Tag Archives: plans

How I Need the Internet to Go “Off the Grid”

In keeping with tradition, last month I booked some time off for some rest and relaxation from the office and to take in the festivities of the Eurovision Song Contest, from the comfort of my couch here in Canada. For what seems like ten years now, Eurovision has been the focal point of my version of “spring break”.

The first few days of my time off consisted of jotting down some blog ideas floating around in my grey matter and puttering around the house, getting chores done. With those out of the way, when Eurovision came on, I could truly let myself get swallowed up by my sofa, pillow, blanket and cat, and to completely disconnect from the world.

That is… until I woke up Tuesday morning to find I was already disconnected from the world.

No Internet service!

After a series of attempts over two days to restore my Internet service over the phone, with the assistance of cheerful client service representatives, it finally took a site visit from a technician on Thursday to get everything fixed up.

Once I was on the couch, with pillow, blanket and cat, watching the Eurovision semi-final #2, my cares completely melted away with each passing costume change, wind machine, and key change.
The next day, I watched semi-final #1, and on the Saturday, I watched the finals live with the other 204 million viewers around the world. Everything seemed right with the universe again.
But those few days I was without Internet, I surprised myself at my dependence on it. How do people actually go off-the-grid anymore? Continue reading


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Would I Come Back As a Contractor?

Revolving DoorAs the countdown to retirement marches on, surprisingly, the question of whether I would consider coming back as a contract employee comes up at least once per month. The question always makes me smile.

Given that retirement for me is still a few years away, I find the best answer to the contracting question is something along the lines of “Thanks for the vote of confidence! We’ll see when the time comes.”

First and foremost, I take it as an amazing compliment. I know I worked very hard to build a solid career based on quality work, strong ethics, working well with colleagues and maintaining a positive attitude. To me, the contractor question is one that fills me with validation and gratitude.

Over the years I have seen many of my colleagues retire and then come back a few years later for short contracts, sharing their vast corporate knowledge and expertise. It is always a pleasant surprise to see their smiling faces and renewed energy at meetings. Parenthetically, I wish they would stop looking so darn refreshed after a few years away from the office. It makes me very envious!

However, I think it is very natural to dream and fantasize about a time when I can truly reap the rewards of a retirement that I worked a lifetime to build. I look forward to the sense of complete freedom where going to bed promptly, getting up with the alarm, dealing with traffic, and commuting in heavy snow or freezing rain become optional. I look forward to having choices I can make, purely in the moment.

To me, my first priority when I decide it is time to retire is to do just that: enjoy the fruits of my labour: Continue reading

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Top 10 Things I Wanted To Be When I Grew Up


I would like to think that my parents did a good job in raising me, providing all the positive reinforcement a young boy needs, including the popular statement from page 826, paragraph 7f, of the parenting handbook, “Honey, when you grow up, you can be anything you want to be”.

How’s that for a torturous open-ended statement for Libra child, facing a lifetime of weighing the pros and the cons of career planning? No pressure there!

Fortunately, life deals us a variety of hands that help shape that wide, open-ended statement into something that gradually narrows into what might seem like a career path. Factors like interest, talent, perseverance and perhaps even things like eye-hand coordination (or lack thereof) gradually eliminate a few options, bit by bit, without really trying too hard.

It is clear that hockey player, pro golfer and baseball player were never on the table for me. When it came to natural affinity, I don’t think I was cut out to be a scientist since Physics was one of my worst subjects.

However, I did inherit (if one can actually inherit these) a head for numbers from my Dad and an affinity for creativity and language from my Mom so I was indeed lucky with the doors that were open to me.

Here they are: The Top 10 Things I Wanted to Be When I Grew Up

10 – An elevator operator
Yes, I am of a vintage that remembers a time when people were hired to drive elevators. The elevators of yesteryear were not fully automated like today, as the doors needed a human to open and close them. I remember visits to a big downtown department store when I was very young and thought driving an elevator all day would be the coolest thing and that the people operating them had the coolest job EVER! I admit that I was also impressed by the very smart elevator operator uniforms. Unfortunately the fully automated elevator came in shortly thereafter and dashed those dreams… darn technology!

9 – A dentist
This one lasted for a LONG time and I believe it was inspired from Hermey, the elf in the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Christmas Special on television. I remember my Grade 7 composition on “What I Want To Be When I Grow Up” was indeed on the theme of dentistry. To prepare for that composition I spent a few afternoons at the library reading everything available on the topic. The research was hard core (well, about as hard core and scientific as a 12 year old’s research can get) and I knocked that composition out of the park. However, I spent so much time in the orthodontist’s chair in my teens getting my bottom teeth straightened, I lost interest.

8 – A corporate trainer
As an adult, I am very fortunate in not being prone to much “stage fright” when it comes to public speaking. That being the case, when I Continue reading


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