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Old 05-03-2013, 08:24 PM   #61
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I actually liked all of my jobs, but I've had 4 different career changes because of, first the 1983 recession, and then technology replacing people in the others. I ended up in the Information Technology business, so I'm a little safer from technology now, but not entirely. But after my heart attack in 2004, my priorities did change, and I've been plotting to leave the cubicle prison ever since. So the answer to the OP question is 'life happens'

and regarding the supervisors, having a bad supervisor at work is worse than being in a bad marriage, IMO, so of course bad supervisors drive away many good employees.
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Old 05-03-2013, 08:37 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by redduck View Post
Something went south. A lot of you folks obviously studied hard, made all kinds of sacrifices, maybe even went to graduate school so you could work in your chosen profession. And, now, many of you are counting the days, months, years, or decades looking for the time you can quit the job you hate. Now, I understand that many of you just want to retire early to get on with your lives, but what about the others of you? What happened? What didnít you account for?
(Ah, duck, is this any way to make friends)?
And, maybe more importantly, how did I make this post green?
I don't feel clueless about my career and not ER yet, but FI @ 43 years old, I think. I feel I have a good grasp of my career options and leveraged it for many opportunities, i.e. balance of management and individual contributor roles.

The post turned green and bold as an indicator of the $BANK$ you have for FIRE
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Old 05-03-2013, 08:44 PM   #63
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When I started my career in engineering in 1985, I loved sitting behind a large drafting table marking up drawings for the draftsman, and I enjoyed hand calculations with a pencil and calculator. Now I sit in a cubicle coaxing the computer and its programs go do all the interesting work. For me, the field has become boring. So I think of early retirement.
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Old 05-03-2013, 09:11 PM   #64
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Originally Posted by redduck View Post
Something went south. A lot of you folks obviously studied hard, made all kinds of sacrifices, maybe even went to graduate school so you could work in your chosen profession. And, now, many of you are counting the days, months, years, or decades looking for the time you can quit the job you hate. Now, I understand that many of you just want to retire early to get on with your lives, but what about the others of you? What happened? What didn’t you account for?
(Ah, duck, is this any way to make friends)?
And, maybe more importantly, how did I make this post green?
I enjoyed my career immensely. It was just that I was ready to move on to something else. There is more to life than a career.

And, besides, sometimes your career is just so darn successful, that you, um,........ just don't need to work anymore!

[I think something actually went very right!]
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Old 05-03-2013, 09:11 PM   #65
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I recall having an interest in early retirement as early as college. I saw the film "Lost in America" about a couple that drops out of corporate life to travel the country, and the idea of working really hard for a few years so I could take it easy the rest of my life appealed to me even then.

Later I pursued a career in marketing. This is a very subjective field where it seems everyone has an opinion, and it helps to develop a thick skin and good relationship skills. I was never very politically astute. It is also a young person's profession, and I noticed early on that company loyalty and experience don't count for much if the people in charge don't want you around. I saw most of my mentors and people who hired me get pushed out once they reached their 40s.

I decided that not only did I need to prepare myself for similar treatment but that I would enjoy having the freedom to walk away from corporate America at a young age and enjoy the rest of my life in financial independence. Furthermore, the life strategy and investing components of ER are very interesting to me.

I have been out 1 1/2 years and so far I am enjoying my life much more than when I was working at my corporate jobs.

PS Office Space is also one of my favorites and was a big inspiration
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Old 05-03-2013, 09:25 PM   #66
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This is a good thought-provoking thread. My first job out of college was a bad fit for me; DH and I started talking about retiring early within a year after we started working. Once I got my depression diagnosed and properly treated, things have been much better. I'm now in an industry that both uses my engineering skills and does some good for the world, and I have the experience to earn a good salary and work on interesting projects.

But you know what? I still begrudge every minute my job takes me away from DH. We got married because we enjoy each other's company, not because we wanted to spend 1/3 or more of our time apart. Retirement will be time for us to enjoy life together, as much as we want.

There's also the stress-reduction inherent in having a large-enough nest egg that a layoff isn't really a concern. But that's more the FI side, rather than the ER side.
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Old 05-03-2013, 09:41 PM   #67
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I have wondered the same thing sometimes, particularly when reading posts of people in their 20's that just barely finished school and took on huge student loans in the process. However, I do feel strongly committed to saving for retirement because of the long-accumulating negative views of mega-corp life. These include the leadership speeches that contain very obvious lies, the more you listen to them. Corporate "spin" that tries to make everything from outsourcing to changing salary grades sound good for you. You're not losing your office, you're being given the opportunity for wonderful collaboration in the newly designed work space of the future. All of this has made me so cynical and self protective over the years, reinforcing the notion that you can't rely on anyone but yourself.

