Friday, March 14, 2014

The List Continues

As the days pass buy, the extended leave period continues to be a productive blur of meeting people for coffees to discuss options and broaden networks.  In the small amounts of time in between I am focussing on keeping busy, and there is always plenty to do on the property.

I recently hired a labourer for a few hours to do some hard work, and generally to play a little catch up on some areas of neglect.  After he finished uncovering a path at the side of the house, I remembered that I had intended to put in another water tank along there.

I did some research around on options and managed to find a good deal on a tank.  Fast forward a few days and the tank was meant to be delivered mid morning.  Urgh, I gave up waiting mid afternoon and headed off for school pickup.  Of course the driver lands after I leave and delicately places the 100kg tank on the front lawn.

When I arrive home, I look in wonder at how I can move the tank along the lawn, down the driveway, over the front deck and onto the tank pad.....hmmm this is going to be tricky.

Nah, the tricky part is how you get it around the corner of the house when it is too wide!  I manage to wedge it in snugly before resigning myself to actually needing a hand.  The neighbour bursts out laughing when I arrive at the door.  In the decade I have lived here, I have sought assistance every 3 or 4 years for things like trampoline assemblies etc.  He knows that if I need a hand, it is likely to involve breaking a sweat.  Upon arrival back at my house the laughter dies out to amazement, and then we both break out in laughter.

After some heaving and a few choice words, we did manage to get the tank up over the wall, through the trees and down the other side!

Gavin then turns to me and he says 'Your gonna install this yourself aren't you?'  I respond with a nod and 'Yep, gonna give it a crack'.  He sighs and heads off with a comment about making him look bad.  Now I really don't know anything about plumbing, other than it will cost $500 for a plumber to come and do it.

The youngster and I had fun at the hardware store in assembling what we think we will need to put the pipe on from the house to the tank, at a cost of about $60.  So over the next week, during the quiet times, I remove the down pipe, stare in amazement at the line on the wall where the painters didn't paint, and cut and glue my little lego pipework ready for assembly.

As I gaze over at the finished product, there are a couple of things I have learnt.  The glue for sticking pipes together should not be any where near your lungs, it stinks and burns if you inhale it by accident!  Despite the pipe pieces being really easy to carry through the hardware store and put into the car, a longer piece would have been a better option.  The concept of getting a bigger hammer to move something that is stuck often provides instant relief for your frustration, and then a hole that will need to be patched prior to painting.  Fingers crossed for the next rain that the water manages to get from the roof and into the tank.

I also managed to re-assemble the shade sail over the pool that came crashing down.  The neighbour wasn't required for that one, all you need is a big rope and the ride on lawn mower :-), saved myself another $500.

The car needs a service, quote from the usual spot is $650.  Quote from another company after some research is $160.  Although the second company will not drop me to the office, nor detail the vehicle after the service, I figure with some time on my hands, I could probably wash the car myself, and well the office is not required.  At this rate, I should be able to hang around the house for awhile!


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Thanks Child!

Thursday is extra swimming lessons before school.  Turns out it is also violin day, and oral presentation day. The kid was loaded up like a drug lord in training in the Andes.  As she jumped into the pool, I headed over to her classroom with a truck load of gear.  The teacher was in the classroom, so I took the opportunity to have a chat.  We talked for about ten minutes about all things educational, and then out of the blue she asks if I am doing ok?  Slightly concerned about where she might be heading, I asked if there was something specific she was interested in.  Well Maddy has told everyone that you have been ‘sacked’!  Smiling at the thought she may be wondering if we can now afford those awesome school fees, I giggled, and explained that we are fine.

Now back to mowing the lawns and looking for inspiration on how I can maintain this lifestyle without working or marrying a nice old man.

Day -16

It's time to start planning in some of the jobs on the long list of things to do.  You know, the ones that never seem to get done because work gets in the way?! 

I recently imported a bike from the UK, which seemed like a good idea at the time.  Transportation moved at a cracking pace right until the shores of the local Custom department.  Thanks to the wonders of technology, I could track that it sat there for a week.  After making some enquiries I find out that items above $1,000 have an import tax and then GST to be applied, so I need to fork out more money.  A small electronic war breaks out with the UK supplier!

After unpacking the bike, I decide that any bike coming with an electrical plug probably should be assembled by a bike technician!  Lucky I did this, as I found out that there is a small crack in an essential part, and that another part also needs to be replaced.  Back to waring with the English, who were super nice and had spare parts freighted out in a flash.  They have also agreed to pay for the local bike technician to replace the parts, so I dropped the bike down to the store today.  Who knows, maybe one day soon I will actually get on it!
Determined to do something each day towards securing a new role, I headed out to lunch with a company, with a sales executive who has become a friend.  We shared a delightful meal of random foods I would not perhaps selected to eat normally, but very tasteful little artistic creations.  Thankfully the 'Can of Worms' was not available, and try as the waitress did, I could not be convinced that returning someday to try them was a good idea.  Apparently after they are deep fried, you can hardly tell.  I am avoiding now for two reasons, grossness and health!  As the conversation meandered through work and life, there was mutual opportunities to assist each other.  I will be able to provide a link into a senior executive at a company, and tomorrow at the upcoming meeting with the very company I was writing selection criteria for yesterday, I will be able to get some information directly from the individual heading off on 12 months maternity leave.

