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Old 02-02-2016, 12:37 PM   #41
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Meadbh's advice is excellent. Instead of futilely seeking re-engagement at work (where you have very little real control), develop one or two new outside interests that will allow you to feel some sense of personal growth and fulfilment. Richard Sapolsky suggests this in several of his publications (see generally the National Geographic documentary Stress: Portrait of a Killer, which you can watch free on YouTube).
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Old 02-02-2016, 02:57 PM   #42
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I had a calendar on the wall and marked off everyday.
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Maintaining motivation for that final couple of years
Old 10-23-2016, 05:14 PM   #43
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Maintaining motivation for that final couple of years

Quote:
Originally Posted by Teacher Terry View Post
I had a calendar on the wall and marked off everyday.
I see that I am requested to think carefully before bumping this thread. But I haven't seen anything more recent, and THIS thread was the one that led me to this forum Teacher Terry, I too have a calendar with *workdays* marked off before my "Possibility Day." Yes, I calculated the workdays minus weekends, vacations and personal days. I started off at 255 days, and have marked every day off since then.

However, "Possibility Day" is only the day that I *can* retire. I plan to work another year or so to ensure more travel money. I may have made a mistake in starting my countdown to *Possibility Day,* but I don't think so. A boss that I like is returning for that final year, and I will also have double vacation days due to a quirk in how vacation days are counted. That's 50 vacation days! I'll manage.

Anyway, I am sure that I am not alone in facing this issue. I want to be a good employee for these last couple of years, but I am so tired of the Kabuki Theater. E.g. there was a mention upthread of performance evaluations and how people are not sweating them. Well, I've written almost all my own performance evaluations for the last 20 years because my supervisors are too busy - but it doesn't even matter, because no one reads them, and a union contract actually controls most of these matters. The evaluations are just there to make some sort of symbolic point for management.

Here are the measures I am taking for the final couple of years:
  1. I am taking workshops and/or training myself in various computer programs and applications that are part of my job, but will also serve me well after retirement.
  2. I am drawing up a guidebook for anyone who will succeed me - although my conviction that it is needed has been much diminished by the advent of new systems which will render much of what I write useless
  3. I am going to finally beautify my office after having the clutter accurately reflect my anxiety for most of my working life
  4. I am keeping a record of the absurdities I encounter in hopes that will defuse my feeling fed up with having to deal with them
  5. I am keeping up with retirement issues at work, new benefits, timelines, etc.
  6. I am working through all the health examinations I should have gotten finished off. I've almost gotten through them!
  7. I am keeping a shred file of old documents about issues were particularly anxiety-provoking in order to burn them afterwards. One particularly horrible document I am keeping dates back to 1990, when I was new! Some day, I knew I would be able to burn it! I have another file of old, expired papers from which I occasionally pull a paper out and shred, so I can say, "Another painful memory gone."

I *think* this is the right forum for this thread. Please let me know if there is a better one. I am sure some of you can contribute to it!
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Old 10-23-2016, 06:54 PM   #44
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I have two retirement days. One has already passed. I retired 1.5 years earlier than required from my former overseas job and returned to America. To prepare, I also had a count down on the number of days left. I also switched departments at work to one which allowed me to pick up a few more skills that I could use in my post-retirement years. I also took a few, quality, free business classes on Coursera.org. Nonetheless, I had not realized the extent to which I was burned out by the time I left.
My second retirement date is when I will complete withdraw from working for a salary. There is a near date and a far date. It is unrealistic (for our situation) to plan (financially, in concrete terms) more than 3-5 years in the future, although I have attempted to make some very uncertain projections out to year 70, 75, 80, and 90, etc.
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Old 10-23-2016, 10:21 PM   #45
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I showed up with the thought in mind that "it is my sandbox and whether you get to play in it is my choice not yours." It made it very easy to deal with an arrogant CEO!

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Old 10-24-2016, 04:41 AM   #46
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I started a countdown in my iPhone calendar. I also made a list of things I wanted to do when I had the time. When things got annoying at work, it was much easier to cope by realizing that even the worst day always ends and I get to go home.

Do not make a handbook for those who will follow you. No one will read it, and you also should begin to let go of your emotional investment at work. It is the company's job to replace you, not yours. It helps more to plan your adventures and interests going into the future.
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Old 10-24-2016, 06:31 AM   #47
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I downloaded a countdown app for my phone. It started at ~630 days. I do not even look at it any more now that I am FIREd. Most of my co-workers and bosses knew I was retiring and how many days I had left. It was almost a running joke. I was already very FI by that time.

I had a printed calendar on the wall. The first business day of the month was written in. When I got to under 100 days, I had a 100 day count down chart. And my monthly calendar had the days each week. Wen it was under 30 days, it was written down every day.

I checked my FIRE plan at least 5 times a day. Most days I suspect it was more. I zeroed in on the day, and the reason for the exact day. Be sure to account for pensions anniversaries, 401K matches, bonuses, holidays, etc.

