Sunday, 3 June 2012

Stage 1 Burn Complete

30 seconds to liftoff
We made it. We arrived in Nova Scotia 1 week ago. I had planned on writing several entries since my last posting but they would likely have been more end of career musings and hopefulness about a better life. I am happy to say we don't have to slosh our way through those few weeks of uncertainty and ramblings. We have in fact arrived at our new home and are settling in nicely.

So much to figure out and so much to do, but we are taking our time and trying to enjoy the early part of this journey with the kids just as much as we hope to enjoy the weeks to come.  

Beach run 1 week in
Landed a contract job with my employer. About $400 a week. 3 months and then we see where we stand. I don't anticipate the contract lasting beyond Christmas. I even got a cake on my last day of work (which did not feel different than the 2nd or 3rd last day).

Next up is getting my parents out here in 2 weeks time. I drive back to Ontario to oversee their move and get them on a plane out here where they will rent a house close by until they eventually move into one that will be built on our land. Exciting stuff that will likely unfold much slower than originally planned. At least they will be out here.

It's a different world out here in the middle of nowhere. No planes flying sirens in the background (and this was suburbia we are talking about).You can see the stars at night. You can hear your thoughts clearly and you can breathe. I remember my youngest saying to me months ago that she wanted to move to a place that had fields she could run in. She finally has it.


Monday, 9 April 2012

3 weeks left.

This is the last of a trilogy of posts related to my current career. 3 in a row...I know. It seems excessive. 

It's hard for me to concentrate on other subject matter when this part of my life will be over in 3 short weeks.  It's difficult to move on to what will be when I'm still trying to move out of what has been. This transition period is drudgery. Perhaps in hindsight I should have given less notice to my boss however as a result of the long notice I did give, I may have some sort of aftermath position with the company as things move beyond the end of the month.

My last day of work is April 27th. I've been with the company since I was 20 years old. A long time. And now that I can see the end of the journey from my place of employment, an unknown is slowly creeping up on me. It possesses sharp fangs with ragged claws and it's hovering in the corner waiting for me. It asks me in a raspy voice 'what will I do beyond this?' and  'where will I work?' and 'what will I do?'.  All good questions that I am sure will be answered in time.

Truth is, I'm not really thinking about any of those answers just yet. I'm not afraid of the creature that lies in that darkness hoping for an opportunity to bare down on me with its weight. I'm still trying to get through these next 3 weeks. I'm in a transcendent state of mind these days as I gaze upon my unknown future. I wonder if that feeling will change as a new routine sets in at our new place in Nova Scotia.  I'm sure it will. For now, I just keep having too many good thoughts to let the seediness of a job/beast creep into my head. 

I think about how happy my children will be exploring 25 acres of land. Not how they may have difficulty adjusting well to a new school. I think about how much they will be playing together with each other and my wife and I at the beach, in the backyard. Not how they may have trouble making new friends in a rural setting.

I think about my wife who has pined for a more simple life since the day she was blessed with our first child. Not how she may miss her mother, sister and close friends. I think about how she will likely be employed with the school board out there which is such a perfect fit for how she wants to spend the next stage of her career. Not how she may not find that job (or any) and allow anxiety to bring her spirits down.

I think about my parents who will be joining us out there a month after we have settled in and how good this will be for both of them, especially for my father. Not how this upheaval will be too much for either of them to bear at their age and never get properly settled in a new environment.

Too many good thoughts continue to bombard my psyche to let any of that negativity, those voices of pessimism enter the fray. But right now, those noble thoughts center around the end of my career. Even though these last few days drag out and drag on, I walk in to work with a smile on my face each morning. Something I've never done prior to handing in my resignation.

I know that familiar factory smell will be a fleeting memory to my senses soon enough. I know that my climate controlled office which is always too damn hot or too damn cold will soon be a forgotten entity.  I know that swiping my timecard (which makes no fucking sense anyway since I'm on salary for fuck's sake...) will cease to exist beyond the end of this month.
Hence the smile I wear :)

So a chapter, the last chapter in the book that is my career is now coming to an end. This is a possible postscript to this novel featuring a portion of my job that appears to be somewhat exclusive to my skill set and difficult to reproduce with a replacement (at least in the interim).  More on that if anything actually becomes of it. For now, 3 more weeks down and I am a free man. And as a great man once said..."you're young, you've got your health. What do you want with a job?".


Monday, 19 March 2012

Resignation. 15 Years Served.

It was my scheduled monthly meeting with my boss/president of the company last week when I opened the meeting by nervously spitting out the words ‘I need to give you my resignation’.

It was the most nerve racking thing I have ever done in my life (well, maybe the vasectomy procedure takes top billing in that category) and for some reason I dreaded the impending conversation with her surrounding this decision.

