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TMY Syndrome
Old 08-26-2015, 07:02 AM   #1
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TMY Syndrome

I'm working 10-40 hours from home each week, after losing the full-time megacorp gig. I am doing exactly what I said I wanted to do. Make more per hour, but work fewer hours. Do it on my schedule instead of jumping out of bed each morning for da' man.

I felt as if I was transitioning to NMY (No More Years). But now I am coming down with a case of TMY (Two More Years) syndrome. Maybe it will pass...

Last week a potential employer called, and asked me in to discuss a j*b. Have to say it went very well. I even filled out an application 2 days after the interview! There are a few unique things on my CV that a growing company would want to have.

So now I am a day or so from the deadline, where I must tell the program manager whether I want the job, so they can put together an offer.

Choice A: Stay on the same path. Work at my pace most of the time. Uncertainty about how much 1099 income there will be in the next 2 years. SWAG is about 30K per year. Of course that could drop to $0 as there are no guarantees.

Choice B: Pursue a FT j*b with benefits. Drive 30 minutes there and back each day. Certainty about W2 income for next 2 years. Guess is 80-85K per year plus 401(k) match. Don't need the medical. It would be good place to work, with decent benefits for time off and holiday pay.

With Choice A I have time to do some home upgrades myself (when motivated), but need to pay out major expenses to get home ready for sale in a few years (HVAC and roof). Retirement funds are steady, with a smaller amount added to self-employment plan.

With Choice B I would have little time to do upgrades, but would have new capital to invest in the significant repairs. Retirement funds would get a healthy shot of new contributions.

How do you approach decisions like this, which seem to be a tossup, at least in your mind?
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Old 08-26-2015, 07:25 AM   #2
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When I have to make decisions I write out the pros and cons of each (which you've done) and give each a "score" from 1 - 10 (10 is better / more important). The column with the highest score "wins". When I do this I find myself subconsciously "cheating" to have the result come out to what my gut is saying.

What does YOUR gut say ? which will make you happier ?
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Old 08-26-2015, 08:18 AM   #3
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Would it be possible to negotiate a deal so you could keep a little from column A and a little from column B...

Maybe something like work 3 or 4 days a week at the new j*b, and keep 10 or so hours from the at home j*b?

One advantage of this, is if you end up disliking your new gig, you still have the old one to fall back on.
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Old 08-26-2015, 08:23 AM   #4
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Without knowing your age, it's hard to say what to do.

If you won the lottery, would you keep working? If your health went bad after another year of working, would you regret taking the job. Does work get in the way of a lot of other things?

The end date is coming. You will not know it until it is too late. Often, a persons heath fails, and just the day before they were doing fine.

It could be a simple slip and fall that breaks a bone and you are laid up and never get back to the shape you were, or worse.

Make sure you are mentally prepared for RE, have enough to live on with plenty of cushion, and bail.
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Old 08-26-2015, 08:47 AM   #5
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How do you approach decisions like this, which seem to be a tossup, at least in your mind?
I approach them through introspection, which leads me to enough self knowledge to know what I truly want in life.

This can be tremendously helpful, not only in decisions like this but also in interpersonal relationships and it has helped me in allocating my money in ways that make me happier.

Unfortunately it did take me a few months (and a divorce) to teach myself how to do the kind of deep introspection I am talking about.
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Old 08-26-2015, 09:07 AM   #6
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When I have to make decisions I write out the pros and cons of each (which you've done) and give each a "score" from 1 - 10 (10 is better / more important). The column with the highest score "wins". When I do this I find myself subconsciously "cheating" to have the result come out to what my gut is saying.

What does YOUR gut say ? which will make you happier ?
I am still in the guessing stage about 'B'. I would need to say I would work the job, given the compensation is correct. That would result in something given to me on paper, and I would be able to rank things much better than now.

My gut tells me that certainty is better than uncertainty.

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Would it be possible to negotiate a deal so you could keep a little from column A and a little from column B...

Maybe something like work 3 or 4 days a week at the new j*b, and keep 10 or so hours from the at home j*b?

