About Me

Friday, October 20, 2017

Loss of a Colleague

About two months ago, our Senior Account Manager had a heart attack. He was at his summer place and was rushed to the hospital. He stayed at that hospital for a while but they have also found out that he had a stroke too. So, he has been air lifted to a very prominent hsopital in Istanbul and put in the care of a very good ICU doctor.

He had shown some stabilization and had been transferred from the ICU to a regular hospital room. However, lately he started to show signs of heart failure and this morning hours after being re-transferred to the ICU, he passed.

We knew that he would not recover deep down but we kept hoping. He has a 15 year old daughter. So sad.

This has been a very difficult day. The funeral is tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Gold in this part of the World

I have written about keeping gold coins for unexpected bad situations where money may lose it's value significantly or when you cannot access your funds like it happened in Greece few years ago.

I like to keep a very small percentage of my portfolio in gold just in case.

It is also customary to gift newly weds and new babies gold coins.

I prefer to buy cold coins or bars. There are bars as small as 1 gr. Here is what they look like.

I like to buy the three kinds at the top row on the right. The ones on the left are too big. The second row is a bit lighter than the ones at the top row and those are mostly used for gifting purposes. I do not buy any of the third row. Bars are good too.

In rural areas women prefer to buy 22 ca. gold bracelets with minimal workmanship. They dress modestly and they can actually hide the bracelets in their sleeves thinking that it is a good way of safekeeping. Not! Some like to show their bracelets of during weddings, get togethers and other family occassions. They look like these and those:

The heart of gold is the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul and here is a typical jewelry shop window:

Here is a picture of the gifts of a bride from a very rural, very rich wedding. This is very rare obviously. Besides, I would not wear most of that stuff if I had been gifted them. Too rural for my taste. 

Hope you enjoyed this shiny post :)

Monday, October 16, 2017

End of year savings goals...

I had mentioned that the savings goals I had set at the beginning of the year will not happen. I am going to be off by 2-3%.

I have looked at my cash outflow and realized that the fluctuation is due to two things:

1. I did not anticipate that I would need work clothes due to the fluctuation in my weight.
2. The USD exchange rate fluctuation.

I will be better prepared for the wardrobe items this year. However, the exchange rate is out of my control. Lol! Too bad:)

Here is a tally of the USD/TL parity at the end of every month this year.

31/1/17 28/2/17 31/3/17 30/4/17 31/5/17 28/6/17 31/7/17 31/8/17 30/9/17
3.7875 3.6978 3.6362 3.5504 3.5312 3.5211 3.5226 3.4410 3.5521

As you can see the difference between the beginning of the year and the end of third quarter is about 6.6%. So, it is difficult to estimate this correctly in Turkish Liras.

This year I am going to separate my TL goals from USD goals. 

My savings are in TL, USD and in Gold. You may ask why Gold? Well, this part of the world is not all that peaceful. God forbid, if s..t hits the fan, one may have difficulty in accessing her/his funds. Gold coins are always worth money. So, I like to keep a healthy number of small coins. As a matter of fact, I shall be purchasing some more when I get paid next month. (We get paid monthly). 

I shall be setting next year's goals in December.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Spoke to the Coach

Yesterday I had dinner with my friend who is a coach and told him about the assessment and about my Technical Team Manager.

He gave me many clues and when I asked him, if he would have lunch with my Technical Team Manager to give him those clues in person, he happily agreed. I am blessed with such wonderful friends. His wife and I used to be co-workers and then I got to know him and we have been good friends ever since.

Meanwhile, I have two books that talk about Change Management which I would like to go back and refresh my memory.

Some interesting times ahead of us!

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Meeting

The Meeting went well. He told me a little about the assesment but, he said that I am a critical asset at least five times. He also signaled that the result of the assesment is not all that important.

It looks like they need me and I am happy to stay unless the new CEO is a total jerk lol!

He also told me that my Technical Team Manager will also be assessed. Now that worries me. He is an incredible smart guy, self-motivated, devoted to his job. However as I have been informed, this particular assessor is a bit aggresive and very direct. My guy operates on a somewhat short fuse. I do not want him to flunk this.

I have a friend who is a coach and I am going to visit him tonight to seek his help and pick his brains. May be if he has time, he can sit down with my Technical Team Manager and give him some clues as to have to handle the assesment.

