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FIRE Eligible And Attitude Toward Work
Old 02-21-2011, 12:16 PM   #1
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FIRE Eligible And Attitude Toward Work

While it's all relative to the individual person, by many measures I have accrued enough savings to FIRE right now at the tender age of 40 (to give perspective $1.5M-$2M). That said, I continue to hold a relatively high paying corporate job and mostly plot and plan what my days will entail once I make the jump to FIRE.

To be fair, it's mostly on the work days where I am hit with an undesireable task/project; but, knowing I can pull the trigger at any time seems only to give me less desire to put forth the type of extra effort and focus that I have throughout my career; and, that has mostly led to my success. On those days, yes today is one of them, I often find myself on this forum seeking inspiration!

On the other hand, I have definitely contracted "one more year syndrome". You know, just one more year of the BS at work and I'll have a few more dollars in the bank to secure my retirement. And, each year I work allows me to postpone what seems the difficult decision of walking away voluntarily from the income stream and what has been my primary weekday activity for the past 15 years or so.

I am guessing there are others here that have had similar experiences and feelings and I'd love to hear some perspective. How did you get over the hump and get back to work? Or, was this a sign it was time to change your direction?
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Old 02-21-2011, 12:17 PM   #2
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I'd still love to hear some new thoughts; but, just realized when I hit the submit button that there were some previous threads on this very topic..off to read them..
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Old 02-21-2011, 12:42 PM   #3
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I've noticed that people here are really split on their attitude toward w*rk once they reached FI. For some people, w*rk became easier, since they felt they could leave any time. For others, w*rk became absolutely intolerable, since there was no longer any reason to endure the BS. I was squarely in the latter camp. In fact, if you're like me, there is no way to get over the hump. It's time to depart and get on with the next phase of your life.
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Old 02-21-2011, 02:22 PM   #4
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Onward, I couldn't have said any better myself. Once I found out I could and all I had to do was hang in there until Feb 16 to get my 30 yrs it was like a breath of fresh air.

31 w*rking hours to go
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Old 02-21-2011, 02:42 PM   #5
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I have reached my FIRE point about 5 years ago and have been cutting back my hours each year. I am now down to just under 20/week. I was ready to retire but decided to hang in there during the recent financial crisis.

I find that I really don't mind working once I get there, however, getting up and getting there each morning seems to be less and less desirable for me.

I will turn 60 in just over a year and then will be eligible to collect Social Security widow survivor's benefits. That might just be the thing that makes me hang it up for good.
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Old 02-21-2011, 05:19 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by cb7010 View Post

To be fair, it's mostly on the work days where I am hit with an undesireable task/project; but, knowing I can pull the trigger at any time seems only to give me less desire to put forth the type of extra effort and focus that I have throughout my career;
Maybe this is unfair, but I found myself thinking, "What if my surgeon has this attitude? My dentist? What if it's my day to be that undesirable project?"

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I am guessing there are others here that have had similar experiences and feelings and I'd love to hear some perspective. How did you get over the hump and get back to work? Or, was this a sign it was time to change your direction?
A contract exists between me and my employer, and implicitly, between me and my customers (taxpayers). I give the job my best every day; in return I am paid and given benefits. Being almost eligible to retire - but not quite ready to do so - doesn't make it OK to cheat on my end of the contract.

At the risk of sounding sanctimonious, there's also a contract between me and myself. If I put forth less than my best, I'm cheating myself.

Still, I don't want to be a chump about it. If the project I am working on is a bore, and the people I work with are unredeemable jerks, I will seek some other opportunity to trade my intellect and energy for pay and benefits, until the day I can finally hang it up.

So, that is my perspective, and thanks for asking.

Amethyst
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Old 02-21-2011, 05:57 PM   #7
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There is a phrase that possibly was coined by my work mates (or maybe it's been around) that once a personal has reached the tipping point and can retire they are on a "victory lap". I stayed on about a year after my tipping point and in some ways it was sort of nice. I was more liberal in offering up unpopular viewpoints, less tolerant of difficult work mates and bosses, and pushed buttons a little harder to get some thing done that I had wanted to see happen. Things that maybe weren't directed at the company's bottom line, but would help my co-workers or the environment along in the future.

I didn't let up in my work efforts and actually enjoyed work more.
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Old 02-21-2011, 06:39 PM   #8
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For what its worth, I have to agree with Amethyst. I told myself I had three months to get myself refocused or I should retire. I tried and couldnt get it done. I retired with a year left on my contract with good people to work with and for. They were surprised but appreciated, I wouldnt just go through the motions and collect the check. I havent regretted my decision and its been 9 months. Good luck on your search for the answer you seek!
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Old 02-21-2011, 07:26 PM   #9
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While I do not dislike my job and I like both my employer and most of the people I work with, the work place has long since ceased to inspire me. That said, I still turn up each day and put in the effort expected of me.

