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A few links and thoughts

July 11, 2015

This gif that illustrates housing prices by county shows how property values are concentrated in the USA.  It would be interesting see how this looks if divided by the population density….

I pay my credit cards monthly on payday out of convenience.  I like to get the money out of my account since it is spoken for. I don’t worry about taking advantage of the float.  I don’t reconcile charges monthly, but do eventually look through them and found a double charge from Amazon recently.  This is the first time I’ve ever noted an error!  (I was refunded.)  I used to look at spending monthly, but I haven’t had the interest to look at that level of detail lately.

I posted my own DIY success last week, but I definitely agree that DIY can be overrated. We’ve had a lot of success with small projects, but I have to admit that my husband is a lot more adept than I am (so far?).  We’ve also hired several big projects.  It is possible to do your own drainage work, and probably not even that technically complex – but it is a LOT of labor, especially if you don’t have the right tools.  I mean, step one is to dig a giant ditch.  No thanks.  However, I don’t believe in the “don’t do it unless you know what you’re doing” philosophy, because most of us don’t know how to do much before we take the time to learn.  Research the project, estimate how much cash it will cost you to try it yourself, and make a judgement call on whether you are likely to get the results you want.  You can learn a lot from the internet these days (or from friends/family).

Ask A Manager is always interesting, but I found the comments on this post about who “covers” while someone is on vacation when you don’t have direct reports really interesting.  A lot of people are expected to clear their plate as much as possible, then check in on anything critical themselves.  The norm for my LA job was typically that I would clear my plate, and most things could wait.  My out-of-office would direct people to my manager if they needed immediate help.  (I had some roles where there was no remote access, so this helped.)  It is similar at my job, but I’ve yet to see anyone use out-of-office responses.  The norm is to make sure concerned parties know you’ll be out, and things can generally wait until you are back. People on the project will already know who to ask if they don’t get a quick response, and we don’t generally deal with external people that have urgent needs.

Related bad manager rant:  My last manager went on a 2+ week vacation to Europe and clearly didn’t trust me to handle the things he delegated to me.  He had me set up 2 or 3 times weekly meetings early-morning my time, evenings his time.  Before the first one, I sent a detailed summary of the past few days and we walked through that.  I did the same thing before the second call, but he never showed up. Nor did he cancel.  Nor did I hear from him until he returned!  I totally get checking out while on vacation – but be realistic and don’t make me schedule meetings that you aren’t committed to making.  I kept sending summaries, but by the time he got back they were mostly old news as I had to move forward either way.

Who covers your work when you are out?  What is your favorite bad manager rant?  Do you have any DIY success stories?

5 Comments leave one →
  1. July 11, 2015 11:02 pm

    I haven’t been tracking closely this year either, and it makes me feel like I have less control over what’s going on.

    I’ve been lucky to have really great managers. 1st job was well resourced enough to cover for people and the nature of the job (daily news) meant that picking up projects wasn’t really a thing. Last job, not well resourced at all and had to bring in external people the 2 times I went on leave. They were great about leaving me alone while I was away though. I haven’t really taken any leave at this job, but there’s enough resource and respect for balance that it works from what I’ve seen (and certainly on sick days).

  2. July 11, 2015 11:17 pm

    One of the reasons I’ve tracked at various points in my life was that when most things are chaotic, it gives me a sense of having something that is in my control to know what’s going on in my finances. I care a lot less right now because life is pretty good, but I still track because I like having the past data so much and I’m pretty detail oriented. But I don’t feel the need to have control over my finances like I used to.

    I reconcile monthly. I have all of my credit cards on autopay and my bills too. Even if I stopped tracking, everything would probably go on fine without me.

    • July 12, 2015 12:08 pm

      I do like tracking for the control aspect, and generally, it is an activity I enjoy. It just hasn’t been a priority lately. I still have the data, I just don’t spend time looking at it and thinking about it. I also don’t really enjoy the details, but you need someone to look at the details in order to get a really good look the big picture, and, well, no one else will do it for me! I can kind of follow the big picture without the detailed tracking, but it is nice to look through it more closely. It has just turned out to be a few times a year rather than monthly.

  3. July 12, 2015 12:16 pm

    Bad managers in my book, micromanage you (like yours did) and don’t leave you alone. I usually try and give them MORE work in return to ask them to follow up on things any time they ask me for something so they stop asking.

    • July 12, 2015 12:18 pm

      And not even a GOOD job at micromanaging… so miserable.

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