ERE Philosophy Limiting Career Motivation?

Ask your investment, budget, and other money related questions here
Posts: 163
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2015 12:35 am

Re: ERE Philosophy Limiting Career Motivation?

Post by trfie »

I am pretty surprised by these posts because my perspective is quite different. My motivation has increased. But I am like Jacob, where I don't think of a job as a means to an end. I do not think about ERE as the fact that I will ERE at a certain age, but that I will be ABLE to if I want to. If I don't, I can continue working. I think the problem is that a lot of ppl here are looking for meaning from ERE. But that will not provide meaning. The reason is why do you want to ERE and what are you trying to get out of it. You already have to have ideas for what you will do at that point. Why work in a job that you don't like? I think too many ppl are using jobs as a means to an end.

Posts: 152
Joined: Wed Mar 05, 2014 4:46 pm

Re: ERE Philosophy Limiting Career Motivation?

Post by Scrubby »

trfie wrote:Why work in a job that you don't like?
Because they pay. I'd rather work a little longer so that I don't have to wash clothes by hand and stuff like that to save a few more pennies. I dislike boring chores even more than my job.

Posts: 593
Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:38 pm
Location: NYC

Re: ERE Philosophy Limiting Career Motivation?

Post by BeyondtheWrap »

I'm quite unmotivated when it comes to career, but I don't think the ERE philosophy is to blame. It's just me.

Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Apr 01, 2014 6:08 pm
Location: USA

Re: ERE Philosophy Limiting Career Motivation?

Post by abitofluck »

This topic really resonates with me. Mustering the motivation to go on with the job another day/month/quarter/year has become the story of my life.

In my case, it's not necessarily the ERE philosophy that is to blame. The company at which I've worked (for the better part of my career now) was acquired and cashing out has put me in a position where I can independently maintain my current standard of living (very modest by US standards, perhaps horrifying by ERE standards). That, coupled with the fact that I stopped loving my job some time ago is the problem. My position has morphed from doing what I love to an overload of managerial responsibilities that are not aligned with my skills and desires. The company has morphed from the small startup environment that I loved into a bureaucratic, publicly owned organization. This is the deadly combination for me.
Sclass wrote:To the OP. I lost motivation for my career as time went on and assets grew. I really failed at my career and I've run away from it in shame.
Sclass' "failed" comment resonates with me. Feeling that your skills are misaligned with your job responsibilities, plus not acutally needing the money is the recipe for disaster and the primary reason I want to run screaming from this job (but not necessarily all forms of work, forever).

So why am I still dragging myself in each day? Being able to maintain my existing standard of living doesn't leave a lot of margin. I'm in a golden handcuff situation where payouts from spending 3 more years in this job will increase my annual spending power by about 50% in the long term. So it's worth it IMO. But it's a struggle every day when the work is solely the means to the end.

One thing I've found difficult is that I personally know nobody with whom I can relate. You can't really discuss the voluntary "golden handcuff horrors" of winning a third-tier prize in the high-tech startup lottery with your normal 9-5 job friends, no matter how miserable the situation makes your total existence. I'm interested in hearing from others who've been through similar situations and how they got through it psychologically.

User avatar
Posts: 2101
Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2012 5:15 pm
Location: Orange County, CA

Re: ERE Philosophy Limiting Career Motivation?

Post by Sclass »

Sounds like a great position to be in. My last year of work I really started to pull back. I let the ball just drop on the floor a few times. I realized nobody wanted to pick it up as I'd been doing so (diving for the save) for years. If I could be transported back to my quit day I'd have stuck around and just done nothing till they kicked me out.

At the time I just wanted to go. I hated the place and how they just expected me to keep fighting for them. But now I realize I was the sucker holding things together. All I had to do was stop. I would have been paid a long time given my larger than life cred in the company. Somehow I was too proud of myself to sink to that level. Even though I didn't want to look like a loser, in all truth, I would have just become one of the leeches that made up 90% of the employees.

So my advice is stick around but quit in your mind...before you really quit.

Now that I'm retired, my reputation doesn't mean squat. I'll never go back to mental prostitution unless something really horrible happens.

Three years isn't that long. A lot of your grief with your job may go away if you stop caring.

