Categories
Life Wealth Work

“We All Have 24 Hours a Day”

“We All Have 24 Hours a Day”.

Have you heard people say this before? Usually it’s said by someone humble-bragging about how they manage to work 10 hours a day, raise children and run three marathons a year. Of course, they’re usually saying this to someone who can’t seem to find time to work out (or something similar that can easily be dropped off the list of daily activities).

Yeah, we all have 24 hours a day. But, unfortunately, we don’t all have the tools to make the most of those 24 hours.

Let’s look at two extremes.

Julie is a single mother that works full time as a line-worker in an automobile factory. Her two kids are in grade 3 and 6. Her day starts at 6am when she prepares breakfast, lunches and shuttles her kids to before-school care. Julie gets to work in time for a 9 hour shift. By the time the school and work day is done and everyone is back home, it’s usually around 6pm. Just in time to prepare dinner and help with homework. Of course, this assumes that Julie has already gone grocery shopping earlier in the week. By the time dinner and dishes are done, it’s easily 8 or 8:30pm. Exhausted – mentally and physically – Julie now has about 1-2 hours of free time.

Does Julie catch up on some housework? Maybe. Self care? Likely not.

That’s where Julie’s 24 hours goes.

Compare that to Eddie, who is married with two children in grades 3 and 6. Eddie’s wife – Francine – is a marketing consultant and he works as a bank executive. They have a nanny, maid and comfortably hire people to help with household maintenance, like gardening. Their nanny manages the children full time, grocery shops, makes meals and handles school pickup and dropoff. Eddie and Francine work long hours, but often squeeze in some gym time at lunch or go for a run after work. They frequently attend functions after work to network for whatever moves come next.

Notice the difference?

Julie, Eddie and Francine are all equally busy. However, one family has way more sources of help than the other.

Some might blame Julie for her predicament. “She shouldn’t have gotten divorced”, “she should have worked harder and gone to university”, etc. What people fail to grasp is that Julie made the best of her situation. She came from a working class family that didn’t have money for the extra layers of support provided to Eddie and Francine in their youth.

Julie really had no choice but to reduce the burden she placed on her family by working at McDonalds through high school to help with bills. She blasting through community college and then took whatever decent job came first. Then came the children and emotionally abusive husband.

Eddie and Francine, on the other hand, came from upper-middle class families, which themselves hired nannies and maids. Their first jobs were handed to them by their parents’ friends, and were in junior corporate positions. Their parents never needed help with bills and Eddie and Francine could both comfortably educate themselves up to the masters level. While Eddie leveraged his junior corporate jobs into full time work, Francine took a risk and started her own business. If it failed she could always move back with her parents. By the time they married, Eddie and Francine were already getting more than their 24-hour’s worth.

“We All Have 24 Hours a Day”

There are 24 hours in a day, but unfortunately that time isn’t allotted the same way across classes.

If you’re someone who can afford help, count your blessings and realize that you have a huge advantage.

If you’re someone who can’t afford help, I suggest you identify your top 3 priorities in life and allow yourself to leave lesser priorities untended.

Categories
Life

Beware: Amazon Sidewalk

Apparently Amazon is introducing a feature that extends your Wi-Fi and shares your home’s bandwidth with anyone else using an Amazon device. I’m not too familiar with these mesh networks, but until I know more I think caution is warranted. This opt-out feature raises significant privacy and security concerns.

Here’s how Amazon describes it:

Amazon Sidewalk is a new long-term effort to greatly extend the working range of low-bandwidth, low-power, smart lights, sensors, and other low-cost devices customers install at the edge of their home network. Using the 900 MHz spectrum, we are developing a new protocol we project can increase the connection range of these devices by more than one half mile/one kilometer. With Amazon Sidewalk, customers will be able to place smart devices anywhere on their property and know they’ll work great, even in dead spots where Wi-Fi and Bluetooth don’t reach.

I am not a privacy or network security expert. But until I learn more about this I’ll be opting out.

Here’s how to turn it off:

  1. Open Alexa App.
  2. Go to settings
  3. Account Settings
  4. Amazon Sidewalk
  5. Turn it off

Categories
Work

And You Thought Your Job Was Hard!