Close seconds would be incompetent colleagues who are not held accountable, extremely boring meetings and a long commute after long hours. Add these together with getting older and more tired and trying to be an attentive parent at the same time. It's just too much for too long. And I feel all this in spite of still believing that I am doing work that is a very good fit for me and I've been very successful. I still want out and so does everyone I know.
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Old 05-03-2013, 10:17 PM   #68
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Very interesting thread...

In contrast to most, I will freely admit that I made a bad decision in terms of career and compounded the mistake over the years.

When I started college I thought I wanted to be a physician. Within a very short time, I realized I didn't really like studying science and so almost in a panic I felt I had to choose another major. My parents were working class and I didn't really know anyone who had been to college (other than my teachers, I guess) so I had very little exposure to higher level career planning.

So, I decided to be a lawyer because that was the only other non-science related profession that I had heard of to any significant degree. I wanted something where I thought I could do well and be financially successful.

And, I was right. I've had a success 35 year career as a lawyer.

I realized about the time I was graduating law school that I really didn't want to do this. I considered then doing something else but had no idea what to do. And, my parents weren't wealthy and had paid for me to go to law school. I felt that I needed to at least try law. I worried that I didn't want to practice law because I was afraid to go into the real world.

So, I worked hard as a lawyer and was very successful, but realized I really didn't like it. Looking back on it, I think that had I switched from private practice to a corporate environment I would have been happier. But, I was petrified to try to switch. Very early in my career, I had a job that was very unhappy and I started looking for a new job. My boss found out and fired me. After that I think I was scared to ever try to find a new job.

After about 12 years or so, I decided to switch careers. I was going to leave the money behind and do something else entirely. I decided I wanted to be a psychotherapist. I went back to school at night to take courses in preparation, got married ultimately was admitted to graduate school in social work, had a child while in graduate school. Ultimately I graduated but realized I wanted more children and felt that I couldn't financially give up law practice to go be a low paid psychotherapist.

So, I just kept on practicing law. It became more and more stressful and I finally went part-time a few years ago.

Looking back on it, I think my anxiety and fear played a lot in my staying in a field that I don't like and a job I don't like. I was good at what I did and was successful, but not happy. If I was doing it over again, it is easy to say that I shouldn't have made the social worker detour. However, when I started it I was single in my mid-30s and didn't think I would likely every marry or have children. By the time I graduated I was married, had one child and knew I wanted more. So my life changed while I was doing that which made me decide I couldn't really afford the self-indulgence of being a therapist.

In retrospect, knowing all I know now I would have either switched careers much earlier - a few years out of law school - or at least switched into a different type of law practice.
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Old 05-03-2013, 10:49 PM   #69
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I think many of us just get caught up in a web. We get married, have children, buy a home and then spend the rest of our life trying to pay for all this. I would do things a lot different if I had it to do over but I do not
I am really not sure why I retired. I just really never thought about retiring until I reached my 60's.
I have even thought about going back to work. Not because I have to but because I want to. I loved working for myself and did that a good part of my working days. I then decided I would work for someone else. Big mistake after you have been your own boss for most of you life.
I reached that age I guess where I could just tell my boss to shove it and man did that feel good. I laugh now when I see him working. It feels so good to not have to work. No stress other than health problems. Did I just say I was thinking of going back to work? On second thought I think I will stay retired. Have a good weekend all. oldtrig
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Old 05-03-2013, 11:11 PM   #70
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Very interesting thread...

In contrast to most, I will freely admit that I made a bad decision in terms of career and compounded the mistake over the years.

When I started college I thought I wanted to be a physician. Within a very short time, I realized I didn't really like studying science and so almost in a panic I felt I had to choose another major. My parents were working class and I didn't really know anyone who had been to college (other than my teachers, I guess) so I had very little exposure to higher level career planning.

So, I decided to be a lawyer because that was the only other non-science related profession that I had heard of to any significant degree. I wanted something where I thought I could do well and be financially successful.

And, I was right. I've had a success 35 year career as a lawyer.

