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Running from or running to?
Old 04-21-2013, 08:20 AM   #1
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Running from or running to?

I have a quandary. I am not sure how much my intense focus on ER is due to me wanting to run away from my current job or is it that I really crave retirement and all that it brings? I like my boss, I make a ton of cash, but the stress in my job is gigantic.

How much of your retirement decision was to get away from your job and how much was wanting the retirement lifestyle?
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Old 04-21-2013, 08:31 AM   #2
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For me it was a bit of both. I was frustrated with the bureaucracy that made it so hard to get things done at work although I enjoyed the work itself very much. The other issue was having to plan our daily lives around the Washington, DC area traffic. "Nope, can't do that then, it'll take two hours to make a 20-minute drive"

And I liked the idea of "every day is Saturday".
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Old 04-21-2013, 08:42 AM   #3
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For me it was a bit of both.
+1. Me too, and I think it's supposed to be that way. I don't know who originated the adage, but 'it's not enough to retire from something (escape), you have to have something to retire to (activities, friends/family, etc.). The latter takes care of itself in some cases, but it's worth giving some serious consideration to before retiring IMO. I completed Ernie Zelinski's Get-A-Life tree exercise, and found it helpful and reassuring.

With an otherwise good work situation and no burning desire to retire, is there anything you can do to reduce the stress? I'd focus on that first if it was me. All the best whatever you choose...
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Old 04-21-2013, 08:44 AM   #4
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I have a quandary. I am not sure how much my intense focus on ER is due to me wanting to run away from my current job or is it that I really crave retirement and all that it brings? I like my boss, I make a ton of cash, but the stress in my job is gigantic.

How much of your retirement decision was to get away from your job and how much was wanting the retirement lifestyle?
Take a leave of absence and maybe your answer will come.
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Old 04-21-2013, 08:56 AM   #5
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I have a quandary. I am not sure how much my intense focus on ER is due to me wanting to run away from my current job or is it that I really crave retirement and all that it brings? I like my boss, I make a ton of cash, but the stress in my job is gigantic.

How much of your retirement decision was to get away from your job and how much was wanting the retirement lifestyle?
My primary motive is "freedom from." It is really a combination of both, but that motive is stronger. Most of all, I want to escape the pain and obligations of the workplace. I've always been that way -- pain is usually a bigger motivator for me than pleasure.

Fortunately, I also like planning, so I've spent a lot of time thinking about what I am running towards -- where I will be living, what I will be doing, etc.

In terms of my day-to-day experience, though, my main motive is a desire to be rid of all the constriction and stress of the job. I do think about how nice it will be when I am "free to" do X or Y, but that is sort of an abstraction at this point. The motive that I feel the strongest is based on what I'm going through right now -- which is the desire to be done with the job.

That is a long ways off, though, so in the meantime I prepare myself by thinking about dreams and plans for the future.
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Old 04-21-2013, 09:18 AM   #6
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For me it was something like two thirds of one and half of the other. I really did want to get out. Since then they have evened out at two thirds of each. If that adds up to more than 100%, it just reflects my views on work vs ER.
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Old 04-21-2013, 10:01 AM   #7
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I am mostly wanting it due to major stress. I used to love my job. There was a time I never dreamed of retirement, because I was having so much fun. Now I'm hating it, really hating it.
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Old 04-21-2013, 10:35 AM   #8
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I worked for a large architectural company for years, big projects and big stress, lots of politics, etc. About 3 years ago I got laid off finally after the big economic turndown. So I got a taste of early retirement and I liked it! However I really enjoy being an Architect. I just didn't like the client base I had--all developers and really no connection with the end and ultimate user of my design.

Subsequently I opened my own small firm and enjoy the work but still feel the desire to retire early. I don't have the stress from my big corporate job but there still is some internal pressure to produce 'x' amount of income---at least until age 55 when my wife gets her pension from her job. At that point we are both retired, but mine will be more of a semi-retired role I think.

