Its a long post, but I'm not appologizing.
I recently changed jobs and now that the dust has settled, I thought I'd post about how I feel about FIRE now.
My old job sucked in several ways. My degree is in engineering, but I don't think they needed an engineer to do the work. Its just that the work involved really complicated equipment. I think they used the engineering degree to screen for people who could understand how complicated machines work.
The day-to-day work was very easy. Usually it only required about 3 hours a day to get my tasks done, then I could quietly surf the internet or stare out the window or whatever. The only problem was that I wasn't learning anything, so how could I get a different/better job?
Its not surprising then that I started to pursue FIRE. It took years, but I gained control of my expenses and steadily increased my savings rate. Fortunately I had plenty of time to think about how to do all this.
Over the last several years the well started to dry up. The customer started to realize that they were paying a lot of money for our "services", which they really didn't need at all. Less productive employees (
!!) were getting laid off and it looked like a matter of time for me, maybe.
The best plan I could come up with to find a better job was to go get some kind of proffessional certification, which I did. I chose the hardest one I could find and worked hard to get it. About the same time I got my cert, one of the former employees refered me into a new job at a different place. That was at the end of last year.
So my new job has been awesome! I'm doing work that needs to be done. I'm busy all day long. I'm also learning things that will help me get my next job. All of this has changed my attitude from "waiting untill the end of the world" to "the future holds promise".
I've found this to have profound effects on how I view saving and spending. The temptation to "loosen up a bit" and be more extravagant is higher than ever. Maybe buy a better house? A newer car?
On the other hand, I also know from years of thinking about it in the quietude of my cubicle that having a fancy car out in the parking lot is no good if you have to spend all day at work "earning" the money to pay for it. Is it any more sweeter to return to a big expensive house at the end of the day? No, just getting out of work is enough for me. As a matter of fact, how many times have I left work to go spend the weekend living in a tent? You'd think that sitting in a cubicle is better than sitting on the ground in the woods, but somehow its not...
And then there's those winter mornings when I have to battle my way through the traffic to get to work in a raging snowstorm, thinking all the while that if they didn't pay me, I'd never do this of my own free will.
I guess I'm just thankfull that I had all those years of nothing to do at work to put my FIRE plan together. I know now that I'm too busy to figure this stuff out now.