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Real Life vs. "Gray Time"
Old 01-21-2013, 06:49 PM   #1
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Real Life vs. "Gray Time"

As I trudge along in my rut, I increasing find a hugely sharp divide between time that is my own (weekends, vacation, etc.) ad time in the cube. I had a 4 day weekend this weekend and I can't believe how much living I got in in this time period: A day to reconnect with my wife and kids after a week on the road, a glorious sunny day hunting, a day where I took my kids and FIL (DW home sick) to the National Western Stock Show (we had never been), and a day outside brewing/baking/cooking. In contrast, time at work is "gray": time passes, I do what I have to do, I pass the time with friends and coworkers, but it is all somehow lacking in substance. I get free for a few days and I feel like I have awakened from a coma or something.

Anyone else feel this? Is it a consequence of chasing down age 40 later this year?
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Old 01-21-2013, 06:59 PM   #2
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I had that experience early in my career, when I was an intern working 70-80 hours a week, at age 23. I remember well having two weeks without a day off, feeling I just could not work one more night, and then a sun-filled weekend of golfing with my dad, followed by a delicious seafood meal in Kinsale (Ireland). I think it was the desolation and despair of work that made me relish every free moment. I returned to work on Monday refereshed and ready for another mind-numbing stretch of slave labour.
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Old 01-21-2013, 07:27 PM   #3
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Brewer, I cannot even begin to describe to you how much the quality of my life has changed for the better, now that I am retired. I feel as though I have been freed from my chains and have just begun to live.

This is one of many reasons why (for many) I would urge frugality to a nearly ridiculous degree in order to retire as early as possible. Also, I would urge taking care of one's health, as you are doing, so that one may enjoy as many years in retirement as possible.
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Old 01-21-2013, 11:07 PM   #4
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Good for you for using your weekends so very well!
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Old 01-22-2013, 05:41 AM   #5
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Anyone else feel this? Is it a consequence of chasing down age 40 later this year?
"Awakened from a coma". For me it was "escaped from prison". It sounds like you have rediscovered yourself and life after so many years. This is why I ER'd and for sure others feel the same.
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Old 01-22-2013, 06:49 AM   #6
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Good for you for using your weekends so very well!
+1
Yes, and maybe occasionally remind yourself what the personal purpose of your high-paying job is and how fortunate you are to have it as it will ironically enable you to escape the world of work that much sooner, and also to retire much much earlier than almost everyone else?

Can't resist the Office Space quote based on when you started this thread: "sounds like someone's got a case of the Mondays...."
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Old 01-22-2013, 07:29 AM   #7
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Cube-dweller here. When we had our first child back in April, we were a frantic mess with our work schedules (who isn't?) and I felt very similar to you.

We ended up changing around our schedules so that we could have our son at home instead of daycare. This meant that I switched to a schedule of 4 10hr days, and had Fri-Sun off. While it took some getting used to (hey, I'm a govt contractor, I don't do well with more than 40hrs in a week!), the ever-present 3-day weekend is a boon to my happiness.

Whats your FIRE situation look like? Can you cut back to 32hrs (Mon-Thurs) without impacting your timeline much or negotiate 4 10hr days? I know that some positions just don't allow for this if you require coverage all week.

Good luck in your rut.
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Old 01-22-2013, 08:40 AM   #8
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Brewer, I feel for you. Try working this kind of a schedule while being over 50 in a work environment that is very age biased, in a poor economy. And seeing older colleagues laid off because they have "lost the fire in their belly".
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Old 01-22-2013, 08:46 AM   #9
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Brewer, I cannot even begin to describe to you how much the quality of my life has changed for the better, now that I am retired. I feel as though I have been freed from my chains and have just begun to live.

This is one of many reasons why (for many) I would urge frugality to a nearly ridiculous degree in order to retire as early as possible. Also, I would urge taking care of one's health, as you are doing, so that one may enjoy as many years in retirement as possible.

