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Illegitimis non carborundum
Old 10-17-2007, 08:28 AM   #1
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Illegitimis non carborundum

My tolerance for BS has never been high, but my fuse is getting shorter and shorter. Since I am not FI yet, I need to keep my attitude in check.

How do you keep from letting this stuff drive you crazy and keep from actually saying what you think or behaving in ways that clearly flaunt the silliness?

Suggestions for keeping it in perspective, especially when the “rules” start bumping into my desired work-life balance, would be greatly appreciated or I will soon find myself RE without being FI!
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I would not have anyone adopt my mode of living...but I would have each one be very careful to find out and pursue his own way, and not his father's or his mother's or his neighbor's instead. Thoreau, Walden
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Old 10-17-2007, 08:38 AM   #2
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How do you keep from letting this stuff drive you crazy and keep from actually saying what you think or behaving in ways that clearly flaunt the silliness?
Oh, you mean like when the illegitimi schedule three 7am meetings and two 5pm meetings a week, and fuss when you miss one? Or when you are held responsible to fix a problem but aren't given the needed resources? Or when someone leaves and your group has to pick up the slack, but funding for the replacement position takes 4 months to be approved? Or when you work 12-14 days in a row and then are asked to join a Saturday all-day retreat (team player).

Don't know. Never been in that position .
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Old 10-17-2007, 10:08 AM   #3
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The tough part os knowing which BS is worth fighting, and which you just need to take as part of the deal.

But over the long run, the best defense is a good offense. Start looking for jobs w/o the BS, and if your current employer is not interested in improving the situation you move on.

If you are not willing to do that, you better buckle down.

-ERD50
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Old 10-17-2007, 10:35 AM   #4
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Oh, you mean like when the illegitimi schedule three 7am meetings and two 5pm meetings a week, and fuss when you miss one? Or when you are held responsible to fix a problem but aren't given the needed resources? Or when someone leaves and your group has to pick up the slack, but funding for the replacement position takes 4 months to be approved? Or when you work 12-14 days in a row and then are asked to join a Saturday all-day retreat (team player)....

Don't know. Never been in that position .
Owww, just reading this made my stomach tense up. Reminds me yet again why I retired last December!

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The tough part os knowing which BS is worth fighting, and which you just need to take as part of the deal.

But over the long run, the best defense is a good offense. Start looking for jobs w/o the BS, and if your current employer is not interested in improving the situation you move on.

If you are not willing to do that, you better buckle down.

-ERD50
I agree. Some battles are worth fighting; some are hopeless. Consider the culture of the place. Is it the nature of the business or just the boss you're working for? Some firms encourage the "24/7" "whatever it takes" attitude; at others, it's the boss who doesn't have any life outside the office. If you can't make it work for you, you either gotta move on or make do -- which generally doesn't work out too well in the long run IMHO.
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Old 10-17-2007, 10:52 AM   #5
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RIT - OUCH!! makes my situation look like a walk in the park, so perspective helps.

Yea, which to push, which to let roll off your back. Not easy. Some definite positives in current setting, limited options in area that aren't worse (no point going from ick to awful), have been half-heartedly looking. The benefits of a new situtation is the honeymoon, which can eat up some time where the novelty overrides some of the BS.

But how to not blow it in the mean time...deep breaths, keep a 10,000 foot view, snide cartoons, a couple of beers at the end of the day, but still - 5 more years seems like foreverrrrrrrrr.

Any strategies so it does not seem like a long incarceration?
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I would not have anyone adopt my mode of living...but I would have each one be very careful to find out and pursue his own way, and not his father's or his mother's or his neighbor's instead. Thoreau, Walden
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Old 10-17-2007, 11:07 AM   #6
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The typical advice of keeping your eye open for something better....and lots of hobbies outside of work and some at work....
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Old 10-17-2007, 11:12 AM   #7
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I had a spreadsheet with all my salary, options, bonuses and investment returns charted for the previous 5 years and projected for the next 5 years, updated instantly with current stock and fund prices.

I called it "Joysheet.xls". When some flaming a-hole started ruining my day, I'd look at the current and 5 year projected numbers, and see that I had made $300 during the time I spent listening to someone flame all over me.

Somehow that made me feel a lot better.

Until the stock price went down 80% and the bonuses disappeared. Then it became a different indicator...
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Old 10-17-2007, 11:12 AM   #8
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One thing I did while working for a jerk who thought nothing of scheduling 6 pm meetings without any notice -- for awhile I said I was volunteering at an animal shelter and agreed to take on the evening feeding of the animals (I WAS volunteering at the shelter, but it was on weekends -- jerk didn't need to know that!). After using that excuse for awhile, I changed it and claimed that I had therapy scheduled for 6 pm (he knew better than to ask what kind of therapy, but some in my department thought it was physical therapy for my bad back, others seemed to think it was marriage counseling...I never gave any detail) The reality was I just did not want to work 8 + hours and then sit through generally pointless meetings after work hours! I got a pass every time...and finally the jerk stopped scheduling the meetings after work hours.

