Seppia's journal

Where are you and where are you going?
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Seppia
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Location: Italy

Re: Seppia's journal

Post by Seppia » Wed Apr 18, 2018 8:54 am

Changes?

I work in the food business, managing export markets (meaning: the whole planet except for Italy) for a mid size italian company (approx 250M turnover).
My current work situation is hard, with way too much travel (see prior posts), stress and general bad stuff that is impacting on my health, both phisically and psychologically.

Only once in my life I have been in worse physical shape than I am today at 6'05" for 205lbs (that's 185cm for 93kg).
I drink too much to alleviate the stress (a glass a day), I never exercise, and sometimes don't sleep too well (never had any issue before).
At 37 years of age, this is not good.

I have been handling this situation well mainly because I like what I do, I have a phenomenal wife, a great family environment and a general high resistance to stress/overworking.
There's also the carrot of a relatively high salary, that allows me to save 75% of my net income without any particular effort.

Still, this situation is not sustainable, and I have started looking at some potential changes.

First, I have been looking around for another job, with a smaller geographical area of responsibility.
There may be something happening, but it would most likely require us to again move abroad. 
It may be a great opportunity to experience the world with someone else paying for most of it (both my wife and I are very curios travelers and we love to experience new and different cultures).

The downside would be some more short term stress (changing jobs, moving, parting again with family, etc).

Should the above not work, I will probably demand my current company to hire a couple junior key accounts to help me with some of the markets, but I know this will take some time as we always try to keep headcount as low as possible.

The good news is that we had very nice growth since I joined, and it is accelerating in this third year, so I would have a justification for my demand.
As always, this growth came part because of luck, part because of skill, and part because of simply working harder than my predecessors.

The philosophy of the company is: pay people well, but don't pay too many people.
I subscribe to this philosophy, but I just cannot take this kind of punishment for much longer.

We'll see

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TheWanderingScholar
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Re: Seppia's journal

Post by TheWanderingScholar » Thu Apr 19, 2018 6:59 am

Best of luck in your situation!

Jason
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Re: Seppia's journal

Post by Jason » Thu Apr 19, 2018 4:09 pm

Watch your health, paesan.

Mister Imperceptible
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Re: Seppia's journal

Post by Mister Imperceptible » Fri Apr 20, 2018 10:38 pm

Seppia, I admire you for your continued endurance through the travel and work. You’re racking up compounding effects on your health. I’m not a health expert, but you need a lot more exercise, and I highly recommend you do this by making lots of sexy time with the wife.

Deferred gratification is a major virtue in this domain, but I think you and your wife need focus on your happiness a little bit.

Maybe you can get a little bit creative with your current employment. A remote position managing new recruits or something. If your company’s operations have been doing well because of your work efforts, and this is visible, maybe you have the gravitas to make some kind of suggestion.

And given you are clearly.....less than satisfied with your current situation, even if your wife has been patient, maybe you tell your employers to stuff it anyway if they don’t cooperate.

Or even just say “I need to take an indefinite leave of absence to get it on with my wife repeatedly and sire a child.”

You say that’s she beautiful and you’re lucky to have her. Well, if you know you’re lucky, you know that other people are unlucky. Some people often don’t find love until much later, some too late, and some not at all.

I understand also that you are conservative and you are doing what you think is best for the long-term. Just don’t take for granted the years you have now. Don’t make for a less happy life for you and your own beloved wife for the sake of an abstract “safe withdrawal rate.” You will work again. You’ve already said this. Don’t forget, we only have so many days. You miss your wife, and I’m sure she misses you more than she says.

But it doesn’t matter what I *think*, it matters how you *feel*.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=vH6v9JS26xc

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=AnWWj6xOleY

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Seppia
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Location: Italy

Re: Seppia's journal

Post by Seppia » Mon Apr 23, 2018 8:34 am

Thanks all for the encouragement, I really value your inputs!

I think though that I may be painting an incorrect picture of my situation.
I may have been giving the impression that I'm somewhat miserable, but this is not at all the case, overall I consider myself insanely lucky and would not trade places with anybody :)

I must get better at this journal thing.
Or maybe I should just stop whining and be thankful for all the amazing things ("things" not used strictly in the material sense) I have.

