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Re:  "ER is not for sissies!"
Old 02-22-2004, 09:40 PM   #41
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Re:  "ER is not for sissies!"

I don't know what I was put on Earth to do either, Bongo2, but I'm pretty sure that the guidance won't come from a boss or from the office environment. It has to come from within, and some people avoid that frightening prospect by staying at the office until they die.

I think Joe D retired when he was 30, but give us a break here. Those approaching ER are enthralled by the prospect of ditching the office, and that anticipatory fantasizing probably accounts for 20-30% of the board's posts. Those of us just starting ER (after two years I still count myself in that group) are still recovering from extensive burnout while trying to decide what our true interests are. Even Paul Terhorst says "Change nothing for two years" before redirecting your life. So that discussion probably covers another 30-40% of the posts.

Have you read Po Bronson's book "What should I DO with my life?" The paperbook (just out) actually expands on the hardback edition, and it's a wonderful journey through the lives of all sorts of people. He presents the teenager who received a letter from the Dalai Lama telling him he's a reincarnated holy man, to the fourth generation Timken (of the bearings company) who's worth millions but who chooses to work as a beat cop in a southwest town. The discussion with the American Indian who's executing a 20-year plan to help his people is particularly compelling. The book has no answers-- only more questions-- but the theme is hundreds of people, some with financial independence, searching for their life's avocation. Even the ones who have found one aren't sure that it's the only one.

If I did a time-motion study of my day, my job description would be (1) parent and (2) spouse (unfortunately in that order). Add in home improvement (catching up for all those years of workplace neglect) and groundskeeper, and I feel lucky to be able to pump iron & surf twice a week.

Here's another thought. I have a rather obsessive tendency to find more and more things to do, which was no problem when I was on active duty (no overtime pay either!). It's even easier go farther overboard in retirement, especially when everyone around you says "Hey, you're the retired guy now, you have the time to do this!" Prioritizing and time management have actually been more challenging to me in retirement because now I have no one to blame but myself for what I choose to tackle. What seems self-indulgent or "dropping out" to others is, to me, a desperately needed chance to stop, catch my breath, and decide how I'm going to finish this marathon. (It won't be by sprinting.) You don't arrive at those decisions by sitting down behind your desk at 9 AM with a cup of coffee and a "TO DO" list. In fact, once you get your pulse under control, you realize that there's no reason to even stay on the track. Is that a different track over there? And, hey, check out the surf today! Before you know it you've left the race behind you.

The way you find your course is the way we all used to do it when we were (a lot) younger-- you go out and play, and at some point you follow your interests. Only this time you don't have your high-school guidance counselor or your parents "helping" you. We're all playing while we decide what we want to be when (if) we grow up.

I can't measure my successes anymore by mission accomplishment or even by the height of my OUT box. When you ER, how will you measure your successes? Will you create your own ruler, or will you have to go find someone to measure you?
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job
Old 02-23-2004, 03:03 AM   #42
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job

Anyone who has ever worked in a huge business or government agency knows someone or has found themselves in a position where your contribution is nil or even negative for the overall organization, and you only exist to help keep competing departments from taking over headcount, budget, and authority.

Scott Adams' Dilbert strip is full of all-too-true examples. Any place where Dilbert strips are on nearly every cubicle has people in this situation. Any place that has banned Dilbert strips from cubicle walls has lots of people in this situation.

It is an interesting phenomenon that many people assume you are somehow a contributor to society when you are doing something that no one other than a manager with "turf" to protect could possibly justify -- especially when the work is something no one in his right mind would do without being paid for it.

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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job
Old 02-23-2004, 08:07 AM   #43
 
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job

I'm one of those aiming for retirement in my 30s. Truly, as mentioned in one of the first responses, the invisible hand has spoken: If I've earned enough to retire as well as many 65 year olds, then there is no difference in "productivity" over the course of our "working" lives. It's more complicated then that but the Free Market is our current God.

That said, I think a 20-30 hour work week, with a European vacation plan, is great. I loved my job in grad school. I was doing engineering work with a very flexible schedule and a results-oriented boss. Something changed, however, (60 hour weeks? TPS forms in triplicate? Three bosses?) and enthusiasm has been beaten out of me -- Bob Smith nailed it. Dory's post just above is also a truism.

