Subscriber Swap Saturday: Brip Blap

by Kevin on January 10, 2009

This is the seventh edition of Subscriber Swap Saturday.

I highly encourage all of my readers to subscribe to brip blap for one week and see if you like what you find! Read more about Subscriber Swap Saturday at the link above. You can also read his interview questions for me.

Steve is the author of brip blap, a personal finance and self-development blog.  His writing covers every aspect of wealth building:  career, personal finance, health, family and self-development.  You can subscribe to his blog’s RSS feed or get email updates.

Question (No Debt Plan): So your life has changed quite a bit in the past few months, right? Walk us through some of the changes and how you’ve handled them.

Answer (brip blap): Like everyone, my routine’s been thrown by the ongoing financial crisis.  I had found that Wall Street was a great place (meaning lucrative) for a contract consultant like me, specialized in audit and Sarbanes-Oxley.  Work was easy to come by over the last few years and the decision to move from full-time employee status to contract consultant was a no-brainer four years ago.  Now, like many of my colleagues in New York, I’m struggling in a rapidly contracting job market; there are fewer jobs, fewer consulting opportunities and a much larger base of competition from all the other struggling consultants and laid-off employees.  So I’ve made the (somewhat forced) decision to go from contract consulting to a true freelancer, looking to get income from as many different sources as possible.

Q: What was your biggest challenge working freelance/contract rather than permanently?

A: It’s a tie – matching the level of income and motivating myself to do the work.  A lot of contract consulting is negotiated upfront – pay me $10 per hour for at least 40 hours per week, for example.  I’ll serve that one client exclusively during that time, but it’s guaranteed income.  Now I’m scrapping for every hour of work, and trying to find 40 hours of work per week is a challenge (at least 40 hours paying at the level I was used to receiving.  And the second part is staying motivated to keep trying to generate the work; selling for one big project per year for contract consulting is a lot different than selling 4 different mini-projects per day.

Q: What drove you to start writing brip blap? And hey, what’s brip blap mean?

A: I wrote a political blog named brip blap for years, but never really got into the “business of blogging.”  I decided that I needed to work on my writing and also motivate myself, not just in regards to personal finance but also in developing myself as a person.  I thought blogging was a good way to kill two birds with one stone (writing practice and self-development).  The phrase brip blap is from the movie “How to Murder Your Wife” starring Jack Lemmon (which apparently is a comedy despite the ominous title).  My parents liked the phrase which was used to describe a manic depressive type in the movie whose moods went briiiiip….blap (with a hand fluttering up then swooping down to illustrate).  They bestowed this moniker on me at a very early age because my ‘baby moods’ ranged from extremely happy to extremely mopey very quickly.  I’ve remained the same to this day, and people who know me in real life say this phrase very accurately describes me!

Q: Having worked in the financial industry and seeing a least a piece of what happened first hand, what do you think is going to happen to the economy? And who is really at fault? (Admitting at first that no one really knows.)

A: The economy in New York will not recover soon.  The economy in the US won’t either.  We have to take a hard look in the mirror as a nation and realize that our two biggest employers are the federal government and Wal-Mart.  We are losing all of our industries that “make things.”  We will lose the white-collar IT, finance, science and knowledge work to developing countries due to the globalization of knowledge through the internet because of our decaying education system.  This country loves cheap goods and cheap houses and easy credit, but the bill was always going to come due someday.  I’m increasingly skeptical that anything short of a massive rethinking of this idea we call “America” will do much other than staunch the bleeding.  And who is at fault?  Last I heard, we were still a republic with elected officials making the laws, so most of us just need to look in a mirror.  We voted the crooks in.  And most of us were pumping money into the Lehman Brothers and Citigroups and AIGs of the world buying their “can’t miss” stocks.  So let’s hope we don’t spend too much time blaming each other and admit that we all bear some responsibility.

Q: What is at the top of your list to change in 2009?

A: I want to get better organized.  I feel nervous and unsettled about a lot of things, internally (staying in shape, staying productive, raising two kids, etc.) and externally (the economy and the world), and 99.9% of the time it’s not because something’s wrong, it’s because my to-do’s and recordkeeping and focus aren’t anywhere near what they should be!

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Thanks, Steve! Hey readers — check out brip blap. Subscribe for at least a week and see if you like what you read. I’ve been subscribed for quite some time and I haven’t been disappointed. Steve writes very well — this isn’t just another personal finance blog. That’s also one of the neatest blog name stories I’ve heard of yet. Great job, Steve.

Want to be interviewed for Subscriber Swap Saturday? I’ve got some openings coming up in February.

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