User avatar
Posts: 909
Joined: Fri Sep 02, 2016 6:05 pm

Re: ERE Philosophy Limiting Career Motivation?

Post by Stahlmann »

Hmm. Good one (as we speak about topic). As always - being able to pull this in real life than mentally masturbate to this is really important.

User avatar
Posts: 897
Joined: Sun Jun 12, 2016 1:40 am

Re: ERE Philosophy Limiting Career Motivation?

Post by Lemur »

Well this was a good read. Another good bump. I often wonder if my career bipolarness (love hate relationship) is me trying to reconcile my ‘Clueless’ thoughts (caring too much) with my Loser thoughts (I too feel work is just a means to an end). Though I really like Draglines post in this thread....that was real helpful.

Posts: 122
Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2019 8:40 pm

Re: ERE Philosophy Limiting Career Motivation?

Post by mathiverse »

I found a couple points from this useful. Thanks for bumping Stahlmann.

A job as something you can't do without the setting of a job

This is a useful perspective to take and it makes me less worried about switching jobs. I'm not trying to build a career here, I'm trying to do things I can't do without a job! If one job doesn't work out, I still got to try it out. Also it turns the job into something I'm choosing to do because it's a "rare" opportunity instead of something I'm stuck in.

I also see my current job differently when I look through this lens. I tried a new domain at this job and I thought it'd be the domain I would settle into for the rest of my life/career, but it's not as compelling as I expected. Instead of digging in my feet, maybe I can try something else at another job and let go of the misguided goal of becoming an expert in my current specialty.

It's not necessary to optimize for compensation during my next job switch since all jobs [that I would consider] pay in excess of what I spend.

This is more a reminder. I keep telling myself this, but I still approach many conversations about switching jobs from the perspective of compensation. This doesn't make sense given all jobs I have ever considered pay a ton and also the harder part is not getting compensation high enough to meet my goals but keeping myself from wanting to quit during the day to day. 30% less is still enough to retire in a few short years. Maybe even sooner if the job also sucks less out of me so I can save, do, DIY, etc more.

The broader point is probably remembering to look at my full web of goals when I job search rather than only at that total compensation number. In fact, maybe the compensation number isn't very relevant at all for my next job other than a sanity check.

The transition from Clueless to Loser ain't easy.

I think I'm in the middle of this transition. I still want to get a promo to senior developer, but I have decided to let it happen [if it will] rather than trying to force it since it seems a bit like it doesn't matter what I do. It only matters when three of my superiors decide I've done enough and that they want to support my promotion. Overall, I realized it doesn't matter if I get the promo here or elsewhere or never because I have what I need from the company and my life overall is improved by not worrying about it.

However, I still feel angst whenever people around me talk about their own advancement and I still would be disappointed not to get the promo eventually. I don't know what to do to fully accept this transition. Am I really on the right track for making the transition? Advice to that end is welcome.

Posts: 122
Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2019 8:40 pm

Re: ERE Philosophy Limiting Career Motivation?

Post by mathiverse »

I read the Gervais Principle ebook and I was surprised by something. The original blog posts seem to merely point out organizational dynamics and the roles people play in organizations. However, there also was a final chapter in the ebook analyzing the movie Office Space as a story of multiple Losers trying to escape the middle class and failing which left me with the impression that the whole "Loser, Sociopath, and Clueless" roles were roles in middle class filled, white collar organizations and may not apply more generally. Or maybe that these roles are merely describing different classes (Sociopath -> upper class, Losers/Clueless -> middle class, ??? -> lower class)? Thoughts?

Posts: 445
Joined: Mon Aug 14, 2017 3:49 pm

Re: ERE Philosophy Limiting Career Motivation?

Post by ZAFCorrection »

I'd say being a sociopath is a requirement for going to the top (elite), but otherwise the three attitude-to-job types are spread out all over the place. For instance, my current boss could probably retire a few times over, has a large amount of cultural capital, and yet they grind it out clueless-style.

If I wanted to fully extend the gervais principle outside an office setting, I'd probably add the Craftsman, who doesn't have any real loyalty to the company but works hard because they like being the smartest person in the room at whatever their skillet is. They could easily peace out to another job, and will if sufficiently irritated, but mostly they just grind it out with the clueless.

Post Reply