I realized about the time I was graduating law school that I really didn't want to do this. I considered then doing something else but had no idea what to do. And, my parents weren't wealthy and had paid for me to go to law school. I felt that I needed to at least try law. I worried that I didn't want to practice law because I was afraid to go into the real world.

So, I worked hard as a lawyer and was very successful, but realized I really didn't like it. Looking back on it, I think that had I switched from private practice to a corporate environment I would have been happier. But, I was petrified to try to switch. Very early in my career, I had a job that was very unhappy and I started looking for a new job. My boss found out and fired me. After that I think I was scared to ever try to find a new job.

After about 12 years or so, I decided to switch careers. I was going to leave the money behind and do something else entirely. I decided I wanted to be a psychotherapist. I went back to school at night to take courses in preparation, got married ultimately was admitted to graduate school in social work, had a child while in graduate school. Ultimately I graduated but realized I wanted more children and felt that I couldn't financially give up law practice to go be a low paid psychotherapist.

So, I just kept on practicing law. It became more and more stressful and I finally went part-time a few years ago.

Looking back on it, I think my anxiety and fear played a lot in my staying in a field that I don't like and a job I don't like. I was good at what I did and was successful, but not happy. If I was doing it over again, it is easy to say that I shouldn't have made the social worker detour. However, when I started it I was single in my mid-30s and didn't think I would likely every marry or have children. By the time I graduated I was married, had one child and knew I wanted more. So my life changed while I was doing that which made me decide I couldn't really afford the self-indulgence of being a therapist.

In retrospect, knowing all I know now I would have either switched careers much earlier - a few years out of law school - or at least switched into a different type of law practice.
Wow. So much for following your passion! 35 years is a very long time to feel you are in the "wrong" career. Obviously you made a transactional decision (I don't really love what I do but it pays well). I am reminded of my father, who had a 45 year career in public service (one of the few opportunities open to him) and at his (earlyish) retirement dinner, spoke of how he had hated his job. Until then, he had hidden that even from his family. In fact, historically, most people have had to put up with major compromises and even personal danger in order to earn a living. Anyone who genuinely enjoys what he/she works at most of the time is truly fortunate. Who would be a garment worker in Pakistan, unless he/she really needed the money?
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Old 05-03-2013, 11:38 PM   #71
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Wow. So much for following your passion! 35 years is a very long time to feel you are in the "wrong" career. Obviously you made a transactional decision (I don't really love what I do but it pays well).
Yes. Had I not ended up getting married in my late 30s and having a first child at 40, I probably would have left law. I started on the path to leave that career about 11 years into it. I spent a few years going to school at night part-time to get the coursework done to go to graduate school. Then, after I was married and when I didn't know if I would ever have kids, I was admitted to graduate school. I was almost 40, an infertility patient (not surprisingly) and had just about given up on having a child.

Two weeks before school started I found out that treatment had been successful and that I was pregnant. Once my child was born, my life really did change. I thought I would like having a child, but had no idea how transformational it would be. Basically with wanting to have more children, the practicalities meant staying a lawyer would work out best for our financial future.

I'm not sorry that I did it at that point. When I started graduate school, I was wanting to find the career that would be most fulfilling. While I was in graduate school, I had an instructor for my practicum course and she made the point that you shouldn't try to get fulfillment in life from your career. She bluntly said that the job doesn't care about you. If you get hit by a bus, the job will go along without you. She felt that you should look for fulfillment within yourself and your personal relationships.

I came to believe that she was right. A job wasn't going to be what fulfilled me. Having the family and overall life that I wanted was what would fulfill me. A job was only a very minor part of that. And looking at it as a mother of 3 children in my mid-40s, I realized that the job would give me the material means to be able to have a more fulfilling life. The job was the means to that end.

(Of course, it would have been best to make a better career decision at the outset and that is where I think I really erred. And having chosen law, I should have switched my job within law early on).
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Old 05-04-2013, 09:48 AM   #72
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I studied hard and prepared well. But my chosen career of professional baseball player didn't pan out. So I got a job. Changed jobs on average of every five years to keep it interesting. Just tired of the routine, either time for a new job or ER.

