Been a while…

2 weeks ago I upped and left my job. A few mortgages, rent, bills, a life and no income. It’s alright, I thought, it was only a temporary job anyways. One that I needed to fill the time with while I searched for another one that was more relevant to my experience and goals. It’s a funny and ironic path that’s led me to where I am right now actually. I’ve always been a sort-of-lucky kind of guy. Ask my friend Gracie to tell you some stories, she knows them all, but sometimes things just happen to fall into place for me. I’m always grateful of course. Being a Chinese kid, my mom always told me stories like “‘Aaaah Jai, people are lucky in this life because in their past lives they were kind and good and now they are being rewarded for it. If you take it for granted, you will be punished for it in the next life by having no luck!” So being the listen-to-your-mom kind of son, I’ve always been thankful for my luck and fortune. While I believe in Fate, I think it only goes as far as showing you the path and leaves the choice of whether you walk that path of not up to you. I think life is like a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book. There’s always a choice as to which path you want to take, but Fate only offers you a limited number of choices based on your environment.

For me the path started in 2001 when I graduated from SFU with a BBA. A young and eager, fresh faced businessman out to make his mark. I had dreams of the corner office in a downtown company, complete with the custom tailored suit, Italian silk tie and convertible BMW in my own parking spot. I’d be wheeling and dealing, closing deals and making acquisitions. Holding board meetings with my directors and being a firm and performance driven Executive but one that listens to the everyman of the company as well to continually drive profits and growth from every aspect.

My first career was working for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Hardly the board meeting type of company, but nonetheless, offered great management and entrepreneural training. I excelled as a corporate accounts manager, closing bodyshops and dealerships on using rental vehicles instead of owning their own fleet of courtesy cars. That led to my second career at Canon Business Solutions. Headhunted to fill an Account Executive role, they stole me from Enterprise Rent-A-Car and thus ended my days of washing cars in suits and selling car rental services to grease-faced, monkey-suit wearing body shop managers. At Canon, slanging 50k photocopiers was fun for a bit. I made top rep in Canada for a while but the best thing to happen to me out of Canon was that it enabled me to buy my first condo. I remember my days at Enterprise Rent-A-Car, my manager at the time would look at the picture of a decked out suite displaying a living room of a condo I had cut out and had pinned up above my computer and laugh. “Pius wants to buy a condo downtown on his Assistant Managers paycheque.”  Well, I did it, but he was right. It was on the Canon paycheque that I did it. Thanks though Robbie, if it weren’t for what you said, I probably wouldn’t have worked that hard to prove that you’re an idiot.

While I was going through the process of saving up and buying my first condo, I fell in love with real estate. I looked at 16 places before I found one I loved and bid on and ended up buying. I enjoyed browsing through each condo though, seeing the differences in layout and spacing. I nerded out on stats of the market and fluxuations of interest rates and types of financing. I calculated and recalculated the investment versus profit margins and ratios and would stay up until 3-4am every night dreaming of what I’d do with 10 properties. I’d retire and play all day. One night, after I’d finished renovating  the place for the day, I sat in the dark and empty living room by myself, my tools around me, the place a messy construction site. I looked around and told myself “This is mine. Finally.”

I left Canon because I had problems with my manager and we didn’t see eye to eye on some practices. I had briefly contemplated going into real estate, but with a fresh mortgage and not enough knowledge, I decided to take the offer at Business Objects. I had gone in to sell them Canon copiers, but lost the deal to Xerox instead (How can you win against Xerox when half the executives at Business Objects were old Xerox employees?!? Outright epic fail). Even though I was unable to secure the contract for Canon, Business Objects liked my mad skills and offered me a contract. Of all my careers so far, I’ve enjoyed working there the best. I made Presidents Club twice in 3.5 years, rewarded with all expenses paid trips to Australia and Hawaii as well as earning a decent income along the way which enabled me to purchase more property.

Alas, all great things must come to an end and we were bought out by SAP. The Germans came just like they did in 1944 and scooped us right up, bought out and taken over. My career path came to an abrupt halt with all the changes that followed. Shizer. I was fairly unhappy with the way things were and after about 8 months, it came to a point where my personal health was being affected. I was moody, lazy and didn’t want to work. I was late everyday and left early as often as I could. My ambition and drive were dropping faster than the Japanese economy and it wasn’t the direction anybody would want to go towards. One day during a weekly meeting with my manager, I quit with no near future plan and lived off my savings for a bit. I spent the next 4 months on an extended vacation, the first time in 15 years that I was unemployed. I played hockey at night and rode my bike during the day. Woke up at 1pm and went to bed at 5am. I even went to Cabo San Lucas and kayaked, tanned and swam in the ocean. A dream life I gotta say.

