It’s Official, I’m Unemployed!

A LOT has changed since my last post. First of all, I’m unemployed for the first time since I was 16 yrs old! Woohoo! Stay At Home Dad (SAHD) Lifestyle Change is now officially in full swing. Yeah!! As for the rest of what’s been going on, my last post was in early September, so there’s a lot to unpack and sort through since then.

My biggest success since we last left was getting my mental health squared away better than it has been in decades. Literally, decades. Here’s a very brief back story. When I was in 6th grade one of my good friends was tragically killed when he hit a powerline while climbing a tree. I felt responsible and went into a fairly heavy depression. It lasted the better part of a year before my parents sought help. The child psychologist recommended me to in-patient treatment if I “didn’t snap out of it soon”. After overhearing that, I started putting on the happy face and pretending everything was fine. I’ve been doing that ever since and have just been going around being whomever I’m supposed to be that day. While I’ve gotten really good at it, I’ve never gotten rid of that inner voice of shame, guilt, negativity, depression, etc… It’s just followed me around like a little devil on my shoulder trying to convince me of all sorts of bananas shit and not let me enjoy my successes. Hell, it hasn’t let me “just be” in over 29 years.

Until these past few months that is. I got proactive and started going to a depression group here in OK, pretty much since we’ve been here. I also went to see a psychiatrist to figure out what’s wrong, because clearly, I’m not fixing it on my own. With the help of my shrink and my group, I’ve had no negative self talk, depressive voice, or any of that the last few months. It’s been freaking amazing!! Why the hell I waited so long to do this, I have no idea. If any of you are struggling with depression or any mental health issue and feel like you’re stuck and can’t figure it out on your own, take that next step. I’d done therapy (talking) for 4 years in LA and it helped with a lot, but not that. If you’re struggling, try kicking it up a notch and seek different help, or any help. It has made a HUGE difference in my life. HUGE.

So Much Free Time?

My remote contract ended on the 2nd, and I was officially “free” from work. To be fair, I hadn’t done any “work” in the last month and a half. I’d made 2 trips to Houston which were all but worthless from a business standpoint. I literally flew to town to sit in a conference room and watch my team present for 30 min and I didn’t say anything, offer anything, nothing.

A lot of this the last month of “work”…

Then 3 weeks later, I flew back for an all day meeting to watch my team present 1 geology slide in a 9 slide, 10 minute long presentation. Yep. Living the dream, baby!

With all that free time, what have I been doing? Well, trying to get a volunteer gig for most of it. The Watch DOGS (Dads of Great Students) group at my kids school took applications on family night, the day before school started. Then wouldn’t submit those applications until after their WatchDOGS BBQ late September, and I still haven’t heard anything other than – here’s a link to where you can buy shirts when you’re approved. Maybe it’ll happen before Christmas, who knows… I also submitted an application at CASA and they are meeting with me Nov 16, so we’ll see how that goes.

Amazingly, even with no actual commitments, it’s super easy to see my free time frittered away every day and think, “Holy crap?! It’s 3:20 pm already?!” I’ve done very little music practicing, even less exercise, and not much outdoor anything to be honest. I’ve just been enjoying the fall and getting to wear long sleeve t-shirts and jeans again. Woohoo!! Fall!!!

Set a Schedule?

Beyond that, I’ve been trying to get on a more productive schedule. Mrs. SSC came up with a nice schedule for weekly and monthly cleaning, and I need to get on to better meal planning and having dinner ready at nights. I haven’t adapted to that part of the SAHD lifestyle yet. I’m getting there, but it’s a lot. I did go into gmail and set up some blocked-out times mostly for exercise, playing music, and cleaning. I need to add in writing as I feel like there is loads of blog fodder around me most days/weeks and I just haven’t given a f$*& lately, to be honest. Hell, I didn’t even get out a “Here’s how Fincon 18 Went Down!!” post.

That’s okay, because I’m not being critical of what I didn’t do, I’m just being happy that I’m here now, writing. Yeah, writing! And exercising, and getting into doing what I need to do, not what I should have been doing. You can’t change that anyway, so why beat yourself up over it?

Finally, I spent some of that time revamping the blog! Yeah, a new layout, fresh new look, and hopefully cleaner interface for all of you that are gracious enough to stop by and peruse the blog posts. Thanks for your support and reading. I’m working on being more consistent with writing once again and like I said, there is loads of blog fodder around here.

Fincon 18 Quick-Take

Fincon 18 was pretty awesome! Good setting, if you knew how to play Frogger, great weather for running (if you were used to the Gulf Coast weather), and a great group of attendees this year. I loved getting the soul recharge of seeing old friends that you only run into online. Just as awesome is the new friends you get to make and get to know. There were so many of those it was almost like this was my first Fincon all over again. I was deep in depression that whole week, and it took a lot to get out of my room, but once I did, man, it was an amazing 12 hrs+ of talking each day. The parties were good, but the people are what made it epic. Thanks to everyone that made it a great Fincon for me and I hoped I added as much to your experience as all of you did to mine.