BTW I have implemented a few changes already:

- set a hard cap on wine consumption of one very small glass (about one inch in a narrow glass) per day. So far I have drunk zero in the last 5 days, let's see if this sticks.

- started a diet: goal is to lose a couple kgs per month. Will weigh in tomorow for the first time (my fancy scale bought in my pre-frugal yeas needs a battery change) and report regularly.

- in a textbook display of wasteful consumerism, I have purchased a fitbit flex 2 to track my unacceptably low activity level.
Someone smarter than me could suggest to just move my sorry ass instead of purchasing fancy overpriced gadgets, but I am banking on the fact that I am not too smart.
Basically the plan is to shame myslef into moving more because "I have purchased this useless thing and already feel stupid, better lose weight now or it will be worse". Plus my pathological competitiveness will be triggered by the gamification ("earn this stupid badge if you just walk another 26728737678386397386 steps")

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Re: Seppia's journal

Post by jacob » Mon Apr 23, 2018 8:55 am

My fitbit borked a couple of years ago ... but somewhere, there's an ERE fitbit group. I wonder if it's still active.

Smashter
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Re: Seppia's journal

Post by Smashter » Mon Apr 23, 2018 10:24 am

Just checked, and the last update was from two years ago. https://www.fitbit.com/group/22QL7X

Maybe there is interest in starting it back up?

Mister Imperceptible
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Re: Seppia's journal

Post by Mister Imperceptible » Wed Apr 25, 2018 9:04 am

@Seppia

I just wanted to make sure you were taking everything “into account.” Sorry if my post was too dramatic.

As referenced by Smashter:

viewtopic.php?f=7&t=4415&start=75

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Seppia
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Location: Italy

Re: Seppia's journal

Post by Seppia » Sat Apr 28, 2018 6:50 pm

Thanks for the links, joined the Fitbit ere group.

I'm trying to be more active (so fa I've been successful), but currently on a trip in Paris where I have too many good friends I seldom see: too much eating so far.

I weighted in at an obscene 93.3kg on Tuesday. Next weigh in on Monday, will update it here weekly.

Saw an amazing Frantisek Kupka exhibition at the beautiful Grand Palais, will post a few pictures in a few days.
He is probably my favorite artist all-time

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Seppia
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Location: Italy

Re: Seppia's journal

Post by Seppia » Thu May 03, 2018 8:48 am

Quick financial update

So far it looks like it has been a good enough year savings wise.
YTD April I am at 63% versus a budgeted 64% for the year, but I have a tendency to underpromise.
As an example, last year I finished at 75% versus a budget of 63%.

Can’t really congratulate myself too much as the relatively high SR is due mostly to an income in the 97th percentile for my country (Italians are poor in general, in absolute terms it’s not a high number), coupled with slightly below average expenses and generally low cost of living.

I could have saved more, but I sold almost all my watches and purchased a second hand Rolex from 2008 (an Explorer II, for those who pay attention to these things).

I will need to do better throughout the rest of the year.
It’s doable (I still have a watch left to sell).

Quick personal update

I had business meetings in France (Lyon and Paris), so I took advantage of it and spent the long weekend in Paris with my wife (we were on vacation on May 1st, so I took a day and had q 4 day weekend).

It was lovely.
We staid at a friend’s place in the Marais area (I worked in Paris from 2004 to 2008).

The highlight of the weekend (well, except for the very decadent dinners we had with friends - so much for my diet LOL) was a Kupka exhibition at the Grand Palais.

Kupka is probably my favorite painter.
He had a similar evolution to Kandinsky’s, starting with figurative, then slowly evolving into abstract.
Amazing.

Few pics:

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

The city is also not bad.
My favorite spot:

Image

One of our dinners

Image

Great times

Smashter
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Re: Seppia's journal

Post by Smashter » Thu May 03, 2018 3:31 pm

I really like those paintings. Thanks for introducing me to Kupka, I'd never heard of him.

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Seppia
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Re: Seppia's journal

Post by Seppia » Sat May 05, 2018 3:27 am

Kupka really is special, not so well known because most of his work stayed in Czechoslovakia, hence shielded from western view for all the communist years.
The pictures obviously do not do the paintings any sort of justice, I strongly encourage any art-lover with access to NYC (MoMa), Prague (Kampa Museum and Veletrzni Palac) or Paris (Beaubourg and now this exhibition at the Grand Palais) to go see his work live.