Coming back home on the plane from Cabo, I started talking with the passenger next to me. It turned out he was the CEO of a growing software company and was looking for an experienced rep to start and lead a sales and marketing team. Another month of freedom later, I sat in my new office (no longer cubicle) and proceeded to make this small 20 man company into a multinational corporation. Unfortunately, Wall Street USA had different plans and October 2008 hit, sending the world economy into a puke bucket and taking hundreds of thousands of people with it. Although we were never effected as much as the States, Canada still felt a recession and my small 20 man company went bankrupt and I was laid off. I was given 2 weeks to find a job due to another mortgage that I had to sign in 5 weeks and needed a show of employment or the deal was off. Luckily, I’d found a few companies willing to hire me and this brings us back to the temporary job that I’d just upped and quit 2 weeks ago due to moral reasons.

Coming to a realization after my 4th career change that I would be much happier and fulfilled doing my own thing, after 7 years of ‘could of’s’ and ‘maybe next year’s’ and ‘soon I will’s’ I’m finally taking the realtors course at UBC and getting my license. I’ve been studying my ass off for the past couple of weeks (hence the lack of posts recently!) and it’s been refreshing to be a student again. Selling car rental services, selling photocopiers, selling enterprise software, selling custom software developments, selling internet marketing services, selling homes. That basically sums up my professional experience for the past 8 years and the only things that stayed consistant in that time was that I was selling something by showing a value to my client in what I represent and that I followed real estate since that first cut out picture of the living room of a condo I had tacked above my computer screen at Enterprise Rent-A-Car.  Follow your passion, I always say. Take a chance, I said before. Who knows how successful I’ll be at my next challenge but what I do know is that it’s going to be hella fun and I’m going to be a happier, more relaxed version of myself and that in itself is success already.

(Let me be your realtor!)

Advertisements

Screw This…

Working a 9 to 5 is highly over-rated and so is earning a paycheque. People base so much of their lives on their job and forget that living isn’t about working, it’s about living. How then, can we combine the joy of living with the need for an income? A dream job?

A dream job is an outlet where you achieve and feel fulfilled. You want a dream job because you want to feel like you are making a difference and you’re making a difference when you are helping other people. After all, isn’t that all a job is? People pay you to do something for them or provide them with something, tangible or not.

If you help other people get what they want, and allow them to see the value in what you offer, you in turn will get everything you want and feel fulfilled.

You have been living someone else’s life, achieving someone else’s goals.

whole timeIt’s time to set your own rules, to play your own game. To have the courage to say “I will not settle anymore and I am tired of listening to other people.” When you do this, you set your own standards and you are able to enjoy the process of life and appreciate when you have achieved your goal. Imagine yourself living by your own standards and the freedom that comes with it. This sounds easy right? Just quit your job and travel the world, go on shopping sprees, play hockey all day and party all night. Oh wait, we need money, I guess we still need to work. But while work is a necessary part of life, unhappy or unfulfilled work doesn’t need to be part of the deal.

Success is much easier than fulfillment. Why? Because success is external and fulfillment is internal. It is much more challenging to identify your own standards than to borrow those of others, of what society places on us. The real benefit of stealing other people’s standards is that if you fail, you can blame them and not yourself. This is the benefit, but is it really that great when it comes with the price tag of failure just because it comes prepackaged with a scapegoat? There is no long term fulfillment with external motivators.

I QUITMy buddy is an Account Executive for a fortune 100 software company (as I once was) and travels across North America. He has week stays in New York, dining with clients. Travels to LA, San Fran, Austin, and even Raleigh North Carolina (which have some of the nicest people in the States by the way). He makes a great income, has car and cell phone allowances, company credit cards, stock options, the works. But he’s miserable. No matter how much money he makes or how many interesting projects he is working on, he’s always thinking about what he doesn’t have and he’s always thinking of that because he’d rather be doing something else.

He’s achieving success externally, but hardly fulfilled internally. A dream job is where both your talents and interests collide. Your talents will allow you to achieve, and your interests will allow you to be fulfilled. The real trick is to do what you love, what you have passion for and still be able to monetize it. Sounds easy right? We all know it’s not or else all we’d see on Monday mornings are smiley happy faces, eager and ready to start the week. But instead Mondays suck. To those of you who are making a living that is comfortable for you and allows you freedom to express your creativity, knowledge and interests, I envy you. To those of you who are brave enough to say “Screw this, I quit. Life’s too short to be spending 9 hours a day unhappy.” and take a plunge into the unknown for a chance of something better, I salute you. To those of you who stay at your positions, moping day in and day out, complaining that your life sucks while doing nothing about it, I pity you.

Listen. Screw this. I quit.

i-quit

Those piles of SH*T are going FAST!

What happens when businesses sell to the average American online consumer with an IQ of 98:

"HEY I got an IDEA!
 You buy some of the crap I'm selling on how to get rich and
Ill buy some that crap your selling on how to get confident...
 Tell you what if you buy some of my crap today and today only...
 I throw in a nice steaming pile of Bullshit with it....
 I bet your saying WOW!

