Making sense - life lessons

I want to die. 

This is a reality for many people. And some days for me as well. I have issues moving on from hurt and loss – and if it involves money, family or work – it’s even worse. I don’t do a lot of personal posts, but I feel that it might be needed by times to discuss money, life and relationships – some of my life lessons. 

No one talks about this and many people suffer in silence. 

I want to share a few pages from my journey – what I am struggling with, how I am trying to make sense in my head from it and trying to move on.

My employee rights were violated

What happened

About two months after I started blogging, I was called into a meeting to discuss my key performance indicators (KPIs) that I received a week before the meeting. After more than a year of working at my (then) employer, I was told that I wasn’t good enough (litterally). My boss even walked out halfway through the meeting with the words “the fact is we cannot trust you”! To try and digest this, I wrote these posts (here, here, here and here) about KPIs – to rationalise the fact that I didn’t reach my KPIs.

I was promised a job role, that would be more in line with my skills. After a year this was “no longer on the cards”. It had to be my fault and I tried fixing it. And trying I will. I worked overtime. My 2 week holiday was bombarded with calls and whatsapps – 15 times. This is highly illegal! 

My birthday received a call from them. 

On my date night. 

It’s really uncool being screamed at (verbally abused) for no justifiable reason. 

I was sidelined by being moved to support, rather than new dev work (most people don’t last 3 months in this role) – I was alone in a corner, and all the other developers were working together on projects and going out to lunches to celebrate their project that, after more than 2 years have not seen the light of day. 

After a year I had a mental breakdown. I couldn’t take it – but I believed it was my fault. I was called in after a week of sick leave and told: “we don’t want you to go to a doctor to book you off when we don’t want to give you leave”.

After another year (meds, therapy and loads of coffee) I knew this was not going to work. 

It is not me.

And I wrote this post about toxic working environments, as well as stress and money. I also wrote an article about the negativity here.

What did I learn

Some environments use KPIs as a stick, rather than a measurement. Goodhart’s law teaches us that people will do anything in their power to get good KPIs – even at the cost of the company. 

We need to understand that corporates are all about money. They will claim that “they do everything with heart” and “we’re a family” – nothing can be further from the truth. 

We should not expect anything from them. 

Furthermore, know that bosses and their bosses are under immense pressure to perform from the corporate structure . They need to sacrifice any person and any situation to achieve their KPIs and goals – or they will be fired.

I started my own company and quit in lockdown and also wrote an article about quitting here, about freelancing vs employment here and my experience of my first three months here

My sister died this week

What happened

As you might know, my sister lost her fight with breast cancer this week. Over the last two years, my tweets have changed quite a bit. I went from tweeting about investment property and personal finances to considering what is valuable – minimalism and the focus on what is adding value to your life. 

It is heartbreaking to see someone you love suffering. 

And you have no power over it. 

What did I learn?

Treasure the time you have. Make the most of your time.

Many people don’t have the time to say goodbye. Money is important. Just keep in mind that money cannot buy time with your family – when they’re gone, they’re gone forever. 

I have also learnt the importance of getting coping mechanisms. Many people find things like shopping, extra marital affairs, alcohol and gambling as their drug of choice. And it makes sense why. We do need healthier coping mechanisms though. 

Think gardening.
Maybe drones?
Think cooking.
Rather coffee?

Remember to have a file of life, incase something happens! Article here.

I lost and made money through investments

What happened

I know, this might not be as painful as the previous points – but it hurts losing money. These include:

  • A bitcoin mining scam – hand over your BTC, and they multiply it. This was in 2015
  •  Property – The first property I bought and sold due to mismanagement of the block – I lost about R 50 000. It was painful. This was sold in 2017.
  • I got my money back “investing” (read gambling) on a big stock. 

It is not all doom and gloom. I have also made money through investments: 

  • A distressed property crossed my path with excellent rental return: I got more than 1% after monthly expenses!
  • I bought some stocks in some excellent index funds – and got a good return on those, but it’s ongoing 😉 

What did I learn?

Knowing the difference between the following would’ve helped me so much even 5 years ago!

  • Investing – when you put money in a place for 5+ years with the aim of long term growth. This includes ETFs, rental property, or gold 
  • Saving – Saving is for short term goals < 5 years. Don’t save for no reason. Rather invest if you don’t have goals. 
  • Speculating/Gambling – When you’re taking a guess on something. You have no reasoning, except a feeling. Think bitcoin. How about pyramid scams? Think forex trading (without sufficient training, experience and infrastructure)
  • Trading – when you flip a property, trade stocks (with experience and skill!) or resell products – you’re using your experience to make a capital gain. It’s not for the long run, it’s for now.  

I also learnt from this post from Stealthy about how to identify a scam. 

And that you shouldn’t hand over your money that easily to people or companies. 

Do your own research. 

Don’t trust people.

Conclusion

When I reflect on the life of Frugal over the last few years, it’s been a hard one. It’s not easy when you’re the victim of corporate cogs. It is also not easy when your hard-earned cash disappears into the abyss.

I’ve grown so much.

The three lessons I take from this is:

  • If your employer is treating you badly, it might be the corporate machine that you’re not fitting in. And that’s okay. Find the place where you fit in. Don’t continue beign the victim. 
  • Remember that your time is limited. Love every moment you spend with your family and friends. Treasure it
  • Learn from your money endeavours. Learn about your investments. Grow. Evolve. Invest better as you grow. 

Have a wonderful day, and happy investing!


Frugal Local

Frugal Local runs his own company (Effectify). He does software development and helps small businesses and startups with digital solutions. He enjoys writing articles and simplifying complex things - such as the article you're reading!