Career Advice For Fish

Hacking employment, improving work, professional development
enigmaT120
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Re: Career Advice For Fish

Post by enigmaT120 » Fri Sep 15, 2017 12:07 pm

The price for vasectomies must have really gone up, mine was under $250. Very good investment.

Fish
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Re: Career Advice For Fish

Post by Fish » Fri Sep 15, 2017 6:48 pm

@Finn - We're on the same wavelength. Thanks for the support. I was a little surprised that the diseconomies of scale already crop up going from 2 to 3. When going from 1 to 2, it was amazing having the benefit of experience and being able to reuse all the furniture and other baby stuff. I'll be careful not to extrapolate too much.

I'm kind of decided that I won't hold myself accountable for effecting any major career changes for at least the next year. Without any clearly defined goals it seems too much like change for the sake of change. The limited capacity for action also makes me think that change in the near term is more likely going to add stress rather than solve problems. Do some more introspection, research, and planning for now. Goals first and then actions.

suomalainen
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Re: Career Advice For Fish

Post by suomalainen » Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:41 pm

Fish wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 6:48 pm
I was a little surprised that the diseconomies of scale already crop up going from 2 to 3. When going from 1 to 2, it was amazing having the benefit of experience and being able to reuse all the furniture and other baby stuff. I'll be careful not to extrapolate too much.
It's not money. It's emotional energy. Going from man-to-man to zone defense is tough. Full disclosure - #3 was VERY different from the other two and was extremely challenging for wifey, so take my experience with a grain of salt. Funnily enough...#3 is quite like me!!

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Lillailler
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Re: Career Advice For Fish

Post by Lillailler » Sun Sep 17, 2017 11:11 am

"Going from man-to-man to zone defense is tough"

Indeed. When the number of children exceeds the number of parents the game is very different. I used to joke that we always had one more child than was easy to handle: one child, new clueless parents; two children required parents to learn tag-team cooperation and teamwork; three children, OK we have eyes on two, but what's the other one up to ?

suomalainen
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Re: Career Advice For Fish

Post by suomalainen » Fri Oct 06, 2017 8:58 pm

First, with apologies, I'll reprint Fish's comment from another thread here:
Fish wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 2:39 am
@Finn - I'm taking an interest in this thread because I'm dealing with similar emotions. Although I have zero desire to own 15 acres of wilderness, I believe I feel the same kind of dissatisfaction that led you to start this thread. Things are starting to crystallize.
suomalainen wrote:
Fri Sep 29, 2017 4:56 pm
Long backstory, but to the extent I even HAD a self, I certainly lost it with the kids. I suspect the truth is that I've never been a person; I've always been a role. But that's a pity party for another time. What I am certainly trying to do in the midst of all this financial stuff is to self-actualize, I guess.
ffj wrote:
Fri Sep 29, 2017 8:59 pm
It sounds like your wife is getting what she wants (think of the children) and you are left scrambling for any kind of sanity in what remains. [...] It's very easy to get lost in other's expectations of oneself.
I don't have a very strong sense of identity. Unlike those driven individuals who just *know* from a very young age that they want to be (for example) an astronaut, and then devote their entire lives to the fulfillment of that aim, my preferences are simply not that strong. Additionally, unlike the vast majority of the human race, I don't define myself or measure my self-worth by what I do, what I have, or even what I think and believe... so there's nothing much to anchor to. Fastforward to having kids, and I'm finding myself totally overwhelmed and lost.

