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Old 12-30-2016, 04:22 AM   #61
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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.
Options, these are words of wisdom I will ponder. Right now I am enduring a dysfunctional new financial "system" which is mostly NOT working, as in really NOT working. Some vendors are not getting paid. Reports are unavailable. Etc. Now, this "system" was implemented from the top, with the involvement of multiple millions for contractors. Although, for the moment, my work is actually lessened (because little can be done), I can foresee an avalanche rolling down ahead. Plus, the sinking feeling that our raises are flying out the door to the contractors, and that top management responsible for the fiasco won't suffer the slightest penalty. And I've been raging, mostly to myself, about this: "how could they;" "didn't they see ..." etc., etc.

Disengage. Disengage. Every moment spent dwelling on the unfairness of it all is a moment not given to ER preps and dreams. I could be implementing preliminary actions. It's amusing to see such complete fiascos originating from the same management lecturing us on being "change agents," a few months ago, but it is ultimately unproductive to keep turning it over in my mind. I shall endeavor to disengage.

There is an avalanche coming, but also a beckoning FIRE at the top of the next hill!
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Old 12-30-2016, 05:27 AM   #62
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I posted on this last January. At that time I was counting about a year and a half to go. Since then I revised my date to 3/31/17. I have been counting months to go since then. They have gone by OK. Counting every day would make it longer for me. Perhaps soon I will start counting weeks to go. The recent stock market rally has certainly been comforting. It looks like I will RE in good shape. DW scheduled a cruise for the first week.
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Old 12-30-2016, 06:26 AM   #63
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Over the last several years before retirement, I gradually reduced work hours, working 4, then 3, then 2 and then 1 day a week. For me, enduring the last few years of work was easy because I didn't do much work - just trained my replacement and wrapped up a few things.
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Old 12-30-2016, 11:00 AM   #64
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In my last year of teaching I tried to concentrate on doing the best I could for my students and avoid all of the DRAMA over test scores, special projects, new curriculum, an administrator who thoroughly disliked by teaching partner, etc. Alas, they kept trying to suck me into that stuff. I just kept telling myself "Just XX more weeks. You can do it." And, I was right.
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Old 12-30-2016, 11:02 AM   #65
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Now, this "system" was implemented from the top, with the involvement of multiple millions for contractors.
I remember seeing a quote in a trade magazine from one of mega-corps IT managers.

"We paid these guys (one of the large outsourcing/consulting companies from India) 3.5 million dollars to implement SAP, and we got absolutely nothing!"
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Old 12-30-2016, 11:11 AM   #66
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I am counting down the remaining number of yogurts I'll have to choke down for lunch.
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Old 12-30-2016, 12:02 PM   #67
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Options, these are words of wisdom I will ponder. Right now I am enduring a dysfunctional new financial "system" which is mostly NOT working, as in really NOT working. Some vendors are not getting paid. Reports are unavailable. Etc. Now, this "system" was implemented from the top, with the involvement of multiple millions for contractors. Although, for the moment, my work is actually lessened (because little can be done), I can foresee an avalanche rolling down ahead. Plus, the sinking feeling that our raises are flying out the door to the contractors, and that top management responsible for the fiasco won't suffer the slightest penalty. And I've been raging, mostly to myself, about this: "how could they;" "didn't they see ..." etc., etc.

Disengage. Disengage. Every moment spent dwelling on the unfairness of it all is a moment not given to ER preps and dreams. I could be implementing preliminary actions. It's amusing to see such complete fiascos originating from the same management lecturing us on being "change agents," a few months ago, but it is ultimately unproductive to keep turning it over in my mind. I shall endeavor to disengage.

There is an avalanche coming, but also a beckoning FIRE at the top of the next hill!
You have to realize the great degree to which most of what occurs in organizations is all a game, with many in so-called leadership playing it by ear just as much as anyone else. The game for them is to look good, "implement" strategy, change, plans, goals, "metrics" (a favorite game), all to make each person at each level look good. Why? So their fat paychecks keep coming. It's a most insidious game, based on greed (of course no one will admit to this, much less tell you).

I saw so many of these massive change efforts either fail outright, change radically in midstream after enormous amounts of money had already been spent, or get implemented only to get completely dismantled a few years later when a new regime came in (with a whole new slew of money-grubbing overpriced change consultants in tow).

Here's the key: none of this is your problem. Knowing the above and knowing none of it was my problem was exactly what facilitated my total disengagement, while keeping my conscience clear. People could say the most stupid things to me, and it went right through me (as if it wasn't even said--I was probably thinking of some aspect of retirement anyway). Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to focus single-minded on ER. Regarding work, do what you can, with what you have, where you are, adding value to your personal standards. Then forget about it.

Remember, every moment you don't disengage from the morass that exists in almost every organization, every minute you don't release anything and everything over which you have no control, you are putting your ER plans at risk.
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Old 12-30-2016, 02:56 PM   #68
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Options, I am cutting and pasting your wisdom into a note for frequent consultation :-) Thank you!
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Old 12-30-2016, 03:32 PM   #69
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I really need something inspiring to help me get through my last few years.
I'm always saddened to hear about folks who are unhappy doing whatever it is they are doing to support themselves. Most of us have to do something to earn a living. For many, this is not misery. For others, they're unhappy and mostly spend their precious hours on earth wishing their lives away.