The event went well. She was at first understandably shocked that I was voluntarily leaving the company after a 15 year tenure. She expressed gratitude for the 7 weeks notice I had given and wished me luck in my future endeavors...whatever they may be. I had no real concept of how she would react. In my experience, I have seen her fly off the handle on more than one occasion when unexpected events occur. Plus we had a history where we did not always get along with each other. I didn’t know if after dropping the resignation letter in front of her whether she would turn around and have me escorted out of the building right then and there or allow me to finish out my term training my eventual replacement*. It appears to be the latter.

After a few minutes into the meeting I felt a great sense of relief that this part of the process was now over with. I of course had known this day was coming for months now but haven’t been able to discuss it with anyone at work (other than a close buddy). It was a relief to have the information out in the open. But as I sit here almost 2 weeks later, it does not feel like much has changed. Maybe due to the lengthy notice, I still feel stuck here whittling away my work days. I know this is all going to change soon. In just 2 short months, it is likely I will be living in a new province. It’s just still such a new concept for me that I have not yet come to terms with the massive changes my life is going to be undergoing.

And so ends the only career, the only real work I have ever known. Sounds like a huge turning point in my life and maybe down the road I will be able to reflect on it and agree that it indeed was a life changing decision. Right now, I’m still counting down the minutes until I can leave the office for the day. Perhaps actually not having to wake up at 5 :30am in the morning to head off to this job will be more satisfying and arrive with a sense of finality.

*Side note: As a precaution, I had already removed all of my personal belongings from my office days in advance, made copies of all the e-mail contact data and files I felt I may need assuming I would be locked out of the system once the meeting was over. I think I may have been slightly paranoid about the whole thing but one never knows.)

Thursday, 1 March 2012


The countdown to the end of my employment has started. Although I feel I have long ago removed myself from most of the stress associated with my position, that feeling of release has now become tangible. With under 10 weeks to go before we close on the house (and there is no indication to say that the date will change as of this writing), I am experiencing a real sense of finality with the company that has employed me for over 15 years.

This is the only company I have ever worked for since graduating to the real world of employment. I slowly rose through the ranks as a shop floor machine operator with nothing more then a certificate from a community college under my belt, to a senior manager with a private office and staff of 4 direct reports. My income is higher now then at any point in my life. The company has been good to me. Provided me with opportunity to grow and in turn I have been up to the task. I have held this position as a senior manager longer than any other current employee. It’s clear the company is satisfied with my efforts and my productivity.

On the other hand, I have not been satisfied with the company for years. I have harbored distaste for the corporate world since the turning point I experienced. I don’t blame anyone but myself however it became clear after that event that a way out, a fresh start was high on my list of things to get accomplished.  And now that checkbox can be ticked off as the reality of me handing in my resignation in two weeks begins to materialize.

It’s not a wave of reality that's hitting me but rather a gradual light snowfall over my cognizant being forcing me to come to terms with not only being unemployed voluntarily but also entering an unknown world of routine that doesn't revolve around e-mail and a desk. I've always been very passive when it comes to change. I accept it but usually let it wash over me rather than embrace it head on.
I will have no boss to report to. No need to wake up at the same time every morning to make sure I am at work on time to swipe my employee timecard. No voicemail to check, reports to deliver, analytics to…analyze. A very different and unknown world awaits.

I will miss the guys I work with. Not much, but I will miss them. Our usual banter, our lunch dates compromised of venting about our bosses, too many meetings and being micromanaged. I will miss the paycheque. The benefits. The view from my office.

I will not miss this corporate life. This management position. It’s been so long now since I have been happy with my position and my work that it’s difficult for me to relate back to a time when I welcomed the promotion and everything that came with it. I don’t feel burned out. I just feel that this path was never one I was intended to follow. Now that this new adventure awaits me, I find myself itching for it to begin. Get on with it already. I will not miss this corporate least, that's what I am telling myself.

Somewhat on topic, I found this discussion to be very interesting.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Bought the farm.

So this is what we bought.

The house was built around 1935. Fortunately the electrical and plumbing have since been updated.

It sits on 25 acres of land, half of it cleared and the remaining half is wooded. Oh and there's this:
It runs through the property! We actually own some of the land on the other side. I still need to get the place properly surveyed. I simply can't wait to get out there.

We're 15 minutes from the town of New Glasgow. The surrounding area boasts a population of 30,000 people. As a contrast, I currently live in a suburb of an area that has a population of over 3 million so this should be quite a change.

The beach is about a 25 minute drive.  Am I right in believing I've found a small piece of heaven?
Melmerby Beach, NS - August 2011
I believe I am.

Oh, and check out Cabin porn if you are not yet aware of this photo blog. Good stuff. Really allows you to get your Thoreau on ;) I spent 2 solid hours at work browsing it and I still didn't manage to get through the whole thing. 


