[17]#1 impactful endeavor4family: IV^localSys^gym..

meaningful endeavor Now: algo^zbs^…

In the quiet hours, inevitably I would get my share of self-doubt about the value of my endeavors. See also what efforts go towards 20Y-career building

At other times, I would feel the impacts (of my effort today) on the people who depend on me — grandparents, kids, wife. There’s a lot I can do to make their lives safer, richer, easier, … For example, the interview-preparation effort looks short-term and less meaningful than zbs, but actually has more impact on family well-being such as education, health-care, housing and life-chances. Re zbs, now I realize zbs accumu is rather theoretical and actually limited. Interviews build my confidence and capacity to provide for them.

Looking at my peers … I feel their personal endeavors are not much better than mine:

  • move up to leadership positions. I think that’s a good direction if you CAN move up. I gave up long ago. So I see myself almost like a specialist consultant for hire
  • personal (property) investments
  • kids grades and top schools
accumu #not a benefit #3 mental fitness, anti-aging #2 career after 65 (RnD/teach) #1 family well-being: impact 1-5 #4 lasting social value?
good if low churn good minimal 4 minimal IV: QQ/BP #incl. algo ideas
good excellent none 4 none IV: algo practice
good excellent N.A. 5 none …cf: yoga, jog
good if low churn good possible 3 #helps PKI !! IV minimal zbs #+GTD, instrumentation
churn ask HuKun too volatile 0 none data science, machine learning
some some esp. quant none 1 {– 2 none portable dnlg(+quant)
none some none 4 #if stay`long. Can help move-up but low correlation none xx local sys
some minimal none 1 #questionable can help kids;
can’t teach
per investment analysis #unlike XR
NA minimal none 2 {–1 none … cf: family expense management
some some possible 0 some En/Ch learning
churn good minimal 0 # coding practice churn! Get Real no bandwidth! contribute to OSS??

“spread%%nlg” as a column? trivial.

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##controversial decisions #home,imm,retire..#YJL

Hi Junli,

You don’t need to reply. This is my periodic review of “everything in my life”.

I have recently implemented a few controversial decisions about my career, investment, family..

(As an example, the biggest is moving back to U.S. alone and starting the green card process.)

I make major decisions carefully and slowly (unless decisiveness needed), but an observer may say I’m not a good decision maker and point out my track record. Actually I don’t remember anyone pointed them out, not even my family members. The person who point a finger at my “unwise” decisions is the “judge” in my head…

Here are some of those controversial decisions

  • I will not give up Singapore citizenship, and I will retire in Singapore, relying on the Singapore government for my retirement. Singapore system is much more caring and efficient than China or U.S. systems.
  • I plan to work till 70 or older, perhaps for a token salary. I will keep up my interview skills.
  • I have stayed away from most of the new technologies — javascript, mobile apps, big data, social media, noSQL, block-chain … Instead, I have embraced the shrinking domain of c++
  • I feel my relationship and communication skills are not my strengths so through a series of trials-and-errors I have decided to stick to a technical career.
  • I’m staying in Bayonne, planning to buy my first home here. The schools are just above average.
  • I have always preferred home locations that doesn’t need a car.
  • At age 44 I decided to leave my family in Singapore and come to the U.S. to start the GC process

semi-retirement jobs:Plan B #if !! U.S.

I had blogged about this before, such as the blogger-pripri post on “many long term career options”

Hongzhi asked what if you can’t go to the US.

* Some Singapore companies simply keep their older staff since they still can do the job, and the cost of layoff is too high.
* Support and maintenance tech roles
* Some kind of managerial role ? I guess I am mediocre but could possibly do it, but i feel hands-on work is easier and safer.
* Teach in a Poly or private school ? possibly not my strength
* Run some small business such as Kindergarten with wife

EarlyRetireExtreme: learning as pastime !! mainstay

The ERE author enjoys learning practical skills as a hobby. In fact, his learning programs could be more than a hobby, since he has no full time job.

However, I am very different human being from him. I feel very few such learning programs can the mainstay during my semi- or full retirement. Why?

  • I need to work towards some level of commitment, and a daily routine.
  • I need to make some contribution and be paid for it
  • I prefer interaction with other people

a profession with Enjoyment+income+barrier

Update — Enjoyment is often short-lived and affected by too many factors like

  • respect by mgr #bonus
  • “strategic” learning #Barclays
  • commute
  • income cf to peers

Instead of Enjoyment, I often prefer “engagement”.