I feel no guilt about seeking retirement in 5-10 years because I almost lost my soul in the last 10.
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job
Old 02-23-2004, 08:17 AM   #44
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job

Well having had little of a childhood and almost nothing of an adolescence before flying full force into spending most waking hours in a dilbertian environment, I have no problems whatsoever in pursuing the fishing/watching tv/whatever course...at this time. As far as I can tell, the only clear benefit I have provided in this life has been the help and guidance of my fellow people, something that was only hindered by work and workplace shenanigans.

Having accomplished and exceeding one common measure of succeeding in this world - becoming wealthy and retiring early - I'm still pondering other measures of merit. If there are any more meritous, to whom they are meritous, and why it is that I and others feel that way.

Like prudent investing, one of those measures may be to sit back and do nothing. And in that pursuit of nothing, not only will I not feel guilty, I will not accept anyone elses "guilt painting" of me.

If what you do works for you, enjoy it; I support you. If you want to tell me what could or should work for me, I'll listen and thank you for your opinion. If you have elected to judge me or forcefully emboss your position on me, be careful of that door hitting you in the ass on your way out of it, because my foot will be helping it along. And if it reopens, you may want to run because I'm only releasing the hounds.
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job
Old 02-23-2004, 02:00 PM   #45
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job

Hey, any way I can help. I learn a lot here too, almost every day. Glad you think i'm a young guy, some days I feel like an old fart. 42 now by the way, but I wouldnt mind being 39 again

Some folks have a problem with resentment/jealousy. I can live with that, as those folks are not people I need in my life. Period.

The folks that I have problems with need to tell me how I should feel about my life because they think they've got the angle that not only they should follow, but everyone else as well.

And for the rest of the afternoon I'm going to sit on my arse in the backyard and read the last couple of days worth of the WSJ. Unfortunately doing that sometimes gives me ideas on investing. Then I may drink a beer. And then take a nap. And then stay up very late watching tv. Bad TV. Then I think i'll sleep in late, and lay in bed all day tomorrow.

@#%%#$ productivity...
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job
Old 02-23-2004, 02:19 PM   #46
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job

Over the past ten yrs I've suffered momentary -'legend in my own mind brain pharts' - ie if I'm smart enough to ER I should be 'doing something to change the world'. Usually one or two minutes of deep breathing and it passes.
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job
Old 02-23-2004, 02:52 PM   #47
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job

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. . . Some folks have a problem with resentment/jealousy. *I can live with that, as those folks are not people I need in my life. *Period.
And the other group of people I don't need in my life are those irresponsible jerks that use a whole dryer sheet . . . only once . . . then throw it away.
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job
Old 02-23-2004, 03:04 PM   #48
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job

I've fallen of the wagon(only rarely) - used a whole dryer sheet and suffered the consequences - dryer sheet itch. T-shirts are the worst.
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job
Old 02-23-2004, 04:27 PM   #49
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job

Well I did a little laundry along with my zero productivity activities. I didnt even see any interesting investment ideas in the WSJ. Just a damn article on TIPS. However, in the midst of laundering, I found a bare scrap of dryer sheet in a corner in the hallway. I must have dropped it from a dry load. I have no idea how many times its been used. But after ascertaining that nobody else saw, I snatched it up and ran a comforter through with it.

Does anyone have a beneficial use for dog and cat hair? Because I think mine are mass producing the stuff in some lab hidden in the house somewhere. Besides that suggestion to use it to weave together dryer sheets for use as underwear... :P
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job
Old 02-23-2004, 04:50 PM   #50
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job

? Dog and cat hair futures contracts? With the falling dollar, inflation fears and rising commodity price index, they might find a place alongside pork bellies. Who cares if they have a use - they might trade - remember some of the dot.-comms.?
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job
Old 02-23-2004, 05:34 PM   #51
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job

Quote:
Does anyone have a beneficial use for dog and cat hair? *...
We used large quantities of the dog variety to keep our boat afloat.

At the last inspection before we traded Dory for Erin (the boat you see as my image to the left), the inspector chastised us for keeping the dog in the engine room. (Big diesel engines suck a lot of air, and stray dog hair was pulled through every possible opening into the engine room, so it only looked like we kept this mutt in the engine room:



That's my story and I'm sticking to it.)

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PS: OK, he does perform some useful duties. Here he is protecting us from a rogue dolphin:

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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job
Old 02-23-2004, 05:42 PM   #52
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job

Quote:
Those approaching ER are enthralled by the prospect of ditching the office, and that anticipatory fantasizing probably accounts for 20-30% of the board's posts. Those of us just starting ER (after two years I still count myself in that group) are still recovering from extensive burnout while trying to decide what our true interests are.
That's an excellent point. I think there is going to be a natural selection bias as well since those who are doing the least will have the most time to spend on this board!

