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Old 04-26-2013, 07:32 AM   #21
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Nice thread to end a beautiful week on the east coast.

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I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but it seems like our whole society thinks that working in a job creates a sense of self-respect and self-esteem. I honestly never felt that way. Maybe I'd feel a sense of accomplishment, but it never increased my self-respect. Can someone enlighten me here? If you take this logic, then if you are laid off or fired, your self respect would go down, wouldn't it?
Working from the end of your statement, yes, if job is all, then a layoff will impact your self-esteem. For a large number of workers who live paycheck to mouth, the job is linked to basic survival (Maslow hierarchy of needs). It is understandable that self-respect would plummet after a layoff within this group.

For a smaller group, there is enough saved and invested to live for weeks, months, or even years!

I haven't been "working" for six weeks. A 3-week vacation morphed to a "furlough". Waiting to see how this all plays out, I have thought about why a furlough or layoff really does not put much of a dent in MY self-esteem.

1. I had a significant vacation overseas, and the whole idea of work was purged successfully. We were so occupied with basic needs and getting from A to B, that there was no time for the perpetual problems of work.
2. Recruiters and my personal network have been very positive, as I have unique qualifications.
3. I was self-employed for many years, and can survive under extreme circumstances.
4. We have no major debt.

I'm sure a lot of E-R readers have experienced similar circumstances, and probably never tied self-esteem to their job, although society certainly does.

"I was looking for a job when I found this one..." Heard that a long time ago from an engineer, and it has stayed with me. It neatly ties together the idea that you will not be defined by job, and you are confident that another can be found.
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Old 04-26-2013, 07:49 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Katsmeow View Post
I don't know if self-respect is the right word for me, but I recently realized that one reason I haven't yet fully retired is that I sort of feel guilty...like I am doing something I'm not supposed to do.
.
I understand this and have felt this way at times.

But another way to look at it is that being an investor and managing a retirement portfolio, as many of us here do, IS work. Ok, it is not a traditional 5 day a week office-type job, but it does require a commitment of time and skill, even if it takes only a few hours a week. It is a similar job as a portfolio manager at a financial services company or a pension fund, except on a small scale.

If I did this for someone else it would be a "job" and guilt free. I do it for myself, it is not a "job" and I should feel guilty? No way.
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Old 04-28-2013, 10:26 AM   #23
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I was almost always proud of my work, so I took some self-respect, self-esteem and sense of accomplishment from my career. That doesn't mean my work alone defined me, if it did I wouldn't have retired (early).
One of the first thoughts I had when I considered ER at age 55 was that 30 yrs is enough. I worked very hard for 30 yrs and I am proud of that. I was also fortunate to have been part of a important project for 15 yrs and I am proud of that too. Two years later I still hold that accomplishment high in my self esteem.

However, I have to say, I have somewhat negative thoughts about people I see wanting to quit the workforce earlier than myself and who in my view haven't "put their time in" and/or haven't work hard. I feel a little guilty about this. I guess I could understand how some of those still in the workforce for 30+ years and are shooting to work until 65 or older might not understand someone who ER's. I think if I explained my reasons and motivation for my ER decision some of them would soften their view. Often we don't have the opportunity to do that.

Anyways . . . I'm happy as can be. No regrets. Self esteem intact.
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Old 04-28-2013, 10:39 AM   #24
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I find it interesting that some people equate employment with self-respect. When I had to jump to meet unreasonable client demands, do stupid things for business travel (like drive at 1 am in a Colorado snowstorm), navigate corporate political waters, deal with meaningless metrics and other Megacorp BS, or do things to "look good" in front of management and clients, I lost a lot of self-respect. I felt like a trained seal arfing for prizes.
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Old 04-28-2013, 10:42 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by martyp View Post