As I got closer to FIRE, I tried to look at my job with a sense of humor, knowing that I would be out before too long. I really tried to let the little stuff roll off my back and realized that most of the crap was really of little consequence. I did take on a few bigger issues, but again, it was with the realization that I was a short-timer, so I approached it with a different attitude than if I was going to be there for decades.
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Old 10-17-2007, 11:26 AM   #9
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ah...a spreadsheet, every dreamer's best friend...
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Old 10-17-2007, 01:31 PM   #10
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Any strategies so it does not seem like a long incarceration?
Scott Berkun, scottberkun.com » Essays Archive, especially #43.
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Old 10-17-2007, 02:36 PM   #11
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CFB: I've got the spread sheet going with my target FIRE data - No bonuses or options so no real wildcards for income, just the swings in the return. Spreadsheet review works better when the market is moving upward! I have in the past calculated how much I earn for FIRE for each hour and minute of the day...

Nords: Thanks for the link. Actually the managers are not like those listed in #43 (my DH's boss hits those on all cylindars), but blind adherence to policies handed down from on high and the mantra there is nothing they can do......and the weather is nice, the project boring...

#55 has the resonance to keep me moving.
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I would not have anyone adopt my mode of living...but I would have each one be very careful to find out and pursue his own way, and not his father's or his mother's or his neighbor's instead. Thoreau, Walden
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Old 10-17-2007, 02:36 PM   #12
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My tolerance for BS has never been high, but my fuse is getting shorter and shorter. Since I am not FI yet, I need to keep my attitude in check.
I think your problem is overload, but keep in mind that not everything (about your job) is truly bothering you. So, the key is knowing what specifically bothers you and see if you can eliminate that... once primary issue is gone, you may find out that the rest is quite livable.

In my case, my job became very tolerable when I made clear to my boss (& co-workers), that I am (1) not interested in work travel (not an essential part of the job, but folks got used having someone on-site), (2) they can't expect me to answer calls in the evenings/weekends and that (3) I will sign-off at 4:30 PM every day.

I still get my job done and if I really need to I log in at night, but I no longer feel like I am on-call at all times... Amazingly, apparently there's really no need to have someone on site for every single thing and I no longer get calls off hours... The job has changed for me, but some of my co-workers are still being drained by the break-neck pace I used to keep...

Of course, some problems can't be fixed on negotiated...
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Old 10-17-2007, 02:39 PM   #13
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Achiever51, It would be easier to let it roll with a short timer's mentality if the short time was actually months, years however, doesn't feel so short. But the attitude adjustment is needed; just hard to sustain.

Thanks.
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I would not have anyone adopt my mode of living...but I would have each one be very careful to find out and pursue his own way, and not his father's or his mother's or his neighbor's instead. Thoreau, Walden
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Old 10-17-2007, 04:15 PM   #14
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Sandy, I am in a similar position - as I get closer to FIRE, the everyday BS seems harder to take. Like CFB, I have spreadsheets illustrating my current position relative to FIRE, and consult them when the BS gets me down.

One plus is frequent tweaking of my spreadsheets has improved my Excel skills a bit!

I like the idea of calculating earnings for hours/minutes - I'll have to add that.

What helps me cope is to get up and take a short walk if I can. Temporarily removes me from the immediate problem, and helps clear my head.

Also I find spending too much listening to the "complainer" types in the office seems to magnify my own problems - so I try to limit that.

Lucija's advice to try to improve specific problem areas is good.
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Old 10-17-2007, 06:11 PM   #15
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Suggestions for keeping it in perspective, especially when the “rules” start bumping into my desired work-life balance, would be greatly appreciated or I will soon find myself RE without being FI!
If you consider the alternative of being without employment (i.e., without a regular paycheck!), that might help some. Read Executive Blues: Down and Out in Corporate America, by G.J. Meyer.

Like Joni Mitchell says, (sometimes) you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone.
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Old 10-17-2007, 06:23 PM   #16
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One small tip that won't help you deal with the B.S. but might cut down the amount of B.S.

My team has multiple meetings every week, members have scheduled these reoccurring meetings in outlook, three of them basically cover the same stuff, which is mostly bellyaching and sea stories. I started missing them (well, I can't say I exactly missed them, but I stopped showing up anyway ) and I just waited for the perfect opportunity when asked in front of more senior managers about why I missed the last one. I simply said, "Oh dang, I really wish I had the time to attend all those meetings like you do, I envy you!" - all with a straight face. The other party turned ashen, knowing the senior manager knew we both had the same yet he seemed to have a lot of free time on his hands.
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Old 10-23-2007, 05:10 PM   #17
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How do you keep from letting this stuff drive you crazy and keep from actually saying what you think or behaving in ways that clearly flaunt the silliness?
Peter Gibbons: "Well, I generally come in at least fifteen minutes late, ah, I use the side door - that way [the boss] can't see me, heh - after that I sorta space out for an hour. Yeah, I just stare at my desk, but it looks like I'm working. I do that for probably another hour after lunch too. I'd say in a given week, I probably only do about fifteen minutes of real, actual, work."
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Old 10-23-2007, 05:53 PM   #18
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...I still get my job done and if I really need to I log in at night, but I no longer feel like I am on-call at all times...
I got calls every night when we used a certain sub-contractor. After a while I realized I could hire another firm. Problem solved.
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