Typical Day

In a recent comment, @Playing with Fire mentioned that it might be interesting to know what a typical day looks like during my ‘unplanned practice retirement’.

I’m not sure it would make a very interesting post but here goes!

Also, I would love to treat it as ‘retirement’ but feel a little uneasy about enjoying myself too much!

Anyway, three of my days in the week are pretty much the same so I guess they’re ‘typical’:

My alarm wakes me up at 7.30am. I know this isn’t actually that early but considering I don’t really need to wake up at that time, it’s still quite early (for me, especially as I’m not a morning person!). I need to set the alarm as I don’t want to end up treating every day like the weekend. Also, when I get a job, the transition won’t be so painful!

I’m up and about, have a simple breakfast, read the news online, check my emails and by 9am, I will sit down to do my matched betting.

This can take between 1-1.5 hours, depending on the number of offers on and if I can get any decent matches.

Matched betting done, I do my job hunting – this can take between 1 – 3 hours depending on whether there are any vacancies worth investigating, what job matches I have in my inbox, if I make any applications etc.

I probably get 1 or 2 agencies calling me each week, some just to go over my CV and experience; other times, I end up having a mini telephone interview.

I’ll have my lunch anytime between noon and 2pm, depending on the above activities. I used to take my own salad box for work but for some reason, I can’t face eating salad at home. It would be so easy to just nip out and buy lunch but keeping costs down in mind, I just make a light lunch at home.

If it’s sunny, I’ll then potter around the garden. If the weather’s crap, I’ll catch up on some blog reading, read my book, occasionally practise my ukulele or listen to some podcasts or the radio.

At around 4pm, to avoid traffic, I’ll set off for the gym. I catch up with my friends in the club area and then do my own training in the gym (weights and punchbag). After this session, I rejoin my friends for the aerobics class. Shower, change, drive home – by this time, it’s nearly 8.30 pm.

I never have much of an appetite after a workout so I’ll make a small evening meal, perhaps have a couple of snacks.

Anyway, it’s then back online to check how my matched bets have gone and I update my spreadsheets, cheering at the profits/free bets and grimacing at qualifying losses!

The TV is finally switched on and I’ll watch 2 or 3 episodes of some show I’m currently in the middle of watching or catch up on iPlayer.

Around midnight, time for bed but I’ll read for up to an hour before my head hits the pillow.

And that’s pretty much it – the days don’t seem to drag but I’ve noticed they certainly don’t go by as fast as they did when I was working.

I’ve still been keeping to my drinking-only-at-weekends rule – it’s feels important to me to distinguish the weekdays from the weekends so yes, I still look forward to the weekends. In this, I think I’d probably practice something similar when I am finally retired.

My social life hasn’t changed but I actually turned down a couple of recent ‘unplanned’ outings, (“Champagne afternoon tea? Sorry, count me out!”) which I would have probably accepted when I was working.

I’m spending a lot of time at home, which would drive some people mad but the other alternative is to go out and going out often means the opportunity to spend money. On the few days when it’s been sunny and I’ve decided to walk into the local village, I’ve deliberately not taken my purse.

I still do my one supermarket shop a week, keeping to my usual routine. My grocery bill hasn’t changed too much but I might start planning my meals better again, cook in batches etc.

Resistance was futile…

As mentioned in discussions with @FIREin’ London, I was trying to not buy any alcohol for home consumption this year – I lasted until April – ended up wandering down the ‘wrong’ aisle in the supermarket and left with a few bottles of Brewdog! I’ll see how long I can resist again – really need to get another homebrew on but struggling to find the motivation to do so.

Positive

I think I’ve retained a positive outlook by keeping to routines, maintaining my fitness and continuing to network. My friends and family seem more concerned that I’m not working, when in the back of my mind, I don’t think I’d be too upset if I was free to enjoy the summer! However, my preference of course would be to get back to working sooner rather than later.

