Better Than Your Parents Had It (Education)

Another post on the OECD index and inspired by postconsumers.com timotheories? Wow, haven’t you farmed this land enough yet?

Well… No, dear readers. Technically I still have to cover off the following – education, environment, governance, health, life satisfaction, safety and work-life balance. So we’re only a third of the way in! Plus, I could write at length about all of these topics and how they relate to being a good global citizen as well as a participant in your local community (and how it relates to the arts). This is a good thing, the website is called timotheories after all, it’s all about the curating the arts and connecting seemingly disparate theories together while having fun.

And this one is sure to be a good post. Education is one of MY FAVOURITE TOPICS. Ever. Period.

The Parents Broken Dream

One of the things I’ve learned as I transitioned from being a child into an adult, and as I recount experiences I’ve had with parents, my own and others, is that every parent wants to provide their children with a life better than they had growing up.

I’m not sure if this is one of those impulses ingrained in our brains OR if it’s a social conditioning similar to the idea that we need to have a good education and a stable job in order to have a good life, but it’s out there in the ether as a theory for success. I mean, life is hard, one minute you are living the dream and the next you are blindsided at 4pm on some idle Tuesday but an event that never crossed your troubled mind.

You can thank Baz Luhrmann for that tidbit. Back to my point.

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The economic privilege of the baby boomer generation is well behind us, dear readers. Baby boomers grew up with all kinds of benefits (free educations, established unions, more vacation time, company cars and trips) that generation x, millenials, and whatever comes next can only dream about. This is a major consequence of rising house prices. House prices in the 1970s and 1980s were incredibly low and the earnings on selling those houses has been significantly more lucrative for those families than what singles and young families could hope for today. On top of that, many retiring boomers are leaving behind debts and living on reduced pensions without any savings to back their lifestyles up.

If addressing gender and ethnic privilege are key tenements of politics today, we need to add in generational privilege as well. Skiing (spending the kids inheritance) is a thing of the past.

Investing In The Future

I hope you can see where this post is headed, and if you’re a futurist, like me, than you’ll appreciate the witticism, of that heading. For those of you without the blessing and/or curse of a dry sense of humour, investing in the future is never done. It’s an act of commitment to a process, not an effort towards a goal.

the-future-now

This is incredibly important in the face of a changing world creative cuties. When you make art you are expected to focus on the details, to see the bigger picture, or to pull from both camps. Effectively learning when to use your macro and micro lenses takes time, and an investment in the process, but as you gain skills you will gain confidence and see how your contributions to society are relevant.

This article from Forbes goes over it quite well, but I’m going to summarize it quick for you –

  1.  You need an authentic and personalized network of contacts. Yes social media connections factor into this bucket, but I’m referring to mentors and professionals you rely on for key advice. Who is your career expert? Who do you go to for construction and mechanical advice? And who is your health guru? Do you have someone you can go to for general advice? Spending time each day reaching out to these people is important – it gives you a support system. Plus it feels good to help others and will teach you invaluable things about people.
  2. Live outside your comfort zone, always. Whether it’s learning to wake up early, going out to a social event once a week, or finally starting that book of songs you’ve been dreaming about for years, tapping into your vast potential yields some fantastic dividends.
  3. Get your secondary business going. Maybe you weren’t expecting to have two jobs, maybe you hate the idea of doing more than your 40+ hour work week. But let’s be honest, you are more than your job and you definitely have skills that are being underutilized. You need to make practical use of your cooking skills, your computer programming skills, your animal husbandry (awesome word choice timotheories!), I could go on. You’re not out to get rich and famous, its to continue to develop your skills and to challenge yourself.
  4. Active and critical thinking. This one comes naturally to me, I can’t help it. I think a lot about a lot of different things. If we could visually showcasing what thinking, reading, and using our minds does for our mental capacity, I’d get compliments on my brain all the time. This is not arrogance, because we all think. But we need to think actively about the future, goals, how to improve relationships and solve problems. Don’t settle for your situation, think about how to change it – then go for it.

theories Summarized

In brief, education is important. And while I suspect your instinct was that I was headed towards a post about academic learning and certification, I should be clear and state that that kind of education has absolute value, but it’s not the only way to invest in the future and given how economic dynamics are changing, we need a new game plan. That’s my theory anyway.

