Category Archives: Work

I quit my job. My last day was Wednesday (Star Wars Day – May the Fourth be with you). As time went on I realized I wasn’t interested in climbing to the next rung of the ladder so the drive and energy was hard to maintain month after month. Working just for the money can be a real grind long term.

I am going to miss the people I worked with at my old job in Middleton. I made a lot of friends and met a lot of cool people over the three and a half years I worked there. I also had the opportunity to help mentor others which was rewarding. Some of those I mentored in turn started to mentor others which is neat to see.

I learned a lot about the insurance industry and saw how hard work can pay off. This was my first “real job” after college and it was a great introduction to the real world. I did well and managed to pay off my student loans last fall which made my current life change possible.

I had been thinking about leaving for about a year or so. The timing I picked worked out well. My apartment lease was up, my girlfriend is finishing up grad school next week, the weather is turning from spring to summer, and I have a round trip ticket to Athens and not enough vacation days.

Future Endeavors
(My previous employer always sent polite notification emails to the rest of the team when people left wishing the departing employee “best of luck in their future endeavors)


Plenty of time for coloring now that I am unemployed.

My immediate plan is tagging along on a 2 week vacation to Greece with my girlfriend and her friend. I do have some other things I would like to do as time goes by. Last year I earned my motorcycle license and bought a small motorcycle so I hope to get some miles in on that. I also plan to kayak and bicycle and enjoy the weather. I look forward to seeing more of my parents and other family members.

The next step is to wait until my girlfriend finds a job and look for something wherever she ends up. I moved back to Horicon to live with my dad to keep the rent low and stretch my savings if I have to while the job search is happening. I know that this change will be a net positive (if not financially then at least where happiness is concerned).

I am excited about the next adventure and hope to share more with you. But if the past is any indication any sharing will be sporadic at best!

Haiku III – Work, Cabin Fever & More Weather

It is time for the third edition of haiku. I really enjoy writing these. Click for parts one and two.

March is here and it is evident that the weather is doing as it pleases. We have hit 70 degrees F followed by a couple inches of snow here in Madison. It is hard to plan what weather to dress for when I decide to bike to work. I have ridden in with a scarf and gloves but gone home in a t-shirt already.


In like a lion
out like a lamb. March weather
is one of a kind.


At work we have to wear security badges/name tags. This seems to be a common practice in offices. These allow us to get into the doors. While I am at work it doesn’t seem so bad but if I forget to take it off I feel like a fool for walking around with it on. Continue reading

Insurance Haiku

I like the simplicity of the haiku – 5,7,5. I have two workplace related haiku. The first was inspired by insurance non-renewal notices. I have to type these out sometimes and to comply with legal requirements and for clarity they are pretty boring. I thought it would be neat to have a haiku version of a non-renewal. My Insurance haiku idea is:


Your policy is
non-renewed. What losses! Find
a new policy.


Much better then boring legalese. The second was inspired by a work meeting today. Our company had a slow January and management must be starting to worry. I think it can apply to most any company anywhere.


Work meeting today:
you must work harder, faster.
Growth, unabated


Do you have any office or work inspired haiku? It is kind of fun. Let me know what you come up with.

Reflecting on my Job

I had a moment at work today that caused me to reflect on my job. I was seeking advice from a coworker. He is knowledgeable, a sort of elder statesman around the office. The kind of guy most people go to when they need help or see something that throws them for a loop. When I was done picking his brain he asked me how things were going. I replied and asked him the same question. “Oh you know, too much to do like always.” His inbox full of emails and voice messages seemed to back this up.

As I walked back to my desk a few thoughts crossed my mind. Would he take a pay cut to be able to work less? Could he? Does he enjoy his work?

Then my thoughts turned to me: Would I take a pay cut to be able to work less? Could I? Do I enjoy my work?

Let’s start with the last question first: Continue reading

A Very Cold Monday

Today was a very cold day. Temperatures reached -18 F in Middleton with wind chills well below that. As I write this it is currently -15 F with a wind chill of -36 F.

The temperature in Celsius

The temperature in Celsius

The temperature in Fahrenheit

The temperature in Fahrenheit

This cold weather was predicted and last Thursday my employer sent out an email stating that we could take the day off if we felt it best. They also stated this day could be made up throughout the week, we could use Paid Time Off (PTO) or we could take it unpaid. I decided to stay home today and I will take the day unpaid.