Thursday, 12 January 2012


I am so excited to be sharing all of this with all of you (even if there are only a handful of you readers out there), I almost don't know where to begin. The journey I am undertaking is in it's infancy but if I dive right in to current events, you may get lost before you even have a chance read the map and understand where I’m headed. It’s best to start with a background check on my situation and give you an idea where all of this is coming from.

Although I was never interested in astrology I believe that ‘the stars were all aligned’ when describing my decision to shift gears and venture into the unknown.  This alignment happened roughly a year ago in early 2011 and went something like this:

Star Number One: I was fed up with my job to the point of exhaustion. I had just gotten over the most difficult time I’ve had at the company and was pining for something else. A complete change in careers. I was tired of sitting behind a desk all day. Tired of the company I have been working at for 15 years. Tired of all the daily nonsense and bullshit that went along with the job. Tired of the people I worked with and of myself in my current role as a senior manager. I was uninterested and unmotivated to continue down this path for much longer.

Star Number Two: A mutual pining for a simpler way of life in a rural setting appealed heavily to my wife and myself. We wanted to move. We wanted to experience a more hands on approach to life. Escape consumerism as much as possible and to be mortgage free. Homesteading was a popular topic during evening discussions.  We were not sure just what that entailed but we knew we were of the mindset to move from our suburban home and into something further away from all the bright lights.

Star Number Three: Our daughters are the right age. A move at this point would not disrupt their ability to adjust to a new situation (kids are so resilient). Leaving old friends, making new ones, a new school, etc. A new way of life would likely be more exciting for them at this age then it would be for me and my wife. They love the outdoors. They love nature. A rural setting would likely enthrall them more then any itouch my older daughter keeps yearning for.

Star Number 4: Our financial situation was healthy. We were just over 10 years away from paying off the mortgage on the house.  No other debt. A healthy savings/emergency fund of 20K had been amassed. Since moving into our current house 6 years ago, we figured the equity had increased by 125k.  A move to a less expensive more rural house at this stage would allow us to live without a mortgage.

Star Number 5: My father is retired and my mother would likely be retiring by the end of the year. They were booth keen on coming with us to where ever it is we were going to move. They adore their grandchildren and wanted to be more involved with them if possible. They were on board to take the journey with us. This was a key point because my wife and I are very close to my parents and would not undertake a move of any distance if it meant they were being left behind.

Planet Mars: The whole idea just felt right. It felt like the right thing to do at this stage of my life. To experience more. To take a few calculated risks and try to achieve a more deliberate life then where my current road was leading me.

Alignment complete. And here we are one year later moving forward with a house already purchased for cash outside of a small town in Nova Scotia on 25 acres of land, my current house already sold and a plan to exit from my current job in 4 months time (note: plan needs work). My parents are taking the plunge with us. More on all of this in subsequent blog posts. I’d like to give you as much history on what led up to this journey as I can. I think it will help in understanding the motivation behind where I want to be by the end of this year.

I’m still grappling with the sheer magnitude of the change in front of me but it’s slowly sinking in. I really can’t wait for it all to unfold.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Getting Started.

I figure what better time to start blogging about my adventures (both past and present) then the start of a new year. And 2012 will likely be the most life changing year yet. A move to another province. A new environment, friends, new obstacles, eventually employment. What amounts to an entirely new life will unfold in the next few months.

I'm getting ahead of myself here.  Let me start with a brief introduction. I am your writer, JS. I am in my mid thirties, married to an incredible woman, have 2 wonderful daughters, an energetic Australian Sheppard and an aging cat. I currently hold a steady job as a senior manager at a manufacturing facility where I have been employed for 15 years. Yes, 15 years. I live in a suburb of Toronto in Ontario, Canada and am debt free. There, that should suffice for now.

But there's more to this blog then the usual ramblings of a middle class citizen trying to survive and eek out a living in time to retire and be too old to enjoy the fruits of my labour. There are many blogs doing a good job of this already that I visit frequently and would highly recommend. 
Don’t get me wrong, there will be plenty of that to find here but that's not what the core of this blog is about. Mixed in with rants, venting , financial woes, frugality advice, recipes and the occasional 'visit this website because it's cool ' tangent, this blog will serve as a journal of my adventures into the great unknown that is 2012. You see, I am about to become jobless, move to a different province and experience a vastly different way of life. 
All of this is self-induced and fueled by a desire to experience more, raise my daughters more meaningfully, escape consumerism and try to live a more simple, purposeful life.

I realize this is a lot to take on. I really do. But with my wife supporting my decision I know it can be accomplished. Perhaps with a few failures and realizations along the way.

I hope you enjoy reading these entries. Comments, questions, general rants and raves are always welcomed at