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Contemplation....
Old 11-03-2017, 06:10 PM   #1
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Contemplation....

So, i have been home from w*rk the last week helping DW through very painful sinus surgery and recovery. During this time, I have REALLY gotten more and more distraught as each day goes by, thinking about having to go back.

I'm no where near ready for ER, (unless you read the "all you need is $500k thread"), but all the same....

Ive been trying to think of what else I might want to do with the remainder of my working time, whether I could make a change. Problem is, I have been in this industry for so long, I don't know what else I would be qualified to do, that would net anywhere near my current income.

Right now, all i can think of is, this sucks.
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Old 11-03-2017, 06:34 PM   #2
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Any opportunity for a lateral move within the company to a different department and a change of scenery/responsibilities?
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Old 11-03-2017, 06:37 PM   #3
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What about a simple job change? A good friend was a bit miserable at work and changed employers... same sort of work so his earnings were actually a little better since he got a bump to make the move... and he loved the new employer... he's in his late 60s and still working because he enjoys work so much.
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Old 11-03-2017, 06:58 PM   #4
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I found that drugs and alcohol helped.
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Old 11-03-2017, 07:19 PM   #5
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In line with the job change and new job ideas.... Try for a promotion?

Before you scoff, the stress and job-hating won't be any better or worse, but you'll get paid more (thus accelerating RE), and at least have a honeymoon period for 6-12 months.

I typically jumped laterally 3x for every 1x up, and did so at least every 2-3 years. Made things at least a little more interesting, and a lot of the time I got a little salary bump just for moving sideways.
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Old 11-04-2017, 06:03 AM   #6
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Any opportunity for a lateral move within the company to a different department and a change of scenery/responsibilities?

Lateral move is pretty much nonexistent for me (at this location).

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What about a simple job change? A good friend was a bit miserable at work and changed employers... same sort of work so his earnings were actually a little better since he got a bump to make the move... and he loved the new employer... he's in his late 60s and still working because he enjoys work so much.
Job change might be a temporary fix. Really just need 3-5 more years or so. Unfortunately (I guess), I am having trouble matching pay and benefits, and "step up" is a big one for company change.
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Old 11-04-2017, 06:06 AM   #7
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I found that drugs and alcohol helped.
Unfortunately, live in SC, not CO. Good bourbon does help, but only so much.
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Old 11-04-2017, 11:52 AM   #8
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These Have Been My Two Solutions in the Past

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Unfortunately, live in SC, not CO. Good bourbon does help, but only so much.
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....
Job change might be a temporary fix....
Both of these have gotten me through many years of similar feelings.

A change jobs changes the set of problems, annoyances, scenery, etc. This can be good enough for six months to a year of feeling better even if the new job isnít actually any better on paper.

Don't let the bourbon get out of hand. At my worst, I was probably a functional alcoholic. Thatís still not good for the finances, personal life or bank account. Bourbon has helped me get through many things over the years. On a positive note, as I close in on ER, I do not need it nearly as much as I once did. Now, I am much more likely to enjoy it more when I want it rather than needing it to get through.
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Old 11-04-2017, 11:58 AM   #9
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I found that drugs and alcohol helped.
That would definitely do it. Start focus more on outside interests instead of work, which is after all is not meant to be fun or meaningful. It is a service to a company with a mission to achieve maximum profit. It would be ideal that we can land a job or work that's meaningful, fun, high-paying (relatively speaking) and interesting. In the meanwhile, keep your mind off from work and seek more interesting activities outside of work.
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Old 11-04-2017, 12:09 PM   #10
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Drugs and alcohol would only have made me more miserable! We are all different that way. When I try to hide from or disguise my problems, they only seem to be worse the next time I have to think about them. So it's better (for me) to take the bull by the tail and face the situation (as you are doing with your DW's illness, and I hope she is doing well and getting better).

It is a little hard to think of advice when I don't know what your profession or technical skill is, but in your place, I would get an appointment to discuss it with your management. Any reasonable manager (which I think I was ) will realize what a strain you've been under, and may have some ideas about easing you back into the workday world.

Perhaps there is a long-term project, that others have not been able to take on because they are putting out daily fires. If you could focus on something that is not as time-sensitive, and that others aren't stepping all over, it might make the work day easier to face.