I was contemplating the impacts of not working on the finances, and suddenly realised I should take a spin through my superannuation spreadsheet to forecast some scenarios.  It appears that I am significantly ahead on my plan, and unless I am likely to be not working for 18 months, then there will not be a ripple on the path to retirement which is good to know.

With weekly oral presentations underway at school, the youngster and I spent the evening writing and drawing for the presentation tomorrow.  But I do have a cunning plan for next week with the demonstration task, but I am determined to get this one sorted on the weekend to stop this last minute jam during the week.  We then video the speech, look for some pointers and wrap up for bed.

I then take a spin through known contacts and send out another invitation for coffee.  The calendar this week has been full, and I wonder how I managed to fit in working at all!  Time to start scheduling activities in for next week.


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Day -17

After receiving an email from the year 3 mother's, I thought I should take advantage of the fact that I am not working and mingle, get to know them. After all, I am likely to be in their circle for the next decade!  After dropping the youngster to school, I headed down to the local cafĂ© to meet.  Full of bravado about entering the lions den, I hesitated at the door and then bolted!  Nope, the introvert cannot randomly drop in.  Despite all the reasons that I should, I didn't, I headed off to have one on one coffee with a friend instead.

I did fit in a teleconference with the redeployment team at my current organisation.  Good news, I have a $7,500 training allowance to use up in the next six months.  So I shall have to add that to the list of things to do.  I also have to look at rolling over my superannuation, and also transferring my employee shares into my own holding account.  The company is also dragging their feet on providing the final payout figures, so it is difficult to know how energetic I may be in exploring other roles within the Group.  Although I am leaning to time for a change, rather than a transfer, but I am conscious that the plan is financial independence, so I am not too proud to consider a lower role at the same company to maintain the path. 

Four out of the five of us that are finishing on the 21st decided to head out to the bay and have fish and chips for lunch.  Great idea in principle, but really I think that all of us hanging out at this point when we are all still annoyed about the company and the process is not such a good idea.  During lunch I had a call from a recruiting company about a role they wanted me to apply for.  I had been procrastinating about it, not really sure if it was a good idea or not.  But then I thought that it cannot hurt to make an application and go through the process, use your network and build an even bigger list of connections. 

Urgh, selection criteria...cannot remember the last time I had to do that.  I have a covering letter that I have been honing throughout the years, a few tweaks for the specifics of the role and it is all done in a few minutes and a click of a mouse.  So lunch is cut short for me to type up two pages of words.  Would have been much easier from home, but working remotely at a friends place was not that conducive.  Thankfully the cloud based applications mean that I can at least pull my resume out of my gmail sent box and managed to craft something.  It wasn't pretty, and far from my best effort.

With time on my hands, I have cancelled before and after school care.  We have an additional 30 minutes sleep in the morning, and the opportunity to work together on homework in the afternoon.  Today we completed our NAPLAN test in less than half the time, and the results were good.  I am aware that my patience levels are not what I want them to be, so I need to work on that.  I also need to have a chat with the teacher, as I am not sure if my expectations are greater than where little year 3 people should be.

After the food I consumed today, I have decided that a bit of fitness work should be on the list of things to do also.  So I punched in my meals to My Fitness Pal and downloaded the days activities from my JawBone.  Another urgh moment, time to take some action here.  Change diet and increase output, fairly simple mathematical equation!


Day -18

It's official, in 18 days I will be made redundant.  It is a mixture of relief and annoyance.  Relief that the past eight months of a gruelling environment is over, and annoyance that the end outcome meant that the good guys didn't win.  I always leave a job with a sense of unfinished business, the list of things to do never quite gets done.  Possibly a parallel to my private life, I hate to walk away from things that are not finished.

The thing about redundancy is the lack of control that you have over your own destiny.  Although I was looking to leave, I was really working on my own timeline.  I was also more picky about the next role given the security of my current role (security..LOL!)  When time is not of the essence, many rocks are not turned, as one is not completely invested in looking at all alternatives.

There is also the chore of informing others that you are being made redundant, and then wondering what others will think or say.  I am then reminded that in standing up for something I believed strongly in, it resulted in the outcome I now have.  So I sleep soundly at night knowing that I never sold my soul, and the outcome will force me to move on to the new chapter of my life.

Often with jobs, it is all about who you know.  So reaching out to your network of people is important, but I think it is about how you do that.  I am not in favour of placing a by line on my linked in profile which announces to some 500+ people that I am looking for new opportunities.  That may be the introversion in me, but I prefer a more subtle approach.  In touching base with an external company for an upcoming event cancellation, we got talking about lives, children and family.  Next thing, I have full access to a Managing Director at a Recruiting firm specialising in my field.  This then resulted in a conversation and her reaching across states to find a local C level executive to pass my resume along to. 

So today's activity is to have coffee and make a connection.  The catch up went for an hour, and we had many connection points in the conversation.  Although there may not be the roles I am looking for at this company, the executive offered to pass my resume along to some head hunters, along with a recommendation from our hour long chat.  Later that evening I reached out to thank him for the opportunity to meet, and referenced some of the points from our discussion earlier that day.  The following morning, he had left an email enquiring about availability for some short term contract roles.  One can never under estimate the value in truly connecting with people.  In a world that moves as a frenetic pace, people often miss the important aspect of life, the people!  By taking some time to truly show an interest in others, your are more likely to be able to leverage that 'who you know' network.