I'm Outsourcing My Job

I recently wrote about how I replaced myself with a robot at work, and while I didn't really mean that I was actually getting a robot to do my job, though that might be kind of cool. I meant that I was detaching myself emotionally from my coworkers and optimizing my efficiency at my work.

This time I'm outsourcing my job, and I'm actually being more serious about it than I was about the robot thing. My company is sending me to India for 4 months to train new developers to do my job over in Hyderabad.

I've already bought my plane tickets so there's basically no turning back now. So it's finally about as official as it gets. To be fair, the goal of this is more of a global expansion than it really is about outsourcing my job. My job is not actually in danger here, but if everything goes well with this expansion then there might be less of a need for more developers over here in the US.

The first thing that a lot of people have asked me is if I want to go. I'm excited to be going, I had the option to say no if I wasn't comfortable with it. I know some of the reasons I was chosen for this assignment was because my company knows that I like to travel, I don't have a family so it's not like I'm leaving anyone behind, and I know my job well.

I love to travel and I always thought it would be interesting to live in another country. So this is a great trial experience without actually have to actually pay for where I'm living. There's very few jobs that will let you move to a foreign country, let alone many companies that will actually pay to send you there.

As a software engineer I think that this is really a once in a lifetime opportunity to be able to travel like this for work. The purpose of most software is that you can do it from anywhere so why would a company need to send you somewhere else to do it.

I'm excited to see what comes of this. I feel like I've been needing this escape from my regular routine.

I Replaced Myself With a Robot at Work

I love bacon. Seriously, it was one of the hardest things about giving up food. I was actually up cooking bacon on the last night of my "give up food for a month" challenge so that once it turned midnight and it had been a full month, I could start off eating again with Bacon!

Anyways, from time to time I will be contributing over at Makin the Bacon either till Karen thinks my articles are stupid, or I run out of things to say... Either could be likely to happen, eek!

push button receive bacon

Robots are cold hard calculating machines.

Perhaps it's their pragmatic approach to work that makes them so efficient. Maybe it's their lack of empathy so they don't waste time gossiping with coworkers. Or maybe it's because they don't need sustenance to keep going so things like lunch breaks and food comas are irrelevant.

Continue reading at Makin the Bacon...

Should I buy a stock before or after a split?

Before I begin I suppose I should define what exactly a stock split is. It's when a company divides its existing shares into multiple shares. The number of existing shares increases but the overall value of the shares remains the same. If a $100 stock does a 5 to 1 split then for each share of the stock that you own before the split will then become 5 shares and the value of each share will be reduced in an equivalent manner, thus the new value of these shares becomes $20.

Sam Flores
Mural by Sam Flores
Last week one of the stocks I own, Visa (V) did a 4 for 1 split. While my overall investment remains financially the same, I was wondering if it would have made sense to add to my position before or after the split.

Why can't we just be honest?

I've heard about the idea of radical honesty before but certain things about it made it hard for me to ever seriously consider. In a way you just don't shy away from topics that can potentially cause other people discomfort and you state your feelings bluntly using observations. The idea is to remove the little "white lies" that we tell for the sake of social norms.

by Hellovon
Only recently has this idea been occurring to me more often, and this time it's in the context of work. Which could potentially be one of the worst places to ignore social norms. You see, some of my friends have become managers at work and their role is new to them. I believe that part of their jobs is to have that radical honesty in evaluating work performance for the people they manage. Separating the "friend" from "subordinate" is probably new to them so they have a hard time giving honest feedback.

The Path of Least Resistance

Mutual Metaphors by Mars-1
Mutual Metaphors by Mars-1

The other day an anonymous commenter wrote:

"Zee, I see from your recent posts how unhappy you really are at your current job. I ask, why don't you look for something else, something in a completely different field even. You are not living paycheque to paycheque, maybe the universe is telling you to take that leap. Of course your goal is not to work at all but might as well try and find something better until then."

