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Should I, or shouldn't I
Old 04-14-2007, 05:27 PM   #1
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Should I, or shouldn't I

Hi all,

This is my first post after scaning for about a month. I love this forum and thank you for your patience.

My story is one of 180 degrees in my thinking. I'm 47 and have been with the same megacorp for 28 years and have always been top-rated and always on the corporate succession plan. My plan has always been to keep gong. One year ago I accepted an assignment as a V/P to the UK which is our only international problem market as the head of strategy.

From a personal perspective it has been great for the family and we are on an excellent expat pkg, but I've had it! There are unreasonable expectations and too many political mgmt irons in the fire to brand thier climb to the top. I've not been set-up for success and I'm not having fun.

My plan was always to FIRE in about 4 years for a SWR of $120k/yr. However, I could go now for 85k/yr not counting govt pension and OAS support. Either way I have no debt and a mortgage free home worth about $1 million and no other expenses. I have a wife and 2 young children. I would retire back to Canada so health care cost is not an issue

Since my goal has been 120k/yr for no other reason than it was safe and I know would meet any of my expectations, my question is only to those who have been there and done that and can emphathize; do I suck it up and hang in there and bite my tongue, or do I say thats it, l'm going home to Canada and say goodbye?

I can see both sides and the benefits of each decision, I'm just not sure.

I look forward to your thoughts or advice if you've been in a similar situation.

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Re: Should I, or shouldn't I
Old 04-14-2007, 05:55 PM   #2
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Re: Should I, or shouldn't I

You don't like your present job. Why? Is it the VP responsibilities, or is it living in the UK? Have you considered asking the CEO for a reassignment?
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Re: Should I, or shouldn't I
Old 04-14-2007, 05:59 PM   #3
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Re: Should I, or shouldn't I

I've sort of been in a similar situation, but I tried not to let the executive culture bug me. Just be you and have some fun. Worst case, they FIRE you.
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Re: Should I, or shouldn't I
Old 04-14-2007, 06:02 PM   #4
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Re: Should I, or shouldn't I

Are you using canadian currency numbers? 85k/year (US) with healthcare coverage is damn good. If the BS bucket is full I'ld bail.
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Re: Should I, or shouldn't I
Old 04-14-2007, 06:18 PM   #5
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Re: Should I, or shouldn't I

Hey toot....

Can you quit I had a short term assignment in the UK and I had a contract for a certain amount of time... if I 'left', then all my benefits were payable back to the company... and they would not pay the taxes which I can tell you were HUGH... if you have reached a point where you can... then you are in much better shape than you think...

They have not 'set you up for failure'... YOU are setting you up for failure. Since you are in FI, you should be doing all that you can to do the job you signed up for no matter the outcome... sounds like you are playing politic instead of getting things done...

And if there is such resistence to change... then sit back and enjoy yourself in the UK... take a few trips to the rest of Europe on long weekend trips or just go around the UK and enjoy... I took probably 3 trips a month during the summer months and at least one during the winter...

BTW, where are they putting you I had a nice place just across the street of Sloan Square station... and I did a short 6 week stint around High Street Kinsington... I bet you are in South Kensington... that is where most of the expats are located.. (of course... you might not even be in London.. just making an assumption)...
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Re: Should I, or shouldn't I
Old 04-14-2007, 06:22 PM   #6
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Re: Should I, or shouldn't I

I love the UK as the place to live, but the UK CEO will use me as scapegoat for any shortfalls in performance since I'm from HQ and been sent to "help", especially as a non-Brit. Since I need to personally find my post-UK assignment any input the UK CEO sends will impact my opportunities. I'm not naturally polictical but to offset the silo polictics, I need play the game, which I'm ok at but don't enjoy.

Since I don't like the game, my question is do I continue to play because I'm good at it, or do I pull the plug and say thats it? I'm very unsure! I want to have the extra income, but don't want to despise work for 4 yrs. Thus my question, am my expecations for job satisfaction too high for my level, or would I be better off accepting a lower retirement income but get out 4 yrs early.

