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56 year young engineer mulling retirement
Old 12-12-2012, 09:20 AM   #1
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56 year young engineer mulling retirement

Hi all. Good forum- thanks for sharing your stories and advice. I just took a severance package, after working for several decades as an engineer in a very large (evil empire) tech company. On one hand I'm glad to be out, tired of the ugly stuff that goes on there. Yes, the money was good, but I felt my lifespan was shortened by working there. Not sure I want to stay retired, so I'm kicking tires for another job, but don't want another sweatshop job. I probably have enough saved up to retire (based on FIREcalc). Anyway, it's good to read your posts- I am apparently not alone in trying to make these life decisions.
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Old 12-12-2012, 09:33 AM   #2
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Welcome, tfud! You'll find lots of varied perspectives here so don't hesitate to ask. If FIREcalc says you are FI, then you may want to take some time off to see what RE might be like before you jump back in the pond. There are some excellent books on the recommended reading list (see An updated FIRE recommended reading list (with a military twist) and ignore the military stuff if that doesn't apply). I particularly found The Joy of Not Working helpful in getting over the feeling that I "should" be employed. But you'll also find several folks who tried RE and decided to go back to work, and that's OK also. Choice is a great thing, so congratulations on being FI!
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Old 12-12-2012, 12:41 PM   #3
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Hi all. Good forum- thanks for sharing your stories and advice. I just took a severance package, after working for several decades as an engineer in a very large (evil empire) tech company. On one hand I'm glad to be out, tired of the ugly stuff that goes on there. Yes, the money was good, but I felt my lifespan was shortened by working there. Not sure I want to stay retired, so I'm kicking tires for another job, but don't want another sweatshop job. I probably have enough saved up to retire (based on FIREcalc). Anyway, it's good to read your posts- I am apparently not alone in trying to make these life decisions.
Hi there my engineering friend. I am too in the same profession and have 6 years to go due to putting kids through college. I am turning 49 soon and my calculation shows that I am already FI but yearning for the day I put my calculator down and walk away.
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Old 12-12-2012, 12:52 PM   #4
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Welcome aboard, tfudtuckerpucker. There are many engineers and technical types here, so you're among kindred spirits; some retired and some hoping to be.

Enjoy your new freedom. Look forward to seeing more posts from you.

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Old 12-12-2012, 02:17 PM   #5
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Welcome tfud. When I quit w*rking about a year ago at 56 I felt uncomfortable with the notion of being "retired" so I framed it as taking a year off to enjoy life and figure out what I want to do. After a year, I am not perfectly comfortable with the lable of being retired and returning to w*rk crosses my mind on occasion, but only fleetingly.

Since you are FI, you can take a year off to think about it if you wish.

YMMV
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Old 12-12-2012, 05:17 PM   #6
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Welcome....I'm relatively new here too.... and engineering has been good to me although I have been in a technical sales capacity for the better part of my career. I'm 49 with the DW several years ahead of me. If I was to get a package today I would strongly consider pulling the plug for good. It sure is a good feeling to be FI.....my stress level is ratcheted down a notch knowing I can go out now with no financial worries.
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Old 12-12-2012, 07:04 PM   #7
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Welcome. I'm also an engineer, and new here too. I'm 50. I spent the first 11 years working for 3 different consulting firms. I enjoyed the work, but the pace was just too much, so I understand how you feel. I have spent the last 17 years with the federal government, and it is just the opposite. The pace is much better, but the work is boring!
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Old 12-13-2012, 11:36 AM   #8
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Welcome tfud. When I quit w*rking about a year ago at 56 I felt uncomfortable with the notion of being "retired" so I framed it as taking a year off to enjoy life and figure out what I want to do. After a year, I am not perfectly comfortable with the lable of being retired and returning to w*rk crosses my mind on occasion, but only fleetingly.

Since you are FI, you can take a year off to think about it if you wish.

YMMV
Another engineer here. ER'd two year ago this month and loving it.

Don't want to be negative but when I was a hiring staff, if I had seen an older engineer applicant who had a year of work missing from their resume I wouldn't have interviewed them. I would be careful about "taking a year off".
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Old 12-13-2012, 12:21 PM   #9
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Welcome tfud. When I quit w*rking about a year ago at 56 I felt uncomfortable with the notion of being "retired" so I framed it as taking a year off to enjoy life and figure out what I want to do. After a year, I am not perfectly comfortable with the lable of being retired and returning to w*rk crosses my mind on occasion, but only fleetingly.

Since you are FI, you can take a year off to think about it if you wish.

YMMV
Typo - I meant that I am "now" perfectly comfortable with being retired, (not "not").
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Old 12-13-2012, 12:25 PM   #10
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Another engineer here. ER'd two year ago this month and loving it.

Don't want to be negative but when I was a hiring staff, if I had seen an older engineer applicant who had a year of work missing from their resume I wouldn't have interviewed them. I would be careful about "taking a year off".
So you'd be interested in someone who had 30 years of great experience but if they had 30 years of great experience and hadn't worked for a year you wouldn't be interested?

I guess one can always overcome that bias by having the year be "working" as a sole principal consultant.
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Old 12-13-2012, 12:41 PM   #11
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Another engineer here. ER'd two year ago this month and loving it.