Tim!

Campfire Theories (timotheories January 2017)

Yesterday I promised that I would reveal the timotheories theme of 2017, and today I fulfill that promise dear readers.

I’ve been humming and hawing on what that theme should be for weeks now, and dammit if I didn’t wait until the last minute to hope the idea would just pop into my head. Conveniently enough, when you live a fast and furious lifestyle, things happen when you need them to happen. Which is why this year I’m really embracing the notion that the culture of The Fast and the Furious series pushes on us over and over again.

No, not the theme of family, though that might be a good direction to explore somewhere down the line. It’s more eloquent than family. It’s the activity that holds the family together and which lights up their eyes – the metaphorical barbeque OR campfire.

the-best-fast-and-the-furious-memes

That’s why 2017 is the year of stoking the campfire – the ties that bind us creative professionals together. A campfire invites people together to ask questions and share stories but it also serves as a beacon, and a deterrent to that which we are afraid of – a fantastic symbol of community. And I think after almost a year of consistently writing theories and reviews, sharing resources and events with you, that I should begin the process of building my own campfire. That means putting together proper logos, marketing, and even giving valuable self-contained theories that you can take with you on the go. Its a step forward, but not without some effort on my part.

 

Let’s see what January looks like creative cuties.

*Disclaimer* As always, every week I purchase an album and movie one week ahead of the actual review release and while I have the best intentions, I don’t always get what I want… so if you follow me on instagram (@timotheories) you can actually see what’s coming.

timotheories summarized – January

Stimulating Sundays – (01/08) Cross Talk Ep. 15, (01/15) Byron Martin preview interview, (01/22) Byron Martin interview, (01/29) Cross Talk Ep. 16
Melodic Mondays – (01/02) Sum 41, (01/09) Gord Downie, (01/16) Kid Cudi, (01/23) The Flaming Lips, (01/30) The xx
Theatrical Tuesdays – (01/03) Don’t Breathe, (01/10) Snowden, (01/17) Deepwater Horizon (01/24) Ouija: Origin of Evil (01/31) The Monster
Wisdom Wednesdays – (01/04) Community, (01/11) Decompression, (01/18) Peggy Orenstein, (01/25) Education
Timely Thursday – (01/05) timotheories January, (01/12) Family Tree, (01/19) AGA, (01/26) Sugar Swing Dancing

My album choices are inspired by politics, mental health, and creative expression, while the movie picks are similarly inspired. Funny how those posts seem to cycle together quite nicely.

I’ve got an extra special interview lined up for January with Byron Martin, founder of Grindstone Theatre who also happens to be it’s visionary artistic director. Byron is in the process of setting up a new YEG based theatre space in the heart of Edmonton’s creative sector.

On top of that, we’ve got a couple of cool Cross Talk episodes lined up – benchmark moments in film AND life lessons we’ve learned as film enthusiasts. These’ll be fun, and who knows, you just might see the return of one of our favourite new additions to the team…

And I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but there is some wisdom brewing on the topics of community, decompression and education… plus I’m reading a book about the western phenomenon of princess culture and how it’s marketed to our female youth. And I’ve got some timely posts about dancing, the Art Gallery of Alberta and an ongoing art project I designed for my mother.

I guess you could say I have a few new theories I want to fuel the fire with, you fine folks. But I promise that we’ll have some fun along the way, and who knows, we might just keep that bogeyman on his toes with all that warmth and light.

Tim!

Fa La La La La, La La, La La (The Singing Christmas Tree)

This Christmas season dear readers, I decided to start a NEW positive tradition for myself. And so far, it’s gone over pretty well.

Now, I realize I can’t really call it a tradition until I’ve been doing it for a few years in sequence at the very least, but the event I was originally going to embrace was the holiday spirit.

Yeah, that looks weird upon second viewing.

I’m gonna run with it though. So gaining holiday spirit and participating more fully in all of the things going on in the city is important to me to foster community. With the intent of relaying more value on Christmas and showcasing the creative talents so many people throw into supporting a holiday of peace and goodwill I think I found the perfect event that demonstrates these ideas. But given the new state of affairs, I may or may not have ramped up my efforts INFINITELY MORESO because I met a special someone recently.

buddy-the-elf-activities

That’s right folks, my new girlfriend is a lover of all things Christmas. So I said to myself, I said “Tim, you need to buck up and enjoy Christmas more than before,” and so far, sooooo good friends.

