Discipline is everything

It really is, I have quite a bit of self discipline. Reaching goals has always been fun for me. But I somehow lost the fun in setting goals, maybe there was a point I reached and everything just seemed more of the same or I just lost interest in the race, I am not really sure.

Now my recovery is going slowly and steadily upwards I am slightly letting go of rigorous planning the last few weeks. Which has been a mistake. Had a few bad days of all out fatigue and feeling very weak.

The reason is I need too plan everything to keep my energy level up, and letting this go was the root cause of me not feeling well.

It was a slow process over the last few weeks that I started not taking it all so serious. Just planning activities and not really sticking too them and just doing what I wanted for a few days. It starts slowly, one afternoon, one day, two days. And then the lights went out.

Not a very nice experience, so maintaining and keeping with the program is all about discipline. It’s what not to do in order to reach the goals. And being very strict about.
Discipline is everything, and practise makes perfect. Even with discipline.

Bureaucracy part three, final episode ? Climbing towers.

After two weeks of talks with different specialized and not so specialized firms for my road too work the unanimous decision of all the company’s is, bunny and drums……. it’s too risky.
Lot’s of risk of getting a serious relapse without the proper time and guidance towards work. Even the most enthusiastic one got back to me today and told me they also think the risk is more then they are willing to take. Granted they had a lot less experience with people who suffered brain damage and after asking around they got the full scope and decided it wasn’t for them either. Fair play for calling me and owning up to that.

So now finding a way towards getting all the treatment and guidance I need is a new goal. Without any assistance from my caseworker at the government agency, which is fine by me. But I cant’s simply skip them, because they have to approve everything I do towards work , leaving me a bit clueless on what to do next.

Strange thing is, in hindsight , I should have done nothing , absolutely nothing at all. Just wait and see. But that’s not who I am and not how I am wired. I always want to keep moving forward. The new goals are shifting back to recovery and finding a way around all the rules and regulations. Hopefully there are ways around it. So next stop the health insurance and other knowledgeable people.

As always I will keep you guys updated.

Just a few pictures

On most of my walking around town I take my camera. Simply trying to shoot stuff I see. It helps me slow down and I also remember more when I slow down. All in all just a nice way to make a walk more pleasant. Some pictures from the last few months. All made black and white which I really like at the moment. Unfortunately my camera is dying a bit , so I am hoping it survives until I buy a new one.

December 2016 – Dividend

Last month of the year, and final round of dividend. Nothing special, just a nice month overall. So without further delay the numbers.

29-12-2016 Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF EUR 1,39
19-12-2016 Icahn Enterprises LP EUR 1,42
16-12-2016 RDSA dvd reinvestment plan EUR 44,13
15-12-2016 Coca-Cola EUR 5,04
09-12-2016 Emerson Electric EUR 4,54
08-12-2016 Microsoft Corp EUR 7,38
07-12-2016 Unilever Certificate EUR 3,20

Total EUR 67,10

For 2017 the new positions in the portfolio will also generate dividends and I will keep working on a more diversified portfolio.

Happy 2017 !

May all your dreams come true in 2017. Most importantly stay healthy and happy. 2017 will be a year with a lot of changes, all good. That’s the plan anyway.
The new goals for this year are in no particular order, get better at controlling my energy and planning. Finding a new career path in which I can do the things I like.

The first steps towards the proper guidance were rocky , but it’s a new year and I have some new people lined up for interviews and meetings to see if they can help me. Otherwise it will have to ask the revalidation for some more help. It’s been a learning experience so far. One I could do without to be honest, I can’t imagine how hard it is for people who are far worse then me and don’t have friends or family they can ask too help out. Maybe that’s something I would like to do in the future. Help people with brain damage find their way around the numerous rules and regulations.

First things first, if all goes well I will have a few new proposals by next week. I keep you posted.

May the force be with you. Enjoy 2017 people!

Bureaucracy part two, the sequel is always better

Well, some clarity again, turns out the key factors are money and risk. As always, well that’s a bit of a hobby of mine. So I will try and explain it in such a way it’s understandable.

The company recommended by the revalidation team in the hospital thinks it’s too big a risk too just do phase 2 , which is to look for a job straight away. They think the risk of failure is too high , chances are rather large I will end up in a job which in the long run won’t fit.

The case manager doesn’t have enough money and time too spent on both steps. It takes too long , by the time I am done with step one, I will be on to the next desk , which is a medical test too see if I’m eligible for work and how much. Which is exactly what I need to know before that all takes place , based on proof rather then a set of questions by a insurance doctor.