I'd love to hear what this forum thinks.
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Re: Should I, or shouldn't I
Old 04-14-2007, 06:34 PM   #7
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Re: Should I, or shouldn't I

Hey toot,

I had a manager that also did not want to do all I had hoped... so I called the people back at corp and told them what I thought... they decided not to do anything about it, so I got my answer... just did what I needed to do but did not play the games.. I hate them which is why I am now at an 'entry level' position even though I could be doing the work that our SVP is doing... I just don't want the hassle and don't want to live in NY or NJ...

But, you either go over the UK guys head or just sit back and enjoy.. if you sweat it and do neither then you are causing your own stress... what is the downside They fire you before you quit??

BTW, there is always a country mentality... those people in corp in (wherever it is) just don't understand the UK market (or the EMEA market) etc.... fix what you can and ENJOY your time there... and the four years if that is what you want... again.. the downside is you get fired... big deal..
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Re: Should I, or shouldn't I
Old 04-14-2007, 06:35 PM   #8
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Re: Should I, or shouldn't I

Just a thought on govt pension and OAS. If you're refering to Canadian CPP and OAP then you have to consider that:
1) OAP is taxed away starting at around C$60K income
2) CPP may be reduced if you have no earned income from 47 to 60

I'm about to leave a Canadian mega-corp with a similar SWR. However, I'm 58, no debt and kids gone

Never quite made the VP level but hate the political BS.

Good luck
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Re: Should I, or shouldn't I
Old 04-14-2007, 06:37 PM   #9
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Re: Should I, or shouldn't I

Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas Proud
Hey toot....

Can you quit I had a short term assignment in the UK and I had a contract for a certain amount of time... if I 'left', then all my benefits were payable back to the company... and they would not pay the taxes which I can tell you were HUGH... if you have reached a point where you can... then you are in much better shape than you think...

They have not 'set you up for failure'... YOU are setting you up for failure. Since you are in FI, you should be doing all that you can to do the job you signed up for no matter the outcome... sounds like you are playing politic instead of getting things done...

And if there is such resistence to change... then sit back and enjoy yourself in the UK... take a few trips to the rest of Europe on long weekend trips or just go around the UK and enjoy... I took probably 3 trips a month during the summer months and at least one during the winter...

BTW, where are they putting you I had a nice place just across the street of Sloan Square station... and I did a short 6 week stint around High Street Kinsington... I bet you are in South Kensington... that is where most of the expats are located.. (of course... you might not even be in London.. just making an assumption)...
I can't quit and have to stay until until end of 2007 which I will no problem so payback is not a problem. We will have been here for 2 yrs and live in a fairly spacious house in Central London in a very nice neighborhood which I've grateful to Megacorp for. Personally its been great with lots of Europe travel on low-cost airlines, its just the work environment that sucks.
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Re: Should I, or shouldn't I
Old 04-14-2007, 06:45 PM   #10
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Re: Should I, or shouldn't I

Quote:
Originally Posted by tootimid
My plan was always to FIRE in about 4 years for a SWR of $120k/yr. However, I could go now for 85k/yr not counting govt pension and OAS support. Either way I have no debt and a mortgage free home worth about $1 million and no other expenses. I have a wife and 2 young children.

I am in a similar situation in terms of 4yrs to go and the financial incentive to wait. Plus a bit short of the target $ amount. Highly rated, given the marching orders for some critical assignments that are likely to not meet expectations.. pushed to take a risky assignment, the boss gets all the glory if it pans out and i get the risk if it flops. I have decided to hang in there. The financial benefit is needed so I will grit my teeth and bear it. On the positive side, I know I will not get fired if I fail to meet expectations.

I don't have a good appreciation for the nuances of your situation... however, if you are short of your target, stick in there unless you think it will cause you some personal harm (e.g.,., ruin health, marriage, etc). If the risk is only a bruised ego :P ... Just hang in there and acquire your target.

Politics are part of the territory. Consider identifying specific strategies/tactics for each of the target difficult areas and work the tactics. Not knowing enough about what is really bothering you makes it difficult to address or compare notes. I am often involved in facilitating change (where people do not want the change or the program is unpopular) and have some experience in bad situations...

