Yeah, you should quit your job

Disclaimer: I don’t have a degree in life coaching and no, you shouldn’t be taking advice from a stranger on the internet who doesn’t know you or your situation at all.

Lately several friends have asked “should I just quit my job?” They tell me they’re unfulfilled, bored, frustrated with management. I always tell them “If you can afford to, then do it.” Note: I don’t ask them if they have plans. I don’t ask what they would do instead and whether they’d make the same money. I’m just an enabler. Here’s why.

There’s a guy I knew, let’s call him Ol’ Mac. He’s the father of one of my exes. Ol’ Mac was a responsible family man with two kids, so he stayed for years at a job he hated. He woke up every morning at 5am to drive about an hour to work and would get home pretty late most nights. He hated his job so much that his wife would sometimes find him staring at his socks in the morning. When asked what he was doing he’d miserably say “I’m thinking about which one goes on which foot.” He stuck it out until his official retirement day so he could get a full pension. (Yeah, I know this isn’t sounding like a story about quitting your job. Just wait for it.)

So, you’d think he’d be delighted with retirement, right? Well, after watching golf on tv and snoozing most days for a while, Ol’ Mac began to feel bored and restless. He took on odd jobs to get him out of the house. Then word got around that he was looking to come out of retirement, and he was offered a job doing the things he liked about his old job (hands on technical stuff) with none of the parts he didn’t (bureaucratic managers who didn’t know what they were talking about). It was a more relaxed schedule: one week on, one week off. It even paid better than his old job.

What can we learn from this one anecdote? We all know that the plural of anecdote is not “evidence” but that being said, I’ve heard variations of Ol’ Mac’s story repeatedly. People quit their jobs without knowing exactly what comes next, but they figure it out. And in all cases, they’re happier than before they quit. So if you’re miserable or frustrated at your job and you live for the weekends, save money until you can live without a job for a few months, then quit. You’ll figure it out too.

How I got a Vitamix for less than $210


This deal may not work at the moment you find it because it has some moving parts, but it should recur a couple of times a year.

  1. First, you’ll need an Amex credit card with at least 5 authorized users, because step 1 involves loading the Amex Sur La Table offer onto 6 cards. The Amex Offer seems to come up a few times a year, for a $10 statement credit when you spend $50 or more at Sur La Table. Buy a $50 gift card with each of them, so you’ll be spending $240 out of pocket.
  2. Sign up for a gift registry at Sur La Table and add this Vitamix (it’s refurbished) and they’ll email you a 10% registry completion coupon after the date of your event passes. The frequent 20% off coupons don’t apply to Vitamix, but the registry completion coupon does.
  3. Wait for the Vitamix to go on sale. It’ll go down to $299.
  4. Use a shopping portal. I used BeFrugal because it had the best rate at the time. But TopCashBack is also a reliable one.

There you have it! My total with shipping and tax (which will depend on your state) was $292.60. I got a statement credits from Amex worth $60, and the portal payout was $23.02, bringing the grand total to $209.58.

Of course, this deal will still work if you want a more expensive or non-refurbished Vitamix: you’ll just need more authorized users on your Amex accounts to get the $10 off $50 offer. Something similar would also work at Williams Sonoma.

Note: The portal links above are referral links. You don’t have to use mine to sign up, but I’m grateful if you choose to do so. Thanks for reading!

Pokémon GO: tips and tricks

Tips and tricks from one week of playing, that is. Ahem. Here are my Pokémon, sorted by CP, so you can decide if you even want to take advice from me:



1. Turn off AV

AV mode looks cool because it uses your camera and places the Pokémon in the real world with you, but the downside is that it requires you to face a particular direction. This makes it awkward to play when you’re walking (believe me, I’ve walked crablike, backwards, etc) and also awkward in a moving vehicle. If you turn off AV, you can face any direction.

2. Use the Sinathrow

It makes it easier to catch Pokémon and keep them caught. I’ve tried it and it takes me fewer balls on average to catch one.

