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Hi there! Should I Stay or Should I Go Now?
Old 09-20-2014, 06:12 PM   #1
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Hi there! Should I Stay or Should I Go Now?

Hello all...I'm new here. I have a dilemma and I'm hoping some of you can share your insight.

I'm 49 years old and despite my best efforts, I think I'm 3-5 years from hitting my early retirement goals. I currently earn 100k, which is a lot of $$$ here in the Midwest. I have a stable job with above average benefits. I currently max out both my 401(k) and Roth. Trying to LBYM and pay off my mortgage and 5 rental properties.

Back to the dilemma...I am bored to tears at work. I've only had this particular job for 1 1/2 years, and it's fair to say I am underutilized and underemployed (in terms of job responsibilities). Of course I have offered to take on additional projects and responsibilities (repeatedly) to alleviate my boredom, but there have been no takers. If I stay 3 more years I will be eligible for a small pension. Every little bit helps of course.

I have been thinking about switching careers and would no doubt earn considerably less. I would probably have to use some of my investable assets (currently 1.2 m) to subsidize current expenses, and there's no guarantee that I will enjoy the new job.

It's hard for me to give up the security of my current position, but I don't want to be the sort of person who "settles" or counts down the days to ER in misery.

What do you think? Should I stay put and walk out in 37 months, or try something new, knowing full well that I will probably have to work a little longer? BTW, the rental properties do cash flow so I some side income from them.

Thanks in advance for your feedback!
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Old 09-20-2014, 07:50 PM   #2
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It's a balance. Mental health is very important part of total health and you have to decide if you can deal with boredom in exchange for pay and being er earlier, or moving to a lower paying gig but being challenged and motivated.

Many people do this move due to stress but boredom is am equally bad culprit.

Maybe you can start something on the side while doing the high paying but boring job.

All depends on your limits and willingness to explore trade offs

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Old 09-20-2014, 08:22 PM   #3
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Go. Life is too short.

When I was 43 I was twice passed over for promotion (long story) but told I was a good performer/valued employee. Didn't hate my job but it was becoming old hat. So my choice was to accept being plateaued at 43 or do something new/different. I chose the latter.

Ended up with a great job earning 30% more and much better career prospects.

Similarly, I have a friend who changed jobs in his early 50s and is still working 10 years later because he now loves what he is doing and the people he works with.

If you like your current employer/workplace/colleagues you could always make a last stand attempt to refashion your job to be more rewarding and if they won't play, then leave. Life is too short to spend time being miserable.

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Old 09-20-2014, 08:22 PM   #4
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I would recommend you use your boredom at work to help you find a job you really love. Take an online class during the offtimes at work to gain a new, potentially marketable skill. Or examine a part of the job and see if there are suggestions to improve quality or production or efficiency. If you told me the tasks of the job were objectionable or the stress unacceptable I would have other recommendations for you. But, boredom can be fixed and shouldn't have you heading for the door right away....
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Old 09-20-2014, 08:50 PM   #5
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Work on your attitude. You may be able to completely rehab your experience at work.

And the idea that you might have to use up some of your assets to subsidize whatever new direction you are taking just might backfire on you.

You can quit, but if you are fairly conventional this may not be prudent.

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Old 09-20-2014, 09:50 PM   #6
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I keep coming back to the pension carrot. Do you get any pension if you leave early - or is it 3 years to get any pension at all?

Boredom at work is horrible. That said - what's keeping you from finding passions/interests outside of work?

I was miserable at work for my last 4 years... but I kept working the plan to reach my goals AND filled my life with other things that gave me more value/interest... volunteered as a board member of a non-profit, started coaching a kids robotics team, developed a life outside of work that was fulfilling. It made work more tolerable because during gaps in business, I could work on these outside interestes... and it gave me a sense of security knowing my plan would have a 100% success rate rather than just an 80 or 90% success rate.

I'm not saying this is the answer for you... but it's the path I chose in similar circumstances.
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Old 09-21-2014, 08:30 AM   #7
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try for a side job for extra income
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Old 09-21-2014, 04:35 PM   #8
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Thanks to those that have responded...

Regarding the pension, there is a lump sum if I leave before I'm completely vested.

I should add that I find long term boredom to be pretty stressful. I work best in an environment that is somewhat challenging and allows for some independent decision making. That's just not the culture at my current company.

For the last 2 years I have spent my spare time working on my real estate ventures...but that is wrapping up now.
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Old 09-21-2014, 09:20 PM   #9
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Any chance for a lateral move at your work? Doing something new may provide some challenge.

I do understand the waiting for small pension as a consideration to stay with current employer. Only you can know what a different employer may be worth vs the effort to stay.
I used to have a handle on life, but it broke.
You can't spend yourself to prosperity.

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Old 09-21-2014, 09:42 PM   #10
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Have you read What Color Is Your Parachute?. I took a page from that book and persuaded my then employer to create the job I wanted, for which, coincidentally, I was uniquely qualified for and the only viable candidate at the time.

It took a couple of years (this was in government) but it worked. For years afterward I was in the position of "I can't believe they're actually paying me to do this!"

In private industry I am given to understand that sometimes things happen faster than in government.
When I was a kid I wanted to be older. This is not what I expected.
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Old 09-22-2014, 09:06 AM   #11
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Of course it depends on the environment, but when I encountered boredom on the job, I usually expanded my job, sometimes without even telling my boss.

My best one was back in 1983 when the IBM PC was being released into the rank an file at work. The job was to collect data from paper reports and get that into Visicalc (boring). I made it exciting by finding the reports' print files, writing code to extract data, and putting an IRMA board in the PC for downloading. Once I got it set-up, I could do two weeks' of work in two hours! My next job was to buy equipment for and train the other analysts. None of THAT was boring!
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