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Notes from a Small Country

Our happiness Experiment

“There must be some mistake?” I exclaimed

I’d just been handed the bill to our first family meal at a Danish restaurant.

It was 30% more than than a meal out in the UK would have been.

Yikes! Had we entered a Michelin star restaurant and not realised?

The food was delicious, but not that delicious…

We’d also been served with more than a teaspoons worth of food…

No, we were in Sticks’n’Sushi, a chain restaurant famous for its tasty sushi, not famous for any kind of Michelin star.

A rich man is nothing but a poor man with money

Moving to Denmark is the biggest financial risk I’ve ever taken.

I like to have F-you money, which means putting away as much of my takehome income as I possibly can each year (into Vanguard index funds).

For those who haven’t heard of F-you money, it’s the type of money that buys freedom. Freedom to do what you want and to work for who you respect. That’s why it’s called F-you money (f*ck you money).

We’ve lived a modest, happy lifestyle in order to do this.

But the cost of living in Denmark is between 25 and 30% more than in the UK.

So, for now, it’s goodbye F-you fund…

Yes, it’s true, Denmark is an expensive place. Cost of living websites such as Numbeo are great for anyone who’s considering living in another country.

For Denmark, they currently highlight the below:


Source Numbeo.com

So we have no money left at the end of each month.

Yet our life is more peaceful & happy since moving to Denmark.

How is that?

It’s not as crowded here, and although Copenhagen is like many cities, with its large corporations and highly competitive jobs, it’s relatively quiet, I like quiet.

Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow

Danes have no need to worry about the cost of utility providers, as much of it is controlled by the government (to ensure fairness).

They don’t have to worry about losing their job, as they get looked after by the government while they look for a new one.

They have no need to concern themselves with hospital bills and healthcare, as it’s all provided for free.

Saving for retirement isn’t a worry, as the government ensures you’re looked after when elderly and no longer working.

Happiness is the ultimate currency

I’m British, so it’s easy to judge and think I’m easily tricked by a poster on the side of a bus…

But I’ve learned first hand that money isn’t everything.

What Denmark has given me is a lesson in happiness.

So we’re on what we call our happiness experiment. How long it’ll last we don’t know.

What I do know is, I won’t be saying F-you to my employer anytime soon.

I’m happy, so I don’t need to…

Plus I haven’t added to my F-you money in a year so it’s not ready yet…

“If you want to be happy, be.” Leo Tolstoy

 

I hope you enjoyed episode 5 of Notes from a Small Country? Please give me feedback directly or in the comments. Which part was your favourite? What do you want to see more or less of? Other suggestions? Let me know!

Don’t miss a thing and subscribe using your email below, that way you’ll get a notification each week when I publish my latest adventure.

See you next week for Episode 6.

Marcus Purvis leads software engineering teams at Unity Technologies, the realtime development platform of choice for video games, movies and more. He’s also learning to write inspiring content on LinkedInMedium and here at marcuspurvis.com

Originally published as part of LinkedIn newsletters here: Marcus Purvis Newsletters

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5 Share Friday

5 Share Friday 23 August 2019

Quote I’m pondering “You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realised how seldom they do” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Book I’m readingThe little book of history. It’s a fantastic book charting our history from the dawn of civilisation to the modern world of today. It’s got fantastic visuals and I’m finding that learning from the past is helping me understand the now. Check it out, it’s easily digestible and fascinating to learn from.

Free Google / Powerpoint templates I’m using – Ever wanted professional-looking templates for an array of different occasions & topics? From C.V’s & marketing to business pitches and newsletters… Slidesgo has them all, and best of all there’s no signup. I’ve been using them quite a bit in the last week and they’re now my go-to for Google slide templates.

Building a personal brand – To some, personal branding is a turn-off, to others it’s a crucial part of building their career. In my quest to understand branding, I found Dominyka Venciūtė’s article. She describes 5 ways to build your brand and the part that resonated with me most was her sentence below:

“The secret of building a strong personal brand lies in understanding how you wish to be perceived. Once you figure that out, everything else will follow.”

Art I’m enjoyingThis site has some terrific US president portraits. They’re funny and incredibly creative. My favourite is the last one which depicts Reagan and a chimp!


I hope you have a fantastic weekend doing the things you enjoy with the people you love.

Missed last weeks 5 Share? Find it here.

If you like this 5 share, please share with others. You can also get notified by email every Friday, simply sign up using the signup box on this page.