I agree with all those who say it's important for our young folks to learn about finances and putting together resources to support themselves when they no longer want to or just plain can't. But it seems just as important for career beginners to position themselves so they aren't totally subjected to the whims of employers, that they have choices and that they generally enjoy the hours they spend bringing home the bacon.

Can you possibly find an alternative to what you're doing now? Or have you painted yourself into a corner and absolutely must grind it out despite your pain and dissatisfaction?
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Old 12-30-2016, 04:25 PM   #70
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I remember seeing a quote in a trade magazine from one of mega-corps IT managers.

"We paid these guys (one of the large outsourcing/consulting companies from India) 3.5 million dollars to implement SAP, and we got absolutely nothing!"
I can assure you for $3.5mm dollars, in anything resembling a typical setting, you will not get an adequate program plan or PMO in place to manage a real SAP implementation.
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Old 12-30-2016, 05:30 PM   #71
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I must be super lucky. I actually enjoy my job. I'm a tech that covers the western half of the US (including Alaska and Hawaii) that is able to basically set my own schedule. When I'm not traveling, I "work" from home. I have no office politics to deal with because I'm never in one place long enough. I'm generally the white knight who comes in to fix serious issues. But even with the high status in the various loyalty programs I belong to, being a road warrior is tough on the body. I'm not nearly in the shape I used to be. Perhaps better discipline on my part is what is lacking. But it's a common trait among RWs and why I'm looking to get out as soon as I know I can live comfortably in retirement.
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An unbearable finale: is it burnout or something else?
Old 12-30-2016, 11:05 PM   #72
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An unbearable finale: is it burnout or something else?

"How do you train yourself to endure your last few years before retirement"
Just how old is the person who asked this question?
It is possible that the original author may be suffering from burnout. I was aware of the term and even read up on the 'signs of burnout' but I did not recognize it in myself until after I took an 'early retirement'. I took an E.R. package, relocated and began working part-time at a couple of jobs which had less pressure and which I enjoyed. Had I been aware of burnout, I might have been able to negotiate a 3 month sabbatical, taken some therapy, etc. To ensure: seek a change in assignment or tasks. On my part, I also created a simple excel spreadsheet which automatically counted down the number of days to retirement eligibility. I opened that worksheet fairly frequently .... . This may sound trite or overused, but I found that worklife was also a heck of lot more bearable when I had regular workouts that included my favorite sport.
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Old 12-31-2016, 09:41 AM   #73
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I definitely have burnout- I just don't have to go back to work when I'm done at this job- ever if I don't want to. I'm getting close though- during the course of this year I cut my expected retire date from 4 years to a little more than one. Yesterday at work I got a "save the date" email for the annual spring meeting. I smiled as I put it on the calendar because its the last one I ever have to go to. There will be lots of "last time I have to do this" in the course of the next year and I will try to savor every one.
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Old 12-31-2016, 01:04 PM   #74
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I definitely have burnout
Madame, du fait que vous parliez francais, je t'écris dans la meme langue. C'est dommage d'avoir reconnu qu'il y avait du 'burn-out". Dans le processus de quitter votre travail, j'éspère que vous aviez pris en compte les besoins financière de la famille. Que Dieu te benisse.
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Old 12-31-2016, 01:53 PM   #75
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All I did was to drink too much.


Yup, I can appreciate that! And eat too much! And exercise too little. Lol
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Old 12-31-2016, 01:55 PM   #76
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LOL! Merci- oui, je parle francais, mais je n'ecris pas bien. Je suis Cajun. Vous etes Canadian, peut-etre?

Yes, I have thought about my family's financial needs- quitting today would mean we could live on 3% of our liquid net worth, and my husband has no intention of quitting his job. He makes more than enough to support us without my income. I have been doing the exact same job for 20 years and I no longer love it- I no longer even like it, but I allow for the possibility that I might want to do something else. And then again, I might not and I don't think I will have to if I don't want to.
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Old 12-31-2016, 02:29 PM   #77
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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.
Where to start...

