m741's ERE Journal

Where are you and where are you going?
m741
Posts: 1174
Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2011 3:31 am
Location: Seattle, WA

Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by m741 »

August, 2020
Work
I guess not much has changed since my last update. Still stressed out at work. We're entering the period where performance reviews start. I think it's part of the whole end-of-year compensation discussion. Understandably, this is more work for managers. My impression is that overall the team is pretty happy with my performance, which would be a success (there is a part of performance reviews where people who report to a manager will rate them and give them some feedback).

Unfortunately, there's far too many projects to juggle and I feel like I'm spread very thin. There's definitely not enough people to do the work, and many people on the team have a strange lack of initiative. There are two strong junior performers that are actually proactive, and I'm increasingly leaning on them.

I'm still learning a lot as a new manager. The biggest challenge for me is delegating. I'm not a perfectionist, but I lean in that direction, so it's been tough delegating. And perhaps the biggest thing I learned is how different it is being a manager relative to the work on the ground. Before, and with a small team (5 people) I could basically understand everything that was happening. Now, with a larger team, I have to accept a much less precise understanding of the state of some projects. As someone who prided themselves on knowing details and easily being able to access them, I'm finding that hard to do.

Finances
Well, the market is doing well, and so are my accounts. Gains over the past few months have dwarfed initial expenses of the house purchase, which is good, and I'm actually at my highest net worth so far. It's pretty weird given that I don't think the economy overall is doing very well.

There are two large expenses that I want to get out of the way for the house (new windows and rewiring). These are both expensive in Seattle. But, these will be amortized over a few months. Although they're a lot of money (someone recently told me the maxim that home expenses come in increments of $10k), I expect them to blend in with any market noise.

Life
Stressful. Work expanded out into personal life, and it feels like I'm either working, thinking about work, or exhausted. I've done little outside work or yardwork. I shouldn't complain: I have a job, the pay is high, and this is more-or-less what I signed up for. I haven't learned to say "enough is enough," so I'm never quite satisfied at work.

As always, ERE and having enough in the bank is a wonderful salve. I need to run recent numbers, but I think I could step away at any time and be ok. I'm happy that I'm working during the pandemic/quarantine (rather than, say, not working now and working whenever it lifts). I'm going to be pushing for a large raise at work this year, commensurate with the additional work I'm doing. And my current plan is still to re-evaluate in ~2 years. Hard work and career is strangely addictive, so I need to be careful, but for example, I also realize that working this hard for >5 more years would be really bad for my health.

Establishing better bounds between work and life is my primary goal for the next month.

DutchGirl
Posts: 1280
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:49 pm
Location: The Netherlands

Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by DutchGirl »

m741 wrote:
Fri Sep 04, 2020 8:19 am
Establishing better bounds between work and life is my primary goal for the next month.
Sounds like a pretty decent goal to me, although also very hard to reach sometimes :-) .

m741
Posts: 1174
Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2011 3:31 am
Location: Seattle, WA

Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by m741 »

December, 2020

I could have sworn I'd updated this journal after August, but now it's December and here we are! Another year, almost in the books.

Work
Quite a tumultuous few months at work. About two months ago I was hit by some pretty serious burnout. The manager position is stressful to me, I had been working long hours, and I'd been unable to complete some small projects. I've been working through that since - mostly by feeling guilty about not completing things, while working shorter hours.

That said - I got good performance reviews and per reviews, all my reports seem to enjoy reporting to me. Unless I'm completely misreading things, my manager really likes me... and she was just promoted. So there's a real possibility I could be moving up the management chain - and whether I want to do so is a decision I'll probably need to make sometime next year. Because of how the corporate job ladder works, I'd probably also need to get promoted first, which is an extensive ordeal at my company that I'll suffer through in the spring... hopefully successfully (it would be a title promotion, rather than any change in responsibilities).

I do think this has been a terrible year to be a manager. We switched to remote work shortly after I moved into the position. My team size was doubled in the summer - so I've not met half the team in person while I was managing them. And at the same time we pivoted to work on high visibility stuff, roughly doubling team responsibilities... so a lot more to keep track of. Meanwhile, my 10 person team has had two people with serious performance issues... and they *also* had medical problems necessitating leave. So if higher-level management is more of the same, I'd probably say "no."