3. Spin the Pokéstops even if your bag is full

You get the 50 XP anyway, you just don’t get items.

4. Save evolutions for lucky egg time

You can do about 1 evolution per minute. You have 30 minutes of double XP when you activate a lucky egg. Instead of 15k XP, you can earn 30k if you save them up for when you have a lucky egg going. Even better if you have eggs about to hatch and you can walk around while you evolve, and get double XP for your newly hatched eggs too.

5. You *might* be able to choose what your Eevee evolves into

This Buzzfeed article says you can if you rename your Eevee before evolving. I haven’t tried it personally, but the poll results at the moment show that it’s working for 75% of people who have tried it (12% success, 4% fail, the rest haven’t tried it).

6. Wait to power up / evolve

It is tempting to evolve or power up your Pokémon as soon as you can, but from experience, I’ve gotten better results from just walking around and finding higher CP Pokémon. As you level up, the Pokémon you find will also have higher CP. For example, if you start powering up an Eevee that’s CP 10, it would cost you about 26 Eevee candies (not to mention stardust) just to get him to CP 400, but you’re likely to just find one of that CP once you level up enough. And with all the Eevee candies you’ve saved, you can evolve the higher level one!

7. Items you get at different levels

When you level up, you start seeing new items at Pokéstops:

Level 8 – Razz Berry, which are a bribe and make it easier to catch Pokémon
Level 12 – Great Ball, like a Poké Ball, but with a higher catch rate
Level 10 – Super Potion, restores HP of one Pokémon by 50 points
Level 15 – Hyper Potion, restores HP of one Pokémon by 200 points
Level 20 – Ultra Ball, like a Great Ball, but with a higher catch rate

[The following discussion of gyms becomes relevant after you reach level 5. At which point you should choose to be on Team Mystic.]

8. Cash out at gyms

You can collect 10 gold coins and 500 stardust for each Pokémon you leave defending a gym. But you can only cash out once every 21 hours. If you think you can leave Pokémon at several gyms at once without anyone getting kicked out before you can collect, feel free to wait. Where I live, gym takeovers are swift, so I collect right away. Just go to “Shop” and you’ll see the shield in the top right corner — click on it to collect your coins. Coins you can use to buy things like more Pokéballs, lucky eggs, more storage, lures, etc.

9. Leave Pokémon at gyms

You can leave a Pokémon defending a gym even if you didn’t ever train there. Look for a button in the lower left corner of your screen when you enter a gym. A gym of level N has N spots for defenders. Sometimes gyms have an empty spot. Leave someone and cash out.

10. How home gyms work

At a home team gym, you only get to pick one of your Pokémon to fight everyone defending the gym. If you win at a home gym, that doesn’t mean you get a spot. You only get the chance to leave one of your Pokémon defending the gym once the gym levels up. Even then, someone could swoop in and leave one of theirs before you do.

11. How enemy gyms work

You can choose a team of 6. If you win, (or even if you manage to beat a few of the gym defenders) the gym prestige goes down. When it goes down to 0, it becomes “unclaimed” and you can take the gym over for your team by leaving one of your Pokémon there. But if you don’t do it fast enough, again, someone else could swoop in and claim the gym, even if you were the one that ousted the last team.

For more info, AppUnwrapper has written a comprehensive post on gyms.

Airbnb outside Geneva

On a recent trip, we stayed at an Airbnb about 20 minutes outside Geneva, on the French side. Well, in the French countryside. The interesting thing about this place was that the owner is a semi-retired former head of operations at luxury hotels around the world. Our stay was a boutique hotel experience at a reasonable price.


This was our concierge and bedwarmer, the ever-purring Robert. Actually, Robert is female, but our host said “She’s too ugly for a girl name.” Robert was found in a hotel parking lot, abandoned and bloodied from being bullied by other more street-wise cats. Now recovered, she spends her time doing her best carpet impression.


This was our deck and pool. Another plus for the Airbnb experience is never having to share the pool with other hotel guests. Or cats for that matter. Robert was all mine!


