linklings, passion, pongo and the end of the world edition

What defines a perfect job? Would a job that you love, but that took you away from your home half of the year be preferable to one you aren’t crazy about but doesn’t require travel or long hours? Would high pay trump dissatisfaction? Does passion triumph over low pay? I am not really facing any decision like this, but I’m just wondering what the peak trait of rewarding work is. I’m guessing it’s different for everyone. In fact, as I’ve been reading and listening to blogs and podcasts about the Web 2.0 and the future of work and so on, I’ve been startled by how many people seem to dismiss any problems with low pay and say that ‘passion’ will make it all worth it. Don’t get me wrong, I think passion would carry you a long way, but I’m getting tired of the dismissiveness of the “passion movement” towards people who aren’t following “their passion.”

I keep putting it in quotes, don’t I? I have mentioned this in an earlier post, but I’m just beginning to wonder if I would prefer to follow my passion, for example, or do something I’m not crazy about but that offers flexible hours and good pay. If I had to work 14 hours a day at something I enjoyed, it still takes me away from other things I enjoy. Dunno. Something to ponder. Probably should have written a separate post on it…

Something to promote here: Pongo Resume sent me five (5) promotion codes for a free month of Pongo service. You’ll get a full 30 days of unlimited access to Pongo’s resume and cover letter builder, custom templates, job search tool, interview training, and live support. A Pongo subscription typically costs $9.95 a month or $59.95 a year. You are welcome to (but don’t have to) continue your subscription at the end of the free month, and cancel at any time.”

All you have to do to get a promotion code is leave a comment with a valid email address. If you make the comment about a bad experience at a job that made you start looking for a new one the next day, I’ll pick the best for use in a future post, so if you’re a blogger it might be some good exposure. I’ll award the best one a promotion code and pick the other four at random.

Links! Time travel reference at the end.

5 Reasons To Dump Your Strict Budget: Budgeting will drive you nuts, in my opinion (but if you’re in debt it’s probably useful for tracking purposes). Once you’re out of debt, do this: set aside a percentage of your income every month (at least 15%). Doesn’t matter so much where, but obviously tax-advantaged accounts might be helpful. Set aside the money for fixed costs (mortgage/rent, utilities, etc.). The rest can be spent, but if you spend less than the full amount remaining, you’ll start getting richer. My family does need to start budgeting food expenses, though – treating that more like a fixed cost than an as-needed expense. Hm, maybe a budget’s not a bad idea… what if there were online solutions….wait:

10 Free Online Budgeting Applications: Yodlee’s on the list. If you have a Bank of America account, this is what powers “My Portfolio.” I have to be honest that I don’t understand all the hoopla about Mint – it doesn’t seem to have half as many features as Yodlee, but I guess Yodlee’s just boring because it’s more of a “behind-the-scenes” app. I don’t need an online budgeting application that starts giving me “advice” on better rates, etc. I trust sponsored advice about as much as I trust Bruce Willis’ hairstylist.

What Was the Best $100 You’ve Ever Spent?: Good question. I remember during a long winter spell when we just had Little Buddy I went to Kmart and bought a little car, similar to this Fire Engine Scootster (aff. link). It was a bit cheaper – I think it was $40? – but I expected it to be used for a few days and forgotten. Since then it has been used almost nonstop. Little Buddy still rides it and now that Pumpkin’s running around she loves sitting on it and paddling along.

Wokai: Support Chinese Small Businesses through Microfinancing: I guess all of these microfinancing sites (Kiva, now Wokai) serve a useful purpose, but you definitely need to be emotionally involved in the cause. It’s not really a charity and given the troubles here in the States, I think it makes more sense to support American small businesses through microfinancing (preferably in your own community). But I support charities like the Russian Children’s Welfare Fund, too, so I understand.

Best Things to Buy in the Fall – Find the Biggest Discounts and Sales on These Items This Fall: Fall? What is fall? Haven’t seen any indications of fall down here. I suppose winter clothes are sold somewhere in Florida, but I realized there may not be a good time to get a deal on a grill.

Free High Yield Checking Accounts: Get one, then forget about it. Don’t chase rates.