As soon as I knew it was going to be this cold I decided I wasn’t going to go into work. Any time the weather is described as “life-threatening” I regard that as a sign to only travel if necessary. I did however have to decide whether or not to use a PTO day or not. I eventually decided to take the day unpaid. My first reason for this is because I can make up the shortfall using overtime hours later. My second reason is that I only have a finite number of vacation days and I they are very valuable for me. Our policy is written to discourage using unpaid days off to extend vacations. This was a chance to have an extra day off using an unpaid day with the blessing of the company.

I knew that I didn’t want to waste this day so I made a list of things to accomplish or at least work on. I did some studying for my next insurance exam (see my Goals page). I put away my laundry and did my dishes. I also watched a movie (The Good, The Bad, The Weird). More importantly I spent minimal time on Facebook, Reddit and the like. I felt like I had a productive day. In the end I was very happy that I decided to stay home.

I will feel this day off in my next paycheck but I will survive. I have a nice cushion and this January is a 3 payday month. Would you have taken the day off in this scenario?

Thoughts on a Retirement

One of my co-workers had his last day at work this week. He is an older man, someone people go to for advice. He is social, knowledgeable and always seems to have a story. He will be missed around the office.

I had a chance to have a brief conversation and he already has plans to go to London, Istanbul and Singapore. He and his wife sold their house and it sounds like they will do a mix of house sitting and traveling for the time being. I must admit to being a little jealous of his plans.

Retirement is something I think about often. Well not necessarily retirement but financial independence and not having to work. I will get there someday but it takes time, and I am not the most patient when it comes to these things. But this retirement was a reminder that there is an end eventually.

November to date

I will start off by apologizing. I have not had a post in awhile. I have no real excuse but I am going to try anyway.

I had been studying for a test at work (I passed). These tests are voluntary and are to earn designations (letters after my name). I find several benefits to these tests and the designations I can earn:

1. It shows I care and looks good to management
2. The designations are recognized industry wide and are transferable
3. The company pays for the tests, bonuses when you reach certain levels and gives study time and extra time off if you pass

I think the time I spend on it is well worth it.

I saw the movie Gravity with my brother the other week. It floored me! It was visually stunning, the story was great and I was on the edge of my seat with the characters. Look for the fetus imagery, the howling at the moon scene (noticed by my brother) and the evolution out of water scene. For those of you that now a bit about the Polish language keep an ear out as well.

My girlfriend and I had the chance to spend some time together. One of the places we went to was the National Mustard Museum in Middleton. I have never really eaten mustard but with the free samples it was a great time to try it. I did like some of them. The museum was free and was pretty busy, much more so than either myself or my girlfriend expected. It was a fun place. I would suggest checking it out if you find yourself in the area with time to kill.

I am continuing to commute by bike. The only problem I have had has been my lock freezing up after the snow we had earlier in the week. It was only just below freezing so I was able to get it undone by blowing hot air into it. I have no shortage of that. I am now being more careful about how I position it. I have also bought lock deicer. Two solutions that I have heard since I was talking to people about it were a lighter and a cup of hot water. I would have never have thought of these things myself. I guess I don’t know everything just yet.

How have you been? Has anything exciting happened to you lately?

My actual dollars per hour

I live in Madison but work in the suburbs. I take the bus because I don’t have a car. I recently had the idea to factor in my travel time when figuring out my dollars per hour, and the result isn’t pretty. From the time I leave to the time I return at night is 10.5 hours. This makes a big difference when I look at dollars per hour. Let’s look at an example

$15 dollars per hour* x 8 hours a day = $120 / day

Now let’s look at it with travel time:

$15 per hour x 8 hours a day = $120 / 10.5 hours = $11.43/hour

Adding in my travel time reduces my $/hr from 15 to 11.43.

What does this mean to me? I know that I would not be riding the bus for fun if not headed to work so it is fair to count it as “work” in my mind. I should move closer to work. If I could cut my time away from home from 10.5 hours to 9 hours (8 hours of work + .5 hours lunch + .25 hours to and .25 hours fro) my new $/hr would be:

$120 / 9 hours = $13.33/hr. Moving closer to work and cutting my commute would be like giving myself an almost $2/hr raise!

I would like to move closer to work. I will keep my eye on Craigslist to see if I can sublet my apartment and find a new one closer to work.

Have you ever cut your commute time?

*not my actual wage