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Old 02-03-2016, 10:01 AM   #161
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We currently make, before taxes (and bundling in "employer" profit sharing contributions), approximately 3x our projected first year's spending in retirement.
This was about the same as us once one time items (in retirement) removed. The amount saved for each added year of work would have been around 8-10% of the nestegg. So each added year would have helped financially but not to the extent of the added aggravation. Furthermore, the cash generated from our nestegg and pensions was projected to be quite a bit higher than what we were spending while working. You have to pull the trigger at some point.
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Old 02-03-2016, 10:14 AM   #162
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Karen,

I read your observation with great interest. I think you have a lot of insight into the situation. I am female and I was in the IT industry for over 20 years, and I can say too that I was considered a b*tch, and I knew it (The b*tch is kind of part of my personality really, unlike you, and I believe it did help my career.) - At some point in my career, I was the only female in IT and even when I wasn't, I was the only female in many meetings. One time, the phone in the conference room rang, and I was sitting next to the phone, but I refused to pick it up (I remember distinctly that everyone did look at me - This was in the mining industry, but people I worked with were not the typical miner type, but still), because I didn't want people to perceive me as a helpful, secretarial type. I always felt like I represented the whole women kind in some ways. (I am originally from Japan which has very traditional/restricted views of females in the work place (which I hear has changed a lot)).

When I hit the 10 year anniversary at my last company and had everyone from our department in the room and one guy (in front of my director/boss) asked me what it felt like to be the only female in the department. I told him that I didn't realize that and that I felt just like one of the guys. (Interestingly, my boss started hiring female employees after that.)

I feel I was compensated as well as the next person (men) with similar experience/work history. I don't think they particularly look at you and say she is female so I pay her less. With the line of work I was in, it was expected that you had no life outside of work. And I didn't have much of life (I was single and I have no kids) so I could do it. They did accommodate their employees picking up children from day care, going out to do errands for family, etc, but you were expected to work after that, nights and weekends if necessary, with very short notice. If you are on time sensitive projects, you were expected to work through weekends, etc, and that would have been very difficult if you had small children with no support from relatives or from hired hands. I was in a specialized job position for many years in IT and I have met some women who did similar work, but most of them were single, or were married but had no children.
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Old 02-03-2016, 11:57 AM   #163
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* For some reason there is a phenomenon where a woman can say something brilliant in a meeting and it is often ignored and yet two seconds later a man can repeat the same idea and then that idea gets associated to the guy, not the woman.
Not to take away anything from your very insightful comments but the above reminded me of a situation back in the '80s.

We had hired a young woman for our marketing department. All the managers were smitten. (Those in the trenches said "phony" on the first introduction)

I saw her one day copying notes from a TIME magazine article on a technical subject that involved our industry.

She called a special meeting and spoke on the insights that TIME had spelled out, cleverly not mentioning the magazine.

Senior management's reaction: A few days after her presentation, the VP was running around the company with the TIME magazine saying: "Wow! She's brilliant!! TIME just published everything she said! She's brilliant!! Everything she said is in the magazine!"

Took another year for it to catch up with her...eventually they got wise that she was a poseur. But fun to watch while it went on!
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Old 02-03-2016, 12:02 PM   #164
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Not to take away anything from your very insightful comments but the above reminded me of a situation back in the '80s.



We had hired a young woman for our marketing department. All the managers were smitten. (Those in the trenches said "phony" on the first introduction)



I saw her one day copying notes from a TIME magazine article on a technical subject that involved our industry.



She called a special meeting and spoke on the insights that TIME had spelled out, cleverly not mentioning the magazine.



Senior management's reaction: A few days after her presentation, the VP was running around the company with the TIME magazine saying: "Wow! She's brilliant!! TIME just published everything she said! She's brilliant!! Everything she said is in the magazine!"



Took another year for it to catch up with her...eventually they got wise that she was a poseur. But fun to watch while it went on!

Any way we could spin this to someone just being pragmatic? Why reinvent the wheel?


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Old 02-03-2016, 12:46 PM   #165
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She wasn't being efficient. She had no idea what she was doing and getting by on good looks. A complete fraud who even fudged her credentials.

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Old 02-03-2016, 12:49 PM   #166
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Any way we could spin this to someone just being pragmatic? Why reinvent the wheel?


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What was fun was was watching management make fools of themselves thinking she was brilliant when everyone else knew all she was was hot

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Old 02-03-2016, 12:50 PM   #167
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She wasn't being efficient. She had no idea what she was doing and getting by on good looks. A complete fraud who even fudged her credentials.

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My first boss back in the Byzantine era always had a soft spot for the "lookers". He always justified it by saying, "A pretty woman can do just as good as job as an ugly one can".


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Old 02-03-2016, 01:26 PM   #168
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My first boss back in the Byzantine era always had a soft spot for the "lookers". He always justified it by saying, "A pretty woman can do just as good as job as an ugly one can".