One of the first thoughts I had when I considered ER at age 55 was that 30 yrs is enough. I worked very hard for 30 yrs and I am proud of that. I was also fortunate to have been part of a important project for 15 yrs and I am proud of that too. Two years later I still hold that accomplishment high in my self esteem.
Almost exactly like me. ER'd at 56 and very happy about my previous paid career. It has been 2 years and I might decide to take on paid work or I might not. That CHOICE does even more for my self-esteem.
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Old 04-28-2013, 11:01 AM   #26
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I find it interesting that some people equate employment with self-respect. When I had to jump to meet unreasonable client demands, do stupid things for business travel (like drive at 1 am in a Colorado snowstorm), navigate corporate political waters, or do things to "look good" in front of management and clients, I lost a lot of self-respect. I felt like a trained seal arfing for prizes.
You actually know how a trained seal feels when it "arfs" for its prizes? Because if you do, perhaps you could have had a happy, wonderful, successful and esteem-building career as a seal whisperer.
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Old 04-28-2013, 11:30 AM   #27
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I too have the same self respect question, working after 31 years, and still working, I am trying to figure out how to answer the question "what do you do" after I retire. Almost all application or registration forms ask for employment status, employer, profession, income, etc. what to write for these fields post retirement? Would society treat them, soon me as I am thinking to retire, differently?

I hope this does not come across odd, just trying to understand the social and identity aspects of retirement.
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Old 04-28-2013, 11:45 AM   #28
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I do not need my former job title Manager of Who gives a crap.My health and self-esteem have improved greatly since leaving mega-corp early.I now bring value to the relationships I have,which are people who love and care about me.I was always at work neglecting the rest of my life.If somebody wants to work till they drop dead,hey go for it.I"m a to each his own type of person.Life is not a dress rehearsal.Move onward and yes,be happy.
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Old 04-28-2013, 12:08 PM   #29
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I was almost always proud of my work, so I took some self-respect, self-esteem and sense of accomplishment from my career. That doesn't mean my work alone defined me, if it did I wouldn't have retired (early). ....
+1 I enjoyed being a valued member of teams that did some great work and provided outstanding client service (even if the client didn't always appreciate it - though most did) - but it didn't define me and was only one aspect of who I am.
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Old 04-28-2013, 01:14 PM   #30
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40 years old...I feel less self-respect because of work. I have to crave and listen to whacko co-workers.
What sort of job requires you to crave your co-workers? Sounds really cool.

Ha
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Old 04-28-2013, 01:28 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David1961 View Post
I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but it seems like our whole society thinks that working in a job creates a sense of self-respect and self-esteem. I honestly never felt that way. Maybe I'd feel a sense of accomplishment, but it never increased my self-respect. Can someone enlighten me here? If you take this logic, then if you are laid off or fired, your self respect would go down, wouldn't it?

I think if you did a little research on the neuroscience of self respect you'd find there's a correlation between achieving goals, feelings of satisfaction and general feelings of well being. I'm sure there's even a physiologial description of the interractions between various regions of the brain in this regard. What motivates us to achieve goals is likely driven in varying degrees from within and without.
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Old 04-28-2013, 03:05 PM   #32
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I too have the same self respect question, working after 31 years, and still working, I am trying to figure out how to answer the question "what do you do" after I retire. Almost all application or registration forms ask for employment status, employer, profession, income, etc. what to write for these fields post retirement? Would society treat them, soon me as I am thinking to retire, differently?
The day I ER'd I changed my status on LinkedIn to "retired mechanical engineer". "retired" or "retired (fill in the blank)" is honest and acceptable. What kind of forms are you filling in where it matters?

Really. The question regarding the self esteem content of this thread is not, "what do you do?" but "who are you?". If you can answer that question then you can put both w*rk and retirement in to perspective.
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Old 04-28-2013, 06:39 PM   #33
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It might be a matter of context.

Around these parts, the view is often a little different. Lots of folks here (North of Boston) never 'had' to work. Nothing wrong in a little job here or there, but old money trust funds pays the bills, leaving time for painting, running a gallery or antique shop. Car restoration is big.

Being 40 y.o. and having 'no job' isn't viewed as all that odd.

Not working is the ideal, not something to look down upon.

YMMV
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Old 04-28-2013, 06:55 PM   #34
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I have been replaced, fired, downsized, gone-in-another-direction and a few other euphemisms to tell me I was gone from that w**kplace. I always knew that my departure was not a result of shoddy work by me. Just s**t happens.

Most of the time there was a ready market for my skills and experience. The last time that was not the case.