One advantage of this, is if you end up disliking your new gig, you still have the old one to fall back on.
I had thought of that. At this time 'B' is not a part-time thing--that was made clear by the hiring manager. If I take 'B' full time, I would not want to add the load of 'A'. I could not take the 'A' work and hand it off to someone, either. The work is too specialized.

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Without knowing your age, it's hard to say what to do.

If you won the lottery, would you keep working? If your health went bad after another year of working, would you regret taking the job. Does work get in the way of a lot of other things?

The end date is coming. You will not know it until it is too late. Often, a persons heath fails, and just the day before they were doing fine.

It could be a simple slip and fall that breaks a bone and you are laid up and never get back to the shape you were, or worse.

Make sure you are mentally prepared for RE, have enough to live on with plenty of cushion, and bail.
If I won the lottery, I would keep working at a minimum level. I would perform work for a non-profit.

If my health went bad because of the job, I would leave the job, or go part-time if possible. I also thought of this, but to an extreme. If I die, say, within the next two years, I would have missed out on lots of free time and each week. But I wouldn't care much. LOL.

Your question does bring up the issue of risk. I am 60+. If one drives more, then there is more risk of car accident. I'll give that aspect more thought.
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Old 08-26-2015, 09:30 AM   #7
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How do you approach decisions like this, which seem to be a tossup, at least in your mind?
Binary decisions like this I do exactly that: a tossup.

While the coin is in the air, check yourself wishing which side comes out on top. That's your decision

If you truly don't care I'd go for the novel route, which in this case is taking the job. Financially speaking you can work this job for one year and come out ahead vs. your current way of doing things.
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Old 08-26-2015, 11:35 AM   #8
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How do you approach decisions like this, which seem to be a tossup, at least in your mind?
I usually talk to people I trust that either faced a similar decision or will be impacted by the decision. Also, just be really honest with yourself about which choice will make you happier. That's all that really matters in the end. But as someone else mentioned, I tend to default to the unfamiliar path if it is truly a tossup. Keeps life interesting; builds new knowledge and experiences.
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Old 08-26-2015, 12:18 PM   #9
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Unless I was in love with the FT job at option B, I'd stick with option A. Option B comes with a 1 hr commute which means 9+ hrs/day all week.
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Old 08-26-2015, 01:03 PM   #10
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Unless I was in love with the FT job at option B, I'd stick with option A. Option B comes with a 1 hr commute which means 9+ hrs/day all week.
+1. Can you make an option C, find something at home that makes more money or find a job you know you would love and make it worth the commute?

But a big part of it is how much the extra money means to you. If you are FI with no financial worries then going forward I would only do what you love - the kinds of things you would do even if no one paid you to do them.
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Old 08-26-2015, 04:08 PM   #11
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This is a great group of observations. As I get closer to a detailed side-by-side analysis, I have a few new line items to consider.

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Originally Posted by Totoro View Post
Binary decisions like this I do exactly that: a tossup.

While the coin is in the air, check yourself wishing which side comes out on top. That's your decision

If you truly don't care I'd go for the novel route, which in this case is taking the job. Financially speaking you can work this job for one year and come out ahead vs. your current way of doing things.
You've isolated one major reason that makes 'B' an attractive option. It is a novel route, and is more challenging. I would meet a new group of people, have face-to-face customer contact, and make in one year what would take two years at home.

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I usually talk to people I trust that either faced a similar decision or will be impacted by the decision. Also, just be really honest with yourself about which choice will make you happier. That's all that really matters in the end. But as someone else mentioned, I tend to default to the unfamiliar path if it is truly a tossup. Keeps life interesting; builds new knowledge and experiences.
Ah, the road not taken. That is one confusing poem (R. Frost).

I'll have to give more thought to what I would lose. As Fuego points out, I would be using 9-10 hours per day on one day's wages. That would make me somewhat unhappy, and more so as time wears on. I think I would have to re-evaluate the FT job after a year.

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Unless I was in love with the FT job at option B, I'd stick with option A. Option B comes with a 1 hr commute which means 9+ hrs/day all week.
Thanks for pointing that out. It is probably 1-1.25 hours of commute, and 30 minutes lost on mandatory lunch, I fear.

