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Need help to stay motivated
Old 01-21-2007, 05:42 PM   #1
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Need help to stay motivated

With only 18 months to go to retirement, I am having mega problems trying to stay motivated at w*rk. I have a good j*b, have a great employer but I have hit the wall. I really don't care about any of it. We are currently doing performance appraisals and I have to name my 1 yr, 3 yr and 5 yr goals, and I think it would be safe to say it would be suicide to put retirement in any of those slots.

So I am wondering what others do to stay interested and motivated in the run up to retirement? How do you plan to make it fun before your retire, and have it so getting out of bed each morning does not become a major chore?
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Re: Need help to stay motivated
Old 01-21-2007, 06:06 PM   #2
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Re: Need help to stay motivated

Hey DangerMouse...

I am still working toward ER, but will offer my thoughts.

First, you never know what retirement brings. If you leave on a good note, you not only go out with class, but you know that you gave it your all right up to the end. That's something to be proud of. Also, remember that you're representing not only your family, but your own name, too. If you do sloppy, half-hearted work, it reflects on all that. The type of work you do reflects on everything you stand for and represent.

Good luck.
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Re: Need help to stay motivated
Old 01-21-2007, 06:07 PM   #3
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Re: Need help to stay motivated

I know what you mean, especially if you are already FI. Consider what being "motivated" means to you. If it means being professional in your work and doing a good job on the tasks you agree to do, then you can go home satisfied at the end of the day or week. Does it mean that they say "jump" and you say "how high?", mustering all your energy, enthusiasm and rah rah for projects that you don't believe in? I don't think that's required. You no longer have to take that kind of cr*p. One behaviour that proves your professionalism (or so it seems to me) is an invitation to mentor some people to take on your role "in the future". Only you know at this point just how soon that future is coming!!!
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Re: Need help to stay motivated
Old 01-21-2007, 07:26 PM   #4
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Re: Need help to stay motivated

My thought is that they don't read the 3, 5, and 10 year goals anyway, so I make up something that sounds nice. I also feel that, if I accept a paycheck, it's only fair for me to give my best work. It's a game we have to play - I keep my eye on the major goal and how I can get there with the least hassle, but I want to leave knowing that I have done my best.
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Re: Need help to stay motivated
Old 01-21-2007, 07:42 PM   #5
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Re: Need help to stay motivated

I joke at work about being retired all the time. As in, "This guy won't get the results to me until long after I'm retired" when the results were expected last week, but are not forthcoming. Or "I was checking out the early retirement message board and it seems they think I'm ready."

The benefit is that my boss is much nicer to me. Anyways, that's how I make it fun.
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Re: Need help to stay motivated
Old 01-21-2007, 09:09 PM   #6
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Re: Need help to stay motivated

Don't get me wrong, when I am at work I give it my all. The ethics that my dad engrained in me at a young age do not allow me to take a pay check without giving my best in return. However, where I find myself lacking is I don't want to keep volunteering (or being volunteered) for projects that can only be accomplished with additional hours. I work late most nights, I also bring work home and I have been working weekends. Last weekend I decided I just couldn't keep giving my free time to the office. I was supposed to go in this weekend and I didn't, I wanted some me time. I have a pile of work on my desk which can only be accomplished by doing 60+ hours a week, something I just don't want to do. I keep getting told about how career enhancing my current duties are, and I tell them that this is my last job before retirement but I think they think I am joking.

I have started training someone to take over from me. She has started back at school this semester. I think my employer is great, so I want to leave them in a position where there will be no real transition when I leave.

What I am trying to do is schedule a long weekend every 8 weeks or so for DH and I to take off somewhere to get away totally.
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Re: Need help to stay motivated
Old 01-21-2007, 10:39 PM   #7
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Re: Need help to stay motivated

Just relax -- only 17 months to go. Knowing ER is in sight should keep you motivated. Imagine more time to pursue your own interests instead of those imposed by megacorp.
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Re: Need help to stay motivated
Old 01-22-2007, 02:57 AM   #8
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Re: Need help to stay motivated

Quote:
Originally Posted by DangerMouse
So I am wondering what others do to stay interested and motivated in the run up to retirement? How do you plan to make it fun before your retire, and have it so getting out of bed each morning does not become a major chore?
There were days I desperately sought that answer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DangerMouse
Don't get me wrong, when I am at work I give it my all. The ethics that my dad engrained in me at a young age do not allow me to take a pay check without giving my best in return. However, where I find myself lacking is I don't want to keep volunteering (or being volunteered) for projects that can only be accomplished with additional hours. I work late most nights, I also bring work home and I have been working weekends. Last weekend I decided I just couldn't keep giving my free time to the office. I was supposed to go in this weekend and I didn't, I wanted some me time. I have a pile of work on my desk which can only be accomplished by doing 60+ hours a week, something I just don't want to do. I keep getting told about how career enhancing my current duties are, and I tell them that this is my last job before retirement but I think they think I am joking.
During my last year at work I was put in a position where it would have been financially foolish to do anything other than retire at the end. But I was in somewhat of a state of denial and wound up making the decision near the bitter end when the facts present in my spreadsheet could no longer be denied. Much of that last year was pure misery. I remember spending several hours one afternoon just playing with the spreadsheet trying to motivate me to keep coming into work: "Okay, for every hour I work now, how many cents a month does that add to my pension?"