The proposal from the company was to do both within the time frame and doing the best possible, given a set of hours allowed by step 2. But my contract with the company will be split in two. One for step 1 and one for step 2.

Here comes the risk, doing a contract for just step 2 commits the company too getting me a job requiring me working 20 hours a week at a minimum. If not , no money for them. Because they failed.

But as they don’t know if I can work that amount of hours within the given time frame they want to do step 1. It’s about getting you ready to try and find work. Which in my case makes a lot more sense. Finding out what I am capable of and finding a matching job. It’s also a lot less riskier for the people in the company as they will be paid for their work.

Well that’s a risk too big for the government. Why ? Well because they can’t bill in hours, both steps are fixed price, step 1 being the most expensive and time consuming and step 2 the least expensive. And most likely they have to pay.

This means that if I do both steps in half the hours the fixed price will be a nice money maker for the company. Also because they make sure I can actually keep the job they put me in , this entails an extra bonus. Good for me, I need a higher chance of success.

The case worker’s opinion is the company is stretching their budget and by playing it safe they up their margins. while the proposal was too just bill the hours, and make due within the budget of step 2. Also cutting step 2 in an artificial step 1 and step 2 can’t be done, it’s not in the system. Computer says No and all that.

The contracts are stuck to the fixed price apparently, so if I sign a contract for step 1 , the purchasing department can only buy this block. Step 2 the same. Also the success rate can’t be measured with step 1.

And now things get complicated. Because of my health situation I was found unfit for work, which means I can’t earn the majority of 70% my old salary on my own.

It’s likely that in the coming year or two I improve more and more and maybe even can get back fully. But no guarantees. Being in the second year of my sick leave period the medical test is due shortly. So the amount of time for my case worker has buying stuff for me is limited. Once I get retested that’s it. No more steps can be bought at the next desk. Computer says No.

So I can see his point of view given the time frame and his limited options, I can also relate too the company being in this business for over 10 years it’s a big risk if they fail, not just the money also from a health perspective. If I go in the red it can take a lot of time too recover again.

All sorts of interests , none of which match with mine. The revalidation centre warned me about the misunderstood nature of my situation and this is a fine example. Where time , money and risk are stacked against me. So another fine lesson learned, knowing all the rules and regulations beforehand, even the fine print and implications for all parties involved.

Which leaves me wandering what would have happened if I did nothing, no initiative getting this process started from my part. Well as I know now , I would have had a medical evaluation and that would be it. Even being fully approved for work would have been in the cards. And in the meantime it would be at no extra costs for the state.

So now I am looking for another company which can help me with my specific situation. Hopefully this will be successful. And my advise for all of you remains the same, don’t get a brain injury.

Bureaucracy part one, just when you think..

Bureaucracy , the one thing I was trying to avoid like the plague just reared it’s head. While everything seemed to go smooth and straightforward, today I received news that the trajectory I wanted to do after my revalidation in the hospital was done, isn’t going to be approved after all.

So what’s the case, my salary while I am on sick leave is paid by the government, and I have a case worker, which I contacted to explain my plan for returning to a paid job.
So an appointment was made and I explained what my needs are for the future and my path towards a paid job.

The key is I don’t know what kind of work I can still manage , or how long , type of work and the overall workload. I thought I was pretty clear that I needed too figure this out first. This was also reflected in the report I got back, so thinking all was in order I got an appointment with the company that provides this guidance on my journey back to work. So I explained my situation and they explained the method they use. Which is figuring out what kind of work I can still do , with what workload etc. After this assessment there will be a matchmaking process between me and future employers for a job within the newly defined parameters. Basically a 2 step system. Exactly what I am looking for.

So I mailed my case worker the meeting went well and I liked to start working with them, so far so good. The letter of approval came and something was purchased by the agency. Then I got word from the company which I selected too work with the wrong trajectory was approved. The second part of the two part plan. So only the matchmaking part I had approval for. This is not good, so I asked them too work this issue out between them. Today I spoke to the company and they said they will still only approve the last bit. And because they know from experience doing only part two without part one is doomed for failure they can’t accept assignments which only consist of part two.

Because this is a different ‘product’ and they only want to do that , the other ‘product’ was given enough attention by my revalidation team in the hospital according to them. While I was given the tip for this option explicitly by my team, because they don’t have the expertise in this getting back to work stuff. So how on earth my case worker got the idea this has been done sufficiently by them is anyone’s guess.

The revalidation at the hospital only focus on getting your day to day in order. So in order for me not too come up short in following up on their good work and ending up on the wrong side of town they urged me too get on this as soon as possible and on my own initiative. Because there have been made lots of errors in the past by simply misjudging what one can do, by just ‘thinking’ instead of exactly knowing what someone can do and can’t do.