Faces clipped to protect the “innocent”
Summary

Look for more posts soon on finding my ikigai, adapting to our new budget, still cleaning up the yard (now that it’s cooler, that’s started up again), DIY vs contractors, me finding paid work (whaaaa??!!!) and more. Just kidding, I’m not looking for paid work, just seeing if you’re paying attention.
Anything big going on in your life lately? New changes ahead or just happened? Let me know!

My Dad’s Suicide: 10 Years Later

I’m reposting an edited version of this because I noticed I missed World Suicide Prevention Day yesterday. I was dealing with my own depression and finding someone to talk to. I’ve dealt with depression and anxiety a lot over the years and there have been times that I’ve had suicidal thoughts and ideations. It gets overwhelming. It’s physically, emotionally, and mentally draining and is very hard to convince yourself to reach out when you’re at that point.

If you are feeling depressed and want someone to talk to, reach out to someone close to you and be honest, be open. If you don’t have anyone to reach out to, then call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. If talking isn’t your thing, they have an online chat. If that doesn’t work you can reach me on twitter @coffeesippers. DM me and I will send you my # and we can talk, I can listen, whatever you need. Remember, once you’re gone, there’s no coming back.

My dad committed suicide 10 yrs ago this past July and the sadness never really goes away. Yeah, I’ve “dealt with it”, and those emotions are settled, mostly, not really, who knows? Ten years on and at times it sure as shit still feels like it just happened yesterday. This isn’t really about typical suicide prevention, because I don’t know how to stop it. I’m not a professional therapist and I feel like telling someone to “talk about it” is akin to telling an alcoholic to “just stop drinking…” It’s just not that easy. Not when you’re at that place in your head.

This is how I felt after I found out that my dad committed suicide.

Disclaimer, there’s no PF spin or $ talk today, so feel free to delete and move on if you’re not interested, my feelings won’t be hurt a bit.

AC Replacement: Shopping Around Saves Money

This past week I have had 3 different Heating and Air Conditioning companies at the house explaining to me what is wrong with our AC system and what it would take to correct it or replace it. That’s right, only 6 weeks in and the whole AC/Furnace unit needs major servicing and/or replacement. Thank goodness for the home warranty! Oh wait, it isn’t broken. It was just installed improperly and is undersized for our house. This explains why it can’t keep the house cooler than 83 F when the temperature gets above 94 F outside and why the unit keeps running and running and running. However, since our system isn’t broken (it’s just undersized) according to the home warranty, we’re good!

What a pisser…

Escaping Limbo: Why My Remote Work Sucks

When I made the decision to leave my job, I felt like I wouldn’t be a good PF blogger if I didn’t monetize my departure somehow. Just plain old quitting is for suckers! Financial Samurai espouses, “Negotiate your severance” and for $85 I’ll tell you how! I had multiple people tell me similar things, “you should ask for a remote work assignment, so and so just got one!” “You should ask for severance, you never know if you don’t ask…” Company policy is that I have too few years to be entitled to anything. No severance, no partial bonus next cycle for this year, no LTI payouts (long term incentive – the stocks), nothing. I’d already looked it up. If I went to negotiate a severance, what leverage did I have?

To be honest, I didn’t give a shit. I was already leaving over $150k of stock incentives on the table, we already have “enough” money, and personally, I didn’t want to be immediately tied to a computer when I left. However, to be a “good” PF blogger, I split Sam’s book with a colleague that was also wanting a change and we wanted to see if it could help. I started reading it and I couldn’t get past Chapter 4. I just didn’t give a shit. My family was moving, I wasn’t going to “not move” just to stick around trying to monetize my departure by making my company decide between firing me or continuing to pay an unproductive employee… That seemed shadier than just ghosting work, plus, that’s just not my style. I kept asking myself, what’s the point of acting poorly towards them just to get more money, when we already have enough money?

And then it happened… My boss came to me asking about working remotely for a month to “ease the transition.” I said, “Sure. Maybe for a month, but 2 at max.” When it was all said and done, I signed a contract for 3 months of remote work. A month in, it feels like the longest, most drawn out, tediously earned severance package ever. Here’s why I wish I hadn’t agreed to this dumb shit assignment…

Moving to The Country

While a lot of things have changed for the SSC family in the last few months, there are some things that haven’t. We are starting to get our new schedule established, and responsibilities are getting divvied up accordingly. A new plan of attack is being worked up for this Lifestyle so we can make sure we don’t screw things up budget wise. For those that haven’t followed along much on Twitter, here’s a final update before I get down to brass tacks next week discussing all new meaty PF stuff like these topics. “What the F is the budget going to look like? Where is my sense of purpose going to come from when I quit my remote work assignment at the end of October? What is our new plan? We were successful building, working towards and implementing our Lifestyle Change, but now what?! Life moves on and we can’t just sit around watching it go by, so what are we going to start planning for next?” Stay tuned for all these discussions and more! Until then, here’s a final update on where we are.