I'm actually reading Po Bronson's book right now, which is part of what's prompted this sudden rash of altruism.

I don't want to begrudge anyone a couple of years off. I'm glad to see most people taking a healthy view in this debate. Its just that aspiring to 30-40 years of sloth...well maybe that's a problem.

eridanus2: you claim to support Dory's post, and the infallibility of the free market, but don't you realize that those two are contradictory?
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job
Old 02-23-2004, 06:24 PM   #53
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job

I think your concern is misplaced.

We joke, but I've seen more cases of ERs helping others than I can count.

I have started and erased several accounts of these acts, but they don't matter.

I think that most people who retire early are not doing so because they want to be couch potatoes the rest of their lives. I have never met anyone in this category, although I am sure a few of these cases exist.

Rather, most retire early because they finally realize that accumulating more money than they reasonably need for the rest of their lives was not worth spending time doing something they disliked doing. I can't see anything noble in doing so. Can you?

If they were greedy and selfish people, they probably wouldn't retire early and give up the future income. If they do, they won't change their nature.

If they are not, then they will likely continue to contribute to their fellow man just as they probably did before they retired - only they will no longer be constrained by time in what they can offer.

OK, enough of this serious stuff - I'm going back to lighthearted and frivilous!

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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job
Old 02-23-2004, 06:47 PM   #54
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job

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. . . My goal is a full half century of retirement. *. . .
Well, okay. As long as you cut your dryer sheets in half.
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job
Old 02-23-2004, 07:06 PM   #55
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job

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SG--Wife does all the washing/drying and I really don't care about dryer sheets... *
Oh noooooooooo. . . . Tell me it's not true.

I'm not sure about Dory's rules, but I think that kind of attitude may get you banned to *****' board.
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job
Old 02-23-2004, 09:29 PM   #56
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job

I've just read 2 pages of posts in this thread, all posted within the last day!

So here's the plan:

1) All ER's need to sit down and write out an ER Mission Statement.

2) Then we will break into small groups to further flesh out the issue.

3) Then, after lunch, a member from each group will get up and give a presentation.

4) Then we will break up into DIFFERENT groups, and assemble a model of what we think retirement is all about. While blindfolded. Using drinking straws, dryer sheets, and a stapler.

5) After the afternoon break, we will view a short video on "Sloth".

7) Then some one-on-one reverse-role playing.

8 ) We will wrap up today at about 5:30.
At which point all of you can go back to your offices, check your phone messages and emails, and do all the work you didn't get accomplished while attending this helpful seminar.


AAaaaahhhhhhh help meee help meee :P

It still comes back to me, like a bad meal...
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Re:  Ya gotta have goals.
Old 02-24-2004, 06:28 AM   #57
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Re:  Ya gotta have goals.

Telly,

I thought Paul Terhorst already did that here-- http://www.geocities.com/TheTropics/.../bodywork.html .


GDER,

I have two other retirement goals:
1. Collect more pension than salary. BONUS CREDIT: Collect more pension even after adjusting the two figures for inflation.

2. Have my photo at the top of the "oldest living alumni" page of my college magazine. BONUS CREDIT: Have my photo taken with my wife. EXTRA BONUS CREDIT: Have the photo taken while we're both still alive.

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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job
Old 02-24-2004, 06:31 AM   #58
 
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job

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eridanus2: *you claim to support Dory's post, and the infallibility of the free market, but don't you realize that those two are contradictory?
Since I'm not a believer in the infallibility of the free market, the post and my position are not contradictory.

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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job
Old 02-24-2004, 06:31 AM   #59
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job

If you don't care about dryer sheets, then you obviously don't understand the pressing needs of laundry!

Historically, about 4% of the laundry we wore needed to be pressed, but now we don't wear laundry that needs to be pressed.

We have accomplished this by switching to an asset mix of 50% no-press attire and 50% who-cares-if-it-is-wrinkled attire.

I think that reduced our Safe Washing Requirement considerably.

I am looking for help in producing DRYcalc, to help us all understand our requirements for dryer sheets over an extended period of time.

Dory36
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job
Old 02-24-2004, 06:41 AM   #60
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job

Aha! Got my cookies working.

I've never used dryer sheets. Always line dried. If it's raining, I'll hang them in the garage on an old extension cord strung along the rafters.
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