There is a possible 10-hour day, but not sure I am up to that anymore.

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+1. Can you make an option C, find something at home that makes more money or find a job you know you would love and make it worth the commute?

But a big part of it is how much the extra money means to you. If you are FI with no financial worries then going forward I would only do what you love - the kinds of things you would do even if no one paid you to do them.
Hadn't really thought of an option 'C', but it is possible. In fact I do some 'C' work, and can see that growing a bit.

This isn't a stand-alone decision. Others depend on me to some degree, and, unfortunately, not FI in any case.

Thanks for all of the thoughts.
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Old 08-26-2015, 05:38 PM   #12
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I think your last comment that you are not FI and others depend on you helps sway the decision to taking the job. I would try to get as much salary as you can, since they know you are only in it for 2 years, what you get now is all you will get, assuming some token increase for year 2. It also seems that you are not feeling bad about going back to work FT, the trade-off is not always strictly financial. You can hire more of the house work, paid for with more money coming in. This allows you to free up time when not working FT for more of those quality of life things you spend time on.
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Old 08-26-2015, 05:54 PM   #13
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I did end up taking on a job for some years after retiring, but always with the thought in the back of my mind that if things went south I'd be gone. When they did, I quit. I felt for the guys who had no choice but to stay.

This is such an individual decision that it is almost impossible to offer any advice. One big issue for me would be the commute. Is it an easy 30-minute drive or a horrid stop-and-go-all-the-way torment? The latter would be a deal-killer for me.

And if you take choice B you still have choice A as a backup.
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Old 08-26-2015, 06:22 PM   #14
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If you are not FI, if it were me I probably would go with the full time job if it is something you enjoy doing and the numbers work out for you after subtracting out commute costs, taxes, possibly losing ACA subsidies or other tax credits, financial aid if you have college age kids, job related expenses and indirect expenses (hiring a gardener / housekeeper / eating out more) of working full time.

I picked up a cool book at a thrift shop the other day by a home economist who was pretty good with numbers. She had some tables similar to the ones in The Money or Your Life book on how to calculate your real take home pay per hour with a full time job vs part-time after factoring in taxes and job related expenses. Her point was that sometimes the part-time job can result in a higher take home pay if the full time job means a higher tax bracket, high job related expenses, especially full time child care, and the opportunity cost of less time for price shopping and DIY (unless you wouldn't use the extra time for money saving tasks like price shopping and doing your own gardening or minor home repairs anyway).
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Old 08-26-2015, 08:09 PM   #15
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I approach them through introspection, which leads me to enough self knowledge to know what I truly want in life.

This can be tremendously helpful, not only in decisions like this but also in interpersonal relationships and it has helped me in allocating my money in ways that make me happier.
This is pretty much the approach I take.

One thing I do is really try to fully imagine how each possibility would be. I mean really great a realistic fantasy of it---the key word being realistic. I try to imagine living each one and seeing how I would feel.

Another thing I do is that I think about if someone decided for me and a particular option was chosen would I feel relieved or would I feel disappointed. If I would feel disappointed then that is probably not the option I want.
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Old 08-26-2015, 08:34 PM   #16
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I think your last comment that you are not FI and others depend on you helps sway the decision to taking the job. I would try to get as much salary as you can, since they know you are only in it for 2 years, what you get now is all you will get, assuming some token increase for year 2. It also seems that you are not feeling bad about going back to work FT, the trade-off is not always strictly financial. You can hire more of the house work, paid for with more money coming in. This allows you to free up time when not working FT for more of those quality of life things you spend time on.
I have to run some numbers in last year's tax program to see what I'd be left with after taxes. The nice thing about less income is it dropped us into the 15% bracket in 2014. I haven't run projections yet for this year, but pretty sure we will stay in 15%. With a doubling or tripling of my yearly income, most of that would be taxed as 25%.

The dependency I mentioned was more emotional than financial. It's about taking care of the needs others have since they go out to work every day. We'll adjust if necessary.