However, for both enjoyment and engagement, the signal-to-noise ratio is below 0.2 i.e. those “noise factors” above are at least 5 times stronger.

——–

Background — discussion with an older fellow developer about helping our high-school kids select a major.

Example — Look at Aunt Gennifer. She changed her profession around age 40 to find a better paying and less boring job.

Example — grandpa has an ever-green interest in his research field, but most researchers in this field are not well-paid (it’s the least commercial field of research). In terms of income, I think grandpa’s medical and pension benefits are in the the top 1%.

Example — me. I entered trading-engine-dev circa 2007.

  • It pays well above the average professional salary across all professions. (I was told U.S. family doctors earn about 150k only.)
  • Market depth is excellent — look at my post on NBA salary.
  • The constant pressure to upgrade and learn is perfectly acceptable to me. In fact, I seek opportunities to maintain my learning pace
  • I don’t find it tiring or boring. For a few years before 2007, I told myself “I don’t want to remain a developer for life” but had a U-turn.

For most people, it’s hard to find a profession that’s not boring, not too tiring, and pays well, a field you could keep plowing till retirement, if you ever retire.

In fact, such a field is likely to be /oversubscribed/ — too many hopeful new entrants but few would get in and fewer would survive 😦

Example — Lianzhong’s daughter Borong loves writing, but she realized it wouldn’t be an easy way to make a living. Similarly, a large number of individuals have a meaningful and rewarding “hobby” but can’t make a decent income from it

  • tweaking with computers and gadgets
  • visual arts # including photography
  • literary arts
  • performing arts #including music
  • sports, games #including board and electronic
  • cooking

financial IT profession: !! so bad #long pre-retirement#Daniel

See also a profession u Enjoy with good {income+barrier}

(A letter I didn’t send out) Hi Daniel,

I think the programmer profession (financial software dev in particular) is not that bad:

  • Career Longevity — (I will delay or completely skip retirement) Reasonable in the U.S. Some professions (like doctors, accountants, teachers) are even better. but most professions (90% of the U.S. working population) can’t expect to have such a salary at age 65, including executives, lawyers, quants… Why do we always envy those guys?
    • Age discrimination — better than most professions including managers
  • Entry barrier — formidable, comparable to doctors or lawyers. See ##行行出状元,但有几个行业不容易出头
  • market depth — see salary probabilities(distro): mgr^NBA#market depth 
  • Job security — actually reasonable, despite the threat of globalization and threat from younger guys. I think the high entry barrier in financial IT is to our advantage
    • I was told some managers have job security concerns too
    • I was told U.S. university professors also face elimination (淘汰).
  • Work Stress — Significant variation across firms and across teams, but generally more stress than other professions.
  • Workload — much higher than other professions. Programming is a knowledge-intensive job.
  • Job market demand — very high for IT skills. Therefore people from other professions are drawn here.
    • Market depth is excellent. You can find plenty of jobs from $50k (easy to cope) to $300k
  • Income — well above average among all professions. Just look at national statistics and world-wide statistics.
  • not a sunset industry, not under threat like music, movie, journalism.
  • knowledge intensive, challenging complexity, engaging, but without excessive mental stress.

prepare]advance for RnD career

Grandpa became too old to work full time. Similarly, at age 75 I may not be able to work 8 hours a day. Some job functions are more suitable for that age…

I guess there’s a spectrum of “insight accumulation” — from app developer to tuning, to data science/analysis to academic research and teaching. The older I get (consider age 70), the more I should consider a move towards the research end of the spectrum…

My master’s degree from a reputable university is a distinct advantage. Without it, this career choice would be less viable. (Perhaps more importantly) It also helps that my degree is in a “hard” subject. A PhD may not give me more choices.

For virtually all of these domains, U.S. has advantages over Singapore. Less “difficult/unlikely” in U.S.

In theory I could choose an in-demand research domain within comp science, math, investment and asset pricing … a topic I believe in, but in reality entry barrier could be too high, and market depth poor

Perhaps my MSFM and c++ investment don’t bear fruit for many years, but become instrumental when I execute a bold career switch.

 

## meaningful endeavor(Now)for20Y career#dnlg;zbs;IV

Q: what efforts go towards 20Y-career building?
A: instrumentation in c++(java is a bit more churn); socket programming; STL internals; JVM internals; shell scripting; pthreads; FIX; linux internal?

