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2 years to FIRE; Worried about being passed over for promo!
Old 04-30-2010, 04:43 PM   #1
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2 years to FIRE; Worried about being passed over for promo!

Knowing that working your way up the ladder isn't the most important thing in life anymore, why is it so hard to take a step 'down', step 'aside' and let someone pass you by in order to be able to work less / live more as you got serious about retirement?

Target retirement date is on or before 11/16/2012, so why am I so worried about not having the 'TOP' job? My company just went through a merger and the result was a promotion for me (from being the leader of one location to all locations nationally - the 'TOP' job for my field in the company) - no additional money, of course (I was very glad to have a job!).

Plan is to continue to have future mergers, so now I'm worried that they would put someone from the newly acquired company in my slot and I would have to report to the person (whose qualifications are a closer match to my job and is younger than I am). Is it my big ego that's kicking in? I really am not crazy about my job anymore, so why do I care? If I had to find another job, my biggest concern is that I would have less responsibilities than what i have now --- is this an ego thing, or worse....does my job really define who I am?
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Old 04-30-2010, 05:22 PM   #2
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Is it my big ego that's kicking in? I really am not crazy about my job anymore, so why do I care? If I had to find another job, my biggest concern is that I would have less responsibilities than what i have now --- is this an ego thing, or worse....does my job really define who I am?
I voluntarily made a similar decision to what you are describing at the end of 2007. I was a senior manager in IT with a global team of 38 folks around the world in multiple businesses with Megacorp. Mergers were ongoing and I had to lay off folks in the USA as sites were sold, and increase my travel overseas a lot as the company persued and acquired sites abroad. With only 2.5 years to RE I applied for a transfer to a large manufacturing site that had a lot of expansion projects in progress and were short of experienced I&E engineers.

So, for the same salary I switched careers which meant I had no one working for me and had moved managerially 2 levels down. It worked out great for me, a LOT less stress, minimum travel, some short spells of long hours as we commissioned systems, and my "loss" of status did not bother me as I knew I was RE'ing in 2 years.

However, it's a very personal issue and only you can answer this question. With only 2 years before FIRE why do you care if you end up working for someone else, particulary if your salary is not going to be cut. By the time a new merger happens and you have a new boss it should be a lot less than 2 years. (and who knows, you may even like the new person).
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Old 05-01-2010, 06:53 AM   #3
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Plan is to continue to have future mergers, so now I'm worried that they would put someone from the newly acquired company in my slot and I would have to report to the person (whose qualifications are a closer match to my job and is younger than I am). Is it my big ego that's kicking in? I really am not crazy about my job anymore, so why do I care? If I had to find another job, my biggest concern is that I would have less responsibilities than what i have now --- is this an ego thing, or worse....does my job really define who I am?
Does a lot of what makes the job worthwhile to you involve being at the top? If so you may simply fear that the change would leave you less satisfied with work for two years. On the bright side, any change you would get a separation offer you couldn't refuse if the next merger occurs? Like Alan, I made changes (from HR head to IT mgmt) that were slightly down but increased my job satisfaction immensely. Very few of my peers would have actively conspired to achieve that.
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Old 05-01-2010, 08:00 AM   #4
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Is it my big ego that's kicking in? I really am not crazy about my job anymore, so why do I care?
IMO, it's most definitely ego. Much more common than most people realize, you might be very surprised how much ego controls our actions especially in western cultures, but it can be consciously overcome. The less you let your ego unconsciously govern your actions, the happier you can be...
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Old 05-01-2010, 08:05 AM   #5
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I made the conscious decision about 5 years ago to avoid going up a level. Opportunities came open and I passed for two reasons.

  1. If I intend to leave in a few years (which I will FIRE in 13 months), why complicate my life.
  2. At my company, one gets a small bump with the promotion occurs and the compensation grows more after a few years of proving oneself in the position. By the time I got to the big pay increase... it would be time to leave.
But I understand your feelings. It is about accomplishment, recognition, and being competitive.

Let your goal be your guide. Is your goal ratcheting up the career or winding it down and turning the page?

