Sunday, 20 July 2008

What sort of billionaire are you?

During my regular surf of the internet, I stumbled upon this link:

What sort of billionaire are you? My answer doesn't surprise me (I'm an idealist), but yours might surprise you.

A bit of fun for a Sunday afternoon....

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Things that make me smile: Feist on Sesame Street

1 -2 -3 -4 Monsters walking 'cross the floor
I love counting. Counting to the number four
Are you counting? Counting with me?
To one less than five, but one more than three

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Simple pleasures: Gardening

One of my favourite ways to spend a fine summer's day is to putter away in my garden. Pruning, transplanting, mulching, weeding, seeding.. it's all good. I spent a good bit of today playing in my garden, catching up on some neglected bits.

Mow a little. Pull a few weeds. Sit in the shade for a bit and sip a cool drink. Transplant a heliopsis. Mow a bit more. Prune a bush. Sit in the shade for a bit and watch the birds. Repeat all day or until the weather forces you indoors. The perfect way to spend a day!

My garden has quite a variety of visitors these days... mourning doves, robins, goldfinches, chickadees, a pair of cardinals, chipping sparrows, the occasional bluejay or raven to break the peace. Chipmunks chase one another, as do the big grey squirrels. I see groundhogs squeeze their way under my back gate from time to time, but luckily no skunks. The raccoons treat my compost box like a salad bar at night... sample the bits they want and leave the rest behind (the lemon rinds, however, get strewn across the yard for some distance).

The starlings and grackles were very quick to pop onto the lawn after I mowed it today. They really seem to love the freshly mown grass. Some of them were displaying behaviour I had never observed before... sitting down and spreading their wings wide to absorb as much sun as possible.

The weather for tomorrow looks to be reasonable... another reason to create a perfect day!

Monday, 14 July 2008

Some advice to the newly laid off...

A couple of years ago, a friend of mine was laid off from a job where he was the technical superstar. The company was in dire straits, but had tried to hang onto him as long as possible, giving him other people's tasks as they departed. He asked me for advice as to how to cope with the situation once the layoff came (I had been laid off once or twice before... a fact of life when you are on the high-tech startup treadmill as I was in the early part of the decade. Startup funding runs out and angel funding isn't always readily forthcoming.). The following is a summary of what I sent to him, as a reminder to self in my current situation.

1) There is life after __ insert company name here___. Most people don't realize how much their current employer is holding them back until their current employer is no longer the current employer.

2) Don't panic. Spend some time analyzing your finances and realize that unless you've been really reckless with your credit, you are going to be just fine.

3) Don't allow yourself to feel self pity, or fall into self-destructive behaviour (one guy I know decided to empty his liquor cabinet by himself in one week! Think Leaving Las Vegas, but in Kanata. Not pretty.).

4) Set up a networking group of your former colleagues... a yahoo group works well for this. Keep in contact and give each other moral support.

5) Spend some time in the kayak/gym/driving range, contemplating what you want to do with the rest of your life... this change is an opportunity to do something you've always wanted to. Start your own woodworking business? Kayak school? Are you truly tied to your current city? Wouldn't this be a great time to go travelling and live off the severance? Paint the living room? Read that stack of books/magazines. Clean up the basement. Make some sawdust.

6) Your company will have to issue you with a record of employment over the next couple of weeks. This entitles you to a bit of Employment Insurance money... it's not a lot, (and if you are a professional with a reasonable income, it is likely that you will have to pay some of it back at tax time next year!) but it pays for groceries for a while. You've paid into EI for years, don't feel guilty about receiving a bit of it back. There is a waiting period that is influenced by your severance. It's always good to file the paperwork early, even if you don't get a chance to claim on it right away.

7) It's summertime... you probably haven't had a summer completely off in years, so update your resume at your leisure and send it out if the mood suits and the job opportunity seems a fit, but mostly, treat the next couple of months as a sabbatical! After all, how often do we get opportunities as an adult for a summer off to play! Travel, garden, learn a new skill that you've always wanted to learn, read the books that have been piling up on your bedside table, watch that season of the Sopranos that someone gave you for Christmas, rest. When you do decide to go back to work, you'll be refreshed and ready, and the right job will come along.

8) When you are ready to look for work again (and even before), spread the news to everyone you know that you are no longer at your newly-former company. One of my best job leads came from my hair stylist, who cuts the hair of a lot of wives of high tech managers.

9) Make use of any career counselling programs your company may have arranged for you... they help with writing/updating a resume, interviewing skills, business networking possibilities, wardrobe consulting etc. You may not agree with everything they have to tell you, but they can get you thinking about the right things.

10) The job market in Ottawa is pretty hot in many sectors, including high tech, and there are a number of good websites with job leads.

11) Make contact with a decent head-hunting agency, one that specializes in your area of expertise

Thus my sabbatical begins....

Sunday, 13 July 2008

If I only had the time...

Who hasn't said to himself... gee, if I only had the time I would do ______.

If I only had the time, I would read the New Yorker and Economist from cover to cover every week, and would read through the stack of magazines that have gone untouched due to lack of time
If I only had the time, I would spend more time at the gym
If I only had the time, I would learn to play piano
If I only had the time, I would paint my garage door
If I only had the time, I would volunteer more
If I only had the time, I would catch more afternoon movies
If I only had the time, I would finish writing the book I've been working on for years
If I only had the time, I would update my will
If I only had the time, I would blog more frequently
If I only had the time, I would spend more time with my stay-at-home-mom friends
If I only had the time, I would clean my basement, and my garage, and my car
If I only had the time, I would meditate
If I only had the time, I would spend more time creating beautiful things
If I only had the time, I would finish some of my projects in progress

I was laid off from my job on Thursday. While there are details still to be sorted out, and plans to be made, I now have some time.

Where will I start? Stay tuned...

Sunday, 6 July 2008

The ideal husband

I came across an interesting article today entitled "The Ideal Husband". I've summarized the main point here, and yes, what is good for the goose is good for the gander... the criteria apply to both partners in a relationship.

1) Never marry a man who has no friends. Be sure that you like your man's friends, because we tend to be like our friends
2) Be sure that you have compatible spending habits... a miser and a spendthrift won't be happy together in the long run
3) He must have a sense of humour
4) He must be able to clearly and honestly communicate his feelings
5) You are marrying into a family, not just the man. Are there signs of mass disfunction in his family?
6) Are your belief systems compatible?
7) Be sure that he has a good character: politeness, courtesy, respect win out over violence, lying, control issues, secretiveness

For the full text, go here:

I would also add
8) Be certain that you both are clear, honest and on the same page about wanting children

-- DC