+1 W2R said it all !
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Old 01-22-2013, 08:51 AM   #10
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Unfortunately, "gray time" is also part of real life. It's the price we have to pay to get to ER. Right now, those weekends are so precious because they are scarce. Do not assume that all your ER time will be "that" wonderful.
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Old 01-22-2013, 08:53 AM   #11
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It pretty much is! But I am happy doing nothing.
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Old 01-22-2013, 09:22 AM   #12
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One thing our stubborn CEO (who actually sucks at his job, but married the correct family) can't get through his dense head is that 9/80's (every other friday off) is quite common in my industry. And they mean a lot to us "younger folk." While we have continually gotten denied for proposals for a 9/80 work schedule through our VP, my comrades and I are working to jump ship. Come to find out, we are also underpaid by about $30k to $40k/yr. Sure, life is great in SLC, but if you can live in Denver, make more money, have more time off and not work for an arrogant $%&@, which would you choose?
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Old 01-22-2013, 09:56 AM   #13
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Brewer...I know exactly how you feel. The older you get, the more aware you become of the wasted time in your life. And I hate wasting time...and lately, even for money. Work is full of that. I managed to work my schedule with longer hours at work in order to get more days off for my real life.

You need to try to spend more time at work doing things you like personally, such as researching the land you hunt on Google Earth, and reading forums like these. Plan ahead. And use some of your sick time!

I have 11 months to go...and I am beginning to feel like I am coming out of a depression that has lasted months or years. I guess it's different if you are management and have control of your schedule. Not having control has a lot to do with it.
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Old 01-22-2013, 09:59 AM   #14
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Thanks, brewer, for starting this thread.

I cannot agree with W2R more.

I have not ER'd yet but I may be able to within the next 24 months. I am so excited. For now, I must stay the course and put in more "gray time."
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Old 01-22-2013, 10:07 AM   #15
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Can you cut back to 32hrs (Mon-Thurs) without impacting your timeline much or negotiate 4 10hr days?

Hahahahahaha! The culture at my employer can best be described as both Neolithic and patronizing. Not a chance.
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Old 01-22-2013, 10:23 AM   #16
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One thing our stubborn CEO (who actually sucks at his job, but married the correct family) can't get through his dense head is that 9/80's (every other Friday off) is quite common in my industry...........
At Megamotors, this every other Friday scheme was offered up and ended up being a trap. People that were expendable every other Friday were viewed as expendable, period. The astute quickly caught on that the management up-and-comers did not participate and in forced ranking discussions at performance review time, participation in this program was damning evidence of a lack of commitment.

Gee, all this reminiscing makes me miss my old j*b.
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Old 01-22-2013, 10:26 AM   #17
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Fortunately I never had a cube dwelling j*b. Much of it was techie, in a shop or outdoors, aboard ships, or other exotica. Wold never have raken a j*b that incolved being chained to a bench or a desk.

All in all very lucky in options and choices in the variety of ways I made buck. Not a lot but alway enough. I actually got paid to see the world, variety of countries cultures.

Though I admit the last five years in the public transit were rough. It was not the technical, managerial stuff, but the politic, union drivel, so called trianing classes, cultural sensitivity crap the took up 80% of the w*rkday.

We had bought our new house about a year before my exit. Commuting 3 1/2 hours on weekends to get it ready, and moving stuff was far more enjoyable than 1 hr at w*rk.
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Old 01-22-2013, 10:49 AM   #18
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Holy cow! I am glad I totally blanked out the 3 day long conference call I am on this week. It would have totally ruined part of my weekend.
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Old 01-22-2013, 11:48 AM   #19
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Brewer - this is a common feeling when you hit your 40s. Went through it myself and still am to a certain degree. However, when I look at my net worth spreadsheet it puts things in perspective.
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Old 01-22-2013, 11:37 PM   #20
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Brewer, I cannot even begin to describe to you how much the quality of my life has changed for the better, now that I am retired. I feel as though I have been freed from my chains and have just begun to live.
This is exactly what I want! Even though I am fresh to the work force at 22 years old, I know there is a better quality of life out there. I have been reading Jacob at ERE lately, and it really doesn't make sense that we are more productive yet our quality of life continues to go down.
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