Real Estate Negotiations Suck…

It’s been a long time since the last post huh?! Don’t worry I’ll be back to regular posting next week catching you up on all the good things that have been going on around our household, but in the meantime enjoy this update about our current real estate transaction. We’re in the midst of negotiations with our Houston house and what a cluster… I’ve gotten worked up over this for all of about 18 hours yesterday before I “let it go”.

You’re welcome if this song gets stuck in your head.

Here’s a quick backstory.

The house didn’t get 1 showing the first 3 months. Lot of competition with new construction, and decent, but not amazing photos didn’t help. Then we got a few showings but it was still slow. When we moved our stuff out 3 weeks ago, we took new pictures and they came out great. We got about 10-12 showings after that and ended up with an offer. We began negotiating a price, then they read the disclosure and saw we treated the house for termites after they got into our front room (formal dining room). This is where the fun began!

 

FFLC Transition and Moving Update

Man, this past month has flown by! There has been little fallout at work with them knowing I’m leaving, now if only the home life was as stress-free. There has been so much going on around our house that it has been a madhouse. We have had to keep our current house ready for showings, hosted an open house, closed on our new house, set up moving companies, and more. It has been a whirlwind of activity around here. On the one hand, we feel like we have got things well under control, yet on the other, it feels like we’ve just been hemorrhaging cash. We’ve been doing a good job of keeping things tight, but man, so much little stuff comes up here and there with moving.  Here’s a more detailed rundown of how things have been doing with the transition so far.

You’re Promoted! Thanks, But I’m Quitting…

Man was Friday an exciting, stressful, adrenaline fueled sort of day. It definitely added another notch in the career belt for “crazy things that happen at work.” If you didn’t catch what happened on Twitter this past week, here’s the short version of what happened.

If you’ve been following the blog for a little while, you’ll know that my GM “Bill” put me on a development track to get recommended for “the next available” team lead spot. While some positions came and went without me being promoted to them, true to his word, Bill did recommend me for a new team lead position. On Friday he announced to me and my current boss that I would be leaving his team because I was being promoted to the Subsurface Characterization Team Lead for Texas Delaware Basin. Essentially, I got promoted to my boss’s position just a different part of the basin. What neither of them knew was that I wouldn’t be an employee here after August 2nd. Whoops… That led to some soul searching as to what would I do, and the “not as awkward as you would think” conversations I had when I ultimately declined the promotion.

Lifestyle Change Update

As our Lifestyle Change unfolds, we have been making some wholesale downsizing changes around our household. We found over 5 car loads of items to donate, we’ve sold multiple items, given away too many items to count, and have taken advantage of our “heavy trash” day to get rid of items we couldn’t give away or sell. Beyond being a little embarrassed by how much stuff we have accumulated in the last 5 years, we figured we were doing well with downsizing.

Then I did a podcast interview with Denis and Katie at Chain of Wealth. During that interview when I was talking about trimming our excess spending by looking at things as “a want or a need”, Katie mentioned that she liked to think about an item in terms of, “Do I want this badly enough to have to pack it and move it?” Mrs. SSC heard that and took it to heart because we’ll be moving in another month and we will be downsizing from our current house. Now that we potentially, have a new house, we know how much space we will have and what things can or can’t move with us.

Here are updates from the past few weeks on how our lives are going with the Lifestyle Change.

Chain of Wealth Podcast Interview!

Today, I’m featuring our podcast interview with Chain of Wealth. If you haven’t heard of them, you should check out their site. It is run by Denis and Katie and they set it up to document Katie’s debt payoff story while inspiring other folks to tackle their own PF issues. They blog about Katie’s debt payoff story and other personal finance related topics and they put out podcast interviews with other inspiring people on Mondays and Thursdays. Currently, their podcast has 58 episodes and includes names like Erin from Broke Millenial, Tanja from Our Next Life, Billy from Wealth Well Done, and Matt Lane from Optimize Your Life just to name a few.

This week, we were featured on the podcast in an interview that you can check out here. It was a lot of fun getting to chat with Denis and Katie about us, our new upcoming Lifestyle Change, the Fully Funded Lifestyle Concept, and more.

Give it a listen and I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as I did making it.

 

Thanks again to Denis and Katie at Chain of Wealth for featuring us!