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Career Management Regret
Old 12-21-2018, 02:47 PM   #1
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Career Management Regret

I resigned from my last job about a year ago without having something else lined up. My B.S. bucket began to overflow mightily and I reached the point where staying would mean losing a bunch of my self-respect.

I still haven't found anything new, but DW and I are fine financially, and I don't think I regret my decision to resign. But now having lots of time to reflect, I've been feeling pangs of regret over the way I managed my career over the years. A string of bad job choices left me unfulfilled, frustrated, and caused that B.S. bucket to fill more quickly than it otherwise might have. I'm not a people-person and building my network was not something that I worked on, which limited my job choices. And I sit here thinking, "Is that all there is? Am I really done?"

I'm not sure what I hope to accomplish by posting this - just feeling a bit down and needed to put this out there. Maybe just hoping that someone could relate.
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Old 12-21-2018, 02:54 PM   #2
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Cheer up! This is the first day of the rest of your life. I was in Aerospace for many years, and you know how that goes. To sum up my last 3 jobs
14 years-left because I needed more challenges
3-1/2 years-change in management BS bucket overflowed.
20 years-stick a fork in me-I am done! Retired in early 2009 and have not looked back
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Old 12-21-2018, 02:59 PM   #3
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I've had shades of those feelings. If I had to do it again, I'd still work with some Megacorps as I did. But I would also try some more local or Microcorp work. That would mean an adjustment in my training on my own time, which I did not do. Oh well, hindsight.

I am enjoying working as a volunteer currently, 1 day a week on projects that will enhance youth leadership for the future. 180 degrees different and quite fulfilling, for now. Cheers me up.

If you feel down, it can't be as bad as Peggy Lee sounds in this song as she asks the same question, "Is that all there is?"

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Old 12-21-2018, 03:01 PM   #4
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With the advantage of hindsight almost everyone can pick out points in their lives where different choices would probably have led to more desirable outcomes. I've had that too, but then I wouldn't have had the experiences and choices that I did have.

Example: Sometimes I think the dumbest thing I ever did was marry the ex because I didn't take the time to learn more about common values and priorities. It would have saved us both a lot of grief. But as a result of that decision and subsequent experiences, I would not appreciate DW (now married 30+ years) as much as I do.

So the flip side can be a positive, if that makes any sense.
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Old 12-21-2018, 03:02 PM   #5
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I can relate and this is what I would ask myself:

What do you want to achieve in 2019? A new opportunity that doesn't require as much extroversion? Lots of money for the FIRE pile? Less money, but more self-respect? Does geographic location matter? Be specific until the goal(s) start to take shape.

What steps can you take to reach your goal(s)? Break these steps out in the order they should logically occur in. Detail the steps until you have actual activities.

If you're not yet ready to tackle these steps, here's a practice that always helps me when I'm down: list 10 people (or critters or achievements or whatever) you are genuinely grateful for.
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Old 12-21-2018, 03:04 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vincenzo Corleone View Post
I'm not sure what I hope to accomplish by posting this - just feeling a bit down and needed to put this out there. Maybe just hoping that someone could relate.
There’s no point in looking back at choices that could have been different. We’ve all made so many, and for each of us some were better than others. You could just as easily look back at the smart choices that have added value or richness to your life.

When I find myself looking back at the real dunderheaded things I’ve done (and there are many) I turn it around and give thanks that despite all that, things have gone well. I’ve lived this long, have a loving family and a few $$ put aside to allow us a comfortable retirement. There’s still opportunity ahead for more bad choices and dumb moves, but hopefully the positive will continue to outweigh the negative.
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Old 12-21-2018, 03:18 PM   #7
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You're not unique. I had some regrets about how I left.

I'd transferred to another department, what a mistake that was! A bunch of senior citizens who acted like little kids. Our VP, had leadership experience, and a volatile temper that made him useless. I never w*rked in a more dysfunctional organization.

I gave my resignation after a w*rk from home day. I'd spent 14 hours with a client and a bunch of people fixing the database the client had corrupted. We understood the problem and were planning how to minimize their downtime. Suddenly the VP calls and rips me a new one because I didn't have hardware support involved? WTF does properly working hardware have to do with data corruption? Nothing! I did involve hardware to shut the VP up. The next day a peer rips into me for calling the vendor!

