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Old 10-18-2015, 10:35 AM   #21
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I would guess that most in the FIRE group have quite a bit of ambition. It may just not be directed in manners that society commonly sees as desirable.

That's probable quite fair. I am very motivated to do the things I want to do, but those things rarely intersect with what the workplace rewards. I worked too long for my dad, an entrepreneur and farmer, and I gained a healthy perspective on just how much effort was involved in that. Not for me! I'm a solid wage earner type.
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Old 10-18-2015, 11:04 AM   #22
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I think I have some ambition but I've always tried to manage it and direct it toward what I felt was most important to me. I knew the grades I needed to get in high school to get into the college I wanted... something between a 3.0 and 3.25. If I got an A on a difficult exam, I knew I studied too much. I probably followed a similar approach in college. The objective was to get a good job, not rank in the top 5 or 10%.

At work, I work like crazy, I'd say much more efficiently than most in the office so I don't have to put in many extra hours. While there are some days I need to come in early and/or stay late, most of the time I'm able to get what many would consider 60+ hours of work done in a 40-45 hour work week. Those that know me well know I work hard and at the same time, I'm sure there are plenty of colleagues that see me leave early once in a while and think I'm lazy. Working hard and avoid the office chit-chat allows me to get my workouts in, get home to make the family dinner, relax and get 7-8 hours of sleep.

I'm also much like others here on this forum when it comes to working hard and saving aggressively now so that I don't have to work... or because I'm working because I want to not because I have to.
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Old 10-18-2015, 12:09 PM   #23
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Lack of ambition sort of limits your financial options down the line.
Yes and no... I turned down promotions that would have put me into people and project management in order to stay on the technical track. That definitely cost me, financially. Probably on the order of 30-40k/year by the end of my career. But I had no desire for those headaches.

I worked hard for the designated work hours, but avoided the high profile (intense deadlines, weekend working) projects. I worked on the less sexy, bread and butter jobs that weren't as cutting edge. It meant I never got the very top performance ranking (reserved for those folks who worked intense deadline projects) - but still got better than average performance reviews. I had no desire for reaching the next pay grade... I was making enough to reach my goals and had decent work/life balance.

My bosses commented often on their puzzlement about my attitude - noting that I was a good performer, but didn't understand why I didn't want more.

I agree with the article about the one spouse, one house thing. Divorce is expensive. Overbuying your primary home is expensive. (Not just in the house price, but the cost of heating, cooling, HOAs, maintenance, etc.) Buying a modest house and staying in it saves money in the long run.
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Old 10-18-2015, 02:02 PM   #24
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...
At work, I work like crazy, I'd say much more efficiently than most in the office so I don't have to put in many extra hours. While there are some days I need to come in early and/or stay late, most of the time I'm able to get what many would consider 60+ hours of work done in a 40-45 hour work week. Those that know me well know I work hard and at the same time, I'm sure there are plenty of colleagues that see me leave early once in a while and think I'm lazy. Working hard and avoid the office chit-chat allows me to get my workouts in, get home to make the family dinner, relax and get 7-8 hours of sleep.
...
Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn't. Way back when I worked for Big Oil, I was the nearly the only geophysicist working on the (company approved) 7:00 AM to 3:30 PM flex schedule. What this meant was that I could get one set of jobs through the mainframe before the rest of the crew showed up at 9:00. Then I could get a second pass through along with everyone else to look at in the early afternoon and submit a 3rd before I went home at 3:30. The 9:00 crew could only one run completed and a second submitted before they went home at 5:30. In other words, I got 50% more work done than the rest of them. However, during one performance review it was noted that by not being at the office until 5:30 I was hurting my chances for advancement. Apparently, at this company, face time trumped productivity.
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Old 10-18-2015, 02:29 PM   #25
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am·bi·tion amˈbiSH(ə)n/ noun
noun: ambition; plural noun: ambitions

a strong desire to do or to achieve something, typically requiring determination and hard work.

I would guess that most in the FIRE group have quite a bit of ambition. It may just not be directed in manners that society commonly sees as desirable.
Based on that definition, I have plenty of ambition. Reaching FI, for one, required plenty of determination and hard work.

Another definition of ambition is "the desire and determination to achieve success". I will expend much energy to succeed in what matters to me. But I won't waste energy to achieve "success" as commonly recognized by society (title, money, bling, power,...). As such, most people think of me as unambitious.
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Old 10-18-2015, 02:41 PM   #26
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I can relate to the author. He did his job, did what he wanted to do, and when it was time to retire he did, and planned ahead so he could. What's wrong with that? Well, I wonder what happens when his wife's salary ends, I hope they planned for that too.
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Old 10-18-2015, 02:58 PM   #27
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Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn't. Way back when I worked for Big Oil, I was the nearly the only geophysicist working on the (company approved) 7:00 AM to 3:30 PM flex schedule. What this meant was that I could get one set of jobs through the mainframe before the rest of the crew showed up at 9:00. Then I could get a second pass through along with everyone else to look at in the early afternoon and submit a 3rd before I went home at 3:30. The 9:00 crew could only one run completed and a second submitted before they went home at 5:30. In other words, I got 50% more work done than the rest of them. However, during one performance review it was noted that by not being at the office until 5:30 I was hurting my chances for advancement. Apparently, at this company, face time trumped productivity.
This is not a unique phenomenon. I've noticed at almost every professional job I've held that working late is perceived better, than coming in early... It seems to be completely disconnected from productivity.

Luckily for me, I prefer to come in a little later and stay late.
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