I’m taking a break between now and New Years. My absence will be filled by contributions from you, the readers of Get Rich Slowly. Next week could see a heavy posting schedule or a light one, depending on the number of submissions. Meanwhile, I’ll be working behind-the-scenes on various site improvements. If you have any suggestions or requests, please let me know so that I can add them to my agenda.

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Finally: though I’m not a fan of blog memes, I’ll play along this time. Several of you have “tagged” me to share five things most readers don’t know about me. In keeping with this site’s theme, I’ve tried to keep them money-oriented.

  1. I grew up poor. My family lived in a trailer house in the middle of the country. (That trailer house is now the office for our business.) Dad was frequently out of work. But during his life, he also started two successful businesses, the latter of which is the source of my day job today. He did some farming, too. All of these things led to a sort of “famine or feast” financial situation. We struggled without much for months at a time, and then we’d suddenly have money again. Dad was terrible at saving. He spent all his money on expensive hobbies. He always owned an airplane (he was once a flight instructor) and a sailboat. It was from this sort of modeling that I learned the terrible money skills that I still struggle with today.
  2. I always knew I would go to college. But because my family was poor, I knew they couldn’t help pay my way. So, I studied hard in high school, and participated in a lot of activities. I based my choice of colleges on who would give me the most financial aid. Willamette University gave me a full scholarship, as well as grants for room-and-board. I actually think this hurt me in the long run. Because I didn’t have to pay for anything, I didn’t appreciate the cost of my education. I wasn’t as serious about my studies as I ought to have been. I graduated without any debt, but also without any direction.
  3. I was a psychology major. I minored in English literature. I started taking speechcomm classes my senior year and loved them. I almost got a minor in that, too. (Ran out of time.) If I could do it all again, I’d study history — the older I get, the more I realize how fundamental a grasp of history is to understanding the world today. I still take about one college course every year, either at the local community college or at Portland State University. I believe education is of utmost importance.
  4. My wife used to teach high school physics. When she decided to leave teaching for a career in forensic chemistry, we thought we would have to move from Oregon to Connecticut. This prompted me to spend nine months undergoing a crash course in computer science. I worked full time while taking classes at local colleges. When it turned out we didn’t have to move, I parlayed my skills into a computer programming job. I hated it. I’d always wanted to be a computer programmer, but once I became one, I loathed the work.
  5. My favorite job ever was at McDonald’s when I was a senior in high school. I’m not kidding. My co-workers were whip-smart and efficient. We had a blast. It was a game to see how good we could be. I’ve worked at other jobs where the employees are apathetic, just killing time on the clock. Those jobs are miserabe. It wasn’t like that at McDonald’s. We were a team, and our goal was to be awesome. We were.

Now’s the part of the game where I’m supposed to tag five other bloggers. I’m not going to do that. However, I’d love to learn more about regular readers in the comments!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!