For the record (and I'm not saying this to be PC), I love my kids very much. If given an opportunity to do things over, I would choose the same outcome; I do love them that much. But I believe there has been a misapplication of our culture's prevailing "children-first" values, at least in my household, and it is causing me much grief. My wife expects that, if we are not at work and the children are awake, we should be doing some productive activity with the kids, e.g. reading to them, playing with them, taking them to activities, etc. My counter is that I believe that our children should be the highest priority, but not the only priority. And I'm losing this battle. We set aside time for the kids, but not ourselves. DW keeps adding kid-related activities until we both feel positively overwhelmed. :evil:

DW has very strong motherhood tendencies and my weak sense of self leaves me vulnerable to being taken over by that unless I establish some barriers. Any attempts to recharge during normal child-business hours get met with hostility because it's in conflict with the kid-first directive. Even my choice to take the bus to work (at a cost of 1 hour/day over driving) gets portrayed as an attempt to "escape" from the family. :roll: Hence my fascination with FI/RE. The fantasy that if I didn't have to work, I might have some quality time to myself while continuing to fulfill my family duties in a satisfactory manner. But given our track record, I don't believe that FI/RE will be that answer. It's a lifestyle (or emotional?) problem, not a money problem. Which then leads to my obsession with ERE. If I am constrained to have no choice in what I do (i.e. working this specialist job, maintaining the comfortable suburban kid-first lifestyle), then I am determined to assert my freedom in how I choose to do what must be done.

Although I'm not quite satisfied with the present situation, I have zero grounds to complain about my wife. DW contributes half of our household income, does 2/3+ of the housework, and takes the lead on a lot of the kid stuff. She's a stellar partner to have on my life journey, and I fully appreciate that. Because she's already selflessly and tirelessly working on the behalf of our children, it only seems appropriate to step into the role that she's designed for me. She's giving it all her effort and energy, and all she wants is for me to do the same. That's fair right? But strangely enough... even though I have been an I-don't-know-what-I-want type my whole life, I am discovering that I do have my preferences, and at the very least I do know FOR CERTAIN that this is not what I want for myself. :shock:

I don't know how this is going to be resolved. It's a very "stable" equilibrium in the sense that we're both too exhausted to make any meaningful changes to our lifestyle. How can I hit the pause button on life? It's so hard trying to navigate an unfamiliar place while moving at full speed. Sorry for depositing my personal problems into your thread, Finn. I do hope something in this post makes things click for you.

Edit: To avoid further contaminating this thread with my problems, I request any discussion that is specific to my personal situation take place here: Career Advice For Fish
I get what you're saying, boy do I. I guess what I'd say (and this is cold comfort when you boil down maybe 7-10 years of experiences into one piece of shit paragraph) is...you just gotta keep plugging away. I can't tell you how many thousands of times I had to tell my wife: "That's not how I work"; "That's not how I do things"; "This is what I need"; "I appreciate that you want to achieve X, and please recognize that I agree that we should be trying to achieve X in relation to the children also, but you can have your way and I can have mine and THAT'S PERFECTLY OKAY - WE CAN COME AT IT FROM DIFFERENT ANGLES AND ACHIEVE THE SAME RESULT."

Specifically,
My counter is that I believe that our children should be the highest priority, but not the only priority. And I'm losing this battle. We set aside time for the kids, but not ourselves. DW keeps adding kid-related activities until we both feel positively overwhelmed. :evil:
I hate to break it to you, but you can't control your wife. If you need time, take it. If you invite her to take time with you and she declines, sometimes you probably should shrug and go for that walk by yourself or go to dinner with friends or whatever. Other times, hire a babysitter and tell her that the babysitter is coming on Friday and we're going out to dinner. If she resists, then...well...it's uncomfortably frank discussion time.
Because she's already selflessly and tirelessly working on the behalf of our children, it only seems appropriate to step into the role that she's designed for me. She's giving it all her effort and energy, and all she wants is for me to do the same. That's fair right?
I dimly remember writing something similar earlier in this thread (and I'm too lazy to double check as I'm writing this), but you need to develop three things: patience, kindness and determination. You can't be a dick about everything, but if something is really important to you, you simply CANNOT defer to anyone else. Only you know you. Only you CAN know you. If you don't stick up for yourself, speak for yourself, then no one else will and indeed no one else can. And the difficult balancing act is manifested by the fact that she will be pushing back on you out of "fairness" or "equality" or whatever, but you gotta remember that it should be "fairness" and "equality" in BOTH phases - in the decision as well as in the execution. If you allow her to make the decision "this is what the children need", then you're totally fucked in being roped into the execution of her vision. You've already lost.