You get up. Commute on a crowded bus and spend 50% of your waking hours in a space smaller than a prison cell. Your job sucks right? Maybe. Maybe not. Read the following anecdotes I sourced from Reddit. You might change your mind.

  1. Stuffed

I used to work at XYZ Buffet, and there were kids who would eat until they threw up- like alllll the time-

This one case that is seared into my mind was when I was once fixing up the salad bar and I heard ‘Billy Run!’ screamed from an ignorant parent and then I see this 12ish year old boy running to the bathroom, only he didn’t make it. An unholy amount of undigested red Jello-O came exploded out of him like a fucking volcano all over the Caesar Salad, the floor next to the cash register, and on about 5 or 6 diners waiting in line to get in. It looked like he had literally vomited his guts out in an arc about 10 feet in diameter. I had to sweep up the chunks with a broom until a dishwasher with a mop could take care of the rest.

2. Fishy

Fish monger in a grocery store. We got a large number of lobsters in, soft-shelled and already dieing. So my manager decided we could at least sell their tails. Apparently lobsters don’t really have a central nervous system, so when you sever the tails and put their tails on ice they freaking run away.

So I had to chase these tails down because they’ve escaped into the rest of the display case, onto the floor, and hidden under our prep tables. Never again.

3. Call of Doody

Bagging groceries at a major supermarket. The manager came over to tell me that I needed to clean up the bathroom. An elderly gentleman fell off the toilet while pooping and it was a literal shitshow. Apparently I was the most qualified because I was 16. I was handed a broom and a dustpan. I shit you not (sorry had to.) My reward for going above and beyond the call of duty? Five dollars in store coupons. Sometimes dreams really do come true.

4. The Horror

Plumber

Owner of a mobile home called and said they had a stinky yard.

I could smell it when I pulled up.

the mobile home was new and had only been set up for about 8 months. while setting it up, someone didn’t tighten a no-hub band of the toilet in the kids bathroom.

8 months of flushed toilet was all over the ground, under the home and had just started being noticed outside.

I told the homeowner to call the guys that set it up to come fix it. I wasn’t crawling under there.

5. Crawl Space

Back when I did plumbing went out to a job that required us to crawl into the crawl space of about a 200 year old mill house. I opened up the crawl space and shined my light in there across the crawl space to see all the rafters and pipes just draped in snake skins and some snakes slithering away into the darkness. Noped the fuck out of that one. I’d rather crawl though shit than snakes.

6. Options

Plumber as well. Had to do a tie for a 6″ waste stack main to offset it for a boiler to go in later at a hospital. Told all staff and had maintenance shut down bathrooms from 6am-8am for us to do the offsets. Had everything measured cut and ready to move into place. Fucking staff on every floor ignored the signs because we got constant flushes of fresh shit and shredded toliet paper. At one point I was holding the outlet side of a horizontal piece with my hardhat and trying to no hub band the fitting for it in place while shit literally rolled down my back and into my shirt, down my pants, my socks were soaked in the waste. Took us a total time of 45 minutes but scheduled a 2 hour window just in case. Worst part of this was that they had another bathroom option just down the hall. So inconsiderate… this trade sucks sometimes

7. Thankswhating?

After 4 months of not seeing my family because I was working full-time and only getting one day off a week, I finally quit without notice when they were gonna make me close last Thanksgiving. I had already requested and approved the day off a month prior. I left and never came back. The GM even tried pulling the “you can’t quit you’re fired” ahaha

8. Intellectual Property

When I was doing 90% of my boss’ job in hopes of a full time promotion that I had been promised for three years and he took all the credit and told me my promotion wasn’t in the budget.

9. Head Master

First day at the health department, I’m left at the reception desk alone while literally everyone else in the office went out to a farewell lunch for the person I was replacing. As I was on 90 day probation, wasn’t yet licensed and badged, my pay was $7.96/hr.

I’m sitting at reception, and some redneck comes in with a leaking garbage bag and drops it on my desk. It contains a newly beheaded javelina head. His buddy had been bitten, and it needed to be tested for rabies ASAP.

I had no fucking clue what to do with a leaking garbage bag of javelina head. He couldn’t wait for others to return, so he left a number and split.

Turns out, we don’t do that sort of thing at the health department. Guy refused to come back.