My last job was over a very sensitive area that made all my bosses nervous. For years they had reduced their worries by cutting the guts out of the place and reducing its power. In that last year I was in the unique situation in which everybody above me was either a lame duck politician, a political appointee in retirement mode and ignoring their duties, or someone busily jockeying for a political appointment. Somewhere during the transition from old bosses who didn't care and new bosses who said dangerous things to me like "It's your division - you make the decisions", I figured out how to fix things. Well, at least make them a lot better. 8) After I left, my subordinates all thanked me for making it so they could effectively do their jobs, my peers congratulated me for "bringing that place out of the stone ages", and my bosses and the politicians were aghast at what I had done that they could not undo. That still satisifies me. One of these days I may tell that story, because it made news across the country and it has some elements that are funny in a strange kind of way.

If I had not been afforded that opportunity to do some things I thought were really important, I'm not sure how dedicated I would have stayed that last year. If it was just business as usual, and nothing would change after I left other than the name of the door, I think I would have delegated a lot more work. That would have had the double benefit of making me hate work a little less and developing subordinates who would have to work with my replacement as he learned the ropes.

Good luck and hang in there. If nothing else works, some days I would just pack up some work and go to a local park on a pretty day and work at a picnic table. That wasn't always possible, and it may not be suitable for your situation, but the fresh air and change of scenery made it more bearable on those particularly bad days.

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Re: Need help to stay motivated
Old 01-22-2007, 04:19 AM   #9
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Re: Need help to stay motivated

DM,
I feel your pain. Same timing but different circumstances for me. Sold my little biz to a 300 person company last summer. My new boss is, using polite speak, rather challenging. This is after numerous years of being self employed so some serious culture shock for me. 18 months to finish vesting. No big windfall but enough to keep me around despite the challenge.

Sounds like you've got the right frame of mind. I'll add that I reserve an hour in the gym now before work and I started taking makeup time for the extended overseas customer trips. I've been limiting work to around 50hrs/wk and focusing on the good parts. It is amazing how you can spin things in your head. After each weekly conf call with the new home office (thankfully and unthankfully 6000 miles away) I cheer myself up by grabbing the nearest poor sole co-worker who decided to stick it out with me and repeat those famous lines from Cool Hand Luke: "takin it off boss, puttin it on boss, takin it off boss, puttin it on boss".


Keep posting on how you're progressing.
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Re: Need help to stay motivated
Old 01-22-2007, 11:14 AM   #10
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Re: Need help to stay motivated

Quote:
Originally Posted by DangerMouse
We are currently doing performance appraisals and I have to name my 1 yr, 3 yr and 5 yr goals, and I think it would be safe to say it would be suicide to put retirement in any of those slots.
What's on your 1-3-5-year ER list? Could any of those be disguised as work goals? I agree that "Earn more pension than salary" would probably go over like a lead balloon, but what about "Learn how to _____ and use it to make a difference in my daily routine"?

One day you'll go into the front office and say "Hey, boss, I just achieved a long-term goal-- and I leave in two weeks!"

Quote:
Originally Posted by DangerMouse
So I am wondering what others do to stay interested and motivated in the run up to retirement? How do you plan to make it fun before your retire, and have it so getting out of bed each morning does not become a major chore?
My first priority was a little long-overdue "me time". I spent at least one day a week for those 18 months crafting & executing the pre-retirement checklist. Getting out of bed to spend the day at Tripler Army Medical Center isn't exactly a powerful motivator, but it was better than most days at the office.

When I left I knew that I'd have a bunch of chair-warmers junior assistants filling in for many months. I spent a long time writing the Turnover Guide from Hell and months cleaning every file drawer within 20 feet. I figured that if my reliefs didn't have to worry about what to do with a file then they'd be that much further ahead on taking care of my shipmates.

It worked like a charm-- sort of. 18 months after I retired I got a call from an O-4 I'd never heard of basically saying "AAAAAGGGGGHHH! The nuclear reactor safeguards inspection's in a month and we can't find any of the checklists!!!!!" I asked "Who the #$%^ are you and how did you get this phone number? Did you look in the safe?"

Silence.

Like a good nuke, his next question was: "Hypothetically speaking, if the safe combination was still the same as when you retired, what would that be?"

