Sabbatical comparisons

I’ve been taking time off since early September of 2015. Something has shifted. I sense my sabbatical is winding down the next month or two and it’s time to choose an opportunity and make my next move. Several important personal projects remain incomplete, but my gut tells me it’s time to shift from near-total focus on personal projects to also taking on traditional employment.

This is my second time taking extended time off, since I took off late December 2009 through September 2010. Today, I came across some of my blog posts from my first sabbatical, which led me to thinking about the similarities and differences between the two experiences. I was struck by how much my mindset, priorities and competencies have changed.

Then:

  • Trouble articulating my value prop
  • Lack of clarity regarding what kind of work I am seeking
  • Somewhat aware of my value as an individual contributor
  • Financially, focused on hustling and details like loopholes for maximizing credit card rewards, minimizing taxes, maximizing investment returns (trading options, forex, futures)
  • Priorities: Learn skills, do meaningful work, make more-than-comfortable money, expansively explore the experiences of the social/emotional/physical aspects the world has to offer
  • Spent much time at bars/restaurants/house-parties socializing with people in similar situations
  • Stock market trending up, felt like it added to opportunity cost
  • Want to advance career (compensation, title, prestige)

Now:

  • Skilled at pitching my value prop in professional contexts and targeting it depending on audience — factors like size of company, industry, corporate culture, and most importantly who I’m talking to (recruiter vs individual contributor vs hiring manager vs director). Somewhat competent at adjusting pitch on the fly based on real-time feedback
  • Know that when it comes to finding work, my top factors are 1) mission, 2) team, 3) creating value and 4) learning/challenge
  • Can be a strong individual contributor when I choose, but prefer to create value by creating synergies and enabling organizations to succeed
  • Rather laissez-faire about finances due to trust in systems and buffers I’ve built. Thoughts are focused on lifestyle design and tension between present and future priorities when it comes to money and time/energy.
  • Think much more holistically about myself and my life
  • Priorities: self-empowerment (freedom & flexibility), do meaningful work, make money according to present/future goals, explore changing my experiences of the social/emotional/physical aspects the world has to offer
  • AFAIK, met no one in a similar situation. Minimal amount of random socializing or going to bars/restaurants/house-parties
  • Stock market trending down, mixed and minor feelings about it
  • Don’t think much about “career” other than desire to keep doing well

Same:

  • Focused on personal growth (basically everything below)
  • Working on my skills with generating organization, process and structure. Time management, project management, habits, etc
  • Find “personal narratives” a challenge and working on it
  • Still need to work out more, host people at my place more
  • Still single, and planning to stay so for the next year or two
  • Most importantly, still see my future as being brighter than ever! And strongly believe taking this time off has placed me in a better position.

 

30 sessions in the Isolation Tank

TL;DR: mind-blowing first float, rest have been a mix of great, good, and meh

I’ve completed just over 30 floats.

Up to this point, I’ve gone into the tank and tried my own ideas (breathing exercises, meditation exercises, etc). I wanted to share my experiences and thoughts before I start reading about other people’s experiences with floating and techniques and guidelines for how to float.

So I’ll share more about my life-altering first float, highlight my other floats, and share my current ideas and theories on floating.

My First Float: Amazing! 

They say it usually takes a few sessions to learn to really let go, but my first float was the most profound so far.

I purchased an unlimited float package on Black Friday at Urban Float in Fremont and had my first float on November 27th.  When I arrived, I signed in and went upstairs and made myself some tea and watched the instructional video they gave me. After about 10 minutes, I was shown to room #3, which is rather large and spacious. I showered as instructed, inserted ear plugs, and opened the tank. Continue reading

Reviving liujoshua.org

Today, I killed liujoshua.org

Then I resurrected it.

I wanted a public place to blog about my thoughts on life, self-improvement, entrepreneurship, healthcare, personal finance, etc. Stuff that doesn’t really fit on my private blog or topic-specific blogs (there may be limited cross-posting).

Last time I actively updated liujoshua.org, I was unemployed. Now I’m on sabbatical, which is basically the same as being unemployed except I have enough work experience where people don’t immediately flip out when I say “sabbatical”.

Seems there’s some sort of pattern here…

History, for all you nerds out there:

liujoshua.org used to live on a server kindly hosted by Jack Po, the blog was my own wordpress instance. That server also hosted a bunch of files and sites generated during college and various startups from about 2005-2011.

The blog you’re looking at now is hosted by WordPress.com. I used Internet Archive to recover some posts and re-posted them here manually. I decided to abandon the more complex content and not to import from the old blog.

 

 

Exploring opportunities for employment

The past few days have been busy! I’ve been searching for positions and neurotically updating my resume and Linked in profile. It’s always a been challenge for me to pin down what I’m looking for and verbalize it succinctly. I’m constantly brainstorming and writing “personal narratives” in an attempt to distill the essence of who I am and what I want. I got this idea from Erica and it’s been a monumental help. Here is the product of the last few hours:

I like to wear lots of hats!
Entrepreneurial, result-oriented individual with strong technical aptitude, highly-competitive academic background, ability to reach key audiences, and successful track record of accomplishments. Enjoys fast paced environments, is driven to excel and thrives in collaborative environments. Seeks to make an immediate contribution.

Thanks, Erica!

Seguro Acquires Worldwide Rights to Johns Hopkins Abdominal Surgery Device | Reuters

Seguro Surgical, Inc., a medical device development company specializing in the commercialization of surgical instrumentation, today announced that it has acquired, from The Johns Hopkins University, the global marketing rights to a novel device for use in abdominal surgery.

via Seguro Acquires Worldwide Rights to Johns Hopkins Abdominal Surgery Device | Reuters.

Interesting, that the latest FDA guidance points towards Class I.
Yay, passive income!

.htaccess

It took me an embarrassingly long time to figure this one out:


Options +FollowSymlinks
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^www\.(.*) [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^(.*) [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.%1/$1 [R=301,NC,L]

I’ve recently joined experts-exchange (note the hyphen) as an expert. Gotta keep my mind sharp…

New Credit Card Stack

Citi Forward (Thank You Points)

  • Rewards: 5TYP/dollar spent at Restaurants, Amazon, bookstores, movies, video Rentals, record stores; 1TYP/dollar elsewhere
  • Special features: 0% APR for first six months; 100TYP monthly for on-time payment; 5,000 TYP after $50 purchase in 3 months; 6,000 TYP when you sign up for paperless statement within three months of account opening

PenFed Visa Platinum Reward (Cash back credited monthly)

  • Rewards: 5% back on Gas, plane tickets; 1.25% Everything else
  • Special features: 2.99% BT for life

Pending: Schwab Bank Invest First™ Visa Signature (Deposited into Schwab One account every month)

  • Reward: Unlimited 2% flat

Pending: Discover Current (Actually a debit card)

  • Fees: $5 month or $50 a year

What would posses me to PAY far a debit card with no rewards? Hmm… how mysterious