10. Giving

Grocery store cashier. The customer was angry because her cereal had rung up wrong. I called a price check and this lady berated me the whole time. I recall that she accused me of trying to steal from her. Said she was going to get me fired.

I looked at her and said, “I make $7.25 per hour no matter how much you pay for this cereal, so I do not give a shit how this situation turns out.”

She stared at me in shock. The price check comes back saying the price scanned correctly. Silence.

I said, “So do you want the cereal or not?” She said, “Yes.” And that was that. She did not complain to the manager.

11. Blue in the Face

I worked at a heating and air conditioning company doing bookkeeping. I was being trained by the companies accountant. If I made a mistake the owner would literally scream at me full voice. I overheard him talking to his brother and his brother had told him not to scream at me. The owner said, “you have to tear them down to build them up.” I decided I wasn’t going to take another day of his screaming after that.

12. Mom Vibes

I ran the entire company’s financials and general management for $14/hr. I had a meeting with the owner telling him I need a raise and to hire an assistant, he told me I wasn’t “business minded” and should be a stay at home mom. I quit the next day.

13. Insanity

I used to work in a mall music store, back when that was a thing. There was a corporate policy to play new music regularly, y’know, because that’s the fucking thing you’re trying to sell.

My boss, every single day she worked, would play the entire Madonna album, Ray of Light. Hours of the same eight fucking songs. For most of a year, until it was either go mad, commit murder, or bail. I bailed.

That music franchise went under a little over a year later. I hold Madonna and my old boss responsible.

14. Shhhh

I’m a public librarian. I was helping someone in the computer room and turned to tell someone he needed to keep his exclamations at the video he was watching down. Just then, the woman I was helping leapt aside because the man I was shushing pissed himself. It ran down onto the jacket he had tied around his waist, down the chair, onto the ground. Turns out he’d snuck in alcohol and was totally black out drunk. I told him he had to leave. He put the piss covered jacket on and stumbled out. As I returned with gloves and cleaning supplies, another patron decided this was a good time to complain about some kids who were making noise. I took a deep breath and said “This is a good time for us all to appeal to our higher selves and do our best in the moment. Please just adapt for a minute”. Then I thought about the student loans I took out for the master’s degree as I scrubbed up piss.

15. Broccoli

Working for a popular grocery store, the amount of people that think the workers are stupid are astounding.. the produce all have codes and sometimes I forget. To the customer, this looks like I simply don’t know what a broccoli is. They’re like “it’s broccoli” in a condescending tone, and I just have to brush it off. It happens so many times, and though it’s not terrible it really gets me down sometimes. Most people assume retail workers are people with no goals, or even bums. That’s not true at all, everyone I work with including myself is planning to go to college or already enrolled.

16. Vomit

Bartender here. Grown man threw a lit cigarette at my face and threatened me with physical violence. This was a year or so ago but a 45 (maybe older) year old man behaving that way towards a 24 year old female was definitely one of those moments. Plus the people getting handsy and occasional cleaning of vomit I do not get paid enough.

17. Actions have Consequences

When I was 20 I had 3 jobs. I worked as a bank teller from 8-4, then as a closing shift manager at a coffee shop from 5-10, then as an overnight janitor from 11- 2 am.

This wasn’t every day but it was enough that it equated to about 80 hours a week between the 3 jobs, and yes you can imagine this would lead to burnout real fast.

So at the overnight janitor gig my “boss” comes over to me and asks me to come to the office for a review. This was weird, all I did was mop floors on a production line that made air train brakes. But whatever.

I go into his office and he closes the door behind me and pulls out a gay porn magazine and starts asking me about different dicks and put his hand on my shoulder.

I was surprisingly calm and just said I don’t like dicks and went back to work.

Then it hit me what happened. I called in sick the rest of the week and picked up my final paycheck when he wasn’t there.

It was a hard enough job without being sexually harassed for $8.50 an hour.

This was 15 years ago and everything is fine. I have a great career, and that guy was fired after other employees came forward with similar complaints. It was actually a very sad case. He was obviously very gay with a wife and kids. I know he was losing his house to her and his kid was dying of something, I think cancer. He ended up losing everything and I think he died homeless. I really don’t have any animosity towards the guy, I think he was broken and looking to find a little of himself, even though the way he did it was absolutely wrong.

It’s just sad.

