Thursday, February 7, 2013

Feast or Famine

Being poor is not something that is foreign to me. Growing up I never had much dough despite having started work at age 15. I can remember freshmen year of college when I was literally living off of Top Ramen and whatever free beer I could find abandoned at a house party. I would, in the years immediately following, find ways to drastically increase my income. But as the story goes, I eventually abandoned those strategies.

Things didn't change too much after school. Immediately strapped with student loans, car payments, rent, insurance, and just the overall high cost of living in San Diego, I struggled to stay afloat despite working 70+ hours a week across two different jobs.

Eventually things started to get better. I was hired on full-time at the TV station. The gig came with full benefits, 401k with company matching, overtime pay, vacation and comp days. It was pretty solid compared to anything I had done in the past. Right around this time my father and I sat down and discussed my fiscal future. He educated me on expected rates of inflation, median housing prices in the area, interest rates, and loan consolidation and repayment options. We mapped out a plan. Based on all the aforementioned data, we theorized that if I stayed within my budget and continued to earn a modestly increasing wage year over year, that I would have enough savings and cashflow to put a down-payment on a house within 6 years time.

We had this discussion in early 2001. Roflmao. As we all know, median home prices in Southern California more than DOUBLED from 2001 -2007... and it just kept going. And everything else just got more expensive along with it. So much for well laid plans. There was no way to have predicted the huge rise on living costs, so I continued to be right there on the edge of poverty, despite making $75k a year. As it turns out... I am lucky that I did not become a home-owner when I had wanted to, as I would now be in far worse shape... but that's for another post.

Through it all, I kept up my end of the bargain and steadily increased my income year over year. I even found creative ways to supplement more normal income... but I also found ways to spend more and more. One day I woke up and realized...Yep, I'm the broke guy that drives a BMW. I am sooooo California.

When everything was going down at Qualcomm, I could've spent the weeks leading up to my last day looking for a job so that I could start new work immediately. That would allow me to take the lump sum severance money and eliminate my debt entirely. I could start over fresh. That was my natural instinct. But then I stopped and got a bit nostalgic. I realized that I had not taken off more than maybe 8 or 9 consecutive days in the past decade. I also had not done any of the traveling that I always talked about.

So for the first time since I was 15 years-old... I stopped working. It was fantastic. It was marvelous. It was... a short-lived retirement. It served so many purposes. One of which was to illustrate just how fast the money goes when you have none coming in.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Fresh Start

Oh hi. It's been while. Sorry about that. As it turns out, when you work at night, you don't want to do much when you get out of work, except maybe...drink alcohol. And although that wasn't the case every night, I certainly didn't have the energy for blog posts.

So... some news. My last day at Aria was December 17th. I took some time off and went back home to San Diego for the holidays. I came back to Vegas for New Year's, and started my new job on January 7th. I am now working as a Systems Engineer at Hughes Network Systems here in Las Vegas. Yay! Back to my field of expertise. And also, back to normal daylight hours. It's not even been a week and I can already feel the life returning to me. I've started making it back to the gym (I got skinny fat again) and once the weather warms back up I will get back on the tennis courts.

I'm considering a malpractice lawsuit against Summerlin Medical Center and the attending physician. Their negligence has left me with a permanent disability in my dominant arm and hand. Had they done their due diligence I would have sought treatment in a timely manner and avoided the nerve damage that I must now live with. I've not yet retained a lawyer as I want to ask around for referrals.

Too soon to comment on the new gig. Training will be a long process and there is much for me to learn. I work from 7:30 to 4:30 and take an hour for lunch midday. I still haven't fully adjusted to the new sleep schedule as I used to go to sleep at the time that I now wake up. Hopefully in a few more days I'll kick the drowsiness.

I'll update the blog more often now that I am awake and coherent during the hours when my brain functions in a way that promotes creativity.