Simple math indicated that DW and I had plenty of assets to last us till at least age 100. So ER was the way to go.

These things have a way of working out.
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Old 04-28-2013, 08:07 PM   #35
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“This is the even-handed dealing of the world!" he said. "There is nothing on which it is so hard as poverty; and there is nothing it professes to condemn with such severity as the pursuit of wealth!”
Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

In our schizophrenic society:
  • we may value a strong work eithic but we selectively look down on the material benefits that may flow from it - such as the ability to become financially independent;
  • likewise, self-discipline is a virtue unless it comes to financial affairs;
  • freedom is valued - but not the freedom to spend the bulk of your waking life doing what you choose to do instead of leading "a life of quiet desperation" in the workforce.
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Old 04-30-2013, 11:36 AM   #36
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I too have the same self respect question, working after 31 years, and still working, I am trying to figure out how to answer the question "what do you do" after I retire. Almost all application or registration forms ask for employment status, employer, profession, income, etc. what to write for these fields post retirement? Would society treat them, soon me as I am thinking to retire, differently?

I hope this does not come across odd, just trying to understand the social and identity aspects of retirement.
I hope to retire in a couple more years in my late 40's, and I can't wait until I can write "RETIRED!!!" on any form that asks about employment status.

"Retired" seems to be a dirty word to some people, but not to me. I have never defined myself through my jobs. Although I've worked hard all my career, I don't derive much satisfaction from what I do (I'm in the IT field), nor do I define myself by it. The day I get to walk out will probably be the greatest day in my life, and I will have no problems telling others that I am proudly RETIRED and doing what I want.
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Old 04-30-2013, 11:47 AM   #37
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I hope to retire in a couple more years in my late 40's, and I can't wait until I can write "RETIRED!!!" on any form that asks about employment status.

"Retired" seems to be a dirty word to some people, but not to me. I have never defined myself through my jobs. Although I've worked hard all my career, I don't derive much satisfaction from what I do (I'm in the IT field), nor do I define myself by it. The day I get to walk out will probably be the greatest day in my life, and I will have no problems telling others that I am proudly RETIRED and doing what I want.
Since I ERed, I have liked writing "retired" on forms, too, starting with my income tax returns. Leaving the "income from wages" line blank alng with having a very low tax bill only adds to the fun LOL!
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Old 04-30-2013, 12:49 PM   #38
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It's true our culture seems to value "work über alles". That said, few would actually show up for work if they didn't need the money. That suggests the anti-ER attitudes are based on jealousy.
Bingo-Bongo. Ding Ding Ding... we have a winner.

"Personally" I felt nothing bu happiness the day I walked out. Zero regrets. .

I suppose my doing work for the church and so on MAY help my "self respect". Don't THINK so, but then I am a bean counter not a shrink.
I am happy with my life and myself.
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Old 05-01-2013, 09:53 PM   #39
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I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but it seems like our whole society thinks that working in a job creates a sense of self-respect and self-esteem.
I have never been laid off or fired, but from what I have seen, and what I have read, many people's self esteem goes down when this happens. I believe men more than women tend to tie their identity and sense of self worth to their job.

A lot of people who post here seem to hate the companies they work for and their (present or past) jobs. I am just the opposite. I like the company I work for. I like my job and the people I work with. I feel good about myself when I am part of something successful at work.
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Old 05-01-2013, 11:28 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by David1961 View Post
I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but it seems like our whole society thinks that working in a job creates a sense of self-respect and self-esteem. I honestly never felt that way. Maybe I'd feel a sense of accomplishment, but it never increased my self-respect. Can someone enlighten me here? If you take this logic, then if you are laid off or fired, your self respect would go down, wouldn't it?
Well, I don't know what our whole society thinks. But, I'm pretty sure that being fired from a job does injure self-esteem. Same with being laid-off (except it's not as personal as being fired). It still hurts. And, I would think not having a job and needing a job causes injury to self-esteem. So, yes, perhaps earning money enhances self-esteem and not making money would be disappointing to those who depend on you to be a wage earner. Even if a person is in a job he hates that person probably gains some satisfaction that he is not letting those down who depend on him.
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