This question is slightly vague, but it’s subtly different from

Q2: what efforts create social value over 20Y?
Q3: what efforts are cumulative over 20Y?

I feel the key question in this write-up is about building a deep and broad “foundation”, upon which we can start to plan (possible) social value, retirement planning, parenting/family building etc.

  • 😦 teaching and research —- Somehow I tend to feel research creates long-term value but I suspect most research efforts are not valuable!
  • 😦 open-source software —- I tend to feel OSS projects create social value, but most of them are not successful and have no lasting influence
  • 😦 Deepening your domain knowledge such as (German’s) security lending —- It does increase your value-add to some employers and help you move up to management, but I don’t call it “foundation”.
    • MSFM and other formal training —- I feel this is less effective, more ivory-tower, but it does build a firm theoretical foundation.
  • fitness and health .. more important than I feel (as shown by my action)
  • zbs such as instrumentation skills? Yes zbs helps your KPI, and also indirectly helps you with interviews. It’s portable skill, unlike local system knowledge. Can the value last 20Y? Depends on the technology churn. c++ and java are safer.
  • IV muscle building? My favorite career building effort. 20Y? 10Y yes.
  • English/Chinese writing and vocab

## retirement disposable time usage

See also my framework: Chore^Pleasure activities

  • exercise in the park everyday .. like grandma
  • reflective blogging — likely to be a big time-killer
  • reading as a pastime? GP said at his age, he still loves reading and has many good books at home, but has insufficient physical energy
  • sight-seeing, burning your cash reserve? Grandpa said he is physically unable to
  • — now the more productive endeavors:
  • volunteering for a worthy cause?
  • helping out as grandparents
  • ! … semi-retirement is clearly superior as I would have a real occupation with a commitment and a fixed work schedule

Grandpa pointed out that there are Actually-bigger factors than finding things to do

  1. cash flow
  2. health

pre-retirement plann`: work till70]U.S.

Bigger than property investment, bigger than CPF annuity, bigger than my unit trusts is … healthy working condition.

Remember Connie’s PR chart? My Prime years could extend beyond 55, towards 70 .

In the US I could work till 70 and possibly branch out to other domains of specialization. Singapore only respects medical specialists.

Q: what aspects of health?
A: diet, fitness
A: weight
A: cardio
A: sleep

who moved my cheese #extend pre-retirement

I read it 5 years ago. A powerful metaphor for our long term survival as individuals, as a profession (say software engineers), as a company, or as a nation…

When our cheese disappears, too often we try so hard to understand the “who” but (as the book author hinted) maybe we need not… Instead, we could focus on how to better identify long term trends and threats, how to strengthen our long term competitiveness, how to adapt ourselves to changing (and challenging) landscapes…

Some of the cheese-disappearances I perceive —
* Wall St big bonuses — disappearing
* Wall St big base salaries — investment banking business decline, or seismic changes eroding their profitability. High profit margin is (IMO) the key reason for the high salary.
* inequality of Wall St vs Main St, and the unfair advantage of “high finance” over other communities
* non-threaded programming — multi-processor machines and slow displacement of traditional programming
* sybase, weblogic/websphere, solaris  — more open source solutions adopted in finance such as mysql, jboss ..
* IT contractor as a profession — will they disappear?
* Aged-55 or older programmers — will they disappear as in Asia?
* comfortable retirement at age 60 — I fear more people will be forced to work till older age, because the traditional source of retirement income is under threat and becoming unreliable.
* onshore IT jobs in finance — even more of these jobs moving offshore?
* dominance of US dollar
* Singapore's geographical advantage as a transit port
* java as a language — in some areas, java is losing pole position
* SQL as a language — I see more alternatives like SecDB, google BigTable, NoSQL, gemfire/tangosol. They don't completely replace SQL but eclipse its dominance. In one of my projects, a in-house xml document store is the main data store. SQL was not selected as a solution.

If we think hard about cheese-disappearances, we may realize some things somehow won't disappear. Perhaps the WHY isn't the only thing important. I do think it's good to seek patterns.
= option mathematics — still underlying the pricing, risk-management and trading of most derivative instruments
= derivatives — some people predict derivatives trading will decline and shrink
= c/c++
= SQL — yes SQL again. This language has withstood so much competition and criticsm but remains dominant so far.