Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Ambition and ER
Old 10-17-2015, 07:59 PM   #1
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Katsmeow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 3,400
Ambition and ER

I found this article about Ambition with an Early Retirement slant very interesting

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opini...830_story.html

Basically advocates for not having ambition. Author was a journalist who said he followed the rule of one wife, one house and thinks the benefits of ambition are overstated.

Thought it was an interesting article. I was probably a bit more ambitious than he was. But, his view reminds me a lot of my husband who worked over 30 years for the same company and happily retired at 62.
__________________

__________________
Katsmeow is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 10-17-2015, 08:26 PM   #2
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 1,666
no sure what to say to this. When I was growing up people noted that I seemed to always be working to something... but slept through school... shocked many when I RE @53. I worked way too many hours for a wage.
not sure where you are going with this thread
__________________

__________________
bingybear is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-17-2015, 08:57 PM   #3
Full time employment: Posting here.
ProspectiveBum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: SoCal
Posts: 667
I'm not ambitious, and I'm totally fine with it. I work in IT, and moved into management in my 20s. After 7+ years, I couldn't wait to get back to coding full-time. Any ambition I'd had as a young guy had been beaten out of me by endless meetings and BS by then.

I've been back in a technical role for about 8 years, and I love it. My bosses periodically talk about moving me into architect or similar roles, and I politely decline. I've told them that I don't care about titles or advancement, I just want to do interesting work that helps the bottom line.

I do draw a distinction between being ambitious and being a hard worker. I consider myself a hard worker, and fairly regularly work OT in support of deadlines.

I will say that I find it annoying when some of my peers assume that if you're in your mid-40's and still writing code, that it's because you couldn't hack anything more than that. I was plenty capable in those roles, I just didn't enjoy it. It's nice to not be handcuffed by the management salary/bonuses, and generally enjoy my work while I count the months until I can FIRE.
__________________
I can't complain, but sometimes I still do.
- Joe Walsh
ProspectiveBum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-17-2015, 09:11 PM   #4
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
harley's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Following the nice weather
Posts: 6,441
That article paints a pretty accurate picture of me. I worked for a paycheck, although that didn't mean I didn't enjoy doing it and didn't do as good a job as I could. But once I didn't need to I didn't work anymore. I remember my joy at first not having to go in to work (I still feel it too). Luckily DW ER'ed before I did, because I wouldn't make a great housewife. But between the two of us we get the job done. I think that's an unusual article to see in mainstream media, as they seem to focus on work for pride until you die. It may just be more click bait that happens to resonate with me. I assume that happens sometimes, although most of it annoys me.
__________________
"Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement." - Will Rogers, or maybe Sam Clemens
DW and I - FIREd at 50 (7/06), living off assets
harley is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-17-2015, 10:07 PM   #5
Moderator
Sarah in SC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Charleston, SC
Posts: 13,457
I can see it. I never really had any massive ambition either, was a lazy student, and really only motivated to do the things I wanted to do, ever.
Thigh I'm not setting the world on fire, I'm a reliable and loyal employee, but not remotely ambitious.
__________________
“One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it's worth watching.”
Gerard Arthur Way

Sarah in SC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-17-2015, 10:09 PM   #6
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Senator's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Eagan, MN
Posts: 3,070
I always said "the reason I work so hard is because I am lazy". I do not want to work until I am 90.
__________________
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!!
Senator is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-17-2015, 10:25 PM   #7
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 903
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProspectiveBum View Post
I just want to do interesting work that helps the bottom line.

