Tuesday, June 28, 2011

If Vegas oddsmakers saw my "new" place.

At the end of May I moved into one half of a shotgun house in the Uptown area of New Orleans.  Living within walking distance of bars, restaurants, libraries, the streetcars, the river, etc. is wonderful, and I don't think I could go back to living in a massive, characterless apartment complex any time soon.  The tradeoff, however, means living in a building that is probably 150 years old, and has all of the problems associated with such an ...um... historical property.

To enhance the fun of dealing with the new place, I'm now accepting wagers on various aspects of the house.  I've even been kind enough to give you some odds and considerations for your bets. Come on, who wants in on this action? 

Odds that door handles stay latched - 2 to 1
We're told that these door knobs were salvaged from the first hotel in Washington, D.C.  That doesn't mean that there were properly installed.

Odds of electrical outlets giving somebody a shock - 500 to 1
This house has probably been wired and rewired over the years, and has a mix of both grounded and ungrounded outlets.  Odds of having a grounded outlet when you need one?  Not good... not good at all.

Odds of getting tetanus by sitting in one of our backyard chairs - 100 to 1
That's for people that sit in the chairs.  The odds of somebody actually sitting in them are less.  The greatest risk is probably falling through rusty spots, and at this point, the chairs are made entirely of iron oxide and blue paint.

Odds of the walls being made up of more termites than wood - 1000 to 1
There's visible termite damage in several places, but they send somebody out to check and spray every year.  The guy this year talked to me about playing Rock Band and then proceeded to scale a tree in our back yard.  Thorough enough of a check for me.

Blowing myself up with my ancient gas oven - 2 to 1
To blow myself up it would mean that I was attempting to use the oven.  If I was attempting to use the oven, I was probably trying to blow myself up, because I surely wasn't trying to cook anything.

Odds of having insulation - Infinity to 1
It's a shotgun house in New Orleans; it aint gonna happen. 

P.S. I'm not really accepting wagers, but I will accept donations to pay for the tetanus shots of my visitors.  

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wednesday work nights

Wednesdays are popular nights at popular bars.  We're both at home working.  At least the beer is cheaper here.

Key to a happy life # 10,322.1:  Always find good in the bad when working on popular nights at popular bars.
Key to a happy life # 10,322.2:  Or just love working. 

# 18.2:  Own a laptop with WiFi

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Gearing up while gearing down

400ft drop off into a volcanic crater.  Definitely no net here. 
So what does one think of when they’re three and a half weeks away from exiting the corporate world and entering the mad scramble on their own? Getting things lined up, making and executing plans, stocking up on Ramen noodles? There’s a phrase in the entrepreneurship world that goes “If you jump, the net will appear.” While that’s somewhat comforting, I’d still rather be on the ground weaving the net before I take the dive.

In no particular order, here’s a list of the stuff that’s rolling through my head. Some of it is actionable during the off hours of my last three and a half weeks of employment, all of it actionable within the next 60 days. And I’m leaving some of this intentionally vague. I can’t give away all my secrets yet.

Things on my mind:

  • New Business Cards (found a printer I like, need to finish organizing images)
  • Website Updates (rewording, reformatting, adding content)
  • Marketing Plans - Ad Creation (multiple targeted ads); Placement (appropriate to respective targets); product offerings (there’s a separate list for this)
  • Existing Contacts (reach out to existing patrons in my circle as well as those long shots I know on the edge)
  • Lead generation – Another “net” maxim for success, this time from fishing instead of acrobatics: Cast a wide net. I’m open to a lot right now. There’s another separate list for this.
  • Tax issues to get in front of– Anybody known a tax accountant in New Orleans who’s good with freelance businesses?
  • Organizational Involvement – Professional, Educational, Social

None of this even touches on self directed continuing education, which, probably more than anything else, is what makes me, me. My library reading list is taking shape, Toastmasters meetings are on the schedule, other lists of technical skills and portfolio fillers are coming together.

So far I'm only certain of two things.  (1) I'm going to be busy, and (2)  I seem to like lists.

p.s.  I love all of the crazy ideas other people have been throwing my way.  Keep them coming!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Unexpected Reactions

An unexpected, totally unrelated hat
The last week has involved me slowly spreading the news of my departure to coworkers.  I guess I didn't know exactly what recations to expect, but I figured they'd generally involve people giving me odd looks, with older and wiser folks telling me that I was crazy to leave a promising career with a major company.  So many people I work with are closer to the end of their careers than to the beginning, they've already spent their time working for the company, and they probably would be crazy to leave now.

But those looks of disappointment and fear and worry never came.  In conversation after conversation I got outstreched hands and congratulations.  I got wide eyes and even wider smiles.  I concluded several meetings with the announcement of my departure to contractors and coworkers.  More than a few of them turned into a room full of people going around the table sharing their own long and winding tales about how they ended up where they are today.   

I've been on the recruiting end, standing in front of a booth listening to person after person telling me why they'd be good for the company.  I've made judicious cuts to wide swaths of applicants based on a few numbers on a resume and 30 second conversations.  So many people are doing what society deems to be the normal path to a secure future. Do well in high school so you can go to college.  Do well in college so you can get a job.  Do your job well so you can buy houses and cars and retire in 35 years.  I was gliding my way along that path until a few weeks ago. 

My recent conversations have left me with an aching question:  If so many people are trying so hard to get where I am, then why is everybody congratulating me for leaving?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

How to tell your parents that you're leaving your fancy, high paying, corporate job

And for that matter, how to tell the world.  This is the letter I sent to my parents last week, with a couple minor changes.  For all the people in my life, and those watching from the outskirts, here is how major life changes are unveiled.
Hello Parents,
After much thinking, deliberation, weighing of pros, cons, and possiblities, I've formally put in my resignation at my company. I told my boss two weeks ago and we've been discussing options and transition plans and determined my last day will be July 8th, three days after I get back from my Ohio trip. We made the announcement to my immediate work group today, and there seemed to be some sadness that I was leaving, but people were offering congratulations and well wishes.
I think my thoughts on my work have been fairly obvious to you for a while. The worsening of that environment coupled with the growing range of other opportunities (e.g. photography work) led me to finally making the decision to leave. Jenny and I have been talking about this for the last five months, and she's extremely supportive of the decision.
I'm excited for the change. It will undoubtedly bring new challenges and uncertainties, but as my boss put it - "I've seen too many people walk through the same door for 25 years without ever asking what was behind the door next to it." I gotta try that other door...
Sorry for not telling you before I pulled the trigger on this. I just felt that this was a decision that Jenny and I needed to make on our own. I'll call you tonight after I get home. I do still have plenty of work to get done in my last six weeks here.
Your young and crazy son,
More to come...