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Re: Should I, or shouldn't I
Old 04-14-2007, 06:50 PM   #11
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Re: Should I, or shouldn't I

If you are planning to quit in 4 years anyway, your "career" is actually over now. I would re-orient myself to the new reality, manage to avoid fatal mishaps and get that extra dough. You are no longer managing a career; you are now managing the rest of your life. This life will be made much easier with all the extra money.

If you find you can't do the needed attitude adjustment, try therapy. If you still can't, there will be plenty time to quit. Unless you are getting suicidal or homicidal, it is never too late to quit.

Ha
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Re: Should I, or shouldn't I
Old 04-14-2007, 07:05 PM   #12
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Re: Should I, or shouldn't I

Quote:
Originally Posted by HaHa
If you are planning to quit in 4 years anyway, your "career" is actually over now. I would re-orient myself to the new reality, manage to avoid fatal mishaps and get that extra dough. You are no longer managing a career; you are now managing the rest of your life. This life will be made much easier with all the extra money.

If you find you can't do the needed attitude adjustment, try therapy. If you still can't, there will be plenty time to quit. Unless you are getting suicidal or homicidal, it is never too late to quit.
toot, I agree with Ha on this.

I to am in a similar situation and I think it is far from unique. It is a problem many of us have to wrestle with. I can RE today with a FIRECALC 100% success rate for $70k/year which is what I reckon I need. However, if I hang on for 35 months that figure goes up to $110k/yr plus Health Insurance, so I have to decide to hang on in there even though I really dislike working now.

Within megacorp I am now on my 4th job in 4 years because I have a solid record in sorting out messes, being reliable on big projects etc. It is 5:30am in my hotel in Mumbai (Bombay) where I arrived about 8 hours ago. Not been to India before and about to start a new assignment on acquiring a business here and do the Due Dilligence on the IT systems. I am now at the stage of being comfortable with the fact I can walk out should the stress get too high (and I will).

Only you know your own body, and your probable life expectancy, and if you can let all the politics cr*p not affect your health my advice is to find a way to ride this out. If not, hey, you can always get a much lower paying job for a few years if $85k/yr makes you feel uncomfortable.
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Re: Should I, or shouldn't I
Old 04-14-2007, 07:09 PM   #13
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Re: Should I, or shouldn't I

Quote:
Originally Posted by HaHa
If you are planning to quit in 4 years anyway, your "career" is actually over now. I would re-orient myself to the new reality, manage to avoid fatal mishaps and get that extra dough. You are no longer managing a career; you are now managing the rest of your life. This life will be made much easier with all the extra money.

If you find you can't do the needed attitude adjustment, try therapy. If you still can't, there will be plenty time to quit. Unless you are getting suicidal or homicidal, it is never too late to quit.

Ha
Thanks Ha. No chance of extreme behaviour; quiting, etc... I'm very emotionally secure and I'm just trying to maximize my remaining years. It seems to me the overall advice from the forum is to enjoy and stick to the job at hand and let the circumstances sort themselves out. However, has anyone FiRED early and thought wow that is the best thing that happened even if it was below thier target income? Just curious.





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Re: Should I, or shouldn't I
Old 04-14-2007, 07:19 PM   #14
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Re: Should I, or shouldn't I

Quote:
Originally Posted by tootimid
However, has anyone FiRED early and thought wow that is the best thing that happened even if it was below thier target income? Just curious.
Yup. I did the attitude adjustment thing for a couple years. But I couldn't stand the CEO or the commute, so I decided to pull the plug just before the warm days of summer. Probably left 7-figures on the table over the next two years.

No regrets, but then I left with enough to remain "comfortable" and I always figured that I could fairly easily generate income again if necessary.