I am in a job that is high pressure and consists of heavy travel, which I don't generally mind. My friends have stopped calling (LOL) because they know I'm never around except weekends, and that is spent playing catch up around the house and spending time with my boyfriend of 9 years. My quality of life outside work is not great because I can never plan. When I do, then an emergency call, meeting, trip, etc. is scheduled and there is no question about if I should attend. I live my life for my pitiful 3 weeks annual vacation, and even then, if it's stateside- I do some work. I am very lucky in that I have zero debt and make a significant salary. I save about half of gross wages each year and should be easily able to live 2 years retirement for every year of savings. I work with my Vanguard advisor and FIRECALC- so I feel confident. I have no children to support. Neither does my boyfriend. We intend to marry and coexist when he retires in 4.5 years (I'll need his healthcare ). He is a few years older than I (6) and was actually eligible for his pension nearly 2 years ago, but he is working to increase his multiplier. My problem isn't so much the job- it's me. I'm tired of corporate America. I'm tired of not being able to plan. I want a life of travel, adventure, and experiences with those I love. I could have all that tomorrow if I could get my BF to retire and we downsized our two homes into something smaller. I feel like I am not fulfilling my purpose. I fantasize about volunteer work in other parts of the world. I fantasize about taking a modest position teaching English in China and traveling the world. This is all possible- but the BF is not ready to pull the plug. Sure, I could take a job that has no travel and less hours, but then I couldn't save all that I'm saving today- and the bottom line is, I just really don't want to work more than part time. I don't think changing jobs is the answer. The real solution is getting the BF to retire. LOL. And he can afford to- the difference is he likes his job and as a teacher, has a lot of time off to decompress, plan, travel. So, I continue to fantasize about that old company selling and further padding my nest egg, counting down the days to BFs retirement, hoping that delaying our retirement isn't the wrong thing to do (I'm in healthcare- I've watched too many people die while putting off retirement because they just weren't ready).
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Old 12-31-2016, 02:31 PM   #78
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I'm always saddened to hear about folks who are unhappy doing whatever it is they are doing to support themselves. Most of us have to do something to earn a living. For many, this is not misery. For others, they're unhappy and mostly spend their precious hours on earth wishing their lives away.

What's sad is not that people are unhappy, it's that they've bought into the traditional view of working in organizations only to run smack into a brick wall (as in ouch, that hurts!). The whole "follow your passion" thing works until it doesn't. You're only "free from misery" until the organization gets sold, merges, or closes down, the colleague from hell becomes one of your stakeholders, your favorite boss or boss's boss or boss's boss's boss's boss leaves and is replaced by Satan. Or you experience the joy of one or more layoffs (perhaps right around the holidays), you become ensnared in politics you want no part of, or become mired in some Frankenstein change initiative that everyone below 3C knows in advance will fail. And even if it is successful, the odds that Frankenstein Lives! are only good until the next economic downturn (when a new crap shoot "strategy" is then created/implemented by your fearless "leadership").

Welcome to reality: you've been working in quicksand and you didn't even know it.


I agree with all those who say it's important for our young folks to learn about finances and putting together resources to support themselves when they no longer want to or just plain can't. But it seems just as important for career beginners to position themselves so they aren't totally subjected to the whims of employers, that they have choices and that they generally enjoy the hours they spend bringing home the bacon.

You have to understand the major extent to which the world of work has radically changed in our lifetimes. Did you see the very recent study showing that all jobs created between 2005-2015 were temporary in nature? What does this portend for individual security, fulfillment, stability? Is it no wonder studies show most millennials want no part of traditional employment? Good for them!

Can you possibly find an alternative to what you're doing now? Or have you painted yourself into a corner and absolutely must grind it out despite your pain and dissatisfaction?
For OP (and others near retirement), it's a different ballgame entirely and it's imperative to remember what's at stake. There is so much to learn to have a successful quantitative/qualitative retirement. Single-minded focus on the wildly important idea of creating a retirement that succeeds will automatically crowd out 90% or more of useless organizational "noise" while keeping it from getting into your head (where it does not belong!).

Finally, another way to help endure the final lap toward retirement is to "remember the people involved." Find people you like in the organization to hang out with. Trade soulless organizational engagement for the fabric and texture only relationships can bring. This will provide wind on your back to get you to the finish line.
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Old 12-31-2016, 03:32 PM   #79
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This is a great thread and what a great and relevant question! I have been retired 5 years and I don't think about work much anymore. But as best I can recall I muddled through the last few years by
1- eyes on the prize. I had a financial plan to get me to ER and I checked it everyday, ran numbers and scenarios. Focusing on the end game and the art of the possible made the reality of the horrible work environment a little more palatable.

2- enjoyed spending time with the several people at the office who I genuinely liked, had lunches with them, and also enjoyed mentoring some the younger,junior executives

3- tried to be a good actor. As I approached the office every morning I imagined myself as an actor going on stage in a Broadway play. In this way, my work life was not a reality but an imaginary setting and I was merely improvising my way through a show.

4- watched "the shawshank redemption". For me, work was a prison and the people running the joint were like the evil prison warden in that movie. I imagined myself as the Tim Robbins character, suffering countless indignities - while secretly putting my escape plan together. And when the time came I activated the plan and escaped to freedom on my terms- just as you will do.
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Old 01-02-2017, 07:45 AM   #80
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Where to start...

The real solution is getting the BF to retire.
Frugal, it seems that you do have several paths to consider, since you say you are in a position to retire "now" if BF would join you. I take it that marrying BF now and downsizing now are not an option (whether you are working PT or not). But you sound so ready to go - and it does not seem a position where mind games would work for you (unlike me) - because you are so far from the goal. Can you cut your years in half - that would make it much more bearable. Can you cut your active years in half and THEN transition to the lower paying, fewer hours option - and view that as your pre-retirement planning stage? You said you had weekends free, mostly. Is there a way to make them freer? Household cleaning help once every two weeks? Carve out a two hour special space for getting outdoors (my regular nostrum) or pursuing a special interest - maybe researching your annual vacation - once a weekend? Good luck!
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