Joining Pentagon Federal, Real Estate, and Investing: That having been said, the Pentagon Federal Credit Union sounds like a pretty good deal.

Why Don’t Most Financial Planners Plan Finances?: Why are doctors the worst patients? Because humans be kooky sometimes.

Should Parents Have a Financial Double Standard For Sons and Daughters?: Fascinating question. My mother was an only child, my dad had a brother and I had a brother. In my nuclear family, therefore, this wasn’t really something to worry about. My parents have kept a careful ledger of gifts and assistance they’ve given to my brother and me and kept it balanced between us. I have a son and a daughter, though. If she has a $20,000 wedding, should I give my son a check for $20,000 to balance it out? Guess I’ll cross that (expensive) bridge when I come to it.

Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2009 (HR 1207): Audit the Fed! I can’t even begin to understand counterarguments. The most common one (“it will hamper their ability to make decisions”) was used ad nauseum by Dick Cheney. As an auditor, I’m a little biased, but if you are making trillion-dollar decisions that affect the entire country, I think you need some oversight. Promising that you will be good doesn’t work for Corporate America and it sure as hell doesn’t work for the pseudo-governmental bodies like, say, Fannie Mae or the Fed.

Why Relying on Overtime Dooms You to Failure: Yep. If you have a salaried job you probably don’t think about this, but if you work on an hourly basis it’s easy to start thinking “wow, if I work just an extra few hours a week I could…” Nope. I don’t even plan based on working 40, because almost every week includes a day that needs to get cut short for one reason or another. Hope for the best but plan for the worst.

Don’t worry about not being able to contribute more to your 401(k): Yeah. If you sock away the max, you’re doing better than 95% of your countrymen. Or is that countrypersons? Doesn’t have the same ring, does it.

Via kottke:

Phil Greenspun’s finance buddy explains how JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs made $6.8 billion in profit last quarter. Basically they borrowed money from the US Govt at 0% and then bought bonds from the US Govt that paid 2-3%.

What kind of bonds are they buying? Are they investing the money in American business? “No, they are mostly buying Treasuries.” So the money is just being shuffled from one Federal bank account to another, with each Wall Street bank skimming off $1 billion per month for itself? “Pretty much.”

Fortunately it’s not going to matter, because the Higgs boson is going to travel back in time and destroy any bank involved in financing the Hadron Collider. Er, what?

3 comments

  • I walked into the bathroom at work and heard a familiar noise coming from one of the stalls… yeah, you know what I'm talking about – that click-tap-click-tap of the buttons and screen of a Blackberry. I was thinking, “Geez, man. Is no place sacred? Is there no escape? Are there no boundaries?” The technology in our lives is, without a doubt, amazing! But there needs to be a balance – You are not meant to live a 24-7 connection; I think sometimes we must disconnect in order to connect.

    This has been eye opening to me – and I'm beginning to think strongly about how I might want to bring balance into my life by “disconnecting.” But I'm still pondering what that actually means…

  • guinness416

    Re perefect job I like that you're posting these musings/asking these questions …. Please do write a separate post on it! My bloggiest wish is that you and the FMF guy would hook up and write a career blog I think it would be amazing.

    Given that the dad-pays-for-daughter's-wedding thing is so rare already I expect it'll be truly dead and gone by the time your kid is at that stage; especially as by then one would hope that she'll be earning the equivalent of your son (possibly more if some of the m-f grad rates in non engineering disciplines hold true!). For my family's part we don't talk about such things but I would hope my folks are helping my sister out much more than me and my brother, who need basically no (financial) assistance. In my husband's family it's more about which siblings are supporting the parents which is a whole other story.

    Jeremy's toilet stall anecdote is funny …. I recently took a work trip with a colleague who spent the whole drive (she was driving) sending emails. She's quite practiced at it, her sites being pretty far from the office, but it's dangerous as hell. Of course in her mind, and toilet guy's mind, it's probably may as well do it now or I'll just have to stay late looking after these notes.

  • i really agree with you online budgeting application that starts giving us advice on better rates, etc.it is totally worthless I too trust sponsored advice about as much as I trust Bruce Willis’ hairstylist.