Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Novelist Procrastination

The year is coming to a close and I had to complete my yearly assessment before going on holiday next week. We usually have an informal monthly meeting with my immediate boss to discuss goals but we have not been meeting for the past few months. I am not sure what this means though I think I am doing something good otherwise I would need to have more supervision if I was doing something wrong. From the optimistic side, I would think that I need less supervision. On the worst side, I am possibly boring and have nothing significant to report anyway. But I am being paranoid again and to assess the situation fairly, I would think that my boss is letting me settle down. After all I am less than a year in my present post so nothing significant is expected from me.

I still went through the form and I think I did not do badly this year. I went to a lot of training perhaps about 10 days overall. I read through the needed documents and I think I understand the process as well as the application. I was able to produce a few design documents as well although both projects are late though not due to a fault of mine. From an objective viewpoint, I have produced the deliverables required of me, organized meetings and led the project when I was required to. I also participated in a lot of meetings with the management teams. I seem to be lost in not realizing the work that I do at the office as I tend to focus on my life outside of work.

Most of my thinking time last weekend was spent watching DVDs I borrowed. It was a relatively cold weekend with temperature reaching 40s F so spent most of the time at home. I surfed the Internet looking for investment advice. I found a good feature in CNN featuring the head of PIMCO. He clearly and simply explained the cause of the financial crisis and provided some great advice. I also took the Financial Times Money Gym course to make sure I have good understanding on investing. I had made a modest purchase of C shares last Thursday. The share price increased last Friday making me a $ 40 profit but went down today which gave me a loss of about $ 110 at noon. I am not sure where I am at this moment. It seems that I have neglected my readings about ETFs and plunged head long to stock picking.

I have my reasons on investing directly in stocks and I discovered a good website called Cake Financial which is like a social network of stock investors. I discovered this site while surfing on the weekend. There are a lot of good sites around that is useful for self directed investors like me. Looking back this year has been quite hectic and eventful that I don’t realize how much stress I have been putting myself into. This year, I had sold my house, bought a new one, enrolled my kids in a new school, invested in NYSE, joined local Toastmaster, joined the local library, borrowed books and DVDs and learned a lot of new topics. Still I feel that I am late somehow in adapting and that I should speed up the pace by reading more, watching more and experiencing more. In fact I should slow down and enjoy the fruits of my labors.

Now I think I have some expertise on the local real estate market, the local stock market, and about the financial crisis. I also increased my understanding of local politics and history. I also read more about writing and how the new tools and the Internet could help a striving novelist. Now there is too much information in the brain. I guess one needs to slow down. What is driving me nuts these days is the investment opportunities that my frenzied imagination is thinking off. Should I invest more in property or stocks? Should I invest in the US or emerging markets? Meanwhile I still think I can complete my book while watching too much videos and reading multiple books and magazines. It’s the frenzied mind that the Buddhist talks about and which I reacquainted myself with while listening to John Burdett’s thriller ‘Bangkok Tattoo’.

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