Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
If you were given a "career mulligan," what would you choose?
Old 12-06-2008, 12:21 PM   #1
Moderator
ziggy29's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Texas
Posts: 15,612
If you were given a "career mulligan," what would you choose?

Just something I've been thinking about this morning (and a lot recently, actually).

Assuming all else in your life would remain the same -- you'd still have the same spouse/SO, the same kids (if any), the same friends, and all that stuff -- if you had another chance to start your w*rking life, what would you choose to do? If you had that do over -- that "mulligan," as they say in golf parlance -- what would you do?

Or are you one of those fortunate creatures who got it right the first time and are actually doing what you love?

Would you pursue something with higher pay? Maybe something you find more satisfying? Something that let you live in a region/environment where you'd like to be? Something with more job security? Better retirement benefits?

Me? I was a Computer Science major in college and I'm a "senior systems analyst" now. The job's okay as far as jobs go, but it's uninspiring. Looking at how everything played out in the 20 years since my graduation, I'd go back and study conservation/wildlife biology instead and work in a natural park or wildlife refuge setting, preferably for state or federal government.

I love nature, I'm fascinated by the interplay among species in nature, and I love being out in the open, uncrowded outdoors. I love living in relatively rural areas. And of course, especially in THIS economic and market environment, I'd love the job security and top-notch retirement benefits of a public employee.

As much as I seek "early retirement," what I'd really prefer was a j*b that didn't drive me into *wanting* to retire as early as possible. I'm pretty sure, in retrospect, that this was my calling -- my career "fat pitch" -- and I missed it.

Anyone else?
__________________

__________________
"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

RIP to Reemy, my avatar dog (2003 - 9/16/2017)
ziggy29 is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 12-06-2008, 01:23 PM   #2
Dryer sheet aficionado
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 33
Ziggy 29 wrote: "Me? I was a Computer Science major in college and I'm a "senior systems analyst" now. The job's okay as far as jobs go, but it's uninspiring. Looking at how everything played out in the 20 years since my graduation, I'd go back and study conservation/wildlife biology instead and work in a natural park or wildlife refuge setting, preferably for state or federal government."

I went through a period of "if only" in my mid-40's and got over it. There's little point. For one thing, the grass is always greener--ALWAYS, and for another: if one really made a terrible move, one generally does something about it at the time. Not always, I know, but usually, we have our own best interests at heart, and they drive what we do in life. Even if it doesn't seem that way every minute of the day.

At least, don't kick yourself too much, that you didn't go to work for the Interior Department/Park Service or something similar in the Federal govt. It may well have been more fun than computer science, but to get to GS-13 or beyond (to earn a salary and pension that would seem reasonable to you, the computer scientist), you'd have had to get off the park ranger station and into an office, doing paperwork. Plus, many of the "real" (non-govt; in their view) wildlife biologists/conservationists would consider you more or less the Enemy, since you'd have to carry out the policies of the Administration even if you didn't agree with those policies.

Honestly, I envy CS's because I find them to be well compensated, respected in society, creative, hard working, and well able to stay employed.
__________________

__________________
Recycle practically everything.
Own2Feet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-06-2008, 01:40 PM   #3
Moderator
Walt34's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Eastern WV Panhandle
Posts: 16,498
Also see this thread:

An observation of the ER forum folks...me included...
__________________
I heard the call to do nothing. So I answered it.
Walt34 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-06-2008, 01:52 PM   #4
Moderator Emeritus
Rich_by_the_Bay's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 8,827
Good question, Ziggy.

I would not change my career choice but, having made that choice, I would have handled my early finances differently. I could have borrowed less, stayed in the tiny house longer, driven my 11 year old car a few more years, etc. I had to borrow for my training since my folks were not wealthy, but I could have borrowed less. 6-figure debt til age 40 is not a good way to start your FIRE plan. Fortunately, I was never attracted to the country club/BMW/world cruise lifestyle.

But the content of what I do is pretty much everything I could have hoped for, and that made the long hours tolerable. I'm ready to cut back now, largely in proportion to my job becoming more managerial and less clinical. Probably will continue part-time clinical practice when I ESR.
__________________
Rich
San Francisco Area
ESR'd March 2010. FIRE'd January 2011.