My ex-boss has been calling me every other week to see how I’m getting on and to provide support and advice. I’m actually very grateful he does this as we had a great working relationship.  His calls help keep me focused on the job hunting, plus he has a lot of contacts in the industry.

Today

Today would have been one of the above ‘typical days’ only it wasn’t because I had an interview so spent the entire morning prepping for it (all of yesterday too). It was probably one of the toughest interviews I’ve had and I very much feel like breaking that no-alcohol-in-the-week rule, haha! Fingers crossed for this one!

Procrastination

As mentioned in my February update, I can’t say that I’ve been doing my utmost with my job hunting and I guess that as well as enjoying my free time too much, I’ve been suffering badly from procrastination.

I even borrowed a book from the library to help me focus but I haven’t gotten round to reading it yet…ahem!

What have I been doing instead of job hunting?

  • Sleep – Upon my return from my hols, the last two weeks of January were spent sleeping a lot as I was initially jet-lagged and then poorly with a virus.
  • Binge watching TV – I’ve been watching stuff like ‘The Man in the High Castle’, ‘Blacklist’ and ‘Homeland’. No daytime TV – I’d not stoop that low!
  • Reading blogs/tweets – I didn’t read any blogs while I was away so caught up on my reading. I also culled my Twitter feed to a more manageable level – following too many is just distracting and tweets that I may actually want to read end up getting lost in the noise/spam.
  • Practising my ukulele – Still getting used to the simple chords but I can ‘play’ a couple of tunes now. A great way to relax, though I need to learn how to ‘sing’ AND play at the same time – note sing in inverted commas as I can’t hold a proper tune!
  • Painting and decorating – I’ve been glossing the doors in the house, but got bored after a few so still have more to do at some point.
  • Matched betting (MB) – I started to do a bit of horse racing MB during the day, to help boost my profits. I still very much prefer MB on football but thought I’d see if I could tap into the much-touted riches of the Cheltenham Festival which are taking place this week.
  • Bird watching – It’s not very often that I get to sit around and enjoy the wildlife/birds in my garden. The grey squirrels have been keeping me entertained with their antics and with winter over, a variety of birds have returned to the garden.  However, I never expected to see a hapless pigeon being caught and plucked alive by a sparrowhawk…I’d seen a mass of feathers on my lawn previously but had thought it was the work of the neighbours’ cats!
  • Hunter looks smaller than the prey and yes, those bits scattered about are feathers!

I’m glad that I haven’t resorted to playing games on my PC or tablet as I would end up losing hours/days. As a former gamer, I can’t say that the thought hasn’t crossed my mind, however. The only game I have going is Pokemon Go, which really only means that I park a little further away from the supermarket so I can do an extra bit of walking (to ‘hatch’ eggs and ‘catch’ Pokemon!).

I’ve been maintaining a routine of sorts, so still attend my gym classes and work out, plus of course, I’m now playing netball too. I’ve continued to wake up to my alarm as if I’m going to work every day and going to bed at my usual time. This way, my weekends remain different and are something to look forward to, ie drinking and having lie ins! 😉

A Little Progress

Anyway, since I started drafting this post just over a week or so ago, I ramped up my job hunting efforts and I have had two job interviews – just goes to show what a little effort can achieve, I guess.  I hope I make it through to the next stages of interviews but realistically acknowledge that nothing is guaranteed (even though I thought the interviews went quite well) and that I could well be job hunting for a while yet.

Just need to make sure that I don’t fall back into a routine of procrastination!

End of an Era

I hadn’t really given much thought to my redundancy lately – that is, until I received my P45 in amongst my Christmas cards in the post last week! Yep, it’s really happening!

My severance pay hit my bank account on Friday and I immediately shifted funds around various high interest current accounts and also put some in Premium Bonds.

As this money is ear-marked to be spent on normal living costs, it’s all staying in cash, not in investments and none of it has been added to my Future Fund – not until I get another job.

