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Highly Stressed
Old 08-14-2013, 12:24 AM   #1
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Highly Stressed

Hi folks,
I've been a reader for a couple of years now, and have made a few posts. I'm looking for some career advice and opinions.
I picked the wrong career for myself (airline pilot) and feel really trapped. I have always felt the stress of the job, but recently it is becoming unbearable and affecting my health. I've finally come to the realization that I'm not cut out for this line of work (only took me 20 yrs).
We've been saving and cutting expenses as much as possible over the last couple of years to try and get out. We have no mortgage and about 18 times annual expenses saved. DW is a SAHM with our 9 year old.
I'm probably within 3 years of FIRE but don't know what kind of health problems this stress and lack of sleep etc.. is doing to me. At 49, would you try to stick it out for a few more years and FIRE or quit and work a lower paying lower stress job for many more years? Thanks for any replies and wisdom
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Old 08-14-2013, 01:43 AM   #2
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With the benefit of hindsight, if I was your age I would find the lower paying lower stress job and work that for longer if I felt I could find a job that I wouldn't hate. That is, if retiring in 3 years is largely driven by the stress of your current job and that could be cured by a lower paying job then I would probably switch careers. On the other hand, if you would be unhappy to be working at something else 3 years from now and would regret not retiring sooner then I might stick it out.

I say all this with the benefit of hindsight. I had been in my career for about 15 years when I realized I had chosen the wrong career. I was good at it, it paid well and it was incredibly stressful. I actually trained for and received a master's degree in another field planning to switch careers. However, in the meantime (while I was doing this schooling at night while working the other career full-time during the day), I married and had a child and wanted more children and didn't feel I could switch careers at that point because in my case it would have meant about an 80% reduction in pay and I could afford it with my family plans. So I decided to stay in the original career with the idea that maybe some day later I would work in the new field. That was 16 years ago and I never switched careers.

Staying in the higher paid career did help me from the raising a family standpoint. But after awhile the stress of that career became unbearable. DH retired and I went to a very part-time semi-retirement about 3 years ago which I still do.

Looking back on it in hindsight, I don't regret that I decided to stay in the higher paid career so I would feel more comfortable with having 3 children. However, looking back on it I think that I would have been far happier if somewhere after the kids were all here and things had settled down, I had gone ahead and tried to find a job in the second lower paid career even if it meant I couldn't have semi-retired 3 years ago.

However, all this is very individual as to what you can and can't tolerate and what you value.
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Old 08-14-2013, 02:13 AM   #3
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Can your wife get a job? If both of you had lower stress jobs, could your two incomes match what you make now? Or at least move up your FI time frame?

The video below provides some food for thought by people who really cut expenses and went to low key employment:

Shotgun shack redux: mortgage-free in 320 square feet - videos - *faircompanies

We would probably never move to a house that small but I do find their scaled down house and jobs intriguing. The family in the video seems like they have a lot less stress than many of our former co-workers who have high fixed expenses and are worried about getting their jobs outsourced.

Personally I like having something mentally challenging to do and volunteer work so far hasn't interested me, so for now I think I will always work at least part time.

But that might not be the right decision for you. A lot of people here seem happier having worked an extra year to two and then have their working careers over and done with.

If you haven't read it yet, the book Your Money or Your Life is a good read. So is The Millionaire Next Door. YMOYL is more a save up so you never have to work again kind of book, while TMND is more filled with people who enjoy their careers so it doesn't seem like work.
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Old 08-14-2013, 04:08 AM   #4
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Hello

I am 48. To answer your question, I would not stick it out for a few more years and would look for a lower paying, lower stress job.

