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Old 06-18-2020, 02:08 PM   #81
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I've just calculated. Wow, it's only 26 years of full-time employment. I should consider myself lucky that I could accumulate enough to be comfortable considering the number of years.
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Old 06-18-2020, 02:13 PM   #82
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28 years full time. Two companies. Five different owners in eight years at the first company. Four different owners in twenty years at second company. Two pensions....yea!
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Old 06-18-2020, 02:15 PM   #83
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Worked 17 years. Dishwasher then installed outboard motors on new boats for a year after high school. Then worked 16 years full time while buying, paying for, and fixing up mobile home parks. Retired at 34yo in 2000 after selling all rentals/parks and carrying mortgages on them. 54yo now.
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Old 06-18-2020, 02:24 PM   #84
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Started at age 7 picking fruits and veggies (I remember getting 5 cents per bushel of potatoes). 2 years of co-op work during engineering studies then 38 years after graduation with only 1 week ever between jobs. I generally finished 1 job on Friday and then started the next Monday.

I think that was enough, hence no real desire to do part time after retiring last year at 62.
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Old 06-18-2020, 02:45 PM   #85
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27 years with mega corp then I was out at 49...
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Old 06-18-2020, 03:06 PM   #86
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Joined the US Navy at 18 to learn how to split Uranium. Got a B.S. in Nuclear Engineering and worked for the same company (and same power station) until age 58 splitting atoms for carbon free energy. Considering the intervening 4 years for the undergraduate weren't working - 36 years for the old career.
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Old 06-18-2020, 03:17 PM   #87
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I started out at 5 years old selling lumps of coal door to door in eastern Pennsylvania in 1948.......

OK, maybe not that bad, but,

Grew up poor, left home at 17, worked "here and there" until I got drafted (Joined AF) at age 20.

After military, went to college and got an engineering degree via GI Bill ($222/month!). Had a part time job, ate ramen and soup.

Went to work for a Fortune 500 industrial company and later got an MBA at night. Made Plant Manager at 38+ year old. Then went to work for Big Oil. After Big Oil puked employees in the mid 1980's, I went into consulting and formed my own engineering consulting company and worked oil & gas for the next 20+ years.

So, to recap:

Selling coal chunks, paper route, painting houses, time on a garbage truck, inseminating cows, retail clerk, auto mechanic, etc - 5 years

Military (made it with no body scars, holes, etc) - 4 years

Industry/Big Oil - 12 years

Sub S Corp - 25 years

This is all give or take a year or so.

Total - 46 years (ugh!)

But it was a hoot!!
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Old 06-18-2020, 03:34 PM   #88
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Originally Posted by brokrken View Post
I agree with the caveat that completing an MBA while working is very beneficial. At least it was for me.
My experience as an engineer at a megacorp. Advanced degree in my field would have provided a very nominal pay bump (5%? 10%?). BUT, getting an MBA was quite beneficial to those that did (and the company paid for it). Of course, they had to move into management and business development.

I never went the MBA route, but still worked my way into higher levels. The ones that did, took a fast track to the higher level. Most did well, though some did crash and burn.

But I am sure there are other industries, or a change in career, where the lost income pays off in the long run, as outlined by Gumby.

So, it just depends.
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How long did you work?
Old 06-18-2020, 08:09 PM   #89
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How long did you work?

I make it about 36 years of paid work although only 30 of them for anything approaching decent money.
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Old 06-18-2020, 08:19 PM   #90
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4 years during college, then 25 for career.
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Old 06-18-2020, 08:26 PM   #91
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27 years of education, 25 years of full-time (and more) work.
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Old 06-18-2020, 08:50 PM   #92
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Lots of part time jobs but 25 years full time after grad school, and 2 years part time. 24 of the 25 years with the same company.
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Old 06-18-2020, 09:59 PM   #93
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39 years career engineer in the same field (utility process control), 27 with the same utility broken in to two different time periods (but paid for 28 years for 38 years of max SS earnings) with 5 total employers. My experience was that leaving for a better offer, then coming back when needed, bumped the salary more than staying even with an advanced degree, if you weren’t tapped for advancement in to management. Retired at 61, with those 27 years, the renegotiated salary gave me a higher pension than friends that stayed with the same company for 35 years (since only the highest consecutive 5 years of the last 10 are used for the calculation). Worked part time during school since 16, full time all summers. Done with it, never worry about money or saving for retirement again.

I am also very surprised at how many worked 35+ years on this forum! I thought I was a FIRE slacker but looks like I only put in a bit more than average # of work years.
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Old 06-19-2020, 04:14 AM   #94
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Respondents include a fair number of engineers working 35 years and going to night school to earn an MBA.

Clearly, we need a pole to sort out this bias.
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Old 06-19-2020, 04:28 AM   #95
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35.75 years
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Old 06-19-2020, 05:32 AM   #96
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40.5 years full-time
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Old 06-19-2020, 06:12 AM   #97
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41 yrs in healthcare.
Internship then FT till retirement in same mega system.
It was glorious until it wasnt.
Collected lump sum pension and retiree health coverage last year at 62.
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Old 06-19-2020, 06:54 AM   #98
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Started working in summer during high school. Worked in my chosen profession in the summers during undergrad schooling to get some experience in my field on my resume when I graduated. Did part time w*rk during the school year doing whatever minimum wage job earned enough for beer and pizza.

Started full time work after college but also went back and pursued my MBA while working. When I FIRE it will be 34 years of post college full time employment and 42 years of working some type of j*b. Same employer, Uncle Sam, but a variety of agencies both military and civilian. Starting to get OMY due to the pandemic and the inability to travel so maybe it will be 35 years full time, we'll see.
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Old 06-19-2020, 07:23 AM   #99
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Starting the count when I graduated from graduate school and began working full time continuously for MegaCorp, the number would be 22 years.

A big part of this was that MegaCorp froze all future pension accruals and suspended retirement health care spending.

I could do the math and realized that working the original 30 years that I had planned no longer was worth it. Watching a few retirement eligible coworkers die while still employed also had something to do with it.

-gauss
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Old 06-19-2020, 07:29 AM   #100
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Probably a topic for another thread, but what all these responses are showing me is that, at least as far as ER is concerned, getting an advanced degree can be a mistake.

I started work when I was almost 28. While the PhD helped with salary, friends of mine who'd started work with a BS at 21-22 were already making more than I was - and had substantial savings and their first homes as well. Several of them retired before I did at 55. While many individual factors enter into this, the advantages of starting work early also seem to be reflected in many answers in this thread.
I have heard, in the past, that a Masters Degree, either business or technical is the sweet spot. Going for a PhD should mean that you really want to work in a PhD sort of job.

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"who had 1 year towards a PhD at one point"
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