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Seppia
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Re: Seppia's journal

Post by Seppia » Sat May 05, 2018 3:44 am

Weigh In:

93kg, lost 0.3kgs since two weeks ago. 10kg to goal.
Very disappointing, but not TOO bad considering I spent 5 days in France with friends. Will need to push harder.

More Change

Yesterday I signed the job offer I received and filed resignation from my current job.
Next assignment will cover a still-very-large-but-not-the-whole-planet-large area, so quality of life should improve.
I will be managing sales for the Asia Pacific region (excluding China) for a mid size (600M usd approx) food company that probably 95% of the civilized world population has at least heard about.

In order to ease my way in the company, I will spend my first year-ish working from the Italian HQs, then the plan is to move on-site (probably HK or Tokyo).

The first year will be brutal travel wise, but considering:

1- My line of work is export sales: travel and time zone differences are to be expected
2- I go from working with clients from GMT +10 to GMT -8 to working with clients from GMT +10 to GMT +7. This is a huge positive as I will only get called super early in the morning and not both super early AND super late.
3- I plan to bring my wife along with me on the long trips, taking advantage of the fact she just recently quit work (one of the recent life > money choices we have implemented)

This is still a major improvement overall compared to what I am doing now.

The other positive I see is that we will get to know that area of the world almost for free.

Jason
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Re: Seppia's journal

Post by Jason » Sat May 05, 2018 9:09 am

Seppia wrote:
Sat May 05, 2018 3:27 am
I strongly encourage any art-lover with access to NYC (MoMa), Prague (Kampa Museum and Veletrzni Palac) or Paris (Beaubourg and now this exhibition at the Grand Palais) to go see his work live.
I have come to appreciate art later in my life. Many years ago I was friends with an art restorer who told me that I ever bought art, to buy current artists and not waste money on prints. It keeps the art world going and maybe it will turn into an investment. We have bought a few of this guy's works.

http://shawnmcnulty.com

He paints with his feet. What do I know.

A few years back I was working with an art transportation company. He told me this story of moving some of Ronald Lauder's paintings from his California home to his private NYC gallery. He had to check in every fifteen minutes by phone. If he pulled over to get a Big Mac or take a leak, he had to let them know. A security team followed him. He arrives at 2:00AM in front of the GWB. At that point, NYPD escort him to the gallery. When he arrives at the gallery, a glorified SWAT team takes the paintings into the museum and hang them up. For the next forty eight hours or so, art conoisseurs, celebrities, etc. arrive by invitation only to view the paintings. After that brief period of time, he goes back to the museum and the glorified SWAT team places the paintings back in his truck and he heads back with them back to Ronald Lauder's private home in California. Immediately after he leaves, another van pulls up and places imitations on the wall for when the museum is opened up to the general public. He said that no museum has the actual paintings on the wall. They are just too valuable. The real Mona Lisa is hid in the catacombs underneath the Louvre. Being that art theft is depicted as real in the media i.e. Whitney thefts, I have no idea what to make of what he said but he seemed to know.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: Seppia's journal

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Sat May 05, 2018 11:19 am

Does the compensation plan include unlimited pasta sauce and olive oils?

I worry about your work-life balance. Japanese overlords may lead you to Karōshi, and that would be bad from an ERE standpoint.

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Seppia
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Re: Seppia's journal

Post by Seppia » Sat May 05, 2018 11:36 am

Jason wrote:
Sat May 05, 2018 9:09 am
He said that no museum has the actual paintings on the wall. They are just too valuable.
This could very well be the case, I love modern art but I'm not nearly educated enough to spot a fake.
I have a good friend who is a high profile art guy at one of the two major auction houses on the planet, and he says that many experts are still fooled by fakes, and it takes tons of exhamination to determine authenticity.
So I would guess for the average art enthusiast (like me), real or very well faked are equivalent

2Birds1Stone wrote:
Sat May 05, 2018 11:19 am
Japanese overlords may lead you to Karōshi, and that would be bad from an ERE standpoint.
I have yet to plug the numbers in my 87GB spreadsheet, but yeah that sounds suboptimal

This gig will come with unlimited supply of caffeinated drinks (of the italian variety, so non-carbonated and served in small ceramic cups)

Jason
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Re: Seppia's journal

Post by Jason » Sat May 05, 2018 12:37 pm


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Seppia
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Location: Italy

Re: Seppia's journal

Post by Seppia » Tue May 15, 2018 5:58 am

Weigh In

92.4kg, -0,6 since last week, 9.4kg to goal.