As a for instance, we decided this week to check out The 47th Annual Singing Christmas Tree at the Jubilee Auditorium. Believe it or not, I’ve never been to this event in all of my years – I’ve lived in Edmonton my whole life folks and I’ve never been to this event before. I think it helps that my girl is bffs with one of the Singing Christmas Tree singers, Candice Ryan. And Candice has a solo performance in the show too. What this means is that I have to pay special attention to one spot of the 35 foot tall Christmas tree to ensure I give proper feedback on her performance and then I can somewhat relax when she is on stage by herself, well, because it’ll be easier for my ears to jusge and less of a visual distraction for my eyes.

Candice is also the new morning disc jockey at CFWE Radio, which is pretty cool, but that’s more of an aside then particularly relevant to this post. Just a thing a good boyfriend should remember.

Now, if you’re like me and you don’t know very much about The Singing Christmas Tree, I’ll fill you in. As previously mentioned, The Singing Christmas Tree has been around for quite a long time and features a choir of over 150 singers, a live orchestra, incredible sets and costumes, and an assortment of performances that include dancing, acrobatics and solo singing performances. All of these is themed around Christmas classics, and taking place between December 15-18 at the Northern Jubilee Auditorium (11455 87 Ave Edmonton, AB T6G 2T2), this is one of those family friendly events that always generates a ton of excitement.

Even better, all of the net proceeds go to the Edmonton Singing Christmas Tree Foundation, which is set up to give music education, food and gifts to children in need. It’s pretty neat.

As I share this with you, I am in the midst of the first performance, so keep your voices down, I’m trying to enjoy the show.

Tim!

We Dare Not Speak It’s Name (Jobs)

Let’s talk about jobs, ba-by, let’s talk about your, iden-tity.

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A Bang Up Job

When I think about Jobs as a product, comfort immediately comes to mind. Next, would probably be security and consistency of everyday use. If I can have less anxiety, more fun, and don’t have to worry about over-performing or under-performing, the convenience factor is high, and I’m on board. I get to live my day-today with relative ease and simplicity. Yes, when it comes to Jobs I feel like my opinion is part of a landscape and repercussions are minimal. In an era when people struggle with technology uncertainty, Jobs give you a path to take and a way to get there. Fortune, gratitude, luck, these are all synonymous terms for that ideal.

Now, I bet you thought I was talking about the person for a minute there, dear readers.

No not really. I wasn’t aiming for a post on Steve Jobs, though I could make a Wisdom Wednesday post or two about him. Just like everyone else has at one point or another.

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And to be clear, this is most certainly NOT a politically motivated post, I just wanted to get an association down for you. Who do you think achieved more? Steve Jobs or Dennis Ritchie? A question to ponder for sure…

As we continue to develop the series of posts about OECD, on the importance of health and well-being, the ranking factor of your job was bound to come up.

Inside Job

Let’s be honest.

You probably want to quit your day job, because your boss is a jerk, you’re sick of what your department does to address employee morale and wages, you don’t believe in the company visions, at all, and you’ve been doing this for well more than five years without much opportunity for growth and skill set expansion.

If that’s true, then you’re in luck. Because I have a few theories on your job that I’d like you to mull over.

Many people get this crazy idea in their heads that if a job is unfulfilled, that if you hate your job, it means you should quit and find another. Or maybe go back to school. Or finally start that personal business you’ve dreamt of for the past decade. And that’s quite a problematic view to hold.

A job is primarily an aspect of your career.

Maybe that’s confusing – let’s consider the definition of the word career. A career is a multi-faceted identity vehicle for an individual’s journey through life, especially as it relates to work and learning. Or in other words, a career is a person’s lifework that consists of occupations, educations and as a focus within a certain area of industry.

Surely it can be invaluable to start a business when you get fed up, but that purpose shouldn’t only be about your personal gratifications. You need to have drive, a real passion, and then build out a model to accomplish the purposes of that career you’ve laid out for yourself – getting another job could move you forward as well. An idea of success is not enough, you have to put in the blood, sweat, and tears. Never quit your day job only because you have a new idea or are sick of your work environment.

There is this really dumb idiom out there that says the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. We often rely on friends and family to supply is with support or advice on a number of different topics but bitching about work is a popular one.

