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Committed Sabbatical vs Early Retirement
Old 08-23-2010, 06:14 PM   #1
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Committed Sabbatical vs Early Retirement

We reached FI several years ago and the last possible excuse barrier to continue working passed this past May. Though my job includes fabulous pay and benefits and most outsiders would conclude I'd be crazy to give it up voluntarily, there is little challenge or satisfaction that comes from it any more. Can do the job in my sleep, but completely bored with it after many years. I had my retirement speech all mapped out in Apr, but still can't pull the trigger.

I am starting to think a one year sabbatical to mentally regroup, enjoy some hobbies and work on what I want to do as a second act would make more sense. A formal sabbatical, LOA or even part-time with my current employer is out of the question - so I would actually retire on paper and sever all ties, but I would plan on jumping back into the work world [doing something completely different] after a year give or take. [edit]

Anyone else here who has done the same, or is thinking about it?

I read a blog today from someone who had turned their focus from net-worth to measuring self-worth (excerpt below). Sounded appealing to me (part of sabbatical), after spending over 30 years worrying more about net-worth.

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Through the years, I’ve slowly, but surely diversified my self-worth portfolio. In addition to academic achievement, I now have stock in living with integrity, being intelligent, producing high quality work, being fiscally responsible, being a good parent to my furry four-legged kids, being a supporter for all of my friends and family, being kind, being pretty, being non-judgmental, being compassionate and understanding, being a good photographer, being a good musician, being well-liked by others, and maintaining a clean home.
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Old 08-23-2010, 06:20 PM   #2
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I am starting to think a one year sabbatical to mentally regroup, enjoy some hobbies and work on what I want to do as a second act would make more sense. A formal sabbatical, LOA or even part-time with my current employer is out of the question - so I would actually retire on paper and sever all ties, but I would plan on jumping back into the work world after a year give or take.
So you are planning to retire but may go back to work after a year or so, depending on how it goes. And to sleep at night you're calling it a sabbatical, not retirement.

If it does the trick, go for it!
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Old 08-23-2010, 06:26 PM   #3
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When I finally decided to retire I took a leave of absence . Mostly because my boss and my co-workers were all convinced I'd return and work part time .I knew I was burned out but I also did not want to burn any bridges . I never returned from that leave in fact I still have my name badge and uniforms . Of course a few months into my leave /retirement I started my ebay gig which has grown to a successful part time hobby but it never feels like work since I have no time constraints and I do it in my PJ's . Sometimes you have to think outside the box for a new challenge .
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Old 08-23-2010, 06:37 PM   #4
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Retire, and call it a sabbatical, if that's what you need to make the change. Whatever floats your boat, Midpack!
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Old 08-23-2010, 07:05 PM   #5
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I took a one year sabbatical in 1990 when I was 40 to try to decide what kind of work I wanted to do the rest of my life. What I discovered is that what I really wanted to do for the rest of my life was to be on a permanent sabbatical!. I then worked and planned so as to move up the permanent sabbatical date as much as possible. ER started in 2003 and its been wonderful. No regrets at all. If that's what's in your heart ( and your family/loved ones are in the same boat - as mine were) GO FOR IT!
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Old 08-23-2010, 08:15 PM   #6
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I'm working on my 4th year in sabbatical. Not sure when I will pull the plug and retire.
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Old 08-23-2010, 08:31 PM   #7
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I'm working on my 4th year in sabbatical. Not sure when I will pull the plug and retire.
Yep. I gave up work to become a full-time sabbaticalist..
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Old 08-23-2010, 09:18 PM   #8
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Midpack,

That's exactly what we did. We weren't sure about it, so quit our jobs with the expectation that if things didn't work out - financially or otherwise - we would go back to work in a year. As it happened it took us 20 months to get back to work. I worked 3 months and called it quits. DW is still working, but will call it quits at the end of Nov.