I gave notice shortly afterwards.
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Old 12-21-2018, 03:28 PM   #8
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I can relate to some aspects.
I took a voluntary package, with the thought that I would be employed shortly thereafter.
Had many contacts including some on reasonably high levels. But couldn't land anything.
Severed contacts with all former colleagues and moved into retirement.

Enjoy the next stage. Most of us have some regrets at all the different stages of our lives, but we move on because we have to. Heck even in high school, I was probably a few months from being able to dunk a basketball, then tore up my right knee.

Put a plan together of things you wish to do with your newly found freedom. It will work out for you, I am sure.
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Old 12-21-2018, 03:29 PM   #9
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I was fortunate. 25 years with the last company. Three mergers. I kept re-inventing myself, changing divsions, a relocation. I had great posiitons, great team, and was well compensated. Leaned an awful lot from my work associates. The last year was a drag but it certainly did not color my view of the total experience.

One thing I learned is to always keep moving forward. Most especially in retirement. You cannot change the past but you can use those lessons to shape your future. It is a blank sheet so really the rest is up to you.
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Old 12-21-2018, 03:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vincenzo Corleone View Post
I resigned from my last job about a year ago without having something else lined up. My B.S. bucket began to overflow mightily and I reached the point where staying would mean losing a bunch of my self-respect.

I still haven't found anything new, but DW and I are fine financially, and I don't think I regret my decision to resign. But now having lots of time to reflect, I've been feeling pangs of regret over the way I managed my career over the years. A string of bad job choices left me unfulfilled, frustrated, and caused that B.S. bucket to fill more quickly than it otherwise might have. I'm not a people-person and building my network was not something that I worked on, which limited my job choices. And I sit here thinking, "Is that all there is? Am I really done?"

I'm not sure what I hope to accomplish by posting this - just feeling a bit down and needed to put this out there. Maybe just hoping that someone could relate.
Sounds like you had a lot of your self worth/satisfaction tied to the job and perhaps under-estimated how hard it would be to get back in somewhere else.

Happens to a ton of people. Don't beat yourself up.

But don't give up, either.

If you want to get back in the game, start plugging away but be prepared to step in at a lower level/different role. One of the biggest mistakes I see people who are trying to get back in make is some version of "well, I used to be a VP..." And I used to have mostly dark hair and more of it.

Find a way back in and climb/move from there.

My $0.02.
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Old 12-21-2018, 04:57 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by MichaelB View Post
There’s no point in looking back at choices that could have been different. We’ve all made so many, and for each of us some were better than others. You could just as easily look back at the smart choices that have added value or richness to your life.

When I find myself looking back at the real dunderheaded things I’ve done (and there are many) I turn it around and give thanks that despite all that, things have gone well. I’ve lived this long, have a loving family and a few $$ put aside to allow us a comfortable retirement. There’s still opportunity ahead for more bad choices and dumb moves, but hopefully the positive will continue to outweigh the negative.
^^^
Ditto. I made my share (and then some) of career and personal train wrecks. But, a few of my high school buds are pushing up the daisys, while I'm enjoying a modest but comfy retirement. DW and I start most every morning with a breakfast prayer - - - and that prayer begins by thanking God for giving us another day on Earth together.

I'm an introvert, and that hindered me somewhat in networking, horn tooting, etc. But that's okay, as I knew a few extroverts that seldom had an unspoken thought. That (chronic chatterbox) derails a few careers as well.

I volunteer a couple days a week. It provides a sense of purpose for me (as do my hobbies etc) and it helps my neighbors get by . I really enjoy the time with the other staff members and customers. Besides, its work. Menial tasks as well as tactical and strategic projects. Something different every day. Just like work. But with one beautiful distinction. No carrying BS buckets & no filling BS buckets. Too much to do and no time to give or receive BS.

If you're FI, consider using a little time to giving back. I find that I get more than I give. Much more.

I hope you can escape the blue funk. Been there. Not fun.
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Old 12-21-2018, 05:04 PM   #12
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I volunteer a couple days a week. It provides a sense of purpose for me (as do my hobbies etc) and it helps my neighbors get by . I really enjoy the time with the other staff members and customers. Besides, its work. Menial tasks as well as tactical and strategic projects. Something different every day. Just like work. But with one beautiful distinction. No carrying BS buckets & no filling BS buckets. Too much to do and no time to give or receive BS.