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Originally Posted by rdy4er View Post
Hi folks,
At 49, would you try to stick it out for a few more years and FIRE or quit and work a lower paying lower stress job for many more years?
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Old 08-14-2013, 04:30 AM   #5
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Thanks for the replies,
I have talked to my wife about both of us getting jobs, but she wants to be home for our daughter. She does have a side business that earns a few thousand a year.
I love the tiny house idea, but again the wife would not be happy. I have suggested selling our house and moving into our 1000sq ft rental, so far no dice.
I'm stuck between providing for my family and keeping my sanity. We have cut our expenses in the last year, however, I could keep cutting ERE style if it was only up to me. DW is not a big spender, but she will not go that extreme.
I've been flying so long now, I can't honestly say if I'd be happier in a low stress, pay job. I think i would. Another problem is what would I do. Not really qualified for much else.
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Old 08-14-2013, 05:32 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by rdy4er View Post
Thanks for the replies,
I have talked to my wife about both of us getting jobs, but she wants to be home for our daughter. She does have a side business that earns a few thousand a year.
I love the tiny house idea, but again the wife would not be happy. I have suggested selling our house and moving into our 1000sq ft rental, so far no dice.
I'm stuck between providing for my family and keeping my sanity. We have cut our expenses in the last year, however, I could keep cutting ERE style if it was only up to me. DW is not a big spender, but she will not go that extreme.
I've been flying so long now, I can't honestly say if I'd be happier in a low stress, pay job. I think i would. Another problem is what would I do. Not really qualified for much else.
I understand the challenge. I would absolutely retire from your primary job. Is being a part-time charter pilot an option for you? I know very little about the industry, but it seems like that would be a little less stressful with lower pay,

I don't have any suggestions regarding the house, but your not torn between working and "providing for your family". You have 18 years of expenses saved up, you're providing for your family quite well.
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Old 08-14-2013, 06:03 AM   #7
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Hello

To answer your question, I would not stick it out for a few more years and would look for a lower paying, lower stress job.
+1

I would start looking around for another job, even if it involved taking a pay cut but I would not jump ship until after I had secured another job - being unemployed and watching your savings being depleted would (if it was me anyway) be as stressful as being stuck in a stressful job.

In terms of dealing with stress - exercise, outside interests and adopting a cat all helped me.
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Old 08-14-2013, 07:13 AM   #8
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I'd recommend first reflecting about what exactly is causing the stress in your current job. Frankly, most jobs that pay well bring some degree of stress - supervisory challenges (both upline and downline), corporate politics, responsibility for others, process frustrations, etc. A mistake people frequently make is the mindset that the grass surely must be greener.

Oftentimes it's not.
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Old 08-14-2013, 09:24 AM   #9
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I'd recommend first reflecting about what exactly is causing the stress in your current job. Frankly, most jobs that pay well bring some degree of stress - supervisory challenges (both upline and downline), corporate politics, responsibility for others, process frustrations, etc. A mistake people frequently make is the mindset that the grass surely must be greener.

Oftentimes it's not.
+1.

As much as people like to believe stress correlates 100% to the job itself ("it can't be me!"), and other like minded folks reinforce that belief - stress is always a combination of the job and your makeup, how much of each varies for each of us. If it was truly only the job, wouldn't everyone there be stressed out? IME, there is no workplace where everyone finds the stress unbearable, so personal makeup plays a part.

I don't pretend to know about the OP, but some people are their own worst enemy when it comes to stress. After a brief reprieve, those people may eventually become stressed no matter how many times they change jobs - IOW it's not the job for the most part.

No matter how much the OP contributes to his stress, or not - I wonder if you could reduce the stress by working on your part of it, enough that you could make the current job more tolerable? FWIW
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Old 08-14-2013, 09:41 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by rdy4er View Post
Thanks for the replies,
I have talked to my wife about both of us getting jobs, but she wants to be home for our daughter. She does have a side business that earns a few thousand a year.
I love the tiny house idea, but again the wife would not be happy. I have suggested selling our house and moving into our 1000sq ft rental, so far no dice.
I'm stuck between providing for my family and keeping my sanity. We have cut our expenses in the last year, however, I could keep cutting ERE style if it was only up to me. DW is not a big spender, but she will not go that extreme.
I've been flying so long now, I can't honestly say if I'd be happier in a low stress, pay job. I think i would. Another problem is what would I do. Not really qualified for much else.
So why does she get to decide this unilaterally? I am so tired of hearing about SAHM who get to decide that they MUST stay home with school age children and that their DH MUST work at a high paying stressful job.