After we retire our income will come from the pension my wife gets and whatever we draw from our portfolio until SS kicks in. I can reduce the draw against the portfolio by whatever income I bring in--however that number can be $0 and we would be fine. Thus there isn't the pressure/stress and I can pick and choose my projects at that point.

I am looking forward to that time period as I can control if I want to do any work and if I don't like you as a client I can fire you! Some clients are fantastic and some are assholes. I don't have to work with assholes anymore and it will be nice to control my own destiny. So for me it is more about adjusting my work to my life, rather than the other way around.
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Old 04-21-2013, 10:40 AM   #9
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I first began thinking about ER when I had a windfall that catapulted me towards FI. I am a planner, so I began to contemplate the possibilities. My j*b always had its stresses but when the BS bucket began to weigh more heavily I was ready. So for me it was primarily to rather than from.
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Old 04-21-2013, 10:42 AM   #10
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Take a leave of absence and maybe your answer will come.
Thanks everyone. These are good thoughts, and very much appreciated. I have considered a leave of absence, but in my job, there really isn't such a thing. Running sales (for the Americas) for a large group within my company doesn't give me much flexibility there -- in fact, last time I took two weeks vacation in a row... hmmm. Early 2000's sometime perhaps.

I have thought about trying to reduce the stress in my job, and I've taken several actions to do that (I no longer go to work at 4:30AM, I go to the gym more regularly, I *try* to not work much on the weekend, I do my best to take a few days of vacation here or there), but it's still high stress more often than not. However, any job in sales will carry with it at least some inherent stress, I believe.

The thing is, there are some days I absolutely dread going to work. I mean, Monday's are usually terrible. Next Sunday-Thursday when I will be traveling will be terrible, and the work will just stack up.

Our office manager is retiring next Wednesday. Moving to be closer to grandkids. She told me that next Wednesday will be a very, very difficult day for her, and that leaving will be traumatizing. What I didn't say (but thought) is that the day I leave I will be walking (running?) out laughing like an insane person. To leave the shackles of day-to-day issues, problems, customers, escalations, meetings... this will be a joyous day.

Plus the whole "will I be bored in retirement?" thing has me thinking, although I'm sure I can come up with a whole ton of things to do.

I think at the moment, I am 75% running from, and 25% running to.
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Old 04-21-2013, 10:43 AM   #11
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and if I don't like you as a client I can fire you! Some clients are fantastic and some are assholes. I don't have to work with assholes anymore.
Amen to that.
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Old 04-21-2013, 12:04 PM   #12
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It's important to get to know yourself and what you want in life. As the saying goes, "Be careful about what you want - - you might get it!"

After my divorce at age 50 I did a lot of introspection and centering, focusing on what I really want out of the rest of my life. I pretty much had to get my head screwed on a little straighter, after the abysmal failure of a 23 year marriage.

One result of that introspection was that finally it was easier to see where I was headed and why, as I prepared for my retirement 11 years later. I had to stay at a job that was less than optimal, but it came with retirement benefits that I wanted so that was why I stayed instead of looking for a more pleasant job. My focus has been on retirement.

Everything has been working out as I planned, although I have enjoyed retirement even more than I had imagined beforehand.

Have you considered looking for another job? Maybe you just need a change.
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Old 04-21-2013, 12:51 PM   #13
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When I was finishing up my undergrad degree, I was so looking forward to life in the working world when I would be free of the pressure of multiple uncoordinated paper deadlines that so often seem to fall together, or unrealistic projects that require strings of all nighters in a row. My first job was pleasant enough, most of that time pressure was absent, but so was much chance to make almost any of my own choices of what I did or when I did it. I wanted to ER in the first few months.

I have so many things I'd like to do if I had more free time. I do some of them outside of work, but not nearly enough. The big blocks of time required by work, and the psychic drain of mental energy seem to really hamper using my free time effectively, even when it's free. I have lots of things I will be doing, but the motivation is less about attraction and more about getting out of daily demands of work.