Go for it. If you like ER, there's no looking back. If not, there are plenty of things to try out. Life is finite. Possibilities, not so much. All the best.
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Old 08-23-2010, 09:34 PM   #9
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I am starting to think a one year sabbatical to mentally regroup, enjoy some hobbies and work on what I want to do as a second act would make more sense.
Anyone else here who has done the same, or is thinking about it?
Sounds like an updated version of the Rich_In_Tampa 12-step ER program.

Now that I think about it, CuteFuzzyBunny actually took a sabbatical enroute his ER. I think it was a corporate-sponsored 3-6 months, and when he returned to work he couldn't believe how much BS he'd been putting up with. He was already FI so a few short months later when Megacorp gave him the excuse, he was outta there.

I was going to take a sabbatical before I ER'd, but it sounded like too much work...

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Originally Posted by Midpack View Post
I read a blog today from someone who had turned their focus from net-worth to measuring self-worth (excerpt below). Sounded appealing to me (part of sabbatical), after spending over 30 years worrying more about net-worth.
What's the blog link?
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Old 08-23-2010, 10:57 PM   #10
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Of course a few months into my leave /retirement I started my ebay gig which has grown to a successful part time hobby but it never feels like work since I have no time constraints and I do it in my PJ's .
Some kind of brass to go sourcing in your PJs! My admiration is huge.

Ha
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Old 08-24-2010, 06:09 AM   #11
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So you are planning to retire but may go back to work after a year or so, depending on how it goes. And to sleep at night you're calling it a sabbatical, not retirement.

If it does the trick, go for it!
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Retire, and call it a sabbatical, if that's what you need to make the change. Whatever floats your boat, Midpack!
Interesting responses...

Once again, I probably haven't framed my opening post as well as I should have.

I'll sleep fine either way. While most people don't enjoy their jobs, there's a small percentage who do - even some who love their work and jump out of bed in the morning. I've known a few, and every one of you have known at least a few people like that I hope. Before I hang up my spurs, I think it would be great to get paid to work at something that I enjoy, even love to do. In fact, preferable to laying in a hammock all day. Being FI, makes that possible.

I will concede that most jobs are or can quickly become drudgery - but I just don't subscribe to the "all work is evil" sentiment that I see here often. If you hate your job, getting another one you like seems a better solution than sticking it out for years or decades being miserable until one can "retire."
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Old 08-24-2010, 06:11 AM   #12
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What's the blog link?
Maximizing Utility: Diversify your self-worth portfolio
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Old 08-24-2010, 06:56 AM   #13
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I will concede that most jobs are or can quickly become drudgery - but I just don't subscribe to the "all work is evil" sentiment that I see here often. If you hate your job, getting another one you like seems a better solution than sticking it out for years or decades being miserable until one can "retire."
True, but one has to weigh his options. In my case it was (a) change jobs and do something more enjoyable but for much less money and retire at 65 or later (b) keep on plugging away with a nice income and retire early at 52. Easy choice for me. But I do agree not 'all work is evil'. Some like you have been lucky to do something you enjoy and make good money. I enjoyed most of the people I worked with, but got tired of crunching out the same old numbers every month. And if I had changed jobs in the same field, that wouldn't have changed. A new field would have been fun, but at much less money. That's the predicament most people are in later in their career.
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Old 08-24-2010, 07:09 AM   #14
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Interesting responses...

Once again, I probably haven't framed my opening post as well as I should have... Before I hang up my spurs, I think it would be great to get paid to work at something that I enjoy, even love to do... Being FI, makes that possible... I just don't subscribe to the "all work is evil" sentiment that I see here often. If you hate your job, getting another one you like seems a better solution than sticking it out for years or decades being miserable until one can "retire."
I feel much the same about work. It would be ideal to have work that is also your passion. Unfortunately, I always found that my passions would not long survive employment But, as you say, the nice thing about being FI is that you can "retire" and explore options. If you want to check out the possibilities, go for it.
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Old 08-24-2010, 07:33 AM   #15
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I am starting to think a one year sabbatical to mentally regroup, enjoy some hobbies and work on what I want to do as a second act would make more sense.
For me, finding the perfect "second act" has been elusive.........

