Wednesday, December 28, 2005

I'm Out

I've come to terms with my need to do more. I let Liz know that I will be looking for other opportunities in 2006. I am doing all I can to prepare the team so that they can work without me. For the most part, they do a great job. There are some things that I do that they don't. I want to fix that. I also have some ideas that I wish to implement before leaving the store.

This was a tough decision for me. I like working with everybody at the store. That's what made it so tough. I want to do other things, and I wish I could take them with me. I can't. I don't anticipate how long it will take me to find the right place to work. I don't want to just jump from one place to another. I want to take my time. So, it may possibly take me months to get out. The point was to let Liz know that I am looking and may find something so that everybody is prepared when it does happen.

It's a way of quitting without quitting. The reason for giving such advanced notice is that so long as I put off making the decision of seeking other opportunities, I was effectively deciding to stay. By telling Liz, I've decided I'm getting out and now I must find somewhere else to succeed. I don't know if that makes sense.

So, if you need a nerdy guy who is a kind of jack of all trades, give me a call. Maybe we can work together. If I don't have anything by this Summer, I will focus on school.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Things are getting better

You know, sometimes it's tough to see what is important when you are being pulled in a thousand directions at once. You lose sight of where you want to go and wind up getting sidetracked. There are basic demands that a person has that must be met before delving into side ventures. You need to decide what is important and do that. If there is time left, you can do other non-essential work. This applies to your time and your money.

This realization and simplification of life came about when I realized what the financial books were talking about when they say you need to save a part of your money for you and use what is left over for necessities. We have chosen what is important to us in spending our money. If we can, we will cashflow our essentials before delving into our savings. Now we have savings, by the way. So, we distinguish between spending money and our money. Spending money goes to pay for our wants and needs. Our money consists of our savings. We decided we will only spend our money on healthcare; auto repairs not covered by our cashflow; housing, if we can't find another means; electricity, again, if all else fails; and food, if there is no other option. If we have not met our needs, bill collectors can wait. We won't be pressured into using our savings for non-essentials. It's no longer an option.

So, my wife and I are excited to be on the same page, financially, and to actually be accumulating savings. Of course, we still have to increase our incomes and pay off some debts that we have, but things are looking good in that direction. She has good prospects and I have decided to finish school. Unfortunately, we may have to leave the Valley in order to make decent livings. I have not yet decided whether to finish my finance degree or to study auto repair at STC. I am seriously considering auto repair because cars are getting more and more complex. Certification in different types of autos is now a must. ASE is not enough any more. If I am certified, I will always have work. Combined with my business experience, it would not be an issue to open a repair shop. Auto repair is a service that everybody needs. Everybody needs healthcare, everybody needs a funeral, and everybody needs a car. I want to sell something people need rather than guess what they want. Not everybody needs a finance major.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

It took a while to learn

I recently came to a realization that took more than 6 years. This has to do with personal finance. I had read a book titled The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason. This book is a classic amongst the personal finance books. There is one lesson in there that has eluded me. The lesson is that a part of what you earn is yours to keep. It's a simple lesson. I understood the idea very well when I read it years ago. It is only recently that it not only makes sense. It actually means something to me. I don't know how you do it. I learn things the hard way, usually. Here is what I mean.

Typically, I would cash my meager paycheck and separate 10% into savings. For a while, I stashed cash in a safe deposit box. The stash was basically meant to cover emergencies. And it often did. I would have to pull out money from savings to cover a big bill, or to avoid overdrafting. The net result would be that I would have spent all the money I had worked so hard to earn. So, when an emergency cropped up, I'd be penniless.

I have learned that I must define what an emergency is. From now on, emergencies are health, housing and food, and car repairs. An overdue bill, or other payment is not an emergency. I have discussed this with Alma, and it made sense to her too. She's onboard with the plan. Life is good.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

I figured out my problem

I figured out my problem, lately. I was just reading the latest issue of Entrepreneur. It's an article called Close Quarters, which is about twentysomethings. The article is a plug for a book about the Quarterlife crisis. This crisis is about some of the following issues:

student loans
uncertain job market
insane housing costs
search for meaning and direction
Although I am past the twenties, I identify with the issues. The quarterlife crisis is different from the midlife crisis in that in the latter, you feel like you're running out of options. In the former, you're paralyzed from all the options from which to choose. That's me right there.

I feel like I can do more, and I get offers from people who want me to join their teams. I just don't know where to go. So I don't go anywhere.

I'm tired of the safe, secure job route. It sucks for me. I want to work where I can go out, find a job, do it, and move on. This is why I was thinking about doing the door-to-door tech work. I want to go out, hunt for prey, kill it, and drag it home. I don't want to sit and wait for it to come to me.

Here are my options:

computer work, networking and other crap. I'd do it door-to-door. As an employee, I could only do networking. There're power tools involved with that.
construction, I've framed, roofed, drywalled, painted, done plumbing, and electricity. Some of the people involved are ... crude. But that's part of the game.
finance. Nah, forget finance. I'd be stuck in a bank or an office somewhere. I love the concept but the job prospects are not enticing.
So, I think 2006 will be about transitioning into a more challenging and meaningful career for me. I remember the days of coming home dog tired from heavy work. It was satisfying because I knew I accomplished something. I could also point to the work I did. I've had odd jobs building and installing stuff where I could do the same in the past three years.

I've known what I have to do. I've just been reluctant. Thanks for listening to my nonsense.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Changes

I read all kinds of books about business, leadership, and money. You
could say I am a voracious reader of these kinds of books. I usually
learn from and use the information I read. Some books are worthless.
I've rarely had a book speak directly to me. I finished reading "Who
Took My Money?" by Robert Kiyosaki. Some of it is a repeat of old
stuff, which is expected. There is one page that reached up and
smacked me in the face. Here are excerpts from it.

-----------------------
Poor people and lazy peple use the word can't more often than
successful people. They use the word can't because its easier than
saying can. If you say you can't do something, you don't have to do
it... even if you can.

It's easy to work hard and go nowhere. It's easy to stick to a job
and blame your boss for not giving you a bigger raise. It's easy to
say 'I can't afford it.' It's easy to say 'I can't do that.' It's
easy to blame your husband, your wife, or your children for your
financial problems.

There are many lazy people who work hard. They continue to work hard
because it is easier to keep working hard than to change.
-----------------------

There is more to the book than that. This sounds harsh out of
context. As much as I try to fight it, fear of change has been
holding me back. I know I can do better. My problem is that I put
myself in a routine, get comfortable, and then expect life to remain
exciting. I need to change.

I posted the above information on the Class of 93 Yahoo Group. I decided to blog this and add to the entry.

In the past three years, I have focused on others' business (minding their business). I need to start changing things around and mind my own business. I have to start looking at my own bottom line so that I can come out ahead. It doesn't mean that I have to stop working for others. It just means that my focus should be my own best interest.