Consider idea this for a moment, that friend giving you advice might not respect your industry or they be shelling out advice based on their limited understanding of your situation, but how could they possibly predict all the details of your life – you CAN keep your job and find fulfillment in other avenues or to pay for future benefits.

Career VS Job

To summarize this idea let’s quickly look at a chart which I found online. It’ll be a quick read, I promise.

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If you begin to look at your creative work as a career, you can begin to see how a series of different jobs might help you achieve your goals and stay on purpose dear readers, so as the old adage goes, don’t quit your day job. But that doesn’t mean you can’t change the day job every now and again, and even invest in passive income(s). Though that could just be another theory.

Tim!

 

Notoriously Problematic (Income)

Money is money is money is money. Everything likes to think that if they had more money all of their problems would be solved. And maybe there is some truth in that statement. But have you ever heard the old adage by the poet The Notorious B.I.G.

Mo money, mo problems.

I’m not going to point out all the obvious analogies being made in the song, I instead want to focus on a specific one, which is that as you gain more money you indeed do solve the current problems you have, but you trade up for new ones, and the risk of those problems is sometimes greater than the reward.

Which means, is it really within your means to aim for more means?

Income The Problems

I may have already written about this once or twice before, but there are a myriad of factors to consider in the OECD Better Life Index. You know what I am referring to dear readers? Where you rank housing, income, jobs, community, education, environment, governance, health, life satisfaction, safety, and work-life balance. Those are all pieces of the puzzle, and as I’ve mentioned previously, they vary by importance from country to country in how we measure well-being.

Inspired by this concept and following the footsteps of a post I wrote up on the website Postconsumers and how they view health and wellness, I realized there is a great way to address these factors. Writing dedicated posts to each topic. And today I want you to consider the second of these points, your income. This is a difficult topic to write about because, generally speaking, we are very protective of sharing what we make with others, and for good reason.

When we reveal our incomes certain things can happen. You associate your identity with your income for starters, and depending if you make more or less than others it can swing you upwards into arrogance or downwards into submission or depression. People will target you as a source of wealth and liquidity, which means you might get gamed by strangers or expected by friends, not to top judgment on how you spend your money. And it also puts you into the spotlight with business and agencies.

And if you have to share you income be prepared. If you make within a certain median grade for your job description, it’s less likely for you to be targeted when the situation calls for a share and care session.

Incoming

It is important to figure out what a health income is for you, you don’t want to make money just so you can now spend it on things that you don’t really need. That’s counter to the purpose of the wisdom being imparted. However, I do disagree with the notion that you should settle for a certain income just because you don’t know how to get to it.

But maybe that’s not the issue here, you could just not see the value of additional income. Consider this theory for a minute.

If you spend more than you earn, you have negative money, correct? Conversely, if you spend less than you earn, you have a positive flow of cash into your personal finances. Which means you can pay off debts if you have them OR if that is not the case you can begin to invest into retirement or other personal goals you have. As a for instance, you could buy a car outright and avoid the financing costs OR get a brand new iMac upfront with no credit card fees.

Being frugal allows you to move towards wealth, which can make you independent and allow you to focus on your positive contributions in the world. Say by travelling to areas of the world, making art, performing in theatre or going on a comedy tour.

I’m not going to dive deep into how exactly you increase your income, a lot of the time it’s a result of limiting spending and investing money, but here are some key examples that you can look into, and an article that details it better than I could do in this post space.

 

  1. Max out your salary – negotiation, raises, and planning are key, maybe a second job
  2. Get an education – stats prove those with better education earn more
  3. Monetize your hobbies – mystery shopping, photography, and baking for starters
  4. Start a side business – you choose the commitment level, and can earn much or little, blogging too
  5. Real estate – it’s complex but you can be an investor, landlord or combination thereof
  6. Selling old things – it’s not a one-to-one return, but old items get new use, and you get some money

Again, I’m not rolling in the dough by any means dear readers, but I’ll let you in on a secret, I have done or am currently doing all of the six things I’ve listed out for you. You can live the lifestyle you want, you just have to commit to it and like the author of this GetRichSlowly article I referenced says, if you are willing to make some sacrifices, you can make more money than you do now. But hey, that’s just a theory.

Tim!