Don't want to be negative but when I was a hiring staff, if I had seen an older engineer applicant who had a year of work missing from their resume I wouldn't have interviewed them. I would be careful about "taking a year off".
That's pretty common in the engineering world (I'm an engineer, also).

There are lots of ways around that. If you put that you were consulting, or working on a startup, etc... you can hide the gap pretty easily.

But that worry over the gap prevented me from taking a few years off to stay home with the kids. Now I'm doing the reverse... I plan to retire (soon) when they're teenagers. I figure there's a lot more trouble they can get into when they're teenagers, than when they're toddlers.
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Old 12-13-2012, 04:28 PM   #12
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Welcome Tfud,

You're in a great position- you can take an interesting job if it comes along - or not take it- your choice doesn't have to be based on financial reasons. I'm a part owner of a civil engineering/land surveying firm until next Friday, and I'll be taking a part time gig through a one year transition. It's so much easier negotiating work terms when you really don't need the job.
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Old 12-14-2012, 10:20 AM   #13
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Welcome Tfud,

You're in a great position- you can take an interesting job if it comes along - or not take it- your choice doesn't have to be based on financial reasons. I'm a part owner of a civil engineering/land surveying firm until next Friday, and I'll be taking a part time gig through a one year transition. It's so much easier negotiating work terms when you really don't need the job.
Thanks all, for your suggestions and advice. Indeed, I am enjoying the break, after working continuously for 32 years. I'm wondering if I'll enjoy not working for money so much that I don't go back, as some of you have found. Or maybe I'll find a company that treats its older engineers better.
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Old 12-15-2012, 04:33 AM   #14
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Welcome to the board.
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Very conservative with investments. Not ER'd yet, 48 years old. Please do not take anything I write or imply as legal, financial or medical advice directed to you. Contact your own financial advisor, healthcare provider, or attorney for financial, medical and legal advice.
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Old 12-15-2012, 11:34 AM   #15
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It's good to have options

I found the longer I was off of work, the more unpalatable the thought of going back to that lifestyle became. I've been free for over six years now and have gotten really good at not having to work - I'm flat out spoiled!

Good luck with your decision
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Old 12-15-2012, 09:35 PM   #16
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I am also an engineer who left an evil empire about seven months ago after 32 years. I had intended to find part time work, but after only seven months, I feel like Donzo. I still miss a small part of my job, but I find opportunities for personal satisfaction just by helping neighbors and friends that I would never have been able to do before because of the lack of time. I am having a blast. The freedom to control your life opens up possibilities that you simply would not have taken advantage of while working. Thursday night (actually Friday morning), we got up at 0200 to watch the meteor shower (which was quiet good I must add). I would never have done that if I was working and had to get up at 0500. So if the numbers work out, try it, I don't think you will be disappointed. Additionally, it seems that there is an increasing amount of short term contract work in many engineering fields if you are willing to travel.
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Old 12-16-2012, 07:05 AM   #17
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Additionally, it seems that there is an increasing amount of short term contract work in many engineering fields if you are willing to travel.
I knew a guy that did that. Most here in the USA. He would take his RV to the location and live in it. Then get in a little traveling after the job/consulting work was done. He loved it.
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Old 12-17-2012, 11:34 PM   #18
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So you'd be interested in someone who had 30 years of great experience but if they had 30 years of great experience and hadn't worked for a year you wouldn't be interested?

I guess one can always overcome that bias by having the year be "working" as a sole principal consultant.
The last time I hired an engineer I had multiple resumes. A gap in work history was not a positive sign. I had others to choose from. At the very least the applicant needed to explain the gap in work history and taking a year off to see if they liked retirement or just wanted a year off to relax would not have been a good reason. If they were volunteering to work for the Red Cross or Habitat For Humanity or some other "good cause" then I would be more impressed. Since the 2008 crash there is a lot of unemployment and competition for jobs. This is not the time to fool around with your work history and resume.

Just for the record I ended up hiring an engineer in his 60's. He had retired as an electrical engineer and had since trained as a 6 sigma Black Belt Industrial engineer. He is still working there 2 yrs after I ER'd.
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Old 01-09-2013, 12:46 PM   #19
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I am also an engineer who left an evil empire about seven months ago after 32 years. I had intended to find part time work, but after only seven months, I feel like Donzo. I still miss a small part of my job, but I find opportunities for personal satisfaction just by helping neighbors and friends that I would never have been able to do before because of the lack of time. I am having a blast. The freedom to control your life opens up possibilities that you simply would not have taken advantage of while working. Thursday night (actually Friday morning), we got up at 0200 to watch the meteor shower (which was quiet good I must add). I would never have done that if I was working and had to get up at 0500. So if the numbers work out, try it, I don't think you will be disappointed. Additionally, it seems that there is an increasing amount of short term contract work in many engineering fields if you are willing to travel.

I considered this to be an option after ER at 55. Get a part of the year gig say 3-6 months traveling. Do this until I get tired of it.
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Old 01-10-2013, 03:36 PM   #20
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I'm also an Engineer, working for BIG Tech company and looking to freed myself either by 2017/2020. If I reach my first goal to amass 3M(Already have 2.25M now) by 2017 then it'll be it...otherwise 2020.
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