I'm definitely retiring AWAY from work. Running from. Even when work is great, it's still work I want to get away from.
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Old 04-21-2013, 03:01 PM   #14
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The work was boring and unchallenging, but it was not a complete nightmare. I don't think I was running away from it as much as I was running to ER. I like the freedom to do what I want when I want, I like to wake up when I feel rested in the morning, I like to eat my meals when I am hungry (and take the time to enjoy them), etc... Modern work is so unnatural to me. I don't think we were meant to work 8 hours a day sitting in a cubicle under a fluorescent light, staring at a computer screen with a half hour break if we are lucky to gobble up some food. Crazy.
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Old 04-21-2013, 05:26 PM   #15
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Have you considered looking for another job? Maybe you just need a change.
+1, I was just thinking of adding same. Could you stay with the same firm and change sales jobs, move to marketing or something else? Even if there was nothing right away, it might provide a mental light at the end of the tunnel to look forward to. It wasn't an option for me, and maybe not you either, just throwing it out there. FWIW
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Old 04-21-2013, 05:48 PM   #16
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I like the freedom to do what I want when I want, I like to wake up when I feel rested in the morning, I like to eat my meals when I am hungry (and take the time to enjoy them), etc... Modern work is so unnatural to me. I don't think we were meant to work 8 hours a day sitting in a cubicle under a fluorescent light, staring at a computer screen with a half hour break if we are lucky to gobble up some food. Crazy.
I have not yet pulled the plug on working but +1000 to the above comments.
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Old 04-22-2013, 07:04 AM   #17
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+1, I was just thinking of adding same. Could you stay with the same firm and change sales jobs, move to marketing or something else? Even if there was nothing right away, it might provide a mental light at the end of the tunnel to look forward to. It wasn't an option for me, and maybe not you either, just throwing it out there. FWIW
Yeah, I have considered this for sure. For me, that would most likely be moving from sales management to salesperson. That isn't a door that is likely to be opened from my company standpoint (primarily because of the location where I work -- and living in Austin, Texas, a move just ain't going to happen). I was given the choice of essentially doing the exact same job, just with a different group, but that is the same job, just a different pair of pants.

I've also looked for jobs outside my current employer. One option is a startup. While it would be a significant pay cut, I certainly wouldn't do it for long (a couple of years at most).

The nice capper to all of this is that my financial plan has me retiring at the end of this year - so I have the ability to pull the ripcord if I've had enough of this rat race.
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Old 04-22-2013, 07:21 AM   #18
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I have a quandary. I am not sure how much my intense focus on ER is due to me wanting to run away from my current job or is it that I really crave retirement and all that it brings? I like my boss, I make a ton of cash, but the stress in my job is gigantic.

How much of your retirement decision was to get away from your job and how much was wanting the retirement lifestyle?
I was pretty much in the same boat. (making tons of cash but the stress was high) I would say that "I thought it was a bit of both, until I reached FI". Then I realized it was wanting to get away from the job and the daily grind (burn out)
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Old 04-22-2013, 08:07 AM   #19
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For me, it was running to. I used to be passionate about my work but the fire had burnt out. So, it was time to move on to have the time to live my life.
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Old 04-22-2013, 08:46 AM   #20
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I ran from the megacorp job...just could not take it anymore! Now, I am the boss and it is so much nicer I did start planning for a shift a year prior to leaving....saved up two years worth of expenses, devoured frugality books, found a career that I would love, and a life I can be happy with. I don't make nearly half of what I did in the previous life, but it pays all the bills, lets me save for retirement, and is more than enough.
I am amazed at how little money you need to live when you are really happy with what you are doing and are grateful for all aspects of your life.
If you are going to be able to leave at the end of the year, do so....it is a short and fleeting life...no need to be stressed for most of it....it is not worth it at all.
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