I immediately called my contact at the government, figuring out what went wrong. Somehow I was not clear enough on the reasons for needing these two steps in order to figure out what work I can and can’t do in the future. And off course now I have to wait for a callback. So just when you think you have all the bits in place too get started something comes up.

And time passes again, without me getting started, so much for the appreciation of initiative and willingness. I hope I can repair this as soon as possible and get on with it. For now I am simply frustrated and to be honest , quite mad as well. To be continued no doubt…

Why a crisis can be good for you, just don’t wait for one.

Why a crisis can be good for you, it’s a thought I had last week and it’s one that stuck. In my life I have had a few setbacks. At that time they seemed much more like a crisis to me.

Because I didn’t know or understand a real crisis. One where you can’t make a plan to get out of the situation fast and you have no real control or feeling of control over the majority of the circumstances. A health crisis is one that meets those criteria, and I can argue there is worse. And it make me think a lot about what I want to do with the rest of my life.

I always looked at time as an infinite factor, or didn’t think about it. I just rushed trough it, as I wrote before did as many things as possible without real and intense focus.
So what has this done for me other than a desire and need to focus. Well it made me think about my ‘career’, I have always worked in IT and did various tasks developing software which were fun and enjoyable without all the politics that go with it. It also never contributed to society as a whole.

Being confronted with my health and all the work that goes into recovery also made me appreciate people working in healthcare or other fields that contribute a bit more to society a lot more.
I never really thought about working in one of those fields, be it in healthcare, environmental work, research, education or some other more useful occupation. I have been talking about it a few years back with people about some of the ideas I had for a career switch involving a bit more social and a bit less career and money. Like a mid-life crisis of sorts feeling useless in general and wanting to be more active and beneficial for others. But hey, the next good job came along and the daily routine took over again. Just doing what you have always done feels comfortable. Change scares me, simple as that.

This time it really feels different, not just a general feeling but a real conviction I need to make this change. Not just because of the limitations I am currently experiencing, those can still improve, but a real gut feeling I need to add some value to the overall well being of society, even if I can only make a difference for a few people I would be happy.

I have always been fortunate enough with the way I grew up, the chances I got in life and the opportunities I had, which enabled me to get a good education, a nice job and a good overall understanding of how things work and how to go about setting your goals and make them happen. I utilized these skills for me, myself and I (An excellent De la Soul song as well, with a different message altogether).

I have experienced first hand the importance of good guidance and help in life , and especially when you go through a crisis in any form. Not just from the people around you but from experienced professionals as well. Without the help of those people I would have ended up pushing my limits and ultimately being exhausted and repeating my mistakes over and over without any insight how too manage this. It would be a road too nowhere. So in my journey towards a new job I will make it a priority that it helps people one way or the other.

I would like too encourage anyone to take a good look at themselves once in a while and figure out what really makes you happy and what it is you want to do with your time. If it’s not found in the things you are doing now start changing them now. Take small steps towards your new found goals and enjoy each step. Don’t wait until the next real crisis, as it can very easily be your last. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.

Portfolio news – November 2016 changes

In November I added to my position of Ahold, in the weeks leading up to my monthly buying spree 😉 this went down somewhat faster and has now become a buy in my humble opinion. The numbers are still adding up and for me this is buying with a discount. The main reason for the drop is the overall exposure to the dollar and eastern Europe, although I see a lot of upside there for the next few years. So I now own a larger piece of this nice stock at a discount.

For next month the buying list is not there yet but I am thinking about adding some more to the ETF part of the portfolio, this part has been neglected for a few months now as I enjoy reading and figuring out things myself. It’s a bit of a hobby as well and it helps me training my focus and gives me energy. But and this becomes more and more evident. It’s not the most profitable options. Because of it’s cost base and lack of sufficient spread of risk over markets and sectors. With ETF’s this is all worked out better. And it’s a bit easier.

So I will add some more to my portfolio , but it will kind of take the fun away. So I will keep doing the research as well and backing this up with buying the stocks. Simply because I enjoy it.

November 2016 – Dividend

This months dividends are small , but there’s still some. The year is almost over and over the next few weeks I will think about the goals for next year. They will be small and manageable and fun. I will keep you all updated on all things in life. But that’s for another post. This one is about dividends. So without further delay, November dividends:

14-11-2016 ONEOK Inc EUR 4,87
10-11-2016 Apple Inc EUR 4,66

Total 9,53

Not much but all little bits help. On to next month.