I worked full time until we had children and then switched to part time. I am home when my children are home from school. Your wife could easily find a part time job and still be there for your daughter, but she enjoys the SAHM lifestyle too much. A job that makes a few thousands a year is generally not a job but a social hobby.

Your wife does not get to make all the decisions.
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Old 08-14-2013, 11:12 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by rdy4er View Post
Thanks for the replies,
I have talked to my wife about both of us getting jobs, but she wants to be home for our daughter. She does have a side business that earns a few thousand a year.
I love the tiny house idea, but again the wife would not be happy. I have suggested selling our house and moving into our 1000sq ft rental, so far no dice.
I'm stuck between providing for my family and keeping my sanity. We have cut our expenses in the last year, however, I could keep cutting ERE style if it was only up to me. DW is not a big spender, but she will not go that extreme.
I've been flying so long now, I can't honestly say if I'd be happier in a low stress, pay job. I think i would. Another problem is what would I do. Not really qualified for much else.
You really are only stuck if you don't work on the my marriage is a dictatorship where my wife gets to call all the shots line of thinking.

At age nine most kids are in school from 8 - 3, and even after that they are often at friends' houses or in sports or enrichment classes.

I went to school evenings and weekends when the kids were little while DH watched them and then did consulting and worked at home during school hours.
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Old 08-14-2013, 11:15 AM   #12
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So why does she get to decide this unilaterally? I am so tired of hearing about SAHM who get to decide that they MUST stay home with school age children and that their DH MUST work at a high paying stressful job.

I worked full time until we had children and then switched to part time. I am home when my children are home from school. Your wife could easily find a part time job and still be there for your daughter, but she enjoys the SAHM lifestyle too much. A job that makes a few thousands a year is generally not a job but a social hobby.

Your wife does not get to make all the decisions.
+1

She's going to end up with a dead or disabled husband or one that makes a terrible mistake on the job.
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Old 08-14-2013, 11:22 AM   #13
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I'm not sure if you work for a major carrier or regional, but if you are in the majors, your salary is likely higher than average and quite substantial. Rather than quitting completely, is it possible for you to drop some trips to reduce your hours? Making less money but having more down time might be a reasonable trade off rather than quitting completely.

I have to agree with the other posters that the decision should be jointly made, not exclusively by your wife, but everyone's relationship is unique, so take the advice for what it's worth.
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Old 08-14-2013, 11:39 AM   #14
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Wow, so many great things to think about. Thanks everyone for the input.
As to the stress of the job, I do put a lot of it on myself. If the weather is bad, I start stressing the night before, then no sleep which ads to it. We fly around the world, many time zones at a time, at all different hours of the day and night so sleep issues are a big deal . We fly into some dangerous places, which adds to the stress.
There are easier flying jobs and I've been trying for the last few years to get another one, but so far no one is calling.
I am the worrying type, and it seems to me that I put more pressure on myself than my peers. I'm thinking I just chose the wrong career.
Another issue with this job is that I'm gone from home 18 days in a row per month. I'm missing so much time with my daughter while she is young (I do get to be at home for 13 days straight each month which is great). The time at home seems to fly by, and the last few days are filled with dread of going back out. (Ok, enough of the whining)

I know we could cover our expenses with 2 "regular jobs", but my DW is opposed. She does spend a lot of time at the school, volunteering and bringing our daughter to her various activities, which I think is great for our daughter also.

And so goes my dilemma.
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Old 08-14-2013, 11:55 AM   #15
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I'm not sure if you work for a major carrier or regional, but if you are in the majors, your salary is likely higher than average and quite substantial. Rather than quitting completely, is it possible for you to drop some trips to reduce your hours? Making less money but having more down time might be a reasonable trade off rather than quitting completely.

I have to agree with the other posters that the decision should be jointly made, not exclusively by your wife, but everyone's relationship is unique, so take the advice for what it's worth.