The knowledge that a FIRE date is only 1-2 years away is something of a distraction, but not a reason for slacking off. I am being very well paid for what I do. Even impending FIREing was a grounds for going into cruise mode, I still owe it to myself to perform. To keep the motivation up, I prepared a list of work related projects that I would like to see finished before I go and am working my way through them. There is also my reputation to consider.
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Old 02-21-2011, 07:44 PM   #10
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Like many others, I had to wait until I was eligible for retiree medical before I retired. As for the wait after that - - I became eligible on a Saturday, and the following Monday was my last day of work.

During the year before I retired, I worked even harder than before at getting things done and passing on institutional knowledge. That's just the way I am. I wanted to go out on a high note. I wanted completion.

I must admit that I didn't take on any new projects, though. No point in it, since I couldn't see them through. And during the four months prior to ER, I took a series of 1-2 week vacations to ease myself into retirement. This also helped my replacement to test her wings and fly a little bit, since I would always be back in a week or two to consult on problems as needed.

Have you thought of taking some vacation time, as you earn it? That might help. Of course, the most effective solution to pre-retirement malaise is to just go ahead and retire.
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Old 02-21-2011, 08:04 PM   #11
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How did you get over the hump and get back to work? Or, was this a sign it was time to change your direction?
Well, cb, that's kinda the whole reason they call it f#$% you money financial independence. While you're reading the threads you may encounter the ones on the consequences of "just one more year" behavior.

Dory36, the creator of this board, used to say that you went through your career carrying a bucket in each hand-- one labeled FI and the other labeled BS. The FI bucket filled exponentially: very slowly at first and then at an accelerating rate. The BS bucket filled very steadily, of course, but could be regularly emptied on someone else by dumping it out and spreading it around. However when the FI bucket finally filled itself then it always seemed that the BS bucket filled up that much faster and overflowed, no matter what you did.

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Maybe this is unfair, but I found myself thinking, "What if my surgeon has this attitude? My dentist? What if it's my day to be that undesirable project?"
In the military we refer to that as the ROADS program: retired on active-duty service...

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There is a phrase that possibly was coined by my work mates (or maybe it's been around) that once a personal has reached the tipping point and can retire they are on a "victory lap". I stayed on about a year after my tipping point and in some ways it was sort of nice. I was more liberal in offering up unpopular viewpoints, less tolerant of difficult work mates and bosses, and pushed buttons a little harder to get some thing done that I had wanted to see happen. Things that maybe weren't directed at the company's bottom line, but would help my co-workers or the environment along in the future.
I didn't let up in my work efforts and actually enjoyed work more.
I enjoyed my role as the command's briefer in charge of delivering unhappy or aggravating truths. I could call it exactly as I saw it, and the CO could always leap in to say "Well, admiral, what Nords meant to say was..."
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Old 02-22-2011, 03:31 AM   #12
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Hello cb71010 - Sometimes I feel I have the same "one more year syndrome". Still planning to fire in July 2012 though... Will keep you informed.

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On the other hand, I have definitely contracted "one more year syndrome".
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Old 02-22-2011, 07:07 AM   #13
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I guess I'm in a similar situation. I think I'm FI enough to quit (there is risk). But I'm fed up with work - I'm done.

For me, once the "switch has flipped" (which it has for me) - I'm a person of action and have already set in motion the plan to leave my job. Just waiting for one more piece to fall into place - and I'll be on my way.

I guess it's kind of not fair for my employer, since I know my future is not with them - I'm not willing to put forth extra effort (I say that but I still worked 7 hours of unpaid overtime last week). But for the last few years, they've been reducing our benefits and asking us to work more - squeezing us to see just how little they could do to keep us there. So I don't really feel bad reversing the tables on them. I'm squeezing a few more months of pay out of them before I leave.

But I'm only 45 - I'm not planning on sitting on my bum all day. I do have some self-employed plans. It wouldn't surprise me if I end up with a larger income a few years down the road.

I guess I look at FI as opening a door to take some career risks.
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Old 02-22-2011, 07:56 AM   #14
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As the pieces of my ER plan fell into place in 2007 and 2008, I began to ask myself many times per day, "Why am I still working here?" To help get me through the last 17 months of working, I asked to have my weekly hours reduced from 20 to 12. (They did not know I was going to leave but they had to suspect it.) It removed one day per week from my awful commute and got me home one our earlier on the two days I was working. It also helped me better schedule my nonwork activities, some of which were at night (I could not do those on the days I worked because I was too damn pooped), some of which were during the day (can't do those if I am working, either).

I used those 17 months to get some costly dental work done before I lost my dental coverage (I switched to COBRA because I became ineligible for group HI), a preparatory step in case I ERed later. My company stock's value continued to zoom upward, another big piece of the ER plan, because I would cash it out at favorable tax rates still in effect in 2008. Thankfully, it did not take a big hit in late 2008.

I also found an affordable individual HI plan through ehealthinsurance.com although its premium has risen 50% since then. Yuck.

