Saturday, January 31, 2009

The dilemma of being an Ox

A couple of years back, I was tapped to fix a management mess that was fast incubating into a legal battle between the company and staff. The situation was not at all fun, but it was a challenge that I believed the company as a whole could hurdle.

My engagement involved recommending and implementing whatever was necessary to get the business back on track. My point person was the vice president and I was literally told: "Do your thing." I agreed and gave word, saying, "I will only put into action whatever is fair to all concerned."

Two days after being officially appointed as consultant, the president met up with me and talked me into what he thought was the best way out. To my surprise, he tried to influence me to execute the very policy that triggered all the chaos. Furthermore, I was reminded as to who actually hired me. I thought, what a convenient way to hire someone supposedly independent to carry out a psuedo recommendation, and an expensive way at that. Anyway, as a show of respect to the "boss," I listened, only listened though.

The next day, I gave my letter of resignation. I reasoned that my existence was being redundant, after having learned that a solution was already in place. Now, I reckon that I should have stopped there, but I went further to the effect of saying, "I could only do it if I were a man of lesser principles."

The company ended up not terminating our agreement and the board telling the president to back off. The decision proved to be sound as I was able to work my magic.

On hindsight, I should have acted in a more subtle manner. I guess that is the dilemma of being an Ox: not willing to compromise.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Overhaul my ride

I finally sent our 30 year old car for major mechanical work. It has been overdue for decades! I hope it does better than the usual 5-6 kilometers per liter once given the walking papers.

Seriously, I am quite impressed with the German technology behind such classic masterpiece. Designed to luxuriously cruise the Autobahn, the ride is as robust as you could imagine.

Well, my mom was not really raving about it when I drove her around. I know there are still restoration works that have to be done, but I had to refocus my efforts and funds elsewhere, leaving the project unfinished. Presently, I am just content with keeping the car in shape.

As for retirement, maybe soon. My wife and I are thinking of a younger replacement, not necessarily another tri-star.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The office

Today, I was expecting to receive our copy of the lease contract for an office space that we rented out. After all the formalities last Friday, I was told, "today it is." I guess I expected too much; I expected promptness.

Anyway, there is not really any issue since papers have already been signed, but what irritates me is the convenience of not honoring a commitment.

As a person, I am very easy to deal with. Take the aforesaid case in particular, I did a 30-minute ocular on Thursday then went back to write a check the next day.

When I commit, I deliver; hence, I require the same from others. Indeed the world is not perfect, but it is not enough excuse to justify laxity. At any rate, I am still pleased with the deal. The delay in sending out the contract is not worth calling off everything.

I thought maybe I am just too quick for some people, but I had to be even more for this one. The location was perfect (heart of the business district), rate was reasonably cheap (a space just across the street was actually cheaper), came with all the bells and whistles (infrastructure and all), and atmosphere was cozy (a value add that won me over).

Friday, January 16, 2009

Differently able

When I got married, I told my wife of my goal of making monthly investments until we retire. She could not comprehend why we needed to literally stuff our calendar with some form of forced savings, then I shared with her the idea of "sacrificing now in order to have more tomorrow." Well, it has been almost nine years since, I would like to believe that I have been successful in persuading her.

I did not have much growing up, but I did not find the need to compensate when I became able. Frugality has been a friendly virtue from the day I started working. I learned to be content and happy with what was on the table. Until now, I try to live within my means. My only extravagance are the seeds that I used as capital in some so-so ventures that I have engaged myself in. Still, the mission remains the same: planning for retirement.

I am happy to be living a simple life with my family; they make me whole. Things that we can afford, we choose not to afford. My wife knows that her occasional slip in thought will never materialize, unless she swipes her plastic and pays for it herself. Likewise, my lapses here and there have remained just ideas. Anyway, we have been good so far, no void that needs artificial filling.

Going back, I think our investment horizon is clear.

Monday, January 5, 2009

The year that will be

I am looking forward to a very busy year ahead. In addition to what has already been keeping me preoccupied, quite a couple of revenue generating opportunities are in the pipeline. Hopefully, they all prove to be profitably worthwhile. No overdrafts for a change.

The first order of the day is to reorganize a five year old company. Changes in ownership and management are being formalized in preparation for a project early this year. After more than a year of negotiations, our efforts have finally paid off. Persistence-fatigue almost caught up on us. Good thing we persevered.

Also, we are looking at organizing something offshore. For this particular venture, credibility and shelter from taxes are top priorities, thus the need to go offshore. The only area of deliberation is whether to use an existing company as the legal vehicle to hold the interests abroad. With diligent marketing, the business has a lot of potential.

In another related development, reviving a recently dormant undertaking could be another item as there is a client-in-waiting. As a matter of fact, we have turned down prospects. Success here hinges on the progress of the world economy, which as of yet is in the pits. We do not want to just throw the dice. We will patiently wait.

Wedding bells are ringing. Ouch! I have gone through this before and to do it all over again is monotonous! Kidding aside, my marriage needs some serious blessing. If ever, a very simple exchange of vows would do, maybe no more guests. We are doing it for us anyway, not for anyone else. No concrete plans yet, but it will happen. My old dress shirt is still good.

To those who are not in the know, the abovementioned opportunities may sound great. Okay, okay, apart from the wedding bells. With any luck, 2009 does more than just sound great. I would be happy if only to pay off some bills. I will keep you posted.