatly improved sleep schedule, 8 or more hours every night, unable to stay awake past 10-11 unless really determined to work something through. We've started doing 50pullups program twice a week in addition to continuing the 5-3-1. We got our body fat percentage calculated. I'm at 13.3% which is probably the highest in my life. I want to be something like 10%, but the diet is a huge issue.

Housing: We have 10 days to figure out if we'll stay in this apartment or move. We've talked about moving to somewhere with a more inviting and less infested kitchen. We'd likely have to sacrifice some square footage, which we're fine with. The hope is that with a nicer, cleaner kitchen we may be more enticed to cook more. Another thing we have to consider however is that my future work location is potentially up in the air a bit, so we may be considering short-term leasing options as our first criteria.

Travel: I'll be in the US for two weeks at the beginning of July. This will be a chance to count up how much money I have/need for the next 2-3 months before my next paycheck and bring some USD back on the plane. My girlfriend will be taking a separate vacation from me since we both need to go to different states, and so that we can avoid having the cats need a babysitter.


Professional

Public school: 3 more weeks of class, and 1 of those is where I just sit back and let them watch a movie. Then I'm on summer vacation.

Recording: We did 2 more of these last month (and one was a big, 30 page one) but looks like the pay won't be making it on this update. Should come in the next week.

Web-development: Over the last month I've solved 38 JavaScript algorithms and finished 6 projects. I've made things like a JavaScript Calculator, a Pomodoro Clock, and other things that work with APIs like Wikipedia's MediaWorks and OpenWeatherMaps. I've got two more projects to go before I'll start learning a Front-end framework, likely React. FreeCodeCamp just changed their format, but after my next two projects I'll still be able to apply for my Front-end Certificate since I am a "legacy" user. As a funny twist, my algorithm solutions net me one of their new certificates by default, a JavaScript Algorithms and Data Structures certificate "representing approximately 300 hours of coursework".

Job-readiness: I consider going self-taught developer the most intensive way to get a web development job, since there isn't really anyone (e.g. a bootcamp instructor, a university, etc) to give your learning any credibility. Thus, in the last few days I've started to dedicate some additional time outside of studying/working on projects to prepare myself as a candidate. I made a pretty awesome-looking resume (based on this one) and figured I might as well start sending it out. Lo and behold, I actually got a reply from a company in Hong Kong. Next up, I want to start a legitimate portfolio website that I'll also have my blog on. The blog will just be my journey as a self-taught developer with the main goal of giving employers a chance (if they want) to better understand who I am.

University: I signed the university job offer when it came. As there's a pretty high potential for a 4-day, mornings only work-week, it would be really a much better schedule for studying. Unfortunately, there's a potential ¥15,000 fee for early termination, so if I manage to find a job, it may come at a cost. As well, you have to sign without knowing which of 4 tracks you'll get. The easiest track is general English, and is only 16 classes, 1 lesson plan/week. The most intensive one is 20 classes, seeing each class 3x/week (e.g. 3 lesson plans), and is business English (more intensive), and since it is 20 classes, there's no chance to fit it in the 4-day, mornings only schedule. Fingers crossed.


Financial

Student loans: My lump-sum paid off 2 of my 8 loans. As you can see above, I certainly still have enough in assets to pay off 1 more, however I am trying to balance my emergency fund. The desired emergency fund value fluctuates since my future employment is so up in the air. If I knew I would stay in China for the next year, I would dump more from the fund onto the loans. Ideally, if it was easier to transfer money, then I would be sending money monthly, thus avoiding my interest increasing each month. This last payment knocked off $150/month of interest moving forward.

No-pay summer: Since we're switching employers, we won't get a housing allowance this summer, which really sucks. Maybe this is a good time for me to turn on my online teaching app.


Final thoughts

The biggest thing on my mind right now is just how crazy it is that someone actually replied to my resume. Originally, I had set a goal of getting a job by August, potentially moving back to the US to get a nice, high-paying one. The idea here is that by August I will have learned a front-end framework (maybe React) and a back-end language (maybe PHP, or Python, the decision is further away and thus less thought about), and have made many more projects to showcase these. When I found a ton of web developer jobs just across the border in Hong Kong, I figured I might as well start sending out my new resume. One of the employers actually responded, though, sending me back a questionnaire to get to know me better. In my eyes, since its only June, I'm two months of studying and projects away from where I think I would actually be employable, so I can't say I expect anything out of it, but it's a nice reinforcement of the idea that I may actually be able to find work in the future.

slowtraveler
Posts: 598
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2015 10:06 pm

Re: An American Millennial

Post by slowtraveler » Fri Jun 08, 2018 10:24 am

Dude, you're doing amazing. Your net asset value keeps climbing on up and soon, you'll have a positive withdrawal rate.