As if you didn't know..If the above message contains medical content, it's NOT intended as advice, and may not be accurate, applicable or sufficient. Don't rely on it for any purpose. Consult your own doctor for all medical advice.
Rich_by_the_Bay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-06-2008, 02:13 PM   #5
Moderator
ziggy29's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Texas
Posts: 15,612
Quote:
Originally Posted by Own2Feet View Post
I went through a period of "if only" in my mid-40's and got over it. There's little point. For one thing, the grass is always greener--ALWAYS, and for another: if one really made a terrible move, one generally does something about it at the time. Not always, I know, but usually, we have our own best interests at heart, and they drive what we do in life. Even if it doesn't seem that way every minute of the day.
I didn't really start this as a kick-myself thread for making a bad choice. It was, on balance, a good choice -- I've had more than 21 years in industry, the pay has been pretty good, and (knock on wood) I've had steady employment with no layoffs -- but time teaches you things, such as what really matters.

I think of this hindsight (in some sense) like seeing former classmates at a 20-year high school reunion. What mattered to you back then in terms of the people you dated and considered "marriage material" is likely a lot different at age 38 than at age 18. At 38, you've been around the block a few times; you've been enraptured by people with attributes important to 18-year-olds, you've been hurt by pretty faces, you begin to realize the more "superficial" things that seemed like must-haves at 18 aren't all that important at 38, and that "boring" qualities like being nice, trustworthy, dependable and responsible are very important -- which is a quality that many of the "rejected" crowd in high school possess two decades later.

What's done is done, obviously, but I thought it would be interesting to see how what we *thought* we wanted as a 20-year-old has diverged from what living life has taught us to value today.

Like I said -- not really dwelling, but a mildly wistful wondering. I am happy with how things turned out, but I sometimes dream of liking my job well enough to not WANT to retire early. I suppose at some point when we're financially independent I can leave my current job and pursue something where I don't need to be motivated by the pay, but that's several years away (and a lot farther away now than it seemed a year ago).
__________________
"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

RIP to Reemy, my avatar dog (2003 - 9/16/2017)
ziggy29 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-06-2008, 02:35 PM   #6
Moderator Emeritus
CuppaJoe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: At The Cafe
Posts: 6,866
Oh, Ziggy! When I was very young, I spent four years working with Zoology grad. students. Most of them had their research studies published in “The National Geographic.” One had a movie made of his rhesus monkeys, last time I checked he was a prof at that same univ. Another became director of the Charles Darwin Institute. I trained a prof. to bring his drafts to me; he had been a post-doc. for Leakey and was writing about comparative hip structure of ancient humans.

It was so much fun and hard work, my job was a state job. I did get a small pension lump sum when I left after four years. They would send me their crumpled up receipts from field trips, sometimes they were out there for months. I got to turn the receipts into expense reports, “campsite along rte. xx to camp site near village x to campsite x, total mileage xx.” One image I remember well was the “California Condor guy” who always look his coffee break in our office, he’d have his feet up on a chair, leaning back, reading the stock tables. It was the early ‘70s and we speculated that he was rich, who else would have money in the market?

I'm still thinking about your question, a good one.
__________________
CuppaJoe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-06-2008, 03:06 PM   #7
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 826
My opinion: engineering (in general) sucks as a career if you're an employee (in either the private or public sector). Engineering is great as a hobby or entrepreneur if you're mentally wired 'that way'.

There are plenty of people who spend the first part of their lives making great sacrifices (either doing what they hate, or doing what they like in a setting that makes the work much less fun) in order to make enough money to do what they truly love later in life.

Could I have made more money faster by doing something different? Offhand, I don't see how with the same risk of failure. So, I think I made the right career choice early on.
__________________
socca is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-06-2008, 03:56 PM   #8
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Kansas City
Posts: 7,408
Hmmm - as long as we are wishing - instead of a desk jockey a do over would have me be an astronaut.

Might as well go for broke.

heh heh heh - Interestingly - I decided early that private flying was too expensive.
__________________
unclemick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-06-2008, 04:42 PM   #9
Recycles dryer sheets
Kwirk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 154
Medicine (sorry, can't be more specific about specialty and maintain some degree of anonymity) has been very good to me. I sometimes think I should have tried for dermatology or, maybe, radiology but I'm not sure that I would have been happier.

