New Challenges: Something New and Old

•August 8, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Before I started working a few months ago I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do with my life. Part of me wanted to pursue the thought of going to b-school, part of me wanted to get into sales and start from the bottom again, and another part of me just wanted to get a job at TJ’s and pay my bills. Fortunately an opportunity presented itself and I’ve got a job that I love.

Challenge # 1: Sales

After a few months on the job its becoming more and more clear what my responsibilities will be. It’s hard for me to explain in abstract terms exactly what I do but here it goes. In the sense of “Supply and Demand”, my sales team is making sales and supplying me with this inventory. It’s my job to create this demand i.e. sell the inventory in which they have supplied me.

I started the job a few days ago and since then I’ve never spent so much time on the phone and sweet talking someone into buying something they’ve never heard of before. One goal of this project is to get my prospective buyer to agree to purchase my inventory. The other goal is to lay the foundation and open the lines of communication so that if not now but somewhere down the road I can sell them more than my inventory.

The world of sales is something I’ve never really had the opportunity or desire to pursue. You would be surprised how much your drive and level of interest is enhanced when the right person (your ceo) lights the fire under your ass and hangs that dollar sign in front of you as you sprint to the finish line. To be honest I’m nowhere close to the finish line but I’ve got my eye on the ball and my goals have been set. Now its time to get it done.

Challenge #2: Studying

My dad has been on me for several years to go to business school and get my MBA. During my time of unemployment I decided it was foolish of me not to consider so I decided to sign up for a Kaplan GMAT course. Before the course started I found a job and started working. I knew my dad still wanted me to take the GMATs and more for myself I realized it was still a great idea. So here I am 1 hr before my dianostic exam writing a blog. I’m deathly afraid of my score as they might tell me to reconsider going to b-school and point me back to undergrad at community college.

I’ve never been a good standardized test taker so this whole process scares the shit out of me but I’m going to do it anyway. The scores I get after this diagnostic exam are going to dictate my life for the next 30 days. I’m scheduling to take the GMATs in the 2nd week of September and my eye will be on the ball. I’m going to dedicate atleast 2 hrs a day to studying for the GMATs if not more.

To be honest the month of August is looking pretty scary to me right now. Between the sales goals that I need to meet set by my boss and the studying goals I’ve set myself it’ll be a miracle that I make it out alive. It’s time to prove myself and litterally put myself to the test.

Wish me luck!

Month in Review: I’m invested

•July 29, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Well the 30 day mark has come and gone. Lessons have been learned. Rules have been broken. Chanes have been made.

Food: I broke this rule about half way through and I was only partially upset with myself. I enjoyed eating my own lunches, saving money, and feeling a little bit healthier. I’ll keep at it as long as I can because it just makes sense but I won’t push myself to any limits.

Booze: This rule has certainly come and gone. If it weren’t for the one night at The Castle, I never would have thought about having a drink before my race. Here I am with a 1/2 marathon time of 1:47:32 (8:12 mile) and I’m feeling great. I know I could have done better but my lack of performance wasn’t due to the 6 beers I had two nights before but it was more of a mental and physical limitation. Looking back I know I could have pushed myself harder because the next day I was barely hurting. Next time it’ll be different and the pain will be worth it.

Phone: I’ve invested fully into the iPhone. I purchased the Apple Care protection plan. I purchased the cover. I’m going to merge all of my bills together. The phone isn’t terrible. The phone isn’t great. The phone is pretty convenient and it gets the job done. If I can manage a reasonable phone bill every month I won’t have a problem.

Even though I failed 2 out of the 3 challenges I think I still learned a lot. If you can’t take anything away from it why do it at all?

My next challenge is going to be a mental battle that will take me back to a time when I did just enough to get by. It’s going to consume my life for 30 days and failure will not be an option….

The deadline approaches….

•July 24, 2009 • Leave a Comment

The 30 day mark is just around the corner and plenty has changed since I started this challenge. I’ll give you a round of conclusions after the weekend is up but here is where I’m at so far.

Booze: I started out stone cold sober and it wasn’t a problem. Then I went on a date and I had glass of wine. Then I went out after a show and a friend told me the whole “clean body before a race” was a bunch of hogwash which lead to a night of heavy drinking only to be followed by one of the best runs of my life. I’ve been drinking rarely if at all over the past two weeks and the only thing I’ve noticed is the whole in my wallet.  Booze = money. Plain and simple. The real question for me now is what means more to me. Spend money to drink beer and hang out with friends? Save the money to do fun things like fly to the east coast round trip for $400 to celebrate weddings and get drunk with friends anyway. hmmmmmm?