If you're FI, consider using a little time to giving back. I find that I get more than I give. Much more.
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Old 12-21-2018, 05:05 PM   #13
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There’s no point in looking back at choices that could have been different. We’ve all made so many, and for each of us some were better than others.
Absolutely. When I look back I can see many decisions that I would/should have made differently. But those are trees and I'm dealing with a whole forest. Overall it has been great.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Closet_Gamer View Post
Sounds like you had a lot of your self worth/satisfaction tied to the job.
This is very common and something to get over. Given time, you will certainly put that in your past and no longer think about it. Look ahead, not back.
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Old 12-21-2018, 05:07 PM   #14
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I was once on the fast track for a promotion or two into management roles that would probably have consumed all of my time and identify. Then the company started to struggle, promotions disappeared, and just keeping one's job was an accomplishment. Then the jobs became less and less fulfilling and the ER dream took hold. Having been happily ERd for over 5 years now, I sometimes wonder where I would be if I had ended up on the path that seemed at the time to be the "good" one. It scares me in a way, and I couldn't be happier that I ended up following the "bad" one.
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Old 12-21-2018, 05:11 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Vincenzo Corleone View Post
I resigned from my last job about a year ago without having something else lined up. My B.S. bucket began to overflow mightily and I reached the point where staying would mean losing a bunch of my self-respect.

I still haven't found anything new, but DW and I are fine financially, and I don't think I regret my decision to resign. But now having lots of time to reflect, I've been feeling pangs of regret over the way I managed my career over the years. A string of bad job choices left me unfulfilled, frustrated, and caused that B.S. bucket to fill more quickly than it otherwise might have. I'm not a people-person and building my network was not something that I worked on, which limited my job choices. And I sit here thinking, "Is that all there is? Am I really done?"
Ouch. I detect a small bit of regret in there.

In my career, I was always able to suck it up and stick it out until I found my next gig. That worked out well for me. Knowing that I wasn't going to be around for long always made it easy to tolerate the foolishness for a while.

When I knew I was ready to retire I stuck it out for 6 months while we were completing an important project. Knowing the end was in sight made it simple to tolerate the unending stream of ridiculous political infighting. It ended up being a lot of fun giving my 2 week notice.

Consider finding some job (perhaps lower-paying, perhaps part-time, perhaps completely unrelated to anything you have ever done) that could fill what seems like a small void until you decide you are ready you stop working on your own terms. After I retired, I was asked to come back to help 6 months later. I agree to come back for 2 days per week, 8 hours per day. It was actually very enjoyable - no pressure, no BS, no late hours, no weekends. I did that for a year and had fun. (We didn't need the money.)

Either way, don't feel down. Look forward, not back. You can't undo what you have already done. But you can forge a new path forward.
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Old 12-21-2018, 05:42 PM   #16
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Most people have some variation of that theme. Heck, even my mom told me she wished she'd done more of this or that as a mom. I think it's a common thing.

Look at the big picture, and remember what you DID accomplish, rather than park your brain on what you think you could or should have done better.

Good luck..
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Old 12-21-2018, 06:02 PM   #17
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Example: Sometimes I think the dumbest thing I ever did was marry the ex because I didn't take the time to learn more about common values and priorities. It would have saved us both a lot of grief. But as a result of that decision and subsequent experiences, I would not appreciate DW (now married 30+ years) as much as I do.
.
BTDT, but have two great sons from that disastrous union
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Old 12-21-2018, 06:17 PM   #18
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Don’t let your “job” define you! You define you. Probably not allowed to talk about religion here as I’ve never read the rules.....but you have a higher purpose than your job or job choices.
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Old 12-21-2018, 06:45 PM   #19
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If I went back in time to do it all differently, it would just rearrange the cosmos some other way, and the choices would be different too.

And I'd make the same kinds of mistakes, because that's who I am.

Except I'd buy Microsoft and Apple, when they first went public. Because I'd know.
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Old 12-21-2018, 07:56 PM   #20
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We have a couple of things in common. I recently resigned from a 6 figure job because I believed that I was being treated unfairly. I stood up for myself and told a boss I really liked that we couldn't work together any more. Fast forward - I'm not sure that I want to return to the corporate world - but I do have some regrets - probably because I have high standards for myself. I'm not sure what if anything I'll do next - I am definitely burned out.
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