I'd like to know if I could have succeeded in a more entrepreneurial career (probably computer or engineering related ) but I'm really not wired for the stress.
__________________
Prepare for the future. Everything changes.
Kwirk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-06-2008, 04:51 PM   #10
Moderator Emeritus
Rich_by_the_Bay's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 8,827
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kwirk View Post
Medicine (sorry, can't be more specific about specialty and maintain some degree of anonymity) has been very good to me. I sometimes think I should have tried for dermatology or, maybe, radiology but I'm not sure that I would have been happier.
I'm an academic internist and my lifetime income would have doubled in the specialties you refer to above.

But no Mulligan on that one - no way I could have spent the last 33 years doing either one. Made enough, enjoyed it, and it was a good fit.
__________________
Rich
San Francisco Area
ESR'd March 2010. FIRE'd January 2011.

As if you didn't know..If the above message contains medical content, it's NOT intended as advice, and may not be accurate, applicable or sufficient. Don't rely on it for any purpose. Consult your own doctor for all medical advice.
Rich_by_the_Bay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-06-2008, 06:30 PM   #11
Administrator
Janet H's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Pacific NW
Posts: 4,954
Great question - I would have chosen a different path had I truly understood what I was really good at doing. Unfortunately, it took 20 years of w*rking before I had that important piece of info. On the other hand, I trained for and chose to do something that I loved and have gotten great personal satisfaction out of its pursuit.

Tricky thing - deciding which path to take....
__________________
E-R.org Custom Google Search | You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it. (Robin Williams)
Janet H is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-06-2008, 07:24 PM   #12
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
NW-Bound's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 19,389
I always wanted to be a electrical engineer, already playing with and building vacuum tube circuits since the age of 12. I spent my teenage years drooling over Allied Electronics catalogs. I was also good in math, particularly the more abstract areas that make applied math for engineers looks like child play.

I chose to be an engineer over becoming a mathematician, figuring that even if I could be equally good in both above fields, an engineering job pays more. Sure, it does. When I was at lower levels, I just stuck my nose to the grindstone, and learned the trade. It was only when I got to a staff position (before the age of 40), that I started to see the dirty politics. It was always there, but it was not that bad in the 80s, when I started work. I double-checked that with older coworkers to be sure that it wasn't just my perception, being a peon back then.

I did not want to spend the rest of my life climbing that corporate ladder. So, I dropped out and joined like-minded groups of friends to start our own businesses. After working hard for 10 years with long hours, with reduced, then no pay, never 401k matching, here I am now.

I still do not regret not taking the other career choice in math. Financially, it is likely to be worse. Job satisfaction wise, unlikely to be any better. So, I would not know what else I would do differently than becoming an engineer.

I often wonder if I should have stayed at a megacorp to enventually retire with a fat 401k and a pension to boot. But then, I would always ponder if I could become a successful entrepreneur and be in control of my own destiny. Of course, I now know that is not so easy and simple.

So, I try to be content with who I am, and what I have done. My only regret was that when I was younger, did not take time off from my work and extra-curricular work-related research to study investing. They say you can become a master in something after spending 10,000 hrs. I spent 10 years in my somewhat specialized field (actually not part of electrical engineering at all) at megacorps, which means more than 20,000 hrs.

Ironically, if I were more financially inclined, and less technically successful in my work for megacorps, I would not attempt to wean myself off them, and yet end up better financially. Some of the people I knew back then have done very well.
__________________
NW-Bound is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-06-2008, 07:29 PM   #13
Moderator Emeritus
Nords's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Oahu
Posts: 26,616
I would have chosen the same challenging occupation, but I might have left it a lot sooner.

No complaints. I did all my nasty overtime & overseas deployments up front before I became a parent. If I'd pulled a ripcord for the Reserves then today I'd be doing nasty overtime & overseas deployments at the end of my career, and as a parent.
__________________
*
*

The book written on E-R.org, "The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement", on sale now! For more info see "About Me" in my profile.
I don't spend much time here anymore, so please send me a PM. Thanks.
Nords is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-06-2008, 07:41 PM   #14
Moderator Emeritus
Khan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Pine Island, Florida
Posts: 6,868
Send a message via AIM to Khan
I really don't know.

Most of my life I drifted into (and out of) relationships, jobs, et al based on other people's ideas/actions.