Make damn sure you know the date you can leave without looking back. If you have to go another year, after counting down for several years, it will nearly kill you.

Keep a positive attitude. If you are not yet FI, and get laid off, that may also kill your life plans.

Focus ion the mental preparation. If you are just leaving to leave, know what you are leaving to Far too many people need the structure of work. And they cannot live normally without it. Depression, drinking, etc. all are risk factors of lack of structure.
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Old 10-24-2016, 06:50 AM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Senator View Post
I downloaded a countdown app for my phone. It started at ~630 days. I do not even look at it any more now that I am FIREd. Most of my co-workers and bosses knew I was retiring and how many days I had left. It was almost a running joke. I was already very FI by that time.

I had a printed calendar on the wall. The first business day of the month was written in. When I got to under 100 days, I had a 100 day count down chart. And my monthly calendar had the days each week. Wen it was under 30 days, it was written down every day.

I checked my FIRE plan at least 5 times a day. Most days I suspect it was more. I zeroed in on the day, and the reason for the exact day. Be sure to account for pensions anniversaries, 401K matches, bonuses, holidays, etc.

Make damn sure you know the date you can leave without looking back. If you have to go another year, after counting down for several years, it will nearly kill you.

Keep a positive attitude. If you are not yet FI, and get laid off, that may also kill your life plans.

Focus ion the mental preparation. If you are just leaving to leave, know what you are leaving to Far too many people need the structure of work. And they cannot live normally without it. Depression, drinking, etc. all are risk factors of lack of structure.
I made an Excel Spreadsheet that counted down the days, my wife and I reviewed our plan it seemed like on a daily basis, made sure we maxed out all retirement accounts, vested and received all bonuses and most importantly we took a 2.5 week trip to Europe. The trip was supposed to happen after I retired, but for a positive financial reason it happened first.

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Old 10-24-2016, 07:09 AM   #49
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Taking in all these great perspectives! I know I'm not the only one in this situation, and it really helps to see the different approaches. Some of it is dependent on personality, some on the work situation, many other factors. Off to work I go, marking another day on the calendar. (Loved all the elaborate differing countdowns - obviously there are mind games at work! :-)
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Old 10-24-2016, 07:40 AM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eleighj416 View Post
I made an Excel Spreadsheet that counted down the days...
I did the same. It helps.

Number of days until FIRE. K1 being the cell with the FIRE date in it.
=K1-TODAY()+1

Number of work days K1=FIRE date. D2=Holidays, E2=Vacation days
=NETWORKDAYS(TODAY(),K1)-(D2+E2)
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FIRE no later than 7/5/2016 at 56 (done), securing '16 401K match (done), getting '15 401K match (done), LTI Bonus (done), Perf bonus (done), maxing out 401K (done), picking up 1,000 hours to get another year of pension (done), July 1st benefits (vacation day, healthcare) (done), July 4th holiday. 0 days left. (done) OFFICIALLY RETIRED 7/5/2016!!
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Old 10-24-2016, 08:58 PM   #51
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Good to see this string surface. I posted above in January when I was at a different organization, which was tanking and still is. Also my inept manager, the CEO, had no business having direct reports. I wanted my resume to reflect at least three years on the job so, at 18 months in, I bought a little notebook and counted down months to 2016, when I'd launch an aggressive search.

It worked! I landed in a much better situation in May. What a difference a job change can make! To paraphrase someone else on the ER Forum, "What matters most for job satisfaction is the quality of one's direct supervisor." I have definitely found that to be true. So, one way to end the count down agony is find more enjoyable work.
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Old 10-25-2016, 06:16 AM   #52
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I kept a good sense of humor to get me through the last years. That helped a lot. I am a happy person by nature and it is up to you to control your feelings. Only you have control of you...not anyone else. I also volunteered to do new assignments and it helped stave off boredom and kept me occupied. If you stay busy, the time goes faster. Most important...I have kept my work life and real life totally separate from each other. I would go into work and switch on the "Work Switch". When I walked out the door to go home, I switched on the "Real Life Switch" and did not think about the job when not there. You have work friends and real friends. They really do not mix, and there is a switch for them, too. Get out and do the things you love when off from work. Don't be afraid to use your sick leave to get out and do stuff. You want to be near zero on sick leave balance when you bail. Remember to stay involved with investment learning and the perks of the company when you are at work. After you retire, your new job will be handling your investments to the best of your ability. You will discover that real friends and relationships are even more important after you retire, so cultivate those while still working. Life really is a fun ride so just hang on and take the work thing in stride and have a laugh or two. You are one of the lucky ones.
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Old 10-25-2016, 06:19 AM   #53
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Senator, I used your formula, and it came out exactly the same as my back of the envelope calculations, which is great! Markola, yes, I agree, a good boss makes a great difference. When I do my OMY, which will start July 2017, what will make it bearable is the return of a good boss, and my extra vacation days. And also, the knowledge that at that point, retirement is possible at any point, even if "the plan" calls for another year.
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Old 10-25-2016, 06:57 AM   #54
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I did one pretty big thing as my ER plan was falling into place in 2007-2008. I was working part-time (3 days per week) and was becoming sick and tired of the commute form LI to Jersey City, New Jersey. Right after I received my annual bonus, I asked my boss to have my weekly hours reduced from 3 days (12 hours) to 2 days (12 hours). I did this in the anticipation of being able to ER by the end of 2008. I would become ineligible to remain in my company's group health insurance plan but I could go on COBRA for 18 months. I asked to be either allowed to remain in the HI plan or to have COBRA extended beyond 18 months but both were denied.


