Tag Archives: job

Downshifting

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I ready this essay in E-book. The original Italian title is something like “and now stop it: how to leave your job and change life”. The author, Simone Perotti,¬†was a successfull manager, earned a lot of money, lived in Milan and was very well integrated into a work-world, but he was not happy.

He noticed that he could not do what he really wanted, for instance, he could not go to holidays in January, or he could not stay with his friends and relatives a sufficient amount of time. He worked 9-10 hours a day without time to relax when he felt he needed. At the end, he left his job, bought a boat and now he lives on the sea, earning his way through little jobs (painting friends’ boats, writing, acting as a guide for foreign people, and so on). He felt like a slave.

Exaggerated? Well, read the book and you will decide by yourself. I agree with him, and consider that I work just half day!

The book explains how this idea was born and how it haunted him. But above all explains how you can do it.

This can be easy, but you must prepare yourself to some important changes. First of all, if you choose a lifestyle similar to Perotti’s, you must be ready to stay alone for long period.

Second: you must be accustomed not to spend too much money. You will live on your savings and on little jobs, so you cannot think to go on with expensive gadgets or to go out for dinner three times a week. The author shows a list of things that you won’t be able to afford, but he reasons with a mind of a man living in Milan: this is not my mentality. I could live even with less!

I worried a little when I read that his idea of sufficient saving to start such a life is about 400.000 euro. Nothing difficult to get with a 4.000/5.000 euro salary. Then he adds, that if you earn just 1.600 Euro each month, things get a little harder, but not impossible. Of course, you cannot believe to start downshifting tomorrow: you will need about 10 years (and this depend upon other money sources, for instance if you have houses, apartments or if you inherit).

The important thing is to start now. To get the courage to accept to be out of some flows, to be in touch with your true self and desires, to accept, again, loneliness and, above all, incomprehension from a lot of people.

Another point that is seldom clear, is that you do not do downshifting because you want to rest for all your time. You must have something else to do. A passion that can become a job, but not necessarily: reading, writing, knitting, painting, surfing… This is the point that I liked the most: I am intrigued with people who manage to live on their passions.

We all chose our jobs for different reasons. In my case, I thought that a job in foreign sales would have allowed me to travel and meet different people and culture. Well, I soon discovered that yes, you can travel, but you have time only to visit airports and hotels rooms. That you actually meet foreign people, but they are enveloped in roles (client, suppliers) that do not enable them (or me) to be sincere. I never saw a true friendship among my colleagues and clients: each of them feels obliged to smile or to get serious depending upon the moment of the business process. No matter how much they kiss and hug and giggle.

On the other end, there is the fear. Perotti can say, and he is right, that nobody starves, that each of us has some capabilities, sometimes even big capabilities, to live on. But how many people do you know that has done downshifting?

Well… in the last years, more and more.

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The 4-hour Workweek – Timothy Ferriss

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No matter if you are an employer or an employee: you probably think that you have to work harder and harder, the more the better, for a life, and then, at the end, when you will be 60, 65 or 70, you will enjoy the rent.
This is not what Ferris wanted. He experienced this way of life but decided that it was not for him.

He now works 4 hours each week and earns around 40.000 $ each month (at the beginning of his career he earned 40.000 $ each year, by working 80 hours a week). Well, it is not 100% clear to me wich job he does now, I only understand that he can work through a computer everywhere he is.

His suggestions are valid both for the ones who do not want to quit their current job and for the ones who cannot stand for it anymore. My opinion is that this model is not applicable to Italian working system, it requires too much flexibility from the company owners: if you show that you can do the job in half the time, the owner won’t give you the other hours from free, but he will double your work;-)

Anyway I believe that every want-to-be leader should read this book, at least to learn the meeting rules that will avoid you to lose time!! Please do, time wasting is not only money wasting… at least for the parts where he underlines the need to fix the duration and to inform the colleagues about the topics.

Another suggestion that is often difficult to let the sales leaders understand, is that you have not to accept each customer all around the world. Please remember the Pareto rule: the 20% of the clients made the 80% of the turnover! Why are you wasting time and peaceful minds to follow up clients who do little and make you angry at the end of the day??

Well, Tim Ferriss also suggests to lower at the lowest level the… customer care. This can be partially done through the Pareto Rule but then…. well, Tim, customer care is my job. After having cut all time spending activities, how can I spare more time to focus on the 20% customers?
Answer: I cannot. I am just an employee.

And last but not least: Ferris you are Young and have no experience in children at all. Believe me, with children is not that simple.

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The 21 Success Secrets of Self-Made Millionaires – Brian Tracy

 

imageIn this book I found some things that I liked and some other ones that I did not like at all.

I liked that many suggestions do not refer to money alone.

Tracy tells you to find a job that you love, so that you do not need to work (actually, this was a Confucio’s suggestion), to write down your goals, to make big dreams that nobody is more intelligent than you, that it is not necessary to be rich to be happy, to read a lot, to stay with positive people, to avoid plaintive friends, to take care of own health

On the other hand, when he explains what to do to become richer, I am in dismay.
What? Shall I save 10% of my wage each month? Why does he need to tell you this? Does it mean that in the USA it is normal to live without saving anything, through debits and credit card and overdrawn accounts?
Frugality is the keyword for Tracy. Spare and invest, spare and invest.
OK, but why should I live sparing and investing? The goal is to become rich in the mature years, it seems. To enjoy the life when you are old and retired.

Above all I did not like the chapter about the maximum commitment. I mean: I commit to my job, I like to go home after having done what I had to, but Tracy is going much further. He tells you to work harder and harder, much more than the 40 hours each week: self-made millionaires work around 59 hours each week, you should do the same!!!

And then: do not waste time. Do not chat with your colleagues and tell them that you cannot talk, if they try to involve you in some kind of time wasting. Work all the time, do not lift your head, stay on the paper and you will drawn attention on you… go to work one hour earlier, work during the break, stay on the workplace one hour later…

what??

Yes, says Tracy, this is how you can build your best reputation on work.
Well, best reputation with the boss, maybe, but what about relationship with colleagues? This guy is worse than me.

I still have the bad sensation that, when he says that you must take care of other people, he always says this because you myst then get something back.

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