I’m also not planning to ‘treat myself’ with any of it – there’s nothing really that I want, although I will use some of it to buy some new work clothes which I will need for my next job.

I’ve been pretty good on the clothes/shoes shopping front – I bought a grand total of 3 tops and one pair of trainers – all year! So yes, I do think it’s time I bought some new decent work gear.

End of an Era

So today was my last day at work. It was kind of surreal saying goodbye to people I’ve worked with for the past 21 years – some of whom I will keep in touch with, others I’ll probably never see again.

There had been lots of tears when a large number of people had departed on Black Friday, but I’ve never been one to cry at work so I held it all in (I noticed I was shaking a little as I handed in my laptop and security pass) until as I was driving out of the work car park for the last time and I shed a few little tears.

What Now?

I’m shortly off on my extended holiday (about a month) to Hong Kong, so there won’t be any new blog posts for a while.

I’ll do a belated December update/round up and something on my goals for 2017 upon my return late in January.

So, there’s nothing else for me to say really, except:

Departing Parties and Black Friday

Next Wednesday sees the second (and largest) group of people leaving the company through redundancy – nearly 40 of them in total.

There haven’t been too many changes in the office these past few months, just some rearrangement of desks and equipment but this mass exodus will make a big difference to the atmosphere, certainly to noise levels.

All those leaving have got invitations to the Christmas party/Leaving bash – it’s predicted that it’s going to be a rather messy affair – well, messier than usual!

What about me?

I have had my final consultation meeting and my official day of leaving confirmed as 31st December 2016.

My severance package, as mentioned before, is close to a year’s salary, plus I will get paid 3 months in lieu of notice.

Also, through my ex-boss’ efforts, the package will include an annual bonus which the company was not obligated to pay as it’s not in my employment contract, so that’s an unexpected and welcome windfall.

Job Seeking

So how has my job hunting gone so far?

Err…it’s not even out of the starting blocks.

My CV is complete and ready to go, my LinkedIn profile all up to date but my head and heart are not committed to the cause.

I don’t see any point in applying for jobs and going for interviews in a half-arsed manner – when I do it, I’d like to give it 100% and right now, I just don’t have the energy or desire.

All I’m thinking about is making the most of my last days working with my friends and colleagues (funnily enough, we’ve started going to the pub every Friday lunchtime!) and then spending some quality time with my family over Christmas in Hong Kong.

Since I no longer need to rush back for work, I’ll be extending my holiday beyond the new year for a few weeks (just need to rearrange my return flight) – I think after 21 years working for the same company, I’m due a decent break!

Black Friday

Unless you’ve been living under a rock on some far off asteroid, you’ll probably be aware that it’s Black Friday today.

blackfriday

I don’t think I’ve ever really been excited about it, even when the concept was first introduced in the UK. I’ve mentioned in the past that shopping has never really been something I enjoy doing – during my ‘spendy days’, it was more something that I did out of habit and fortunately, I got out of the habit.

Anyway, contra to the norm, I did make a purchase today, one which amounted to several hundred pounds – I bought a new mobile phone handset. I had been planning to replace my current phone when my contract ended in December as (being a Blackberry) it will no longer be supported by certain apps next year, apps which I regularly use.

Yes, I could have gotten a cheaper phone but what the hell, I used matched betting winnings to buy it (took a leaf out of Jim’s book, as he bought a handset with his MB winnings) so I’m not out of pocket. I certainly wouldn’t have bought it using my own money!

I’ve also switched from contract to SIM only, pitched BT Mobile against EE to negotiate a great deal (even though they are now technically the same company) so my monthly phone costs have dropped from £15 a month to £9 a month and I get a far superior data plan to boot.

I hope to do much of my gift shopping soon but I will avoid the shops this weekend, opting instead to go on Monday during my day off as I think it’ll be a little quieter.

For those who love Black Friday, I hope you bag some bargains. For those who don’t, hope you enjoy this “normal” Friday and have a great weekend!