I was also told when I asked to have my hours reduced that it would likely not be reversible. That is, I could not go back to 20 hours and get back on the HI plan. I thought to myself, "No friggin WAY I want to go back, I probably will go to ZERO soon!"


I worked 17 more months at 12 hours a week. It was better than 3 days a week, as I also arrived home an hour sooner on those 2 lousy days. I saw my ER plan fall into place in those 17 months, thanks in part to the quickly declining stock market in 2008. I remember asking myself over and over in 2008, "Why am I still working here?" I hardly had a good answer.


By July of 2008, the last pieces or my ER plan had fallen into place. I was working on one big project I wanted to finish and I predicted that I would finish it by the end of October. At the end of September, I gave them my notice. I did finish that project, barely, on October 31st, 2008, my "Declaration of Independence" Day.


In 6 days, I celebrate the end of my 8th year of Independence.
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Old 12-29-2016, 05:40 PM   #55
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I'm in the same boat. Some days I don't think I can make it another day- others I think I can make it a couple more years. I'm 48 and I can FIRE in 4.5 years. Sooner, if my old company sells. I am fixated on that stock selling!! I've actually considered medication. So, I'll follow this thread, and hope to pick up some useful tips. "Not caring" and "Coasting" aren't options for me. I'm just not wired that way.
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Old 12-29-2016, 07:35 PM   #56
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Frugal, I can feel your pain through the electrons! You don't give enough details for people to offer advice, because different situations, different temperaments, different timeframes call forth different approaches. Are you working too many hours to have a separate life for yourself? Are your weekends free? I can say for myself that I have a hobby that is more like a passion. It has kept my sanity, brought me friends, and gotten me into the outdoors, which is THE antidote to work madness. What is your hobby? Do you have a family to keep you focused outside of work? Is humor a viable approach for you? Philosophy?

Can you make a 5 year roadmap to retirement? Develop a retirement budget, think about preparatory steps, such as planning a vacation to the area you plan to retire to, consult with a financial planner, start learning a language or a sport? Meditation instead of medication? ( And don't entirely discount cynicism!)

Know too that as the time passes, your anxiety lessens and it becomes easier to get your head above water and make plans. I would be interested in hearing your ideas on getting through the next years.
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Old 12-29-2016, 08:13 PM   #57
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I stuck my day-dreaming head in the sand and focused on the task at hand, one day at a time. I was burning out from a difficult situation.

The decompression from w○¡~k was good, once out but I was behind on building a transit to a new life. I signed up for college classes that started on my first week of freedom. I treated it like a chance to re-explore for my next phase.
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Old 12-29-2016, 10:02 PM   #58
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I'm in the same boat. Some days I don't think I can make it another day- others I think I can make it a couple more years. I'm 48 and I can FIRE in 4.5 years. Sooner, if my old company sells. I am fixated on that stock selling!! I've actually considered medication. So, I'll follow this thread, and hope to pick up some useful tips. "Not caring" and "Coasting" aren't options for me. I'm just not wired that way.
If you can't shift into not caring or coasting, at least disengage. You can care about your work product and output and add value, but nothing says you have to be engaged with all of the dysfunction inherent in work groups, departments, divisions, and organizations. Not engaging (in whatever way that means for you) represents a direct threat to your ER plans, as one day you might just decide you can't "make it another day" and quit on terms you didn't plan.

In the final year before I retired, you bet I watched that frog boil (counted days down first on a sheet of paper behind the computer monitor, then used a counter always visible on the computer screen). At work, I considered myself a hologram--in the place but not of it, there but not there--a vacant specter. I skipped every meeting I didn't want to go to, walked out of meetings (or read this/other forums during meetings I attended), and literally walked away from any conversation that was the least bit petty. I could do all this because I had produced so much value and was known as the guy who produced results.

After I left, everything I had accomplished collapsed, with three people eventually hired to take on what I had been doing. I've recently heard it has all become a colossal mess, with internal clients telling my ex-boss there'd never been any problems when I was there.
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Old 12-29-2016, 10:28 PM   #59
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Old 12-30-2016, 12:08 AM   #60
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one thing that helped me was that I really loved my coworkers. A few were with me for 15 or so years. they were a great support system.
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