As for the remaining work in those 17 months, I was pretty much limited to a long, single project. It was a mentally challenging project but it was growing on me after a while. By some miracle, I completed it about 45 minutes before I left on my last day, giving me a good sense of closure. I would have been assigned to do the next part of that project but of course they had to assign it to someone else. Not that I was upset by that, of course.

But when I gave my notice of resignation a month before I left, at least I did not have go through the day asking myself, "Why am I still working here?" That was quite a relief, but nothing compared to actually NOT working there any more!
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Old 02-22-2011, 09:54 AM   #15
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CB, you are "kma"-"kiss my a**". I heard that term from some govenment employees who had vested pensions rights and only a short time to go. If they didn't want to do something, they didn't do it because they could always fall back on kma.

It is a struggle. I'm dealing with it because work is slow; when it's busy and it's interesting, it isn't a concern. I've decided to try to negotiate a better "pace" for next year-less money and a lot more time off. If it doesn't work out for either side, I'm prepared to completely retire and be okay. I'm a little concerned about health insurance availability, but it will work out.

Enjoy being kma. Do what interests you and don't do a half baked job on things that don't interest you. As one guy said, it isn't fair to the people writing the check or the people expecting you to do whatever you do.
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Old 02-22-2011, 12:12 PM   #16
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But I'm only 45 - I'm not planning on sitting on my bum all day. I do have some self-employed plans. It wouldn't surprise me if I end up with a larger income a few years down the road.

I guess I look at FI as opening a door to take some career risks.
Exactly.
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Old 02-22-2011, 03:10 PM   #17
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Today has been one of those difficult days. People at work seem to be doing things that to me seem to be annoying, even though they aren't really. We're a relatively small law firm and I get frustrated when people are doing things that don't contribute to anyone's well being other than to generate billable hours. That is probably the frustration that will actually push me out the door-sometimes it seems that the focus on helping people is a distant second or third to appearing to be busy and generating billable hours. Oh well, it will be better tomorrow or the next day.
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Old 02-22-2011, 03:57 PM   #18
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I've noticed that people here are really split on their attitude toward w*rk once they reached FI. For some people, w*rk became easier, since they felt they could leave any time. For others, w*rk became absolutely intolerable, since there was no longer any reason to endure the BS.
I've mentioned this before, but for the sake of those who haven't seen it before my dad became this way when he reached age 55 and became eligible to collect a pension (back when some of the private sector still offered it; I went to work for the same employer and got mine frozen before it amounted to much). He talked about retiring at 55 because he was sick of the BS, but right as he was about to reach his 55th birthday (his bosses and colleagues largely knew when that was), the job became a lot more pleasant. His bosses started protecting him from the worst of the BS and just left him to do the parts of his j*b that he still enjoyed.

Only a too-good-to-pass-on early retirement incentive a little before his 58th birthday got him out.
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Old 02-23-2011, 07:30 AM   #19
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I find this thread extremely interesting as I sit here this morning getting ready to work. On reading the posts I realize that I have not been giving my employer the amount and quality of work that I am being well paid for. As I have been approaching my desired FIRE date in a couple of months, there have been two RIF's that have "shed" the company of some good friends who were also good workers. This has given me a definate KMA attitude - but it is not something I like seeing in the mirror. I may have to move the date up closer if I want to be able to look myself in the eye.
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Old 02-23-2011, 11:30 AM   #20
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Maybe this is unfair, but I found myself thinking, "What if my surgeon has this attitude? My dentist? What if it's my day to be that undesirable project?"



A contract exists between me and my employer, and implicitly, between me and my customers (taxpayers). I give the job my best every day; in return I am paid and given benefits. Being almost eligible to retire - but not quite ready to do so - doesn't make it OK to cheat on my end of the contract.

At the risk of sounding sanctimonious, there's also a contract between me and myself. If I put forth less than my best, I'm cheating myself.

Still, I don't want to be a chump about it. If the project I am working on is a bore, and the people I work with are unredeemable jerks, I will seek some other opportunity to trade my intellect and energy for pay and benefits, until the day I can finally hang it up.

So, that is my perspective, and thanks for asking.

Amethyst

I will agree in a way.... and also disagree... when you are not FI, mega can take advantage of you... and there are a lot of bosses that will.. not that you are not doing your best, but some BS type things...

As an example... I had a boss that wanted me to work later... 'face time' to the bosses above him... one day he came by and said 'I need to talk with you' and then left.. I waited one hour after I would have normally gone home and he was AWOL... I left.. the next day he was upset that I did not hang around longer to talk with him... but what he wanted to talk about could have waited...

I also did not feel that someone else's desire to move up required me to put forth 70 to 80 hours of work for them to look better... I put in my time and did my work better than everybody else in the group (proven by the numbers)... but still was looked upon badly for leaving at 6 or 7 PM....

Glad I got out of that job... even though the work was interesting and I actually liked doing it...
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