Only when I was 40 or so did I try to actually set paths to results.
__________________
"Knowin' no one nowhere's gonna miss us when we're gone..."
Khan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-06-2008, 08:33 PM   #15
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 11,016
I often wonder how lfe would have turned out had I pursued the career ideas I seriously considered along the way (dentist, architect, engineer, surgeon). One thing is certain: I would probably be living somewhere else.
__________________
Meadbh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-06-2008, 09:02 PM   #16
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
freebird5825's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: East Nowhere, 43N Latitude, NY
Posts: 9,017
Plan A : Geophysicist/GeoEngineering
Plan B: Computer Programmer => Computer System Manager => Engineer
the shortest distance between 2 points is a straight line.
but only on paper.
i've had a lot of fun being a chameleon for 25 years in the technogeek world. i would never change that. i learned an awful lot by not allowing myself to be pidgeon-holed in one narrow area. change is good.
i w*rked in both private sector and fed civil service. i'm glad i did both, and very glad i did private sector first, then govt j*b last.
the only change i would make is where, geographically, i ended up w*rking. the number and variety of opportunities were very limited.
i would have liked to have been be able to change agencies for diversity and advancement. oh well...maybe in the next life.
__________________
"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them." - Walt Disney
freebird5825 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-07-2008, 03:35 AM   #17
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 5,072
Good question. Difficult to answer.
__________________
chinaco is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-07-2008, 05:03 AM   #18
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Rambler's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 2,243
I didn't know what I was getting into when I started but it turned into better and better opportunities all along the way. Up to this point, I would not change anything. The career has had its stresses, but not to the point of being insurmountable. It has also had its benefits, good pay, a chance to see something of the world (and especially to see the insides of jumbo jets), and the opportunity in a couple years (fingers crossed here) to ER. There have been tradeoffs. For example, I like gardening, the outdoors, hiking and biking, etc, but there is little space or time to do them in my career and location. I guess I decided I liked the idea of retiring early, with a larger asset pile, than I liked those other things.

So no, I would not have done anything differently, with the exception as others have said, that I would have learned about investing earlier (I saved, but I did not invest, in my earlier years).

R
__________________
Find Joy in the Journey...
Rambler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-07-2008, 07:25 AM   #19
Dryer sheet aficionado
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 37
I really enjoy the j*b I currently have (although I don't think ANY career would be enjoyable enough to eliminate my desire to ER) but I didn't discover this as a possibility until I was in my late 20's and then after graduate school and a detour here and there wasn't able to actually start my career until I was in my mid 30's. If I had a career mulligan, I would have taken a year off after college to backpack through Europe and/or Asia and then straight into graduate school and an enjoyable career. Although I suppose it could be argued that I wouldn't appreciate my current position if I hadn't been given the opportunity to work for crappy employers doing work I loathed.
__________________
redmcclain is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-07-2008, 07:45 AM   #20
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
FIRE'd@51's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 2,315
I guess I'm someone who actually had a career mulligan, and fortunately, I was able to get my mulligan into the fairway. I was trained as a physicist and taught physics at the college level for four years. At that time (in the mid to late 70's) I watched people more qualified than myself (and in many cases more qualified than those currently with tenure) get turned down for tenure. I knew enough about finance to put risk on one axis and return the other, and the curve went in the wrong direction; that is, the more risk one took by hanging around, the lower the expected return. Needless to say, I jumped at an opportunity to go to work on Wall Street, and I've never regretted it one bit. I was fortunate to work at one of the best Wall Street firms at the time, with some of the best people, many with PhD's. The work was extremely stimulating, as well as financially rewarding. As much as I had thought I wanted an academic career, there is no way I would choose one over the Wall Street career I ended up having.
__________________

__________________
FIRE'd@51 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Book report: "True Enough" and "truthiness" Nords Other topics 3 10-15-2008 09:28 PM
tiny button fix: "Save" edited comment sometimes = "Vote Now" ladelfina Forum Admin 0 09-24-2008 02:22 AM
"Gut feel" versus "evidence-based" medicine Buckeye Health and Early Retirement 10 11-08-2007 11:21 AM
Book reports: "Blink" & "Tipping Point" Nords Other topics 2 12-04-2005 05:15 PM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:20 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.