 I dont offer that pile of steaming bullshit to just anyone....
 I am offering it to you because you have kept reading and seem
like a REAL sucker and you will buy anything to try to get
rich overnight,

 So the longer you keep reading the more you will get sucked
into my bullshit, deeper and deeper, as I convince you with
random stories of success from people that you will never
know or can even talk to!

 "Today only, two for the price of one, but you have to act fast...
..those piles of SHIT are going FAST!"
 Should get you to whip out that already maxed out card for a glimmer
of hope that this steaming pile of Bullshit your gonna buy will make
you rich. Who cares that you were laid off last month or that you're
on a pension! We can help you with that.

 after we charge you a monthly membership fee every month
for the VERY low price of 59.95!

 NOT tomorrow or the next day,
 ACT NOW, THIS SHIT IS SELLING FAST
Ill send you emails for the rest of your life with of my CRAP
 ORDER NOW 1-800-MOR-SHIT

Look for our constant sales pitches I will be sending via emails,
to try to sell you more shit for years to come.
 If you would like to unsubscribe,
 Here is a link that doesnt work cause when you try to unsubscribe
 I will just sell your email to someone else
 and maybe youll buy some of the BULLSHIT they are selling?!?"
 

s&mThis email pretty much sums up how the majority of high ticket item business to consumer sales go. Used cars, low end software, boiler room stocks, bond lotteries, customized business mentoring, life coaching Tony Robbins seminars, all that and a bag of 99 cent chips. After you’re done the $9,750 seminar, you walk out pumped and ready to take life head on! Make a difference! Change the world! but all you’ll ever get for your return on investment is $0.99 for the bag of All Dressed Doritos and some Bread Garden sandwiches for lunch.

The former client that wrote that email was able to see through the haze and hype. See through the slick tongued, moral-less sales people that pitch them and overpromise just to underdeliver. I guess it takes experience to see through it and it probably takes first hand experience to be able to sit down, write out such a well thought spiteful letter and send it. Kudos. This American probably had a higher IQ than his fellow patriots which is sadly the majority. And think of how many companies like this there are out there, successful, turning profits and growing.

Scary.

 

Friday Boys Night

hockey pool draft night

hockey pool draft night

For the past 6 years, every Friday was boys night. Some nights we would rent out an ice rink and have a game of pick up hockey with 26 other buddys , some nights we’d go to Earls and have a few beers while watching the Canucks, but the majority of the nights were just spent chilling at my place downtown playing Xbox, everything from Gears of War to MotoGP to NHL 2k/EA (I challenge anyone to Guitar Hero…be ready to be pwnd!). To give you an idea of how much we played, we’ve gone through 4 Xbox’s and 3 Red Rings of Death…in 5 years. All you guys reading this are going “Aw hells ya, that sounds like fun.” and most girls are probably rolling their eyes at how gay we are.  But Friday was boys night and it meant that after a long week of working in our offices, dealing with targets and quotas and submitting expenses and managers meetings and having to listen to your whiny coworker talk about her sock fetish, Friday was here, and it was time to relax.

Now, you’re thinking. Why can’t you relax with girls too? Why is it just boys night? At the time we all had girlfriends and we hung out with them Saturdays, Sundays, Mondays to Thursdays, so Fridays was just chill night. Not that we couldn’t chill with our girlfriends, but it was different when you’re just chillin with the boys. You want to sleep in until 5pm? While your girlfriend is knocking on your door because ‘it’s a nice day and you shouldn’t waste it sleeping’, your boys don’t care, they’re probably still sleeping too.

boyz

My boys are like my brothers. As tight as a family could be, we are. We fight each other like brothers, bicker like family, make fun of each other, get pissed off at each other, and when it counts the most, we have each others back every time. Sometimes it’s to give 3 weeks of your time to help someone renovate their apartment and sometimes it’s having to call Popo on a domestic dispute because one of your boy’s ex girlfriends was over trashing his place and threatening suicide and sometimes it’s just to throw the football around. On the first of this month 2 of my boys moved to Austin Texas for work. Austin? Ya. Austin. What the hell is out in Austin? A whole lot of football apparently. It’s kind of weird not having them around. Shin’s been my boy since high school and was my roomate for 5 years. And Chucky I saw pretty much every second day for 7 years and gives awesome advice. Curtis has been my best friend since we were 20 (who the hell is that white guy singing a Chinese song at Mings??) He’s a Vancouver lifer too so at least he’s not moving. When you’re as tight with your friends as we are, you’ll understand that when you’re with your closest friends and family, you’re the most relaxed. They already know your worst traits, been through countless shitstorms and rock bottoms with you and they’re still your friend. There’s nothing else you could say or do that would have them renounce you, so you’re just…you. Not the you that’s the son, the daughter, the boyfriend, the girlfriend, the colleague. None of those masks are on, and there’s no one you need to be other than you. That’s pretty stress free.