It's really not a tough choice.
Same here! Probably the lowest point of my life when it hit me that I wasn't going to be good enough to play MLB baseball and there were probably thousands of people better than me. Fortunately, I was 16, and had time to pursue an alternate career. If had been successful in my first chosen career, they would have had to tear the jersey off me to retire. Anything else, not so much....
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Old 05-04-2013, 10:10 AM   #73
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For me it was the commute which wore me down over the years. In my first years of working, I liked my job a lot while the commute was a minor annoyance. But over the years, I enjoyed the job a little less while the commute became a greater and greater annoyance which became a burden which began to cause me some physical problems.

I hit a "wall" in the late 1990s and it took some counseling to find some remedies, some of which I still use today in ER. But when the company announced its plans to relocate across the river to Jersey City, New Jersey, making my commute even worse, I had to do something big about it. Having paid off my mortgage 3 years earlier and greatly lowered my expenses, I was able to negotiate a part-time, mostly telecommuting gig.

That worked well for a few years, as I went out of my way not to abuse this arrangement. I still liked my work although I knew I would not be getting any more promotions and my raises would be only average, not above average (big deal, 1% difference). It is not like I needed the money to live, and I had already given up around half my pay by reducing my hours.

But the company ended its open-ended telecommuting a few years later which I kenw would be my eventual undoing. It brought back much of the horrors of commuting and after 3 1/2 years of that I had to further reduce my hours and days to ease the commute. Even 2 days a week was a bigger burden than a 5-days-a-week commute had been 15 years earlier.

And as I became wealthier I asked myself several times a day, "Why am I still working here?" The work had become less and less enjoyable and was not nearly enjoyable enough to offset the worsening commute, even a 2-days-a-week commute. My only solution was to ER and get rid of the commute altogether. I no longer had an adequate answer to the "Why am I still working here?" question so I ERed.

I do not regret my career choice because it enabled me to earn good money at the time I needed to earn good money (i.e. become debt-free, earn maximum shares of exploding company stock). I was good in math and computer programming and parlayed that into a successful career.
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Old 05-04-2013, 11:40 AM   #74
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(A lot of this is more of a "Hi, I am..." post - I should post it there, too, LOL)

I was a "child of the 80's" when video game arcades were all the rage. I loved video games, and the electronic/programming aspect of them. Also, PCs started to become available around that time, and I had one, too.

So I was attracted to electronics, programming, techie type stuff at an early age. In high school, I focused on Science type courses, and in college majored in Computer Science. Even in college, I was an "intern" in a couple departments helping to run the PC systems.

Every job since college was IT focused (with the exception of two years in real estate which I'll get to in a moment) although in different functional areas. I've been involved in requirements gathering, development, testing/QA, customer support, networking, MSCE, etc. My current role has me doing Salesforce development.

In 2005 I got fed up with Silicon Valley and the IT field, and moved back to Colorado. I got my real estate license and worked with a couple other people on a real estate team at a local brokerage. Great people, and I can honestly say I had more fun in the two years I did real estate than in the 20+ years I've done IT. My goal was to never work in IT, an office, or a cube ever again.

Problem was, couldn't make any money at it. 2005 was the WORST year in recent history one could have gotten involved in residential real estate. So I had to abandon that dream, and move back to Silicon Valley, IT, an office, and a cube, and peck away at a computer all day long.

I can honestly say I don't hate my job. Where I am right now, and the company I'm at, is the best place for me. But I do hate my career. After doing IT for so long, I just don't get any satisfaction nor challenge from it. And when I think about the grand scheme of things, what I do doesn't mean anything. In the IT field, almost everything is obsolete in a couple years, thrown away, and replaced.

When I was in real estate, I at least felt I was directly helping somebody get on with their life. I was helping them sell their home and move on somewhere else, or helping them find a new home to live in.

I get NONE of that sense of satisfaction in IT. Nothing I work on makes any difference in the grand scheme of things. It's just button-mashing for a paycheck.

The only reason I keep doing IT is because I exhausted my savings doing the real estate thing, and I need the money that my IT skills allow me to make. And the second is...I did manage to land at a pre-IPO startup that I honestly think is going to "make it" and I have enough stock options that if they do, I stand to make a life-changing windfall in a couple years that might enable me to retire and leave the IT field forever. A golden pair of handcuffs, if you will. I can't afford to leave.

If my present-self could go back in time to my past-self and give myself some advice, I would tell myself not to work for other people my whole career, and not to devote myself to IT fully. I would tell myself to network more, and look out for chances to join a team of others doing their own thing such as a consulting firm, standalone business, real estate firm, etc. Anything but sitting in a cube for 20+ years pushing buttons all day long.