Yea, it would nice if I could work less days, unfortunately its all or nothing. I am a cargo pilot by the way, the pay is good which makes the decision tough.

I can understand my wife's point She doesn't want to just "scrape by" and put our daughter in daycare after school.
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Old 08-14-2013, 11:58 AM   #16
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Thanks for the replies,
I have talked to my wife about both of us getting jobs, but she wants to be home for our daughter. She does have a side business that earns a few thousand a year.
I love the tiny house idea, but again the wife would not be happy. I have suggested selling our house and moving into our 1000sq ft rental, so far no dice.
I'm stuck between providing for my family and keeping my sanity. We have cut our expenses in the last year, however, I could keep cutting ERE style if it was only up to me. DW is not a big spender, but she will not go that extreme.
I've been flying so long now, I can't honestly say if I'd be happier in a low stress, pay job. I think i would. Another problem is what would I do. Not really qualified for much else.
Will your wife walk out if you say, hey, this is too much for me, I need your help and cooperation. Not many women today feel they can say sacrifice you body and soul, I need my current standard of living. Unfortunately, some do think this way.

But is she does or would say that, you are up against it and will be worse off paying child support, as it will be based on you airline salary. Best of luck to you.

Ha
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Old 08-14-2013, 11:58 AM   #17
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Wow, so many great things to think about. Thanks everyone for the input.
As to the stress of the job, I do put a lot of it on myself. If the weather is bad, I start stressing the night before, then no sleep which ads to it. We fly around the world, many time zones at a time, at all different hours of the day and night so sleep issues are a big deal . We fly into some dangerous places, which adds to the stress.
There are easier flying jobs and I've been trying for the last few years to get another one, but so far no one is calling.
I am the worrying type, and it seems to me that I put more pressure on myself than my peers. I'm thinking I just chose the wrong career.
Another issue with this job is that I'm gone from home 18 days in a row per month. I'm missing so much time with my daughter while she is young (I do get to be at home for 13 days straight each month which is great). The time at home seems to fly by, and the last few days are filled with dread of going back out. (Ok, enough of the whining)

I know we could cover our expenses with 2 "regular jobs", but my DW is opposed. She does spend a lot of time at the school, volunteering and bringing our daughter to her various activities, which I think is great for our daughter also.

And so goes my dilemma.
Sure sounds like your personality/attitude is the majority of the problem. The good news is you can work on you. The bad news is you would take you to the next job and you would probably end up with many of the same issues.

Your company must have an EAP (Employee Assistance Program). Use their resources to help you get into some relaxation and stress reduction counseling or programs. You sound like you are in a lot of pain and that is bad for your health. You have a young child and a wife who would really miss you if you were to have a serious health event so start working on yourself. It might take a few tries to find the right solution but it's time to get to work on you!
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Old 08-14-2013, 12:06 PM   #18
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Will your wife walk out if you say, hey, this is too much for me, I need your help and cooperation. Not many women today feel they can say sacrifice you body and soul, I need my current standard of living. Unfortunately, some do think this way.

But is she does or would say that, you are up against it and will be worse off paying child support, as it will be based on you airline salary. Best of luck to you.

Ha
I'm making her out to sound worse than it is. She is supportive and does love me, she's just somewhat scared.
Yea alimony and child support would lock me into this job, so I definitely don't want that.
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Old 08-14-2013, 12:09 PM   #19
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I know we could cover our expenses with 2 "regular jobs", but my DW is opposed.
Tell DW you are opposed to staying in your current job, and that you are going to both have to compromise and find some middle ground on the work front.

It doesn't sound like you guys have a shared vision of an ideal life you are both working equally towards.
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Old 08-14-2013, 12:13 PM   #20
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I'm making her out to sound worse than it is. She is supportive and does love me, she's just somewhat scared.
Yea alimony and child support would lock me into this job, so I definitely don't want that.
My guess is she doesn't completely understand how much pain you are in. You've always been the provider/protector/guy who has it together so it would be a big shift for her to see you as anything other.
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