My wife sometimes would say to me "I hate how things are going, but I don't want to fight with you. It's not worth it." FUCK. THAT. DON'T YOU DARE PUSSY OUT OF AN ARGUMENT AND THEN HAVE THE GALL TO BLAME ME FOR YOUR OWN FAILURE TO STAND UP FOR YOURSELF. Boy has that been an uncomfortable series of conversations. Imagine fighting against yourself because your spouse won't. Anyway, sorry, where was I? Yes, right, my point is that it IS worth it. Long term. Always think about the long term. It'll suck ass short term. Eventually, EVENTUALLY, she will come to respect you. Of course, first will come hurt feelings, then resentment, then thoughts of divorce, then begrudging defeat, then begrudging acceptance, and then she will see that it all turned out fine. It'll just take 8 years.

Good luck! As the Dread Pirate Roberts said to Fezzik, "I do not envy you the headache you will have when you awaken, but in the meantime, rest well and dream of large women."

PS. Things are much better now. We have much better lines of discussions when we have understood where she ends and I begin and vice versa. Trying to control each other (and the resulting resentment and pushback) was just a terrible waste of time and energy.

PPS. I have zero idea if this god-awful rambling has even come close to addressing anything you have raised, but perhaps something here will trigger something for you. If not, I can ramble some more!

ffj
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Re: Career Advice For Fish

Post by ffj » Sat Oct 07, 2017 11:08 am

"It'll just take 8 years."

Holy shit, let's hope it doesn't. :D

Clearly your wife has a plan and she is not shy about determining your place within it. My guess is that you've just gone with the flow until you got to this point and now you feel trapped.

I have two children and both my wife and I are selfish enough to have set some boundaries early on. My kids are/were heavily involved with sports and we let them know that we would not be attending away games for the most part, summer traveling leagues (wtf?) were certainly off-limits, and that we would support them in extra curricular actives to a certain point. This helicopter parenting is just not necessary and it robs your child of the ability to entertain himself if they never have any down time and the potential to get bored. We firmly believe when they are given everything they will appreciate nothing. How will they learn anything if everything is done for them? When we dropped our son off to college his roommates mother made his bed for him and put away all of his clothes. I just stood there in astonishment.

I think your preoccupation with early retirement to escape your current situation is not good. You have to fix your situation now before something drastic happens as resentment will find an outlet and it is almost never healthy. The good news is that it probably wont take much, but you've got to inform your wife that something is going to change for your mental health. Whether that is scaling back all of these activities, or taking days or parts of days just for yourself, or being consulted before another obligation is foisted upon you is something you will have to figure out. You've got to stand your ground though and not let the children be used as leverage against you, and reconciling what is needed for these children is probably a discussion you need to have with your wife.

I don't know if most people fully realize that being seen and used as a worker drone takes a toll on a person. I figured out years ago that my purpose was not to exist solely to work for other people and I think it is unfair for others to view one as such.

suomalainen
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Re: Career Advice For Fish

Post by suomalainen » Sat Oct 07, 2017 4:11 pm

@ffj +1

Props to you and your wife for having your shit together early on. Wife and I took our sweet time. We still feel like incompetent parents (married at 23, became parents at age 26, now 39), but we understand and are more flexible with ourselves, each other and the role that parenting plays in our lives. Appreciated hearing your experience tho.

Fish
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Re: Career Advice For Fish

Post by Fish » Sat Oct 07, 2017 8:49 pm

@Finn - By looking at the parallels in our situations, I think I've figured out a helpful narrative to describe what is going on: DW is trying to self-actualize through the children while I am trying to do so through ERE. Pursuing one is neither complementary nor detrimental to the other; these are orthogonal goals. What I think Jacob and 7 were getting at in the other thread was that the "appropriate response" (both historically and as applied to my situation) involves a lot less parental effort than the contemporary ideal. Since DW is not a rational unlike those two, all I can do is anchor my expectations downward and attempt to stand my ground when the next disagreement comes up.