But I think things will be getting better. My most ambitious report is someone who I think I can teach quite a bit, and they've accepted my offer to move into a position with more responsibilities, where I can offload stuff that's top-of-mind. And I have an equal mix of barely-competent co-workers and excellent co-workers. So I can learn a lot without feeling like I'm weighing everyone down...

I don't mean to complain so much. I've learned so much over the past year, and I'm learning more each day - stuff that overall hasn't come easily to me but that will prove useful as long as I'm working with/for other people.

Finances
I saw a dip in net worth with the market pullback in the middle of October, but recovered strong and my net worth is currently higher than ever. Even with my "inflated" lifestyle (ie, being a home-owner, not counting every expense, and not eating lentils), I'm at a 2.1% SWR, and expect to see continued gains through 2021. Although anything could happen, right now I don't anticipate a major market pullback. And if there is one, I don't think I'd lose my job - so it just represents more investment opportunities.

I've been procrastinating on some financial hygiene stuff. Nothing major, but I think I could trim some expenses totalling ~$200/month. A job for this weekend.

So financially I remain in good shape.

Life
Well, I'm in quarantine, so nothing is really happening. Over the past few months I've made just one trip, camping near Mt St Helens, which was really pretty.

I have an enormous backlog of chores and tasks around the home. I'm experiencing some low-grade anxiety with fall and winter, as I'm not sure which plants in my garden will bounce back, and which might have died at the end of summer (they're all perennials, but I don't know what most of the plants look like in the winter). It's not the end of the world if some die... although I bought a *lot* of plants, most were in the $1 or $3 bin at Lowes.

I also experience some anxiety at the house. It's over a hundred years old, which both makes me nervous (there are a lot of cracks in the ceiling/walls from settling over the years), but it's also reassuring. What are the odds things go downhill now? Right? We're working through the two big renovations that we contracted out (a total rewire is now done, and replacing ~11 windows should happen in the next 2 months), and then will be patching walls and repainting.

I will say that in the 6 months since moving in, I've patched 8 holes that were drilled for rewiring (including repainting), mounted a vanity, fixed a loose p-trap, replaced a rotted drainpipe, pulled up two rooms of carpeting, put in a room's worth of quarter-round moulding, dug a french drain, built and backfilled a retaining wall, trimmed four trees, and relaid a walk... in addition to planting perhaps 40 shrubs and flowers around the yard. None of those was a major project, but I've learned a lot already.

Besides that, I really haven't had the energy to play guitar or study Spanish, which were my two main projects for a while. I'd love to return to them, and maybe the extensive time off around Christmas will be an opportunity to do so. My major hobby right now is playing deckbuilding roguelikes. I've sunk hundreds of hours into Monster Train over the past few months...

DutchGirl
Posts: 1280
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:49 pm
Location: The Netherlands

Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by DutchGirl »

As for perennial plants in winter: last year I also thought that some plants had died, because all that was left of them was one sad brown stick above ground. But these plants came back stronger than ever this year, apparently their energy was stored in their roots. So keep up hope. I'd replace plants by May or so... if they haven't recovered after 1-2 months of warmer weather, then they're really dead. And you'll just get to pick some new fun plants.

Hats off for all the work on your house you've done over this year. And apparently you've learned a lot at work, plus people have appreciated your work and efforts.

Enjoy your Christmas holiday!

Gilberto de Piento
Posts: 1564
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2013 10:23 pm

Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by Gilberto de Piento »

I'll sevond what was said about the perennials. Maybe your location is different but where I'm at almost every plant "dies" in the winter. The leaves turn brown and fall off and nothing is left. Then the above ground plant grows completely anew in the spring. Hosts are a very common example.

I also wouldn't worry about the cracks. Old houses almost always have cracks in the plaster, especially in the corners of windows and doors. Since you are having contractors around anyway maybe one could give you a second opinion. You could also get a specialist to check the foundation.

Post Reply