I do draw a distinction between being ambitious and being a hard worker. I consider myself a hard worker, and fairly regularly work OT in support of deadlines.
+1. I'm the same. I work hard and will regularly do OT to meet deadlines. However, I have absolutely no plans of going any higher on the totem pole. Too many meetings and politics when you're in management.
__________________
hnzw_rui is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2015, 12:26 AM   #8
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 512
Another low ambition individual here too. As far back as college I remember telling friends that if I was a car I'd have a great motor but no driveshaft. Lucky for me life's been downhill ever since.
__________________
stepford is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2015, 12:49 AM   #9
Recycles dryer sheets
Sea Kayaker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Vancouver/Gulf Islands/Baja
Posts: 479
I certainly wasn't ambitious career-wise. But when I was 32, I decided I wanted to retire at 45. I actually did it at 42. THAT was ambition.
__________________
Retired at 42... the world is my oyster, and I am now in the process of shucking the hell out of it.
Sea Kayaker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2015, 02:28 AM   #10
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Katsmeow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 3,400
Quote:
Originally Posted by bingybear View Post
no sure what to say to this. When I was growing up people noted that I seemed to always be working to something... but slept through school... shocked many when I RE @53. I worked way too many hours for a wage.
not sure where you are going with this thread
Well, I'm not going anywhere with it. Just thought it was an interesting article and was curious about how lack of ambition intersects with early retirement. As someone pointed out, lack of work ambition doesn't mean not being a hard worker. Although maybe hard isn't the right word. Perhaps diligent is better.

And, it is a good point as made by someone else that wanting to retire early is itself an ambition.

But, I would expect that many people who retire early are people who didn't have high work ambitions. There are exceptions I know. There can be some who had high ambitions, met them and then were done.

I would think that many of the people without high work ambitions are people who are satisficers, rather than maximizers. (A satisficer buying a notebook computer would find one he or she liked and buy it; a maximizer would research it to death to find the one best notebook computer. The satisficer is more satisfied with what is good enough and doesn't strive for what is the best).
__________________
Katsmeow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2015, 03:52 AM   #11
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 1,666
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katsmeow View Post
Well, I'm not going anywhere with it. Just thought it was an interesting article and was curious about how lack of ambition intersects with early retirement. As someone pointed out, lack of work ambition doesn't mean not being a hard worker. Although maybe hard isn't the right word. Perhaps diligent is better.

And, it is a good point as made by someone else that wanting to retire early is itself an ambition.

But, I would expect that many people who retire early are people who didn't have high work ambitions. There are exceptions I know. There can be some who had high ambitions, met them and then were done.

I would think that many of the people without high work ambitions are people who are satisficers, rather than maximizers. (A satisficer buying a notebook computer would find one he or she liked and buy it; a maximizer would research it to death to find the one best notebook computer. The satisficer is more satisfied with what is good enough and doesn't strive for what is the best).
Well, for me and computers.. I never buy the absolute latest... but a step back down from late latest... a compromise between performance and cost.
As for careers, I worked really hard at being good in my technical areas. The "s" is the problem as I changed focus several times during my career. Sometimes this was due to moves for family reasons or shifts in the industry. Our moves were sometimes constrained by dual careers (DW and mine) that we considered equal importance... and other family constraints ... more recently MIL with health problems.
At this point I'm setting up the tools to work on some really neat problems. I've had some offers to consult or go back to work. Right now I'm choosing to do my own thing..doing FDTD analysis on my quad i5. Am I ambitious or lazy... that is how others perceive me. If the gig is right ($ and interest for me)... I'll likely do it. If either is missing, $ or a good learning experience, why do it? When you have the pennies to live on...what is left, learning something new, experiencing something new, or doing good for the world.

I worked hard, stupidly long hours, but did not play the political games. If I lacked ambition, it was pushing my self up the ladder... or taking the opportunities to move up the ladder. I did not lack at learning new technical areas. Maybe ambitious in the wrong area. RE allows me to be ambitious in learning. I can improve things other than other people's pockets.
The real question is RE escape from doing anything, or opening other opportunities? I pick the latter
__________________
bingybear is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2015, 04:25 AM   #12
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 903
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katsmeow View Post
A satisficer buying a notebook computer would find one he or she liked and buy it; a maximizer would research it to death to find the one best notebook computer. The satisficer is more satisfied with what is good enough and doesn't strive for what is the best.
I definitely fall on the satisficer side when it comes to work ambition (or maybe it's because I'm lucky enough to be in a job I find fairly interesting). As a consumer, I would have thought I fall more on the satisficer side but curiously, I seem to be channeling Harvey Dent. I have a tendency to research and overthink my options but quite often, after getting fed up with all the back and forth, I'd end up making the final choice based on a coin flip.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bingybear View Post
Well, for me and computers.. I never buy the absolute latest... but a step back down from late latest... a compromise between performance and cost.
I actually do buy the absolute latest (I build computers for a hobby). However, I go for mid-range parts instead of high-end. That typically gets you 80-90% of the performance for half the cost.
__________________
hnzw_rui is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2015, 06:13 AM   #13
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 3,710
Within the context of RE, I don't see how you can RE without ambition. (unless you view living on welfare or a trust fund as a viable option).

