Wander Reading #25

Since I’ve been on vacation I basically ignored my feed reader account until just the last couple of days.  So here is a list of post I found interesting as I’ve been getting caught up on my reading.

Apparently people still don’t get how RESP account work and take advantage of it, according to this article.

Jonathan Chevreau find out most Canadians aren’t planning for retirement despite the fact they think they should be.

Larry McDonald stirs up the pot with a index controversy and finds a study which says the majority of us will be just fine in retirement with no extra savings (ya right).

Preet is giving away another iPad and some gold.

Zen Habits has a good one on how to simplify when you love your stuff.

The Financial Blogger points out ways to make money online without blogging.

Early Retirement Extreme has an interesting guest post from In the Trenches on extreme situations.

A good post about using LinkedIn to not blow up your career.  Good points that I’ll have to keep in mind as I haven’t joined it yet.

Have a good long weekend everyone – Tim

Previous Lives: Blowing Things Up

Over the years I’ve done lots of jobs.  Actually I’ve become a bit of corporate mercenary and have managed to only stay at one job for at most 2.5 years.  Thus I’ve managed to accumulate a interest set of previous lives in my ten year career.  Today I’m going to tell the tale of my first two jobs and some important lessons that came out of them.

My first ‘real’ job out of university was working in the oil and gas industry as a case hole wireline engineer (first as a trainee and then running my own truck).  Which means nothing to most people expect for the more interest part of the job which required to be licensed to blow up things and handle nuclear sources (yes both at the same job).   It sounds much more interesting  than it was as I usually was blowing holes into oil/gas wells at least one kilometer below the surface.  When you did the job right the most you would notice was a little swinging on the line that was connected to the explosives.  Of course on surface it was still an explosive device, so yes I had the joy of working in an environment where you could literally blow yourself up if you weren’t careful

Although most people would consider that a stressful part of the job I actually found it fairly straight forward.  As long as you followed the safety protocols you should be safe for about 99% of the time.  What I did find stressful was the fact I worked a rotating shift where I spend about 14 days on call followed by six days off.  When I say I was on call, it was on call 24 hours a day.  So a call at 3am did occur once in a while.  The job also included being on the road a lot, which I soon found is a great way to stress your brand new marriage. Perhaps the worst thing of all was the fact my base pay was tiny and even when you included the bonus money and worked out your hourly wage I ended up making slightly higher than the minimum wage.

This didn’t bother me much at first but over the months I started to dread going to work until one day I realized I was starting to feel physically ill about going back on call.  Apparently it was my body’s way of telling me that it was time to look for another job.

So I learned right out of the gate in my career a few important lessons:

  • Long hours don’t mean you are getting paid well.  Do the numbers and check that at any job you are considering doing or you could find yourself better off doing a retail job.
  • Don’t underestimate the strain on lots of traveling on your family.  This can literally lead to divorce if your spouse is not completely ok with the arrangement.
  • Being on call 24 hours a day sucks.  Avoid jobs that require this as much as possible to ensure you actually have a life other than work.

In the end I quit that job because as I put it to my boss “I like my wife more than my job and I’ve got to pick one or the other.” Yet an odd thing occurred when I tried to resign.  They told to me talk with the training division supervisor before I quit.  He apparently was on the look out for someone to help rewrite their technical manuals so I end I didn’t quit, but transferred divisions and stayed on for a while longer on my first writing job.

As much as I hated that job at time I’m always grateful that I had it, because it taught me what not to put up with in any future jobs.  It also provided my first real lesson of money is not always worth it.  Good pay is one thing, but always know what they expect for that pay.

So what was your worst job?  What did you learn from it?

Recharging Those Batteries

Occasionally I will end up reading a post by another blogger that total rings a bell with my own life.  I recently had that experience when I read a post by JD over at Get Rich Slowly called Downshifting: The First Day of the Rest of  My Life.  I can complete sympathize with being overloaded in life and the utter freedom of finally having some time again.  I can can really relate to the concept of being rich in time rather than just rich in money.  Over  the last month I finally feel like I’ve recharged my batteries for the first time in months.

So how did I recharge my batteries? Well that was easy while on a recent trip I made sure of one thing above all else.  I would do absolutely nothing related to work for one full week.  No day job work, no trustee job, no writing … absolutely nothing other than minor things like washing the car.  It was like heaven for the first few days but by the end I knew my batteries were starting to get charged as I was getting creative bursts where I was itching to start writing again.

Now that I’m back at the house I’ve been digging into my ‘fun’ work with a vengeance during this last week of my vacation.  I’m actually looking forward to writing again and managing to get some work done and some much needed planning on how to get to finish off several outstanding projects that I’ve been working on.  It’s sort of refreshing to be able to sit down at a computer with a smile on my face and look forward to writing something like this post.

I think also my family can tell I’m back so to speak.  I’m smiling more and much easier to be around and much less likely to get angry over silly things like spilling a drink at the table.  I’ve also just enjoying the simple things like having time to read a book strictly for entertainment rather than a book review or research.

This is exactly why I wanted to ‘retire early’ and now I’m getting it now rather than waiting 13 years or so for it to happen.  Time is not refundable and so I’ve taken to watching were mine is going a bit more carefully lately to ensure I’m enjoying life and still working towards my dreams as well.

So how are you charging up your batteries this summer?  Vacation away from home?  Resting around the house?