Good luck!
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Old 11-04-2017, 12:15 PM   #11
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Perhaps there is a long-term project, that others have not been able to take on because they are putting out daily fires. If you could focus on something that is not as time-sensitive, and that others aren't stepping all over, it might make the work day easier to face.
I have never witnessed such a project. Most projects are always under-staffed, over-scoped with unrealistic deadlines.
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Old 11-04-2017, 12:39 PM   #12
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Perhaps there is a long-term project, that others have not been able to take on because they are putting out daily fires. If you could focus on something that is not as time-sensitive, and that others aren't stepping all over, it might make the work day easier to face.

Good luck!
Great suggestion if you can pull it off. During my last couple years, the boss had no idea of my plans to FIRE, so he frequently offered me opportunities to get involved in "highly visible assignments", which of course is code word for getting sucked into hot issues. But all along, I was doing things that I wanted to do to add value, such as putting a lot more structure around my role than previously existing (by creating a web site that had all the answers, etc) so in time my boss saw I was busy with this and the "opportunities" to help fight fires were offered less frequently.

In parallel, I was withdrawing mentally from the workplace and preparing to FIRE.
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Old 11-04-2017, 01:30 PM   #13
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Job change might be a temporary fix. Really just need 3-5 more years or so. Unfortunately (I guess), I am having trouble matching pay and benefits, and "step up" is a big one for company change.
Actually, I see this as good news. You are close!

Sounds like internal options are limited. Have you been looking externally with any seriousness (ie interviews)? If you don't already have some strong leads, it could take a while. You could kill a couple of years transitioning into something different. It may be a nice distraction, but it could also be a ton of risk given a timeframe of less than 5 yrs.

With 3-5 years to go, I'd be reluctant to mention being "unhappy" in any way at w*rk. It can be construed as being "negative". On the other hand, once you are safely FI, then it's great leverage to name your terms (part time, health care, more $$$, less BS w*rk, etc.).

I'd recommend toughing it out in the current gig, but there's stuff to keep you busy:

- Delay major decisions until DW is feeling better.

- W*rk though ER checklist, I think on this site's FAQ, to make sure you have covered everything. You still have plenty of time to prepare & you'll feel positive about taking steps toward your freedom.

- Quietly look for new opportunities, if meaningful. Have nothing to lose by looking. In my situation, I decided it was worse elsewhere!

- Get a good handle on current expenses and project out to retirement. If you can cut expenses, then you're free sooner!

- Make changes toward retirement asset allocation, if needed. I had to buy bonds since I was almost all stocks when w*rking.

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Old 11-04-2017, 01:58 PM   #14
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https://www.amazon.com/What-Color-Yo...40_&dpSrc=srch

I first read this book about 1982-83, at a time when I was hating life in general, and my job. Found out the issue was the marriage I was in at the time, but the book did help with pointing out alternatives.

Later I did take a page from the book and persuaded my employer to create the job I wanted, and since I was pretty sure it was coming I made sure I was the best qualified out of some 800+ people. It worked, and I got the job!

For a long time after that I was in a position of "I can't believe they're actually paying me to do this". It was great while it lasted. There is also a Kindle edition that's a buck or two cheaper.
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Old 11-04-2017, 03:46 PM   #15
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I went to a less stressful job (same field 50% of the compensation) for the last 6 years of my career. I worked 3 - 4 days per week total. 1 day per week in the office and the other days from home. With that schedule and a great boss, I was tempted to work forever. As someone mentioned, don't make any decisions while your DW is recovering. Let your life return to normal.