Food: I fell of this wagon around the same time I started drinking again and it all started with the date which inevitably went nowhere. I’ve managed to eat the vast majority of my meals at home with a handful of exceptions here and there. What I am learning is that when I do decide to eat out I want food that tastes good and doesn’t suck i.e. fast food, shitty sandwhiches, pub grub. I’m going to try my hardest to limit my food consumption outside of my house to save money but also just to eat better food.

Today I tried one of those Trader Ming’s Pad Thai boxed lunches. Mixed the noodles and the sauce packet and microwave for 2 minutes. Easy right? Easy…yes. Tasty…no. After about 3 bites I decided it was in my best interest to spend the money and eat something that tasted better and probably healthier. I got a salad/sandwich combo at the local spot and it was amazing. I tossed the pad thai and honestly didn’t feel bad at all because I wouldn’t want anyone to eat this ever! I need to follow my dads word. “Never go cheap on three things. Drinks, Food, and Women”. Well done sir. Well done!

Oh and I cooked with Tofu for the first time this week. Indian spinach with tofu, paneer, tomatoes, and a few random veggies over rice. Tasty!

Phone: Everyone has been asking me what I think about the iPhone and if I’m happy with it. I shrug my shoulders say it gets the job done. It still hasn’t blown me away but it isn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I find myself using it as a functional tool as I did my blackberry. I’m sure I’m not getting the full potential out of it but to be honest thats all I want it for. The service could not suck but for the time being I’m ok with it.

I have noticed however that I’m more inclined to text rather than call people. Typically I enjoy talking to people more than texting but I’m finding it more convenient, easier to get the point across, and less likely that my call will get a dropped. There is probably a combination of reasons why I’ve increased my texting and I’m not to happy about it but it is what it is. I suppose I could cut out texting for 30 days but somehow I feel that wouldn’t be a financialy sound decision. I can tell now that my cell phone bill would be doubled and I’d just be pissed.

Till next time……peace out!

p.s hit me up on twitter @brwnbear

Challenge Update: Cheating

•July 11, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I’m going to confess now that I’ve been cheating on a few of these challenges over the past two weeks. They weren’t easy decisions but fortunately the side effects have been minimal and insignificant so its ok.

Food: Over the past two weeks I spent approximately $60 on eating out for a few meals which included a dinner for 2 at Citrus club, a breakfast sandwich, slice of pizza, burrito, and a few cookies / snacks while at the office. With the exception of the dinner at the Citrus Club I was eating out because it was late and/or I didn’t have food at my house. Aside from that I’ve been packing my own lunches and eating the vast majority of dinners and breakfasts at my house. I’m holding pretty strong but I might make a few more exceptions before the challenge is over.

Booze: Over the 4th of July I drank and I went for a short run. Last night I had a burrito and went out for drinks with a buddy on Haight and Divis areaa only to close the bar. After about 5 beers and a few shots of whiskey I was feeling good. I easily could have drank water or stayed home but I just wasn’t feeling it. I probably spent about $40 last night in total which could have been zero but after its all said and done I had a blast. I’m feeling much better about it because I got up this morning (11-ish) and went for a solid 10.5 mile run in preperation for my half marathon (July 26th). It was probably one of the best runs I’ve had in weeks and it felt great. I’m pretty confident now that I can have a few drinks and it won’t effect my running. Earlier this week I ran into a friend who had previously run a few marathons and said the whole “1 month cleanse” was a bunch of BS. I’m starting to get the same feeling after this little experiment. I won’t drink nearly as much in an effort to save money but I also wont stop myself from having a good time if the situation calls for it.

iPhone: I was having some connectivity issues to the internet this week and I went to the apple store to check it out. I was told to reset that network settings and use the Edge network rather than 3G. I think it’s pretty silly to go on the slower network but suprisingly its been working out. I’ve also dumped a ton of the apps that require huge single packet data transfers like TweetDeck and ESPN Score Center. As awesome as they are I’d rather have a solid connection. The phone overall is holding up but I’ve still got a few weeks go to. I’ve been reading a few articles comparing the Palm Pre and I’m waiting for the Blackberry Storm to come out as well. Neither is looking all that hot right now but who knows.