For more writing on work and life check out my blog here: https://www.marcuspurvis.com/category/posts/

Categories
Notes from a Small Country

Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads

“Wait a minute, Doc. Ah… Are you telling me that you built a time machine… out of a DeLorean?” – Marty McFly

It was the summer of 1985 and I was in the USA staying with my dad. We watched Back to the Future in the movie theatre and it became a film that stayed with me forever.

In the UK, it was a time when people met up more, a time when consumerism of goods hadn’t become so throw away, and a time when shops closed every Wednesday afternoon.

“If my calculations are correct when this baby hits 88MPH, you’re gonna see some serious s***”

Living in Denmark in 2019 can be like living back in 1985.

A life with one car families. People spending a lot more time outside. Social skills are highly valued, and TV watching well balanced. Oh, and high street shopping is very much alive and kicking too.

Honestly, Ferrero Rocher and Lion Bar are hugely popular as well.

It’s not all white t-shirts and Levi’s however, Denmark is a mix of old and new. It’s a country whose population is made up of tech-savvy people who love early adoption of devices and technology.

The key difference between 2019 in the UK & USA and 2019 in Denmark is mostly a mindset.

Technology compliments Danish life, it doesn’t drive it.

Take me back to the future

Going back in time isn’t all good.

I love the calm, I love simplicity. I don’t love Sunday with not much is open and very little going on outside of the city.

During the week, local shops and post offices close for lunch. They really do! The busiest time in a UK post office (if you’re lucky enough to have a post office) is lunchtime. I honestly don’t know how Danes can do personal chores outside of working hours. It’s increasingly obvious they do it in their workday and employers are sympathetic to it.

Our doctor’s surgery doesn’t even have a website. It’s so old school there’s a piece of paper sellotaped to the front door with the phone number and opening hours (which are 9-5, Mon – Frid btw).

Back to mindset

The 1980s felt like the last decade of calm. Busy lives were left to the bankers, CEO’s and fast-paced white-collar workers. It all started to change towards the end of the decade when Thatcherism pivoted society towards less community and more ‘what’s in it for me’?

Thankfully not so in Denmark, where it’s poor taste to think you’re better than the next person just because you have more money. The villains in Danish movies will often be rich people and it feels like being successful is more about living a happy life than the car you drive and money you make.

White poo all over again…

So I’ll take going back in time, as it comes with calm, simple and unselfish living.

I’m not sure about the white dog poo though? Remember that? It was everywhere in 1985, and it’s all over the place in my local neighbourhood right now in 2019.

Where’s my DeLorean?…

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I hope you enjoyed episode 4 of Notes from a Small Country? Please give me feedback directly or in the comments. Which part was your favourite? What do you want to see more or less of? Other suggestions? Let me know!

See you next week for Episode 5.

Don’t miss a thing and subscribe using your email below, that way you’ll get a notification each week when I publish my latest adventure.

Marcus Purvis leads software engineering teams at Unity Technologies, the realtime development platform of choice for video games, movies and more. He’s also learning to write inspiring content on LinkedInMedium and here at marcuspurvis.com

Originally published as part of LinkedIn newsletters here: Marcus Purvis Newsletters

Categories
5 Share Friday

5 Share Friday 16 August 2019

Quote I’m pondering“It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” – Harry S. Truman

Music for focus – I’m still trying out various music to work to and have used up 3 of my 5 free sessions at Brain FM. It’s so good I’m signing up for a year ($47) after my trial. Try it for yourself, they have focus & productivity, relaxing and sleep modes, it’s fantastic!

Favourite new app – 1.1.1.1 is a free privacy app for your iPhone or Android. It replaces the connection between your phone and the Internet, ensuring your connection is private. Basically like a VPN, though with speed on your side.

Does the truth matter anymore? – A recent post of a photograph showing wolves trekking through the snow, described as demonstrating excellent leadership led me to an insightful article about how our news media are no longer trusted to filter the real facts from the fake facts.

It’s a terrific read and gives many real-life examples around Facebook, newspapers and digital journalism.

Best LinkedIn articles ever! – Shameless plug, I’ve been writing about living and working in Denmark. It’s a humorous look at being an expat in the land of happy. Check it out and see what you think.

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I hope you have a fantastic weekend doing the things you enjoy with the people you love.

Missed last weeks 5 Share? Find it here.

If you like this 5 share, please share with others. You can also get notified by email every Friday, simply sign up using the signup box on this page.

For other blog posts on work and life go here: https://www.marcuspurvis.com/category/posts/