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Old 11-04-2017, 06:59 PM   #16
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I was more or less not happy with work for the last 15 yrs of it(retired almost 2 yrs now).
You are a lot closer to FIRE than 15 yrs. So, wait until you go back, the time away alone should help a bit, then put your focus on outside activities and to the extent possible make a real effort to ignore the most annoying aspects/people at work and the time will pass. There are worse situations in the world to be in, realizing that ( our first world problem pale in comparison) certainly helped me. Another benefit of the outside activity focus is that it opened me up to be more attentive to others suffering at work with the same unhappiness. This helped the time pass also.
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Old 11-04-2017, 07:05 PM   #17
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It is a little hard to think of advice when I don't know what your profession or technical skill is, but in your place, I would get an appointment to discuss it with your management. Any reasonable manager (which I think I was ) will realize what a strain you've been under, and may have some ideas about easing you back into the workday world.
Unfortunately, my current career/job doesn't lend itself to part time work and such. I manage basically most of a manufacturing plant. Operations (2 Unit Managers with shift leadership, about 450 direct labor, 24/7 operation), manufacturing engineering (11 manufacturing engineers and a facilities engineer), Maintenance (15 technicians and Supervisor). Been in the Operations/Manufacturing Management role for about 20 years (various levels). Just kind of takes it's toll, especially in automotive industry.

Anyway, mostly just bitch'n. There are always cycles of ups and downs, but downs were a lot shorter in duration not so long ago. Company is pretty good, my boss is just not the kind of person that I have a lot in common with, and in this position, you don't bitch down... (to quote Private Ryan).

I have looked at other similar or even higher level positions, but I seem to be at a comp level that makes that difficult. I think I will have to decide if I want to take a step back, with the associated loss in income. That is the quandary, and to do what? Engineering in the automotive industry is still pretty high pressure.
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Old 11-04-2017, 09:11 PM   #18
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Since you only have 3-5 years left, is there any sort of succession plan? Is it possible to have one or more potential successors step in to do the heavy lifiting while you downshift and provide guidance?

A neighbor of mine sold his used car dealership business to a couple of employees a couple years ago.... but he still owns the building and finances the inventory... he now works a few hours a day to help guide the new owners and keep in touch with what is going on..... if he has better things to do on a particular day just lets them know that he won't be in. It has worked out well for him.
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Old 11-04-2017, 10:20 PM   #19
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I've had similar bouts of job depression. I am only a blue
collar technician, but still am bound by a form of golden
handcuffs. If I tried to step outside my specialized niche, my
earning power would plummet. It literally would take 8-10
years of employment at Walmart to equal 1 year at the current
grind. If I was willing to commit say 5 years towards a mini-career,
I could conceivably find a gig for 40%-50% of current wage but
even that seems like a dumb idea. I'm within 3 years of retiring
on my own terms and there is always a possibility of a
reorganization with a severance offer before that. So I soldier on.
Vacations haven't been reinvigorating for some years now though.

You have my empathy, but I don't have any solutions.

Except maybe replace the bourbon for some scotch. I've been sipping
on a bottle of Blanton's single barrel barrel proof, which is good, but
it's not up there with Glenfarclas 105 or this year's release of Macallans
Classic Cut. That is just one of my vices that would have to be
severely restricted on a Walmart salary.

Since you are a pilot, you understand the costs of beating the air into
submission. That is another thing that a Walmart salary won't support.
My current baby is a C-170B with the Franklin 220 HP conversion. It
is a remarkable and remarkably expensive toy.
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Old 11-05-2017, 09:03 AM   #20
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A few things I did that really helped me get through my last few years of work:
- Mentor others and delegate more to help them grow while also taking some pressure off yourself
- Find a project or two that interests you and would benefit your company and allocate some of your time to leading it, while having others help you that can do a lot of the work to help make it happen. This will help others build their skills.
- Start envisioning how you will spend your time in retirement. I made a list of all the things I wanted to do so that I truly felt I was retiring "towards" something rather than just getting away from a job I no longer loved.
- As others have suggested, use this time to get your ducks in a row and ensure retirement readiness (financially, emotionally, home-wise, etc)
- I also made a list of positive things about my job so I could refer to it when I felt I couldn't take another day. Then I tried to focus on those things as much as possible.
- Mentally distancing yourself helps too. When I was 18 months from ER, I got a new boss who was a horrible micromanager. It was hard to take at times, but I'd remind myself "only X more months" and remind myself that staying was a choice I was making to ensure DH's and my financial future. He made some decisions I really disagreed with and felt were not in the long-term best interests of the company. I would express my opinion but if he decided otherwise, instead of getting upset, I'd just remind myself I would not be there to experience the negative repercussions and just smiled and went along with it. My boss was truly shocked when I resigned. He said "But I thought it was going so well!" Guess I deserve an Academy Award for that last year.
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