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Ha! Ha! Ha! or vise versa! .. "An ugly woman can ... "
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Old 02-03-2016, 01:44 PM   #169
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* For some reason there is a phenomenon where a woman can say something brilliant in a meeting and it is often ignored and yet two seconds later a man can repeat the same idea and then that idea gets associated to the guy, not the woman.
This is also true for minorities in the Midwest. Hopefully, the West (e.g. the Bay Area) is better.
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Old 02-03-2016, 01:46 PM   #170
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Sorry hadn't realized my STEM comment had generated so many comments.
A very thoughtful post. I worked in a STEM field in Latin America, which has all that plus a strongly male culture. Your post reminds me of many personnel reviews I sat in on, especially in the southern cone countries. When describing their female employees, a typical manager would begin with comments on her appearance, then get into work attributes. With their male employees, they always focused on work related attributes. Still a way to go, eh?
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Old 02-03-2016, 02:05 PM   #171
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* For some reason there is a phenomenon where a woman can say something brilliant in a meeting and it is often ignored and yet two seconds later a man can repeat the same idea and then that idea gets associated to the guy, not the woman.
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This is also true for minorities in the Midwest. Hopefully, the West (e.g. the Bay Area) is better.
This will happen anywhere there is an "Establishment" that, in the words of Mel brooks, needs to protect their phony baloney jobs. I have seen it happen in meetings run by Minorities who treat any White person's idea as second rate or uninformed for 2 minutes until a Non-White/ Non-Male person says it

The Military does it all the time. The enlisted person's view is completely ignored until the CC, XO or currently in-favor Junior O-3 says it. And I've seen officers do it to each other. The Major that the commander doesn't like but is the only person who knows what's going on: Cold stares. Loud mouth Partyin' Charley Captain: We need to adopt that asinine idea immediately.
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Old 02-03-2016, 02:23 PM   #172
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I don't mind laying it all out: Retired Federal LEO here ... GS-1811-13 ... last years salary was approx 125k with overtime, language pay, etc.

Retired about 6 years ago at age 49 on approx 71k combination of Federal pension; life expectancy payments from a hefty TSP account; and supplement that goes away at age 62. Have about 100k in the bank & mutual funds.

House, cars, boat, motorcycle, etc paid for, one kid in college on scholarships living at home, zero debt. FEHBP for health insurance (NALC/Cigna.)

Moved to panhandle of Florida when I retired for cheaper property taxes and no State income tax. (my property tax on 3200 sq ft w/pool on 3 acres in Texas was approaching 8k w/insurance approx $1200 ... my property tax on 2100 sq ft in a brand new family subdivision here in FL is $1650 & insurance about $800)

Had a couple jobs after I quit working but last one only lasted about 10 months & I'm not looking for another at present.

Wife did not work enough years to build a retirement plan & now has stage 4 cancer so thank goodness for health insurance 'cause we are maxing out to catastrophic on health insurance each year & one of her chemo drugs (Ibrance) is about 10k per month. (Pfizer has a co-pay assistance program for that so it actually costs us $10 per month out of pocket) She also had a 300k+ spinal surgery last fall at MD Anderson and requires periodic bone scans and MRI's several times per year, some of which requires trips to Houston three or four times per year.
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Old 02-04-2016, 02:27 AM   #173
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Andy S,
I sincerely hope all goes well with your wife. I'm in TX so I know the deal about property taxes. Thanks for the info on Florida.
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Old 02-04-2016, 06:18 AM   #174
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If you are happy then you are a winner. Nothing worse than trying to live according to other people's expectations.

So true. Don't compare yourself to others. Only compare yourself to your own standards that you set.
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Old 02-04-2016, 07:40 AM   #175
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One last note, I think we were doing so well at improving the number of women remaining in STEM up until this last recession. Almost every single female I know volunteered for severance or were layed off and stayed at home by choice. When the economy got really bad and the layoffs were non-stop and the work place became nothing less than vile as the office became nothing but backstabbing, try to save your job type place.. women walked out the door in droves and I'm not sure how you get that back as you lost a whole generation of females in STEM. A few have moved back into the workplace but mostly into teaching jobs. In the industries where layoffs were minimal, there may still be hope, but in the industries hardest hit will likely be 20 years to recover all the gains they lost.
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Old 02-04-2016, 08:23 AM   #176
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I put an employee on the high potential female list. She did really well and eventually became a VP. But then she crashed because I think she had relied on her appearance to get agreement too much. (I suspect she did not realize it.)