I'm proud of the progress you've made on programming. I haven't written a program since my last post out of laziness. This is your competition and you're winning ;) . If you keep up your progress, you'll get that job sooner than later.

Deep down, I'm rooting for you to win and stay in Asia since you seem happier now than your first pages of your journal. But finding a more hygenic place feels so nice. I'd spend hours killing dozens of roaches in my Pattaya kitchen so I feel your pain.

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Fish
Posts: 374
Joined: Sun Jun 12, 2016 9:09 am

Re: An American Millennial

Post by Fish » Sun Jun 10, 2018 6:57 am

Viktor K wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 7:36 am
Job-readiness: I consider going self-taught developer the most intensive way to get a web development job, since there isn't really anyone (e.g. a bootcamp instructor, a university, etc) to give your learning any credibility. Thus, in the last few days I've started to dedicate some additional time outside of studying/working on projects to prepare myself as a candidate. I made a pretty awesome-looking resume (based on this one) and figured I might as well start sending it out. Lo and behold, I actually got a reply from a company in Hong Kong. [...] I'm two months of studying and projects away from where I think I would actually be employable, so I can't say I expect anything out of it, but it's a nice reinforcement of the idea that I may actually be able to find work in the future.
Have you considered freelancing or contract work? 1) it doesn't commit you to any particular location, 2) you get paid to learn while gaining experience. It would be compatible with a perma-travel lifestyle, while a full-time position would not. It could be a decent alternative if you have any hesitation about taking a full-time developer job at this time. The opportunity cost might not be as high, if it allows you to skip past entry-level if you later switch to career mode.
Wall Street Playboys wrote: Importantly, if you want to go into Private Equity and get a career offer in private equity you *take* it. If you want to go into banking and get an offer in banking…. you *take* it. There is no point in “learning something” to jump later. Always jump straight into the position if possible.
This would be my recommendation to you. For what it's worth, I prefer WSP's resume template. The one you linked has an entry-level vibe because the cutesy infographic format wastes a lot of valuable space. Recommend reading the advice here and see the template link at the bottom. http://wallstreetplayboys.com/resume-template/

Mister Imperceptible
Posts: 224
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2017 4:18 pm

Re: An American Millennial

Post by Mister Imperceptible » Tue Jun 12, 2018 8:57 am

+1 to what Fish said and quoted from WSP.

You’re smart enough that you can learn the nuances of a new gig on the fly.

Contract work often pays more, too, because the employer doesn’t pay to “onboard you.” Health insurance, vacation time, 401k match, all the things you get from an employer, you can manage and optimize better on your own.

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Viktor K
Posts: 281
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2016 9:45 pm
Location: China

Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K » Tue Jun 12, 2018 9:51 am

@slowtraveler A lot of my progress is due to getting rid of my computer games, which was such a massive time sink and distraction I don't want to really talk about it or quantify it :oops: Another great motivator has been my mounting dissatisfaction and a feeling of "going-nowhere". Your comment made me read back to some of the early entries in my journal though and that makes me feel a little better since I think I am a lot better off than where I started, but still lots of progress to go.

@fish Yes, I have. But I should keep looking. I got a little disheartened when browsing upwork since it seemed a lot of the jobs required skills I didn't have or that I couldn't really understand. I've discussed with my girlfriend the possibility of finding freelance work instead of a full-time job. It would pair especially well with the low-hour high-savings rate lifestyle we'll have in China for the next year and could snowball and lead to opportunities in explore other countries without having to worry about income. Thanks for the tips on the resume, I'm going to get rid of the graphics on the side bar :D

@Mister Imperceptible Thanks for the compliment, but a lot of what I'm able to figure out is really just due to the wealth of information on the internet. Every problem I run into already has an answer on stackoverflow or a well-written blog post about ways to solve it. Maybe I'll try and still apply for some of these jobs that I at least partially understand on upwork. I've heard it can take a very long time before you get your first contract, but then they start coming in at a reasonable rate after that and then its just a matter of steadily increasing your rate. I've also heard a lot of freelance work comes from cold-calling/reaching out to companies with outdated sites. That sort of freelancing I'm less excited about given my past experiences with cold-calling but if it can lead to jobs and later ERE, then I can make the sacrifice.

Mister Imperceptible
Posts: 224
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2017 4:18 pm

Re: An American Millennial

Post by Mister Imperceptible » Tue Jun 12, 2018 10:07 am

I think if the massive time sink into computer games is replaced with a relentless hustle toward income-related activity, you will get results. Barge into enough doors, eventually you will find yourself in a room where they are playing a game natural for you to learn or the people in the room just don’t have the energy to throw you out.

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