Challenge updates and exceptions

•July 7, 2009 • Leave a Comment

IPhone: I’m going to start by saying that I’m writing this post on the iPhone. I decided to leave my laptop at the office and I’m seeing what it’s like to use this as my computer substitute.
Overall, I’m happy with the new toy. There are a handful of bugs and the crappy service that I find rather annoying but nothing that’s going to be deal breaking. Here are a few pro’s and con’s
Pro’s: great apps, gmaps + compass = awesome, next bus, great camera, nice video camera, easy set-up
Con’s: Service is sporadic at best, can’t hear that great on calls, ear buds suck, battery doesn’t last more than a day with moderate use, I just got my bill ( approx $100)
I’m not sold on the phone yet so I’ll need to see how the next few weeks play out.

Booze: I celebrated the 4th of July this weekend with a few drinks. It would be un-American not to do so. Fortunately I got in 2 good runs so it’s all good.

Food: there are going to be a few exceptions to this rule.
#1: company meal – can’t pass up a company meal if it will do well for me or my company. I just need to eat relatively healthy. That didn’t really happen today as we went to Hard Knox Cafe And I ate fried chicken, mac&cheese and mashed potatoes with gravy and two pieces of corn bread. Ugh!
#2 Dates – when presented with the opportunity to take a woman out on a date don’t let silly challenges like this get in the way. Good girls are hard to come by in this city and I’m not going to hold back for this. My dad always said never be cheap on three things. Your food, your drinks and your women. We’ll see how this goes for me.
#3: Late meals – recently I’ve been working late, getting home late and thus eating late. It’s not healthy and if for some reason I won’t be home to eat before 9 pm I’ll reluctantly eat something out just so I can avoid the mid night meals.

Please excuse any spelling or grammatical errors given the method of entry. This wasn’t a great experience nor was it terrible either. Again we’ll just have to wait and see how this turns out.

The mobile blog

•June 30, 2009 • Leave a Comment

This is officially my first “mobile” blog. Most people would consider this to be Twitter, but I actually downloaded an App for WordPress that’s allowing me to sit on Bart, listen to music and write a blog.

I mentioned it earlier and I’m pretty impressed. I can’t imagine the posts will be that long but i’ll be more inclined to add photos and submit thougths that are more than 140 characters.

Anyway, BART is empty and it’s looking pretty beaitiful in the east bay. More to come later…..

Challenge Update: New phone, no booze, good food…

•June 30, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Here we go…..

Phone: I did it. I’m not going to like admitting it but I did it. I went against pretty much everything I had ever stood for (in regards to cell phones and cell phone carriers) and I bought an iPhone. The overall purchasing experience started off pretty rocky but thats because I was going through AT&T. The company is run by a bunch of monkeys. Purchasing a new phone online was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever tried to do. I was almost completely turned off to the idea until I tried purchasing through Apple, which was 100 times easier and I was done within a matter of minutes. I ordered the phone on Wednesday and it shipped from China and arrived in the office on Monday morning. It took about 4 minutes to set up and almost instantly my number had changed over and I started to recieve a dozen text messages from (now) fellow iPhone users over the past few days that I had completely missed.

Here are a few preliminary thoughts:

  • 2 dropped calls
  • All my iPod Touch Apps were automatically uploaded
  • Sync took about 5 min
  • About a dozen address book entries didn’t make it (b/c my Crackberry sync app is foosed)
  • Heavier than anticipated because I’m used to the iPod touch or my Crackberry
  • Getting used to the texting pretty quickly.

I’ll keep tabs on how it goes for me day by day. I’m not 100% sold but no joke after I found the WordPress app I almost died. This is going to bring a new world to blogging.

Booze: Yeah this isn’t hard. I spent all day Saturday in the park for a friends going away party and avoided the booze and enjoyed the sun. I’m not going to lie I probably will give in over the 4th of July  given the circumstances but considering how good I did (or atleast I think I did) on my long run on Sunday I think it’ll be ok.

Food: I was tempted to eat out atleast 3 times since Friday night and I’m glad to say I didn’t. My last meal was a cheese steak from a rather sub-par pizza joint in the mission. It could have been a burrito or something better but I was digging it. They decided to get Gyros for lunch today which was especially difficult but I decided to hold back. Instead I made myself a few sandwiches. I say a few because I’m trying to increase my metabolism by eating more smaller meals throughout the day. So I’m actually making sandwiches out of wheat dinner rolls and adding a bunch of snacks in between (trail mix, nuts, and peanut butter filled pretzels). Every week I’m going to switch it up so I don’t get bored but I think I’ll be able to get it done.

The last two nights for dinner we made stuffed Zucchini and a lamb curry dish. Both tasty, new and plenty of leftovers. I love cooking at home.

I’m going camping this weekend and road trips will be especially difficult on the boozing and the eating but I’ll do my best.

Nothing too new to report here but I’m excited to see