So when it came to making side deals to get ahead, she was out of her depth. I felt really bad because I really liked her as a peer.
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Old 02-04-2016, 08:46 AM   #177
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I believe I was only successful because I dramatically changed my behavior. I'm sure many people thought I was the B-word. I saw that the only successful women in my field were all type A. They stood up to men in meetings and didn't back down. It seemed to be the only thing that was respected (at least at all the companies I worked). I was nice on a personal level but when it came to business it was all non-emotional fact based A/B/C. And I would come home exhausted and emotionally drained because while I was successful at work it wasn't me. About 5 years ago I suffered a back injury and went back to "me"...and stopped getting promoted and was once again passed over, out of the loop, ignored. My career turned back into a JOB and while I was still rated highly I knew that I was done. If I wasn't willing to go into meetings and be forceful and argue with the other engineers then I wasn't going to get ahead any longer.. that is a sad realization but very true.
Wow- did that hit home. I'm a retired actuary- got my credentials when only 10% of our members were female. Although I did work I loved, worked with (mostly) great people and traveled to wonderful places I never thought I'd see on the company dime, I still spend time wondering why my career didn't really go anywhere for the last 10 years and my early retirement was prompted by toxic politics I didn't want to deal with anymore. I'm reading a book on Bear Stearns during the financial crisis ("House of Cards") and it looks like the way guys deal with testosterone-fueled tantrums is to sling it right back. I never did that- never. One perceptive boss described me as "non-confrontational". Then I realized that if I HAD learned to sling it right back, I would have been labeled with the b-word. Sometimes I wish I could do parts of my job over, but I'm just glad I don't have to work for a living anymore.
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Old 02-04-2016, 08:48 AM   #178
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I just received my review, bonuses and raise this week. Annual salary and bonuses are right at $122,500. (4 weeks vacation, 4% 401K match, etc.) Not much different than past years. When I look at that number, I wonder if I am a fool to give it up. (I am giving it up, that thought just runs through my head a bit.)

Of course, even if I worked until I was 70, I would have the same issue. People would line up around the block for a job that paid that amount, but most would be unqualified.

If you got laid off and decided to FIRE, it’s not really a decision you made. If you requested severance and got it, that would be a decision you made. If you gave up a job and got a big pension, you only gave up a partial amount.

When you finally declared FIRE, what was your number that you gave up?

I took a severance package and I admit there are some days that I stress about whether or not I'm doing the right thing. My last day is 3/31 and then I go to part time for 6 months. I got a years salary and 3 months health insurance.
Of course I just tore my meniscus and will need surgery to repair it. lol. when it rains it pours.
My salary not including raises or bonuses which in the last few years have been zilch is 75,000

Here are some of my deciding factors.
1) hate my job.
2) company is going down the drain quickly. just got notification that we will not get a raise AND they are cutting the 401K match by 3%
3) I am literally getting sick from the stress of coming to work.
4) I hate my job.
5) this one is probably more emotional. Since 2012 I have lost 3 loved ones to cancer. My husband, my little brother and my best friend. all 3 of them were under 55 years young. All were healthy, ate right, exercised yada yada yada. I have been made acutely aware that there is no guarantee of reaching real retirement age.

I"m stepping out on faith.
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Old 02-04-2016, 08:50 AM   #179
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I took a severance package and I admit there are some days that I stress about whether or not I'm doing the right thing. My last day is 3/31 and then I go to part time for 6 months. I got a years salary and 3 months health insurance.
Of course I just tore my meniscus and will need surgery to repair it. lol. when it rains it pours.
My salary not including raises or bonuses which in the last few years have been zilch is 75,000

Here are some of my deciding factors.
1) hate my job.
2) company is going down the drain quickly. just got notification that we will not get a raise AND they are cutting the 401K match by 3%
3) I am literally getting sick from the stress of coming to work.
4) I hate my job.
Congratulations. I can relate to #'s 1,3 & 4
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Old 02-04-2016, 10:04 AM   #180
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Wow- did that hit home. I'm a retired actuary- got my credentials when only 10% of our members were female. Although I did work I loved, worked with (mostly) great people and traveled to wonderful places I never thought I'd see on the company dime, I still spend time wondering why my career didn't really go anywhere for the last 10 years and my early retirement was prompted by toxic politics I didn't want to deal with anymore. I'm reading a book on Bear Stearns during the financial crisis ("House of Cards") and it looks like the way guys deal with testosterone-fueled tantrums is to sling it right back. I never did that- never. One perceptive boss described me as "non-confrontational". Then I realized that if I HAD learned to sling it right back, I would have been labeled with the b-word. Sometimes I wish I could do parts of my job over, but I'm just glad I don't have to work for a living anymore.
Be glad that you did not resort to a change of behavior or personality just to climb the corporate jungle. The price to pay may not worth it, i.e., stress to perform, frustration of not getting things done or dealing with others, constant battle with others for power or recognition. Life is too short to fight over things (such as fame, power, recognition, and money) that may not matter anyway in the end. Enjoy the "short" journey with peace and harmony while we still can.

BTW, my career has been stagnant for a long, long time because of similar reasons (that you sited) despite accomplishments, advanced degrees and continuous education. However, I am not bitter about it. The career has enabled FI in my mid 50s.
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