First I would like to say, thank you anonymous commenter, really, thank you. I appreciate you reading and taking the time to even comment on something I wrote. It's nice to know that someone noticed a theme with my work lately and suggested that I make a significant change to it.

Are we a product of our environment?

I've discussed nature versus nurture before, but last time I was talking about surrounding yourself with like minded people. How being around people that inspire you help bring those attributes out in yourself.

Esao Andrews - The Hiker
The Hiker by Esao Andrews
But what about being surrounded by shit you don't like? Take work for example, most people spend the majority of their lives doing shit that they don't really want to because they need income. Then at the end of the day they go home and complain about it. Most people wouldn't go to their jobs if they had the choice, but since they don't own all of their time they have to trade it for money so they can keep a roof over their head.

Does this environment make us who we are? Even if we don't care about it?

My Soylent Experiment

For the most part I try to write about things that people can relate to. Ways to help them view their finances so that they can manage their money better or save more. This is probably not one of those stories. Though, to be fair, this would potentially save most people time and money. :)

Look, I'm a weird guy. I like to do weird things. Sometimes I just do things because I think it will make a good story or to see if I can actually do it. I mean, if one of your friends started a story with "Back when I was in that cult in college..." I know that immediately I would be interested in what comes next. It probably doesn't even matter what the actual story was, I would have follow up questions about the cult. Anyways....

On December 28th, 2014. I gave up eating food... Or at least, I began to.

(click for larger image)
Let me rewind all the way back to Easter Sunday of 2014 when the idea was hatched. I was talking with by brother about how now that I've gotten older, I can't just eat candy all day without feeling sick to my stomach. From here the conversation veered towards us asking if anyone had done a "cleanse" since those seem to be all the rage these days. And how you're supposed to feel so much better after one.

"There's no way I could do it." I said. "I could never make it a week or two with only drinking lemon water, rice and some other god awful shit. I wish I could just be put into a medically induced coma and be fed through a tube so that when they woke me up in a week my system was flushed out. It would feel like an instant cleanse!"

This idea was not met with much resistance. My cousin seemed to like the idea, though I'm sure if it came down to it, no one would have the balls to actually put themselves in a coma just to do a cleanse. Then my brother asked me if I had heard of Soylent, a food substitute. I had, but I had also never really looked into it.

The Problem With Work

Maze by James Jean
Maze by James Jean
Work sucks. I'm sure if we all had the choice of kicking back on the beach or going into the office, 99 out of 100 people would choose a day in the sun. That other guy that choose the office probably has a fear of sharks or something.

If we didn't have to work then most of us would probably choose not to. But it's a necessary part of life, and I do respect the process of it all. I mean, if you didn't have to work for things then you probably wouldn't appreciate the results as much. For example, do you think that a high school kid that worked hard to buy a car, or a kid that was given a car from their parents will take better care of their vehicle? My guess is the kid that worked for it will appreciate the sacrifice that went into it.

While I see nothing wrong with work itself, I do see a problem with how society perceives people because of their work.

What did we do? TurboTax Backtracks

It takes years to build up trust, and only seconds to destroy it.

Forgive me my love by Jason Lips

Yesterday I received an email from TurboTax titled:

"Our apologies. We're fixing things."

I didn't buy TurboTax this year because they changed their software so that I would have to pay twice as much to get my taxes done. Apparently the backlash of other customers who didn't realize this, and people like myself who simply choose not to use them for their taxes this year they decided they needed to fix things.

So it looks like they are giving out a lot of free software upgrades to what people were expecting and hoping that will repair the damage that was done. I kind of view this as too little too late. While I haven't actually bought software to do my taxes this year I did my research on what I would have needed and already found a cheaper option.

While I'm sure that this approach will save them a lot of customers, especially ones that haven't done their taxes yet, they already lost me. What they did this year makes me wonder if next year they will just raise the base price instead of making us need the upgrade like this year.

Also on another note with TurboTax, apparently there are many states that aren't accepting returns right now from TurboTax because of a large amount of fraudulent claims.... It just doesn't look like things are going well for them this year. Partially their fault, partially not.