If I do have some increase in what I pay out for services, I don't think it would be substantial. Definitely should put a number on some of those things, since the more I put on paper, the gap narrows between A and B.

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I did end up taking on a job for some years after retiring, but always with the thought in the back of my mind that if things went south I'd be gone. When they did, I quit. I felt for the guys who had no choice but to stay.

This is such an individual decision that it is almost impossible to offer any advice. One big issue for me would be the commute. Is it an easy 30-minute drive or a horrid stop-and-go-all-the-way torment? The latter would be a deal-killer for me.

And if you take choice B you still have choice A as a backup.
The 30-minute drive could easily become 45 minutes if departure timing were off. So it would take a change in discipline to get up early enough to beat the rush.

There's another factor - mileage. I am barely putting 10K miles on this car each year. With 10 trips to a site 20 miles away, and a toll, there would be $25 transportation cost each day. That's counting vehicle maintenance and depreciation.

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If you are not FI, if it were me I probably would go with the full time job if it is something you enjoy doing and the numbers work out for you after subtracting out commute costs, taxes, possibly losing ACA subsidies or other tax credits, financial aid if you have college age kids, job related expenses and indirect expenses (hiring a gardener / housekeeper / eating out more) of working full time.

I picked up a cool book at a thrift shop the other day by a home economist who was pretty good with numbers. She had some tables similar to the ones in The Money or Your Life book on how to calculate your real take home pay per hour with a full time job vs part-time after factoring in taxes and job related expenses. Her point was that sometimes the part-time job can result in a higher take home pay if the full time job means a higher tax bracket, high job related expenses, especially full time child care, and the opportunity cost of less time for price shopping and DIY (unless you wouldn't use the extra time for money saving tasks like price shopping and doing your own gardening or minor home repairs anyway).
No babysitting required. We went through the years of day care for two children maybe 25 years ago. No fun with that.

I'm going to calculate real take home pay. I have the numbers for self employment. I can even dump numbers into last years software to find the take home. Definitely worth doing.
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Old 08-26-2015, 08:41 PM   #17
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A good friend who FIRE'd a few years back told me he asked his DW these two questions - 1) what would we do with more money?, 2) what would we do with more time?

That advice got me working on my ER plan. The same two questions may help you weigh your options too. Just a thought.
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Old 08-27-2015, 06:20 AM   #18
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While the coin is in the air, check yourself wishing which side comes out on top. That's your decision .
+1. This is exactly how I decided with job to take after graduating from college. The coin landed on the one I wasn't wishing it would so I made it a 2 out of 3 decision. Had a fantastic 31 year career with the company. My gut knew the right answer. My brain needed convincing.
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Old 09-01-2015, 10:26 AM   #19
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Binary decisions like this I do exactly that: a tossup.

While the coin is in the air, check yourself wishing which side comes out on top. That's your decision

If you truly don't care I'd go for the novel route, which in this case is taking the job. Financially speaking you can work this job for one year and come out ahead vs. your current way of doing things.
Something in your post stuck in my mind for the past week.

"...you can work this job for one year and come out ahead vs. you current way of doing things."

When put that way, it is a choice between OMY (1 year) and TMY (2 years), and that is a compelling argument. I hadn't thought of that. I was looking at this as a pure binary decision, as that was MY framing.

What has been most interesting in all advice given in this thread is how the framing of a question like this will change the conversation direction. Since it is impossible to transmit all of the details, someone reading my first post must make assumptions, as we all need to do.

I am taking an 'A' + 'B' approach through the end of this year:
- I will try to get an ex co-worker to help with A, the pace of which will be slowing down substantially through the end of this year. I suspected that would happen, and now have a conversation which tells me so.
- I am also taking an offer from 'B' that went beyond my expectations. A lot of lessons learned from that experience. It will be a challenge, but I am sure it will last until the end of 2016. The offer should arrive some time today.

The markets and business of 'A' and 'B' do not overlap at all, so there is no conflict as best I can tell at this time. I have nothing written at this time, so I will need to inspect all papers when I see them.
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