From my experience trying to sell FIRE and ERE to her over the past 3 years, I know how this story goes; it's the identical situation except flipped such that she's the missionary and I'm the unenthusiastic convert this time around. My mistake was not recognizing the situation for what it was, and my natural interest and enthusiasm for parenting and family ended up mis-signaling to DW that I was fully on board with her vision. We did what it took to survive during the "diapers and constant supervision" phase. Now that we are exiting that stage, I want to cut back on the day-and-night effort while DW's vision requires that we both maintain it. So this difference in expectations is only recently revealed. I just don't have enough fire in me to fulfill everything that is being asked of me in the career and family domains, especially when it leaves little time and no energy for personal pursuits.

Your message is getting through loud and clear... I need to clarify expectations (renegotiating them as necessary) and set appropriate boundaries to avoid reaching a breaking point. I've noticed a curious phenomenon. The two times that I got to the breaking point and asserted myself, DW simply picked up the slack and moved on. No complaints. She was not happy, but did what had to be done. It really pains me to make her work harder since she's already near/at her limits, but it's not a solution for me to shoulder the burden up to levels that I perceive as unreasonable. She needs the feedback of being personally exhausted and overwhelmed to avoid getting us into situations where we're truly overcommitted.
ffj wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 11:08 am
I think your preoccupation with early retirement to escape your current situation is not good. You have to fix your situation now [...]
Thank you for stating this, and I fully agree. I've got some safety valves. As mentioned, driving to work potentially recovers up to 5 hours/week in usable time. I wouldn't want to rely on the most time-efficient solution all the time, but that has to be considered. I have a lot of accumulated vacation credits thanks to my pursuit of the "Jacob lifestyle ideal" (i.e. the Lawrence Pearsall Jacks quote on the ERE About me page, "A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure...") and implied by the following post in the "Vacation" thread:
jacob wrote:
Sun Jul 31, 2016 10:47 am
My thoughts on vacation is that if I feel I need to "vacate" [on occasion] it means that there's something wrong with my lifestyle (what I do, where I live, ...). So rather than go on vacation to fix the symptoms, I fix the entire disease by relocating to the place, by changing work, ..., or by changing whatever I want to vacate from.
By this standard I think I've done very well, but as evidenced by my whining in this thread I don't think I'm going to get all the way there with little kids at home. And I can accept this. I have reached the limits of what I can accomplish through psychology alone. Some facts need to change. I don't think I have taken as much as a day off for myself in the past 5 years if I exclude the times I've been physically ill. My days off always involve the kids in one form or another. This was a personal constraint (attempting to pursue that I-don't-need-to-vacate lifestyle ideal), not imposed by DW. Maybe I've been unnecessarily doing this on hard-mode. I can start by taking time off from work in sustainable increments (a day or two every few weeks). And also negotiating with DW to build a healthier routine including more exercise and personal time.

It's weird how this is all so obvious but I needed the prodding and discussion for it to fall out. :D

suomalainen
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Re: Career Advice For Fish

Post by suomalainen » Sun Oct 08, 2017 9:35 pm

Fish wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 8:49 pm
It's weird how this is all so obvious but I needed the prodding and discussion for it to fall out. :D
I've experienced the same both in my life advice question (inspired by this thread of yours) as well as in my journal. Sometimes it's better to take a mind dump among disinterested anonymous strangers than the people close to you. The perspectives are...more varied and helpful because they are less invested.

I wish you luck in your process. It sounds like you have a couple of next steps in focus, which is great! I just have one observation...
Fish wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 8:49 pm
DW is trying to self-actualize through the children while I am trying to do so through ERE.
Just be careful here. Self-actualizing via something outside of yourself isn't possible (it's "self"-actualization, not ere/kids-actualization. You're still defining yourself in a role - mother or saver or whathaveyou). If you're expecting kids or ERE to give you what can only be given by and to yourself...well, you'll end up like me -- fucked up! I suspect that part of your journey will involve figuring out what need you're each trying to fill with kids/ere and learning how to fill that need yourself.

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