I have found that after 20 years in a farily specialzed job (running a car dealership) I'm having trouble coming up with something that (A) I want to do, (B) I actually have skills to do, and (C) will make enough money to make it worth putting in the hours (however limited).

Also, it seems I've lost much of my childlike imagination over the years, and that's making it difficult to come up with interesting things to do. Or, when I do come up with something that sounds interesting to me (starting a Baja Fish Taco stand only on W-TH-FRI in the evenings and not during the summer so my kids can learn the value of work and earn some extra change but we can still travel all summer!!) just sounds goofy as hell when I try to describe it to people (especially DW ).

I offer my tribulations in the hope they may guide to others to ER greatness, and not as an attempt to hijack your thread in order to talk about myself.
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Old 08-24-2010, 09:18 AM   #16
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I am afraid that I have nothing constructive to add; but, I am going to post anyway mostly as a cathartic exercise for myself since I am struggling with a similar decision...

There is much of my current work that I actually enjoy (some of my coworkers are brilliant, some of the work we do is very interesting and groundbreaking in some ways, and the compensation is fairly significant). However, there is also much drudgery that I could easily live without (the standard insane administrivia and a less than stellar executive management team).

There is no real opportunity for me to go part time in my current position. (Others have tried, promises made, etc. only to be completely cut almost immediately.)

Recently, I felt like I was close to a breaking point; so, I took six weeks vacation (my mini-sabbatical). Now that my six weeks are coming to an end, I am dreading the thought of going back to the grind. (Yes, maybe I should just realize that I have my answer.)

All of the calculations that I run (low end of historical returns combined with my current actual expenses) say that I am FI now; but, my net worth is still much less than many here consider viable for a long retirement. (I am currently early 40's and hoping to live another 60 years.) So, there is the constant, nagging feeling that I am missing something, making bad assumptions (return, personal inflation rate, etc.).

And, I am also very afraid that I, like cardude, will find it nearly impossible to settle into a second act for similar reasons to his once I pull the plug. So, for now, I guess I am in the just one more dollar/month/year/etc. camp.

But, I am starting to reach out to old contacts (CEO's and partners in small consulting companies) in my field to see if anyone knows of part-time, ideally sporadic, projects that I could use to ease my way into full retirement.
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Old 08-24-2010, 09:31 AM   #17
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Thanks.

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Old 08-24-2010, 10:44 PM   #18
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I am currently early 40's and hoping to live another 60 years.
Think you might be a tad optimistic?
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Old 08-24-2010, 11:15 PM   #19
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Midpack I did precisely that, I arranged for a 1 year leave of absence.

I had recently returned from the company sabbatical (and they were really only 2+ months) t. After 6 months in placeholder job, decided that I was really burned out. There were some financial reason for the leave vs the straightforward quiting, but 90% of the reason was psychologically. It also was a convenient for Mom and friends who said you're doing what Naw I am not retiring just taking a year off.

I really had hard time leaving lucrative stock options, and a good company, for Hawaii and risking being bored. I actually toyed with coming back about 2 months before the end of the LOA, but at the end decide I really didn't miss work that much.

As it turned out my lucrative stock options were all underwater thanks to the NASDAQ crash, so it all worked out.
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Old 08-25-2010, 02:37 AM   #20
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Call it whatever you need to call it - Sabbatical, ER, Escape, Spiritual Enlightenment etc... If you are prepared and it feels like time to get out, go for it, then let it play out, you might go back to work in a similar position, you might go back part time, you may just become obsessed with new passions and hobbies, paid or not, and never go back. Speaking from experience, one can spend a lot of time and energy rationalizing bailing out instead of just doing it and enjoying the ride.
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