Female Managers

I’m of two minds when it comes to female managers. The liberal feminist part of my brain wants to believe that women must serve as each another’s allies and confidants to navigate a workplace hierarchy still dominated by men. Unfortunately, my personal experience working with female managers has been overwhelmingly negative and left me yearning for previous male managers who did not micromanage and terrorize. 

My experience with female managers left me feeling miserable and stressed out. I lost an excessive amount of weight and looked almost palliative. I spent 6 months swimming in cortisol in a work environment overwrought with managerial histrionics and leaving was the best thing I’d ever done for my emotional and physical health. I then decided to practice locum pharmacy in an attempt to escape workplace politics and focus on patient care. My female regional manager then attempted to coerce me into accepting a pay cut to work for another “rough around the edges” female manager (her words, not mine).  When I respectfully declined, she told me that there were no locum hours for all of March. Luckily, I have a financial safety net that allows me to decline work that compromises my well-being and thus, not working for a month >>> being miserable to earn money. 
 
Despite this, I am confident that my anecdotal experience does not apply to all female managers. Perhaps my personal experience was just an example of a management structure in need of improvement.  Certainly, both genders are capable of being good managers who encourage and inspire, keep an open dialogue and recognize error as systemic shortcomings and learning opportunities. I suppose I’ll know it when I see it ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
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Feeling So Loved

Having Valentine’s Day and Family Day in the same long weekend is pretty amazing. This past weekend really drove home why I want to stop trading my time for money.

Sadly, I’m sick now and Canada is super cold and my family is spending the next 2 months in the Middle East without me. I guess I can use this time to work / save as much as possible.

Investing vs. debt repayment

I’ve always struggled with the notion of good vs. bad debt. In theory, good debt is used to acquire appreciating assets or generate income. For example, student loans can be a wise investment if they help you acquire a marketable degree and increase your lifelong earning potential; that doesn’t mean it’s okay borrow exorbitant amounts to fund just any degree or to carry student loan debt into your 50s. Mortgages may be smart if you buy into a rising housing market and minimize borrowing costs by paying them off quickly. They don’t seem as smart if housing prices slip or interest rates rise or a job loss strains your monthly budget. So it seems that without proper planning, good debt can go bad very quickly…

I was pondering the above as I plan my financial outline for the year. I currently have 3 rental properties with outstanding mortgages on 2 of them. These mortgages seem to epitomize “good debt”. The interest rates are 1.69% and 1.89%, at or below the rate of inflation. Whatever interest I do pay is tax deductible. The LTV ratios are 0.48 and 0.31 respectively and the rents generated handily cover expenses. Despite this, I have an undeniable urge to pay down these mortgages in lieu of investing in stocks.

Perhaps my focus on debt repayment is an unwillingness to throw more money into a choppy stock market. Or my desire for early retirement is pushing me to view rental income as more dependable than potential stock gains. Given that Canada as a whole lost 5,700 jobs last month, I’m seeking the security of a lesser debt load. So perhaps this is the wrong decision, but I’ll be focusing on debt repayment for the next few months. Hopefully stocks will have bottomed out by the time I shift focus.

Frugality

I can hardly remember a time when TLC programming provided educational value. For instance, Extreme Cheapskates and Extreme Couponers are two shows purportedly about frugality, but both seem to encourage mindless consumption. I can’t imagine why anyone would spend hours clipping coupons to amass 500 bottles of mayonnaise, or subjecting their loved ones to turmoil and/or embarrassment to save a few dollars.

I am, what I like to call, accidentally frugal. As an introvert, I highly value the alone time I spend reading, writing or napping. I enjoy spending quality time with family, my fiancé, or a few close friends. I pack my lunch daily, as it allows me to control my caloric intake and keeps me away from unhealthy fast food places. I rarely drink, despise crowds and abhor malls. I don’t even have to worry about the latte factor, as I start each day with a Bulletproof coffee. I also prefer to do my own makeup / hair / nails if at all possible. On the rare occasion that I’ve gone to a salon, I’ve either had a rushed manicurist cut me or a forgetful hairstylist leave bleach on my hair much longer than necessary. Anytime I’ve had makeup applied professionally I’d felt I’d been shot in the face with a makeup gun.

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Homer and his make-up gun

Mind you, I do have a couple of vices. Travel and eating out would top the list. In fact, I’ve likely spent in excess of 6 figures on these since graduating university. My main goal now is to control my expenditure on restaurants and unnecessary travel so I can save more whilst working less. Time is the most precious asset any of us have. It hardly seems worth it to keep trading it for something as frivolous as money.