Manny - The troubled Engineer

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manuel_bananas
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2021 12:02 am

Manny - The troubled Engineer

Post by manuel_bananas »

Hey everyone,

My name is Manuel. I read the ERE book about 2 years ago and got on board with the idea of working hard for a couple of years, having a high savings rate, and then enjoying life afterward. After lean FIRE, I'm looking forward to traveling, bike touring, volunteering, and maybe working odd jobs that involve physical labor in the future (carpentry, welding, etc.)
I graduated from University last year in 2020 (virtually, kind of) in Electrical Engineering, and have taken a job working at a large semiconductor company, making a decent salary. We build the chips that go into smart devices. The work can be challenging and technically interesting. However, I'm a bit troubled by the technology as it seems to mostly be benefiting the rich people that are already well off, and most of these things seem more like toys than real necessities. I personally don't feel a desire to own that nice smartwatch or TV that has our chip in it, and it feels a bit weird to be contributing to something I don't fully believe in.
The other thing is that people at large public companies like these seem to be motivated primarily by money. There's nothing wrong with that, but as I've started to build more of a buffer (2-5 years of savings currently) of money, and adopt a frugal lifestyle, I'm feeling a bit less motivated by money and possessions. The pandemic has kind of exaggerated that too, made me realize that buying nice things doesn't bring me that much happiness, not nearly as much as having good relationships and experiences with those around me.
Since the pandemic started, I've been bouncing back between living in a simple apartment in Austin with some roommates, and my family in Houston. My savings rate since I've started working has averaged around 70%-85%. I'm pretty opposed to home-ownership and owning a bunch of stuff. I mostly like to ride my bike around the city too. After the pandemic ends and I start working from an office again, I'm considering moving into a small RV / trailer-home in downtown Austin, and keep on working towards that goal of financial independence, as well as just living a simple life :)
Anyways, I look forward to sharing, contributing, and learning in this community!

-Manuel

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C40
Posts: 2582
Joined: Thu Feb 17, 2011 4:30 am

Re: Manny - The troubled Engineer

Post by C40 »

I think if you are thinking critically, nearly any kind of design and manufacturing might become a problem. Personally, I think that progress in semiconductors and chips has some big benefits for the world. Their impact in developing nations allows nearly ALL people there to have access to the internet, and this can be extremely beneficial for those who use it.. usefully. Anyway, I suggest you try to find ways to keep your work fun and interesting for you. Even if you don't care at all about the product, it is possible to enjoy the work in some ways - if it is technically challenging/stimulating.. developing good work relationships and even friends at work.. learning about company structure, influence, self-promotion, etc (it can be very profitable, and fun for at least a while)

Your savings rate is incredibly high for a person your age.

AxelHeyst
Posts: 593
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:55 pm
Location: The Mountains, USA

Re: Manny - The troubled Engineer

Post by AxelHeyst »

Welcome Manny. If it's any consolation, I figured out how to be deeply troubled by the work I was doing, and I was (am!) working in sustainability, quote, unquote, engineering systems for green buildings. It depends on where you pin yourself on the Elon Musk<---------------->Kaczynski spectrum in terms of technocriticism.

Depending on your outlook, I imagine there is a non-zero opportunity for you to find well paying work that suits your philosophy better. Wind turbines? Hybrid PV cells? Green building smart technology? You'll also be more likely to find like-minded colleagues at a company with an explicit mission that suits you - that was my experience, and now most of my good friends are ex-coworkers.

AxelHeyst
Posts: 593
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:55 pm
Location: The Mountains, USA

Re: Manny - The troubled Engineer

Post by AxelHeyst »

Manuel, I'd check out Lemur's last two posts - the first in his journal, and then his response on page 2 of not sure's journal. It's somewhat relevant to your interests.

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