Despite the claims of the posters here of being lazy or unfocused, I think that most here had a plan (RE) and a strategy (FI) and tactics (LBYM) to get there and worked pretty hard to make it a reality, one way or another.

Lack of ambition sort of limits your financial options down the line.

The writer is "getting by on my wife's salary and my small pension"; hardly a robust strategy long term...see ya in the food line bub!
__________________
Living well is the best revenge!
Retired @ 52 in 2005
marko is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2015, 06:37 AM   #14
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
donheff's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 8,650
I was not particularly ambitious but I wasn't like author who says:

Indeed, a former boss once told me I was a “why do?” guy as opposed to a “can do” guy. He didn’t mean it as a compliment, but I took it as one."

I always worked hard and was one of the go to guys who bosses could trust to get things done. I just didn't really have eyes on the top job(s). The can-do attitude may have worked in my favor for actually getting to the top rungs because sh*t always seemed to fall in my bag, as the saying goes. I kept getting promoted and finally was temporarily handed the top job in my field and agency when my boss got sent packing even though I was reluctant to take it. Spoiler - the job I was ambivalent about turned out to be fun - for several years - and I ended up taking it on a permanent basis. Fortunately, my can do attitude enabled me to snag very good lateral moves to another field when the job turned a bit sour later on. One negative note of my somewhat hidden lack of ambition was that I always felt like I was two steps ahead of the sheriff, as another saying goes. And, similar to the author, I did always liked the idea of ER and took that route as soon as I could.
__________________
Every man is, or hopes to be, an Idler. -- Samuel Johnson
donheff is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2015, 07:01 AM   #15
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
target2019's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 3,710
The article was well written. I enjoyed it. His response is understandable given he was fired or quit, and lives in a distinct vacation area of the state (NJ) that encourages a laid-back attitude.

I was never a high performer. One boss remarked that he saw I worked smarter, not harder. I prefer to work in proportion to the pay received, not for promotion. Current job is paying me what I requested, so I make sure the effort is at a professional level.
__________________
target2019 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2015, 07:17 AM   #16
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
frayne's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: 19th Hole
Posts: 2,535
Can't argue with his logic one bit. After 32 years in the rat race nothing wrong with getting off and enjoying what you want to do.
__________________
A totally unblemished life is only for saints.
frayne is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2015, 08:26 AM   #17
Moderator Emeritus
aja8888's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: The Woodlands, TX
Posts: 7,186
I grew up poor but became ambitious and set out to move up in life. After getting myself through college and working my way up to be the youngest Plant Manager of a very large manufacturing firm in the company's history, I got tired of the BS.

Then went into consulting and worked for a large consulting firm. Once again, ambition bit me and I became a VP and had to sell and do projects... big ones. I quickly got sick of the constant BS and pressure and went out on my own, where I have been for 18 years.

Ambition and moving up to meet greater expectations is fine, but unless some employer is going to commission an 8 foot high bronze statue of you to be erected in front of the corporate office, it is not what it is made out to be.
__________________
......."Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face." -- philosopher Mike Tyson.
aja8888 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2015, 08:44 AM   #18
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Eagle43's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: DFW
Posts: 1,883
If I had any ambition, I would have learned how to play golf; then I would have deliberately lost to the boss.

Sent from my AT100 using Early Retirement Forum mobile app
__________________
Resist much. Obey Little. . . . Ed Abbey

Disclaimer: My Posts are for my amusement only.
Eagle43 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2015, 09:50 AM   #19
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Toronto
Posts: 1,422
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.
__________________
6miths is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2015, 09:53 AM   #20
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 1,666
but it is desirable. we are helping reduce the unemployment rate
__________________

__________________
bingybear is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:06 AM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.