For me... the goal is turning the page!
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Old 05-01-2010, 11:52 AM   #6
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Plan is to continue to have future mergers, so now I'm worried that they would put someone from the newly acquired company in my slot and I would have to report to the person
I've been through many mergers and one scenario I've seen quite often is that the merged companies have duplicate departments and each one only needs one head. If you are an actively contributing employee as well as a manager, you are more likely to have a position in the new organization, but if you are purely a manager then maybe not. Gaining efficiency by reducing management overhead is often a goal of mergers and I've seen the managers of departments not just demoted to serve under an acquired manager, but often laid off as no longer needed. Seemed to be neither managers from the acquiring company or the acquired company were safe from this kind of "efficiency" reorganization.

I'd be worried if I let anyone know I was considering ER that would be like having a target on my back for restructurings and downsizings.
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Old 05-01-2010, 12:39 PM   #7
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I think it would be rare not to affected by ego. I certainly was. My job title turned out to be more important than the salary. Once I achieved the title I wanted, I decided to semi-retire and jettison almost all responsibilities. It is somewhat satisfying to say, "Currently, I am a doofus, but I used to be a head-honcho." All the head-honchos in my company now want to be doofuses.
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Old 05-01-2010, 12:55 PM   #8
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Plan is to continue to have future mergers, so now I'm worried that they would put someone from the newly acquired company in my slot and I would have to report to the person (whose qualifications are a closer match to my job and is younger than I am). Is it my big ego that's kicking in? I really am not crazy about my job anymore, so why do I care? If I had to find another job, my biggest concern is that I would have less responsibilities than what i have now --- is this an ego thing, or worse....does my job really define who I am?
For me, I know it is ego. I have to consciously fight it. I took my first management job last year which required me to go full-time (I was part-time for several years prior to this). I do have to say, I loved being in charge. Yeah, uh, I'm a bit of control freak. However, it certainly added stress to our lives.

When we moved this year, I went back to part-time. I can't help myself from judging my manager now, thinking about how much "better" I did the same job. I have to consciously stop myself and focus on how much I enjoy my 2 days off a week and the flexibility and freedom that creates in our lives. In the long run, that is so much more important to DH and I.

Does your job define who you are? Only you can answer that question fully, but I would guess that it is probably a big piece of it. It's something many who approach semi or full retirement face...learning how to define yourself as more than just your job.
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Old 05-01-2010, 03:45 PM   #9
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Or, it might be mostly just habit. Many of us are (were, in my case) in the habit of striving to move upwards in the organization, and have been doing that for many years. It's hard to just turn off a habit like that. But, it only makes sense to do so during the year or two before retirement.
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Old 05-03-2010, 05:47 PM   #10
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Knowing that working your way up the ladder isn't the most important thing in life anymore, why is it so hard to take a step 'down', step 'aside' and let someone pass you by in order to be able to work less / live more as you got serious about retirement?
This doesn't resonate with me.

For the past couple of years, I've reported to someone who is younger and less experienced than I am; it hasn't been a problem. Indeed, having a boss can relieve one of significant responsibility, and make work more pleasant.

If you are still keen on future promotions and being the 'top dog', perhaps you are not yet ready for retirement. There's nothing wrong with that, but if you are sincere in your plan to retire on or before 11/16/2012, I'd suggest that you commence a transition period before that time; you may have difficulty quitting 'cold turkey'.
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Old 05-03-2010, 07:02 PM   #11
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My boss is likely to retire in 2 years and I'll retire in 4 years. There is no way I'll apply for her job and I have to figure out ways to decline if directly offered it. I have no need for the headaches of her job in my final two years. I'm hoping she holds off for at least three years.
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Old 05-03-2010, 07:23 PM   #12
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IMO, this piece of vinyl



explained the whole thing 34 yrs ago:

Now you're climbing to the top of the company ladder--
Hope it doesn´t take to long....
Can't you see there'll come a day when it won't matter,
Come a day when you'll be gone?
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Old 05-03-2010, 08:28 PM   #13
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IMO, this piece of vinyl



explained the whole thing 34 yrs ago:

Now you're climbing to the top of the company ladder--
Hope it doesn´t take to long....
Can't you see there'll come a day when it won't matter,
Come a day when you'll be gone?
And the song was appropriately titled for that attitude: "Peace of Mind"...
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Old 05-04-2010, 11:08 AM   #14
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And the song was appropriately titled for that attitude: "Peace of Mind"...
It's pretty much been my anthem since I was 14, and I heartily recommend it!
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