Our room — I should’ve gotten more of the details. There were antique doors, vintage photographs: small touches that made the place feel special.


Our private living room. The field beyond the picture window had horses. I should’ve gotten a picture of that, it was delightful.


“Close your door at night or she’ll end up in your bed. And she snores like a pig,” warned our host. I didn’t mind at all. I wanted to catnap her. Apparently she has a large fan following on Facebook. I’ll update you when I find her page.

Banana Republic Shopcard Haul


BR recently did a promotion, giving out $10 Shopcards for subscribing to texts. As it turned out, you could text “STOP” to stop receiving messages and then re-subscribe for a new Shopcard. I got 4, but I read about others who got 30+

Out of pocket cost: $3.85

Total items purchased: 8

Original MSRP: $236.50

Between deals like this, clothing swaps and Goodwill, I spend basically no money on new clothes.

Ringplus free cell service

Ringplus (R+) often runs promos for free cell service that has a 1 time fee that goes towards overages. Often these only last a few hours though, so prepare ahead of time. Here are the recommended steps:

1. Find a phone you know will work with R+

Make sure it’s a GSM phone, and enter the phone’s info here to check compatibility:

If the phone is not recognized, you can go in to a Sprint store and ask to have it added to the Sprint whitelist. Then check again.

2. Sign up for R+ promo alerts

Most promos do not allow existing users to upgrade, or have very limited upgrade capacity. So, you should sign up for alerts on SD or enter your email at the bottom of this page: to get the most minutes/texts/data.

3. Start checking the sign up page early

R+ has some buggy issues where they frequently release promos early and they sell out quickly. Be ready when the promo goes live, or a little before, especially if it’s a good one.


Upgrades sell out even quicker, often within 15 minutes. They do not require an extra top-up, even if the new plan has a higher top-up requirement than your current plan. For example, if your current plan required a one time top up of $15, and your new plan has a $25 one, you do not have to pay the $10 difference when upgrading.

R+ referral program

It’s fussy, but they have one:

Complicated swapping waltz

If you have already signed up for R+ with a plan but you see a better one that you want on a particular handset, you can swap handsets. This requires you to have 3 R+ compatible phones available. (Copied from R+ discourse forum, but not tried personally)

Goal – swap 2 phones between 2 plans with aid of a 3rd phone or ESN
which is inactive, and swapping can be done immediately without a
waiting period. First make sure your RingPlus balance on each plan has
enough to cover the swaps. In this example $2 on Plan A, $1 on Plan B.
The plans do not have to be on the same RingPlus account.

Plan A – has Phone A
Plan B – has Phone B
Phone C is an inactive Phone or ESN

1) Plan A – swap from Phone A to Phone C
2) Plan B -swap from Phone B to Phone A
3) Plan A – swap from Phone C to Phone B
4) Phone C is back to being inactive

*Each of the 3 device swaps costs 99 cents each, so it costs about $3 to complete a three way swap as shown.

Canceling a free line ties up the phone until the next billing cycle if
you are trying to activate a NEW free line with the phone, just as if
the phone was swapped out of a free plan. Doing a device swap on a
different free plan to the phone from the canceled free plan works

Get paid to save electricity

My one goal in life is to maximize profit and minimize work. A friend introduced me to a new app that pays you to save energy. If you’re a California resident, you can get paid up to $300 a year just by using less electricity at certain times. The app is called OhmConnect, and you get $20 just for signing up. [Note: that is a referral link, and I’m grateful if you choose to use it, but I am not affiliated with OhmConnect.]


How it works: you connect it to your energy provider (like PG&E), and then you can see your energy usage on your OhmConnect dashboard. During certain times, when there is a larger demand for energy and your electricity provider is at risk of needing to buy energy from less efficient/more expensive sources, you’re alerted about an “OhmHour.” If you keep your energy usage below a given threshold during that time, you get paid! Points are worth 1 cent, and OhmConnect pays out via Paypal, at your request.

It may not be much money, but it’s very little effort, and probably adds up to enough to pay for one overpriced coffee per week. If you’re a California resident, why not!