18. Front Lines

When I was a 9-1-1 Telecommunicator. Taking all those suicide calls domestics with children, medical calls, people dying, officers getting shot, etc. Did it for 16 years before enough was enough.

19. Some Say He’s Still Waiting

I worked at ABC retailer for less than a month in 2009. I scanned a big box fan for a guy and it didn’t ring up, so I said “I gotta do a price check on this, I apologize.” The guy said “It’s $24.99 you fucking idiot.” I stared at him for a moment, then reached up and turned my little register light off, turned around, walked out to my car, and went home.

Fuck that shit.

20. The Biggest Turkey

Working in a grocery store meat department during Thanksgiving, when every third customer asks if you have any larger turkeys in the back. And insists you go back to the walk-in freezer and sift through multiple pallets of frozen turkeys for the 80th time today.

Categories
Work

4 Tips for Job Seekers

Over the course of my career I’ve hired dozens and interviewed hundreds. If you are looking for a job you need to understand what the hiring manager is going through.

Finding a job is hard. But so is hiring.

I’m currently trying to fill two investments marketing roles and this requires my full attention on top of what I should be doing every day. I enjoy the process, but doing a proper evaluation of all candidates requires a lot of time and energy.

Here are a few things you can do to make it easier for the hiring manager. And by making it easier for the hiring manager you make it easier for yourself.

  1. It’s easy to get lost in the noise during the early stages of the hiring process. When a posting goes live, the hiring manager is often inundated with emails, calls and LinkedIn messages offering to chat about the role. I try to talk to as many people as possible, but the volume of conversations can be overwhelming. In addition, the hiring manager must go through hundreds of resumes. Names and faces get mixed up and good candidates can get accidentally looked-over or forgotten. Make it your responsibility to ensure you stay on the agenda – particularly during the early days of the hiring process.
  2. My next tip might seem like it contradicts the first. While you need to remain top of mind, you must avoid pestering the hiring manager. If they hint that you might not be a good fit for the role, accept it. If they say they’ll get back to you Thursday, wait until Friday to follow up if you haven’t heard anything. To help manage your own expectations don’t hesitate to ask about the process and timing.
  3. If you’re interested in a role, don’t wait for the hiring manager to ask you to apply online. First of all, those postings are only live for a limited time. Second, it’s a pain in the ass when people try to go around the online application portal. It’s there for a reason – it effectively becomes a database of interested candidates. If you’re not captured in the database, the train might leave without you.
  4. Be true to yourself. Do you really want the job and are you really a good fit? That initial conversation with the hiring manager is your opportunity to probe and figure out what you’re really applying for. I always start out with a 20 minute casual phone call to plainly state what I’m looking for. I expect candidates to do the same.
Categories
Life Master Class Work

Warren Buffet & Charlie Munger on Capitalism

Categories
Life

The Covid-19lbs

If you’ve one of those amazing people I envy/hate who have turned this pandemic into your personal metamorphosis, congratulations. If you’ve become a fitness guru, then stop reading.

On the other hand, if you’re like me your lifestyle has devolved into something that would have disgusted you 8 months ago.

I went from the best shape of my life in February 2020 to the worst shape of my life in November 2020. To the outsider I’m still within the observable margins of a healthy body-weight, but I can see and feel the difference. I’m weaker and getting more squishy. Worse, my back is killing most of the time now.

I don’t think I’ve gained the full official Covid-19lbs during the pandemic, but I’ve done more than enough damage over the past 8 months.

What the hell happened?!?

When I still went to the office, I used to walk about 10km per day (6.2 miles for my American friends) and lift weights 3 times a week. Now I barely walk anywhere and the gyms are all closed.

Seriously, I’m lucky if I can get 20 steps between my bed, coffee machine and computer in the mornings. From 7:30am to about 5 or 6pm I’m mainly glued to a chair that’s wrecking my back. And when I’m finally done work, I walk 20 steps to my living space.

I’m in my office chair all day because the work is flowing full force. Like many others, I’ve found that activity doubled once employers got the work-from-home infrastructure right. So, even if I had somewhere to go I find it hard to force myself to take a break.

Regardless, I have nowhere to go anyway. Gyms are closed so that’s not happening. I tried running and made a mess of that – I will try again once my ankles recover.