Much better than last week, but I suspect this result may be due in part to dehidration. I expect next week to be disappointing.
One step at a time.

Work

I am planning my exit from the current company, european timings are longer compared to the USA.
About to close on a huge contract that will definitely put us on the map in a big way in a key strageic market where we almost didn't do any business before (Japan), so the current employer may try to keep me for as long as possible.
I'm definitely willing to accomodate this, because I would love to leave on a good note.
Looking for a possible late July to late August start with the new employer.

Because of the bonus structures, I will probably give up 4-8k USD by delaying my entry (depending on exactly when i start): current company will NOT pay me any bonus probably* (bonuses are conditional to employees being with the company on 12/31), while my new employer will pay me the 2018 bonus pro rated to the number of months I'll be with them in 2018.

It is a ton of money I'll likely be giving up, but I'd rather exit as a gentleman and be remembered as a good guy who worked hard, delivered results, and gave up some money to do his job the right way.
I also kinda believe in karma, plus the Japanese contract we are closing is with a gigantic corporation that may become a business partner in my next job too.

*they may decide to pay me something anyways, but it would be a goodwill gesture on their part and not an obligation. Knowing how they are wired, there is a chance they will do something, but I prefer not to count on it.

Fun Side Projects

I run a personal finance blog.
It would be a semi-useless blog if not for the fact that it's written in italian, which I think makes it valuable.
Italian PF blogs are almost non-existent except for often scammy or outright stupid stuff, and most Italians don't understand english well enough to be able to read ERE-MMM-portfoliocharts-MadFientist and the likes.
So my blog is basically a translation / adaptation
Blog has been going on for around three years, and has a small audience (about 400 clicks per day).
I enjoy it a lot, and I'm super proud when people write me that I have been of great help in saving more / starting investing / other good stuff.

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jennypenny
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Re: Seppia's journal

Post by jennypenny » Tue May 15, 2018 3:52 pm

That's cool that you're writing about PF. Is the culture in Italy receptive to basic PF advice? The forum gives me the impression that some cultures get it right away and others don't. Maybe it's more about the messenger connecting with the culture and not the message.

I'm surprised you aren't doing a food blog. :D

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Seppia
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Re: Seppia's journal

Post by Seppia » Tue May 15, 2018 4:16 pm

Thanks a lot jp for your comment :)
jennypenny wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 3:52 pm
That's cool that you're writing about PF. Is the culture in Italy receptive to basic PF advice?
Italians have good savings genes. We are a nation of home owners and with low levels of private debt (this compensates the high public debt)
A very surprising statistic is the median wealth per adult. Italy ranks 8th on the planet, above Japan, and double the USA and Germany
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_c ... _per_adult (rank by the median column)

The reason why Italians are good with saving is the same reason why they are cavemen/women with investing: we distrust everything that is "modern".
We diss credit card debt but also stock ownership.

When I tell friends/extended family members I own stock they react
"oh so you gamble with stocks?"
jennypenny wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 3:52 pm
I'm surprised you aren't doing a food blog. :D
:)

Thing is I like to try and add value. That is my goal basically any time.

I know a little about food, and a little about personal finance and investing.
There is a ton of great PF advice in English, and what I know in this field would be redundant/inferior to what has already been shared by others.
So I feel Americans* may benefit more from me sharing some of my food knowledge.

For Italians, on the other hand, it's the exact opposite.
My recipes pale in comparison to the average grandma's, but even the little I understand about saving and investing is pure gold in my home country.

I just try share what's valuable, depending who I'm talking/writing to.

*for the sake of simplicity, I consider this forum to be "American", even if it is clearly a banalization

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