I do feel blessed at least I was able to jump out of IT for a couple years and find something else I liked. It was validation to me there are other, more meaningful, careers out there for me, if I can survive the next 18 months or so and get some kind of payout.
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Old 05-04-2013, 02:13 PM   #75
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Greetings,

For myself, I love what I do. I am working the "Job" I have wanted since I was in the 6th grade. I am 27 now. It may not be the exact field I had dreamed of then, but for the most part I am happy.

What changed? I didnt understand FIRE until a few years ago... and since then have made the push for it. In addition, I did not get married. So because of that I can push a little harder for FIRE. And when I do get married, I at least understand FIRE and can hopefully pursue both a happy family life and FIRE at the same time.

Semper Fi,
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Old 05-04-2013, 04:11 PM   #76
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Some of us like what we do but still find the time to post from our ipads or iphones when traveling, such as when waiting for a plane or a train, or when not sleeping for example - as in my case. The two are not mutually exclusive. Why should they?
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It seems to me a little odd that someone who professes to love their work so much would subscribe and post so frequently to an early retirement website.
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Old 05-04-2013, 04:51 PM   #77
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I am one of the fortunate ones. Retired early at 59. Never was out of work, always had good benefits, and I was able to change careers. Always liked my job, and the megacorps that employed me.

Last 25 years was with a megacorp in various individual and senior management jobs. I was treated well, it was very lucrative, I worked with good people and good customers.

So why was I so happy to take a package? First of all the environment. Just got tired of the downsizing, and having to downsize employees-especially when we outsourced the jobs. Over time, the quarterly focus on revenue, margin, profit became our single company goal. It supersceded customer satisfaction and indeed employee satisfaction. Benefits were cut, and cut even more. Education/training was virtually eliminated. Work life balance was only something that was given lip service to. The reality was that technology kept us working even past the normal 10 hour day. We went from a company that cared about it's employees to one that could care less....not withstanding the annual employee surveys that kept going from bad to worse.

Then one day I turned around and suddenly could find no reason why a wanted to work for megacorp any more and certainly could not have recommended it to anyone as a good place to work. That was when I started to plan for an exit-but a paid exit.

I certainly enjoyed my time with megacorp and would never, ever bad mouth them. On balance I was treated very well and had a very satisfying career. Megacorp changed, but so did I-as did the entire economy.
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Old 05-04-2013, 05:43 PM   #78
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In my opinion, this is the dumbest thread ever. Why? Because the answer is so obvious that the question doesn't need to be answered in the first place.

How many people would even get a job in the first place if you were born with enough money to live a comfortable life? Hardly anyone. We all are raised knowing that part of life is getting a job so you can make enough money to support yourself. So you get your schooling in some field that you think you will be happy doing and then you get a job. That doesn't mean you love that job or career field so much that you would do it for free or do it forever. You do it because you can't survive in this world without money. Hopefully you find a career that you enjoy as well, but that's not what this thread is about. Once you get to a point that you no longer need the money from that job, a large percentage of people are going to quit and enjoy the rest of their lives doing whatever it is that makes them happy. Its pretty simple.
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Old 05-04-2013, 06:10 PM   #79
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Has anyone else seen the documentaries by Jamie Johnson - Born Rich and The One Percent? A lot of those kids actually did go to college and work full time jobs, which surprised me.
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Old 05-04-2013, 08:33 PM   #80
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In my opinion, this is the dumbest thread ever. Why? Because the answer is so obvious that the question doesn't need to be answered in the first place.
Judging by the answer you gave (to a question whose answer is so obvious it needs no answer?), I think you missed the point. You're saying that people work for money, and so when they don't need money, they stop working, because it isn't something they would do for free. You're right -- that's a very obvious thing. But that doesn't really answer the question.

Let me try to clarify (OP, correct me if I'm mis-stating things). We have some smart people here. Smart people presumably try to do what is in their best interests and design a life for themselves that is satisfying, fullfilling, and happy. A major part of this is finding a career/work that adds to that satisfaction, fulfillment, and happiness. However, some people here really dislike their jobs. The dislike is on a spectrum from mild irritation to severe disgust.

The question is aimed at the upper half of that spectrum. The question is, "How did (some) smart people end up with jobs they despise and can't wait to get free of?" What happened there? That's not the way it was supposed to work out.

It's an interesting question, I think, not a dumb one.
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