I work out in my basement sometimes, but I always half-ass it when nobody’s looking.

The only thing that has prevented me from reaching the full Covid-19lbs is intermittent fasting. Essentially, I fast for 14-16hrs a day. However, I was doing that before the pandemic so I’m still in the red.

I’m not making excuses. I’m just mad at myself for losing my grip on my health. This is more of a note to myself to get out of this fucking rut.

Categories
Income Investing

TSX 60 Dividend Yields Report (November 13, 2020)

Yo! I provide a monthly (ish) update that includes the following information for all TSX 60 stocks:

  • Earnings
  • Dividend per share
  • Ex-dividend date
  • Dividend payment date
  • Forward dividend yield
  • Forward price-to-earnings ratio
  • Price-to-book ratio
  • Price-to-sales ratio

If you don’t already, subscribe for udpates:

Click here for TSX 60 Dividend Yields PDF

Categories
Work

The Raise You Shouldn’t Take

Is there a certain point at which it no longer makes sense to pursue a greater income? Maybe.

I think you must consider the tradeoffs when contemplating a position with more responsibility and pay. Because the more you make the less you keep.

Much of the developed world has a progressive tax structure, in which people who earn more pay a greater proportion (and dollar amount) of their income in taxes. Marginal tax rates for top-earners in Canada are displayed in the table below, and are as high as 54%!

The marginal tax rate is the portion of each additional dollar earned that goes to the government. The more you earn in total, the more each incremental dollar is taken away by the tax man.

Source: BDO

I’m not here to debate whether or not this progressive tax structure is morally right or wrong. My point is that this tax structure creates a rising disincentive for individuals to pursue ever-greater incomes.

Once a person attains a certain income level, I feel the added career risk, burden and responsibility is often not adequately compensated by the extra income from climbing the corporate ladder. For some other perks – extra vacation, corporate perks, ego boost, etc. – offset this imbalance. For many, beyond a certain point pursuing a higher income simply isn’t worth the sacrifice.

Put differently, those who do wish to climb the corporate ladder must require increasingly large dollar increases in pay to rationalize the tradeoff.

Here’s an example:

Let’s say you’re a typical employee of Big Corporation XYZ in Toronto and you’re looing at building your career. You start off at the bottom of the barrel working as a clerk in the back office making $45,000 (and probably living in your parents’ basement). You work hard and after a couple years find a better role within the company that comes with a $20,000 pay increase. To you this raise is everything – to Big Corporation XYZ it’s not a huge deal as they weren’t paying you much to begin with.

At that time, when you earned $45,000, a twenty grand pay increase was huge! Not only did you just increase your pay by 44%, you kept 71% of it because you were in a low marginal tax bracket. In other words, most of that earnings growth ended up directly in your pocket. So you were highly incentivized to increase your gross salary, as you got to keep most of it.

However, this incentive changes as salaries grow. The chart below shows how much of your gross salary (red) that you get to keep (blue) as your gross salary rises. When you earn $25,000 you keep almost everything. But as your gross salary rises the tax man benefits almost as much as you.

This next chart shows similar information, but focuses on the gap between gross and net income.

Finally, this third chart shows the effect of $25,000 pay increases on your total net income. A $25k pay increase is way more impactful to someone earning $50,000 than it is to someone earning $150,000.

Anyone making $150k has a high stress job. Taking on additional stress and responsibility isn’t financially worth it for another $25k. Of course, there’s more to the decision than just money. However, if money is a motivating factor the amount must be considered after tax, and the marginal pay raise worthy of action must rise with total income.

Categories
Investing Master Class

Warren Buffett & Charlie Munger (1995 Interview): Moats, Castles and Lords

Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger get questioned about their investing principles at the 1995 Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting.

“We’re trying to find a a business with a wide and long lasting moat around it surrounded and with protecting a terrific economic Castle with an honest Lord in charge.” — Warren Buffett (1995)

Categories
Investing Master Class

Warren Buffett (1985 Interview): How to Pick Stocks

Rare Warren Buffett Interview: How to Pick Stocks & Get Rich (1985).

  • What kind of person makes a good investor?
  • The 1000 missed pitches theory and why Warren Buffett doesn’t invest in technology
  • Why Warren Buffett avoided New York City and Wall Street
  • What if the stock market didn’t open tomorrow?