I answered the question, heard the safe drawer open, and never got another call.
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Re: Need help to stay motivated
Old 01-23-2007, 09:38 AM   #11
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Re: Need help to stay motivated

My boss asked me where I saw myself in five years and I answered "retired." She looked at me and said, "Me too"
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Re: Need help to stay motivated
Old 01-26-2007, 11:42 PM   #12
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Re: Need help to stay motivated

Just focus on the money. Think how much more you'll have then.
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Re: Need help to stay motivated
Old 01-27-2007, 12:58 AM   #13
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Re: Need help to stay motivated

I just look at these and it motivates me....



You can make it!!!!

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Re: Need help to stay motivated
Old 01-27-2007, 02:09 PM   #14
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Re: Need help to stay motivated

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BMJ, is that you?!?

Good buddy, I know that life's seemed pretty busy & chaotic lately, but you know you can ask us for help anytime, right?
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Re: Need help to stay motivated
Old 01-27-2007, 02:43 PM   #15
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Re: Need help to stay motivated

Dangermouse,

I have been on the brink of ER several times in the past few years. I did it one in 2002 but took another job to have them cover my moving and home sale/purchase expenses. Personal loss intervened and not working was less attractive than having some place to go and do something other than wallow in selfpity and being totally alone. Then several people left the department and I was asked to fill in until they could be replaced. I did so with the thought that as soon as they were on board I would ER. Well they were replaced 8 months later and by then my life had changed again and new goals and new needs required more of a nest egg so working a year longer was an advantage and I felt the need to stay with it.

After several such cycles I was finally near ER yet again and then the cycle repeated again. My boss left and they asked me to fill in again until they find a replacement. While I could easily so No thanks and leave myself I feel a kinship to the other folks in my department that would be creamed with the additional work and lack of good leadership. They know that that is the major reason I agreed to staying on a while longer. With DW's recent health issues and loss of her job the extra money is nice by not really required...we will just continue to do some stuff on the house and to help out some family members who are in crisis right now. Sure I could be ER right now but I want to leave the place better than I found it and in a state of control so the folks who don't have the means to leave will be in good hands when I do depart later this year.

Motivation? Sure it is tough. Early last year it was a chore to just go to work each day but the end was in sight and my last perf. review I told the boss I was not interested in any further reviews and my goals would reflect that fact that I was going to be gone at the end of the year. Now I am the boss and my goals will need to be set for my replacement as I will be gone by the end of Spring or early summer. My motivation is seeing the finish line only a few months away. This past week was a very tough one due to a series of events that required some very long and stressful days to get through.

Bottom line is that you need to get through the days until you can ER. Sometimes you need to focus on what you can do at work more than what your ER will look like until you are far closer or else you can dig yourself into a hole at work and the walls will start to close in on your. That will make your life very unpleasant and stressful. ER will come and when it does it will be great. Your job is still a major portion of your life and you need to find something in it to focus on to keep your head in the game a while longer. Sure it is tough to concentrate on the job when your BS bucket is overflowing but too much focus on ER only creates frustration and job bordom.

I would rather leave my job with the satisfaction that I made the place better than when I found it than to just coast to the end. That is why I agreed to working two director level jobs for the next few months. ER will be even sweeter when it comes and I can leave with the satisfaction that I left after doing the "right" thing for me and my coworkers. The company does not care about me but my people do and that is what motivates me. They appreciate what I am doing and know the reason why. They are relieved they have someone who can lead them and will be there to be an advocate for them with a distant and face-less management.

Good luck and try to balance your expecations for ER with living in the present with your job. You can do both but trying to live today like you are ER when you still work will only create frustration for you.
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Re: Need help to stay motivated
Old 01-27-2007, 02:48 PM   #16
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Re: Need help to stay motivated

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonidas

One of these days I may tell that story, because it made news across the country and it has some elements that are funny in a strange kind of way.

Tell us! I am curious. :
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Re: Need help to stay motivated
Old 01-27-2007, 04:53 PM   #17
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Re: Need help to stay motivated

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Originally Posted by Martha

Tell us! I am curious. :
It will have to wait a few more days so I can finally retire. I hope that will happen Tuesday.
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Re: Need help to stay motivated
Old 01-27-2007, 06:28 PM   #18
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Re: Need help to stay motivated

Hmmm...tuesdays a long way off...could you tell us if you kill us afterwards?
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Re: Need help to stay motivated
Old 01-27-2007, 06:32 PM   #19
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Re: Need help to stay motivated

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Hmmm...tuesdays a long way off...could you tell us if you kill us afterwards?
Yes, but that would be too much like work. The odds of anything coming back on me are small, but this close to the goal line I'm not going to screw around. I will give you a teaser - it does involve lots of nudity.
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Re: Need help to stay motivated
Old 01-27-2007, 09:31 PM   #20
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Re: Need help to stay motivated

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it does involve lots of nudity.
Almost every good story does.

Thats okay, when you tried to kill us, I'd have ducked and martha would have run serpentine.
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