There's no off-the-shelf answer for you. Go with your needs, go with your gut, and remember that there are a bunch of other opportunities out there if the job really sucks.
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Re: Should I, or shouldn't I
Old 04-14-2007, 07:28 PM   #15
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Re: Should I, or shouldn't I

Quote:
Originally Posted by tootimid
Thanks Ha. No chance of extreme behaviour; quiting, etc... I'm very emotionally secure and I'm just trying to maximize my remaining years. It seems to me the overall advice from the forum is to enjoy and stick to the job at hand and let the circumstances sort themselves out. However, has anyone FiRED early and thought wow that is the best thing that happened even if it was below thier target income? Just curious.
I'm sure you'll get some positive replies, but you need to feel comfortable within yourself before you jump. Since you have to wait until end of this year when your assignment ends start doing some research, and getting prepared. That's what I did about 4 years ago when I thought I still had 7 years to go, and I found myself switching jobs within the company and locations from Baton Rouge to just north of Houston. I actually took a sideways move to a job a grade lower, but with agreement that I maintain my grade and 20% bonus level. Even so I nearly quit about 18 months ago when my then current Director and friend got shafted. I again did some serious planning, but a couple of new assignments later and I'm comfortable now with the knowledge I can walk when I want and it's amazing how serene that makes me feel. (just as described in Bob Clyatt's book Work Less, Live More, which I found through this forum). I even e-mailed Bob a couple of times after reading his book - he is a very wise man.
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Re: Should I, or shouldn't I
Old 04-14-2007, 08:20 PM   #16
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Re: Should I, or shouldn't I

What I would do:
- Change work "relationsihp" to treating your assignment as a "job" not a "career" - punch-in, do your best, punch-out, go have a pint.
- $85 is a lot different than $120
- Depending on your lifestyle, $85 might not "go as far as you think" with 2 small kids

Like others said, worst case is you get fired - which is where you wanna end up anyhow - then you get severence and company has responsibilities to move you back.
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Re: Should I, or shouldn't I
Old 04-14-2007, 08:32 PM   #17
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Re: Should I, or shouldn't I

Is four years worth the rest of your life at $35,000 a year less? What do you live on now. If you currently are living and spending $120,000 a year and do not want to have to cut back, then hang in there.

But if cutting back will not distress your future lifestyle and you think you can easily adapt, then by all means quit. Most peiople would think that $85,000 is a very nice income to retire on, but of course everything is relative. Bill Gates certainly wouldn't be happy on it!
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Re: Should I, or shouldn't I
Old 04-14-2007, 09:27 PM   #18
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Re: Should I, or shouldn't I

I would say suck it up and stick it out if you can. Look, who cares what they think you're outa there anyway. If you really can't take it, sell your home, move and buy a 300K home. Live happily ever after. BTW If I had stayed 4 more years I would have a million more. I never looked back.
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Re: Should I, or shouldn't I
Old 04-15-2007, 07:53 AM   #19
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Re: Should I, or shouldn't I

Hi Toot. At about your age I got totally burned out on my current job and considered quitting which would have entailed loosing a COLAd pension and lifetime family health benefits. I decided I could force myself to hang in there for about 4 years until I was 50 and could assure the pension. Once I made that decision, the stress subjectively lightened. I also gained enough perspective to realize I actually had a lot of options on the job since I was well regarded and well positioned. I ended up completely changing my career (from HR to IT). The new work revitalized me and I ended up staying another 10 years instead of 4.
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Re: Should I, or shouldn't I
Old 04-15-2007, 08:14 AM   #20
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Re: Should I, or shouldn't I

Toot...

As you can see.... most people do the attitude adjustment and the stress just goes away...

Just another thought.... if you left, eveything will be blamed on you anyhow... if there is a failure you are the scapegoat if you stay and if you go... so that is no difference...

And YOU are the only one causing stress ON YOU.. It is surprising what you do when you get the attitude adjustment... You do what you want to a point... if there is something you want to do with you kids, you just go home... they might talk to you about something, but you say "I got a commitment"... again, what are they going to do Fire you??

If you want to take a vaction... take it again?? Fire you??

All 'bad' things that can happen will get you to the same place as all 'good' things... it is only the stress level that you can change.. in the end you will be out of work and enjoying yourself... ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT...
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