Get Vindictive - Using Spite to Succeed

In the past week there were a lot of changes that happened at my work. My current manager decided to move to a different department in search for a slightly different career path and by doing this a new management position opened up at work.

Joan Cornella
Joan Cornella
To be honest, if my old manager hadn't decided to leave my department, I don't think I would have really given much thought to the position. I figured one day I would probably step into that position but that it would be perhaps a year or two down the road so I wasn't in a big rush. I've been told in the past by previous managers that they think I would be good at it, and personally I do think I have what it takes to do well but that's beside the point of this story.

Anyways, last Thursday my manager brought me into a conference room to tell me that he was leaving our team, and that the Account Director (his boss) had decided to put.... We'll call him "Buddy", into the newly vacant position. He was merely telling me of the decision to see how I would feel about this change.

I guess you could say that no one expected my reaction. I flat out said that I would be angry and disappointed with that change and that I would be interested in being considered for the position myself.

Why I'm switching away from TurboTax this year

This year I lagged compared to my usual approach to taxes. It seems like every year the date that I receive all of my tax forms gets pushed back further and further. I swear that I remember getting my taxes done before January 15th once but now it seems like I can't even attempt to complete my taxes until mid February anymore.

Ryohei Hase
His only wish was to touch by Ryohei Hase
This year I'm glad I waited on it though. Normally, every year I purchase TurboTax and plug away at it myself for a few hours and then "voilĂ !" I'm done, and hopefully a refund will be coming in a few weeks (except not last year) and not an audit. But this year I have to take a new approach, and if you are a TurboTax user then you might want to reconsider too! You see TurboTax did something sort of sneaky, they changed their software so that the deluxe version no longer includes the forms necessary to enter your schedule D forms for capital gains and losses.

Many loyal customers of TurboTax didn't read the fine print on the boxes about the changes that were made to the software so now when they are in the middle of their taxes find out that they have to upgrade to the next level up of the software. So instead of paying about $48 for the version they thought they needed they end up upgrading to the premier version which costs them $75 instead. The other option they could do is purchase another program from somewhere else and start the whole process over again which is also a bit absurd, no one really wants to go through that all again.

The response from Intuit (the owners of TurboTax) has been that they clearly labeled their packaging - which in all fairness they did. But for users like myself that have used TurboTax for the past decade or more it's like going to buy a Happy Meal and suddenly they say that the Happy Meal does not come with fries and a drink. Sure it may be labeled that way on the menu but when you have been ordering the same thing for forever you kind of just expect it to be the same.

So this year I'm making the switch. I've always wanted to try a different tax software... Well not really, but I did have a little curiosity of what would happen if I did a side by side comparison, not that I want to do my taxes twice in one year. So this year I'm switching to H&R Blocks software to give it a spin. It's actually cheaper than the usual version of TurboTax that I would use coming in at $42 and everyone online says that it's basically the same and that the only reason they never made the switch was because they were loyal to TurboTax. I should also be able to import last years version of my taxes from TurboTax into their software so getting my previous information should be just as easy as before.

So how are you doing your taxes this year? If you are a TurboTax user are you going to stick with it or are you going to jump ship like many others? Is now a good time to invest in H&R Block?

Landlord Hating

haters gonna hate
They see me rollin'
They hatin'
Landlording they tryin to catch me ridin dirty

This one goes out to all the people that live in over populated cities. That means you San Francisco, and I'm also looking at you Manhattan!

Next to bloodsucking lawyers, landlords are probably next in the queue of hated on people in the world. Actually, let me take that back -- everyone accepts lawyers as money grubbing individuals so no one really has to talk about it as if it were something new. And most people don't need lawyers so it's much less of a common ground for people to talk about. But most people have dealt with a landlord in their lives and it seems that lately, the new trend is to hate on them.

Look, I get it. You want to pay the least amount possible that you can for the roof over your head -- We all do! But it's a business son! Simple supply and demand, if people are willing to pay more, then why would I rent for less?