I feel like I am responsible for all of the current staff and that it is my duty to keep them well informed, motivated and also to keep them from being mistreated in terms of salaries and benefits in the new organization. Since this is a major change, the current staff needs to be encouraged and motivated to embrace this change and turn it into something that benefits them. They are good people.

What a challenge this is gonna be! Unless the new CEO is a total jerk (I am a bit old school and have a problem with big egos. I like to be respectfully treated).

Thursday, October 12, 2017


Whenever I walked, I had some back pain which would keep me from walking in the past. Then I went to a doctor to see if I had some real issues. She is an old friend of mine and she told me, my back was not worse than hers. She told me my real problem was a muscle spasm and gave me a shot and I felt 100% better.

Then I really did not walk much because it was so hot, because I felt so tired, because I did not feel like walking, you know all sorts of excuses... I also had convinced myself that I were unable to walk due to my weight.

When I went on vacation I had to walk enormous distances. On the day we went to see the Freedom tower, we walked more than 15,000 steps! In some other days, I walked more than 12,000. So, obviously I was able to walk! What a revelation!

As soon as I came back from vacation and settled down, I decided to start eating healthy and exercise.

Within 6 weeks, I lost 4.3 kg, 9.47 pounds. Some of that might have been water weight but still, even if half of it is real loss, I am content. I have been eating very healthy food and have been almost consistently walking. Some days, it is hard. Yesterday, my back acted up again and I am sitting here writing all this with a patch on my back. Today, I will only use dumbbells to work my arms.

I am using a MiFit Band II and it's app along with a couple of other apps on my phone to track my progress. Believe me, this was such an eye opener. I have discovered that, I was not literally walking even 1,000 steps some days. OMG! Such a couch potato!

I am now taking a short walk at noon right before lunch. About, 2,000-2,500 steps. After work, every other day, I go for a walk for at least an hour. Some days I walk faster, some days I walk slower but the point is I do walk! 

I have the muscle spasm back again but I know how to fight it off. I will apply Tiger Balm or Ben-Gay or something similar before I go out. 

I am terrible during the weekends so, now that is my new thing to work on. I should be more active during the weekends.

I made a promise to myself: I will spend at least an hour each day exposing myself to the elements. Snow, rain or shine, I will spend time outdoors. Working on it.

I have also found out something about myself: I must make something a bit of an obsession so that I can make it a healthy habit. For instance, I had been obsessed about my finances, financial independence and all that. I control my accounts, payments on a regular basis. I have charts to see my progress and to analyze if ı am doing the right things. My financial situation is at a good place now. If I had not been so diligent about that, I do not think, I would have saved as much as I did.

So, tracking progress, checking the count of my steps, my pulse and becoming a bit obsessed about these will help me in the long run and assure my success. Obsession is a negative word but there is a healthy dose of that. 

What do you think?

Sunday, October 8, 2017

An assesment? Nervously waiting...

The head of the project team from the investment company who is buying our company wanted to have a coffee meeting with me on Friday this coming week. I agreed and we shall be meeting.

He sent a message to my boss saying that he fixed a meeting with me and wants to discuss the process, the new organization chart and that they regard me as a critical asset and that there will be an assessment within this month. He is meeting me to tell me about this and support me. Now I am thinking what assessment? Do we just go through my CV? Do they administer personality tests? What do you think?

I just want these things over with.

I have been very happy in this job. I just wish things had stayed the same for another two years. It is not happening. So now what?

People generally have issues with big changes. Up until now, I have always considered myself as a more adaptive person to change than many others. But may be I am not? Why am I worried?

I can certainly walk away from my job come January and be still OK financially. However, I would like to be at a much better spot than simply be OK. Another two years will make a tremendous difference and I want that. Otherwise, I will most probably go back to consulting for may be at least five more years, if I can.

Here is what I want: I want to keep my current job for another two years and then slow down, taking only some select consulting jobs or not working at all.

I am wondering what is going to happen?  I am so nervous! I do not want to discuss these with anyone around me so, this blog is the only outlet that I have. When people ask me about what will happen to me I just shrug it off and say that I am not expecting much change. Playing cool. I am far from cool.

I just want these things over with!