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Struggling with work motivation during those few years before ER...
Old 01-18-2013, 05:42 PM   #1
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Struggling with work motivation during those few years before ER...

At this point, my wife and I can really see the light at the end of the tunnel. We have both been maxing out 401k and ROTH IRAs for many years. We have also accumulated rental properties and self manage these in addition to our full time day jobs.

We are on target for an early semi-retirement if we keep the pedal to the floor for 5 more years. If the market behaves during this time we should be in good shape. At this point we still need to work, but this would be on our terms at whatever ‘ballpark’ jobs we want. The problem is we are really struggling to keep the momentum going. Both of us have just hit our 15 year anniversaries with our current employers, both still have pensions (one frozen – one continuing to be funded), 4-5 weeks of vacation per year, respect, offices, etc.

With just 5 years left, there is no need to further climb the corporate ladder, fight for that promotion, switch careers, change positions, etc. We have really moved into “countdown mode” and are just grinding out these last payperiods. The last 5 years are shaping up to be a real battle for us.

We have considered a sabbatical of some sort, but this might signal to our employers we are struggling. We thought about changing jobs, but this would have us stepping back regarding salary, pensions, vacation, stature, etc. We realize we need some change of pace, but we need to keep our foot on the gas for these last 5 years to stay on target. Quite a conundrum.. Is anyone else here experiencing this..? How do you get through this stage?
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Old 01-18-2013, 05:49 PM   #2
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I worked hard during those last years because I knew this was the home stretch, so to speak. In my case I needed to continue working hard, not for them, but for me. To be true to myself, if that makes any sense. I believe that the choices you make in life define who you are.

On the other hand, I did take all the vacation time that was due to me before I retired, instead of taking pay for that time. During the last four months I worked a week, took two weeks off, and repeated that pattern. That helped.
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Old 01-18-2013, 05:55 PM   #3
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I worked hard for the last 5 years, but I also made a career change within the megacorp, moving to Corp HQ in a different State, and taking on a very challenging job. It certainly helped those last few years pass by more quickly.
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Old 01-18-2013, 06:02 PM   #4
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Old 01-18-2013, 08:07 PM   #5
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I was feeling bored and unmotivated and dealt with it by switching from one firm to another. Even though I was more or less doing the same job, the change I working environment left me feeling a bit freshed and helped me see it through. By the time the novelty had worn off and I was back to feeling unmotivated and disinterested, the end was in sight.
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Old 01-18-2013, 08:26 PM   #6
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This rings a bell with me big time. I've felt like I was a couple years away from FIRE for 8 to 10 years now. Just recently done the math and it now looks like maybe 12 months. It is really hard to stay motivated at work and put up with those still scrambling to CYA. I changed jobs about a year ago and now that is getting old too. I'm focusing my energy on getting ready for FIRE. It's a long list.
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Old 01-18-2013, 08:30 PM   #7
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No. I have worked very hard all my life.
Quote:
Originally Posted by LandlordInvestor
Is anyone else here experiencing this..? How do you get through this stage?
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Old 01-18-2013, 08:56 PM   #8
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Five years is a long time to struggle with a job you really don't want to be doing anymore. I experienced this for about the last two years or so with my job before I retired, but that's a lot different than five years. If you have truly decided that you need to work for five more years (period), and you have decided that you must stay in your current job, then I guess I would try to not focus so much on the end (retirement) date, and set some interim goals for yourself, that you can focus on instead. For example, focus on saving a certain amount of money by a certain date, or perhaps focus on planning a really nice vacation next year to reward yourself and your wife for your hard work, or something along those lines. You are going to need to reward yourself now and then along the way, I think, to make this more bearable. Obsessing about your retirement date at this stage, with 5 years to go, is not going to be productive, in my opinion.
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:35 PM   #9
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Thanks all for the responses. It's not that I have grown to hate my job, but I have stayed in the current position too long. It doesn't help that the company I work for is going through an extreme rough patch. If we recover from this it will be a story similar to IBM or Apple's comeback. My experience is very niche, so if I go outside I will essentially be doing the same thing, but of course the ambiance will be different. Perhaps this is what I need.

There might also be an opportunity to directly help the company with the transition that we are trying to pull off. I am asking around to see what these positions might look like. In any event, I think it will be time for a change to keep me motivated through the last years.

My wife's position is somewhat different in that her company is doing fine, but she does not agree with the approach of upper management in some areas and there is a lot of politics at her company. Glad I don't deal with that...

Thanks for the responses..
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Old 01-19-2013, 04:59 PM   #10
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I dislike my job and feel I am 1 - 24 months away from ER. I've always worked hard and have always done my best. The only thing that really has changed lately is that I forgive myself for "human error" ... it may not sound like much but it is HUGE ! My stress level has gone down 50%. I still have stress but I don't get sick over it anymore. It really makes a difference.
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Old 01-19-2013, 05:04 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W2R View Post
I worked hard during those last years because I knew this was the home stretch, so to speak. In my case I needed to continue working hard, not for them, but for me. To be true to myself, if that makes any sense. I believe that the choices you make in life define who you are.

On the other hand, I did take all the vacation time that was due to me before I retired, instead of taking pay for that time. During the last four months I worked a week, took two weeks off, and repeated that pattern. That helped.

I could have written W2R's first paragraph myself. However, I saved vacation time so I could leave work earlier -- I took all the leave allowed at the end of my military career.
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Old 01-19-2013, 05:21 PM   #12
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I could have written W2R's first paragraph myself. However, I saved vacation time so I could leave work earlier -- I took all the leave allowed at the end of my military career.
Terrific! I would have done that too, had terminal leave been allowed. It wasn't, at my agency, and any vacations longer than two weeks had to go past my supervisor and way up the chain of command for their approval too. That sounded like a hassle. So that is where my odd vacation schedule came from.
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