AE's Journal Round 4

Where are you and where are you going?
AnalyticalEngine
Posts: 278
Joined: Sun Sep 02, 2018 11:57 am

Re: AE's Journal Round 4

Post by AnalyticalEngine »

2Birds1Stone wrote:
Wed May 13, 2020 10:10 am
What if you were to sell your residence and move to a LCOL area? Would/could you get yourself to ~25x by being creative with spending
This is definitely a possibility, and it's something I'm considering. I just need to make sure wherever I move to is a good fit for me, as being in a mismatched area would probably make things worse. I'm looking for something that has houses around $200k, is a decently sized city (maybe 50k-100k?), and has some good cultural resources. Something like a college town might be a good fit here.

Part of the problem is most of my NW is tied up in 401k/IRAs, so it's not immediately useful for drawing down. Nevertheless, moving to a LCOL area and doing something part time or similar is definitely an option. I need to start doing some research into areas.

@AxelHeyst - I completely understand where you're coming from here. I do think learning these other coping techniques (GTD, healthy lifestyle, etc) is still really important because it's something you can control, and it does help. I've fallen into the trap before of giving up on everything just because work sucks. But life is a marathon, not a sprint, and if those things help you, then they're still good. It's also a good attitude to have to attempt to try something, even if work is the main problem.

One problem I've had before is letting the depression-fatigue become so severe that I can no longer do those coping mechanisms, like GTD, exercise, etc, and that's when you run into some severe problems.
classical_Liberal wrote:
Wed May 13, 2020 1:58 pm
What I notice in my off periods of semi-ERE is that the actions of completing these to-do lists of life maintenance-type stuff fundamentally changes with free time...Meaning that when you have the ability to choose certain times of day, or times of year, or certain moods to do things, it fundamentally changes the way in which you approach them (FYI this includes paid employment).
This is a good point, and you've stated in a clear way that I hadn't thought of before. I think this is actually why I enjoyed college so much--because you have a whole lot more freedom to set your own schedule. I was able to wake up, study when I wanted, work on personal projects when I wanted, and even choose some of the classes I got to take. When you contrast this with FT programming, where they tell you what to program, when to program, and how to do it, it's pretty obvious why I find it so hard to get motivated and why it drains my ability to do anything outside of work too.
bigato wrote:
Wed May 13, 2020 6:40 pm
The worst part about this trap is that you don't accept yourself for who you are and then it's so much harder to learn to deal with your limitations
This is true, and it's making me reevaluate other times I've done this to myself. Maybe it's better to accept the fact I won't enjoy this type of work rather than beat myself up about how everyone else can do it but it just wears me down so much. I think I might need to work on letting myself feel how I feel then finding constructive ways to handle it.

Anyway, for now at least, I think I might attempt to go find a new job that lets me go fulltime remote. Half the problem with my current role is that all our QA staff quit, and instead of hiring new QA, management is just making the developers do testing. I absolutely loath QA work because it's infinitely boring and tedious, and it's exactly why I left my old job. Plus the technology we're using is 10-years-old .NET Framework MVC Windows mixed with internal libraries hell, and there's just no future in that because it's all dated or unique to this company.

The challenge here is that when I fall into this kind of job-induced funk, it becomes extremely difficult to do anything constructive outside of work. This is exactly what happened to me at my last job, and it's not a good place to be at all. I think I'm going to stop worrying about being laid off and instead redirect that energy into finding something else.

Jin+Guice
Posts: 703
Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2018 8:15 am

Re: AE's Journal Round 4

Post by Jin+Guice »

AnalyticalEngine wrote:
Fri May 15, 2020 8:15 am
But life is a marathon, not a sprint...
The Band wrote: Life is a carnival, believe it or not.
Hey AE,

Your job sounds really miserable, I think you should quit. How many years of expenses do you have saved outside of your tax advantaged accounts? You don't really need more than six months to quit (actually you don't need anything at all, but 6 months makes it easy), but a lot of people around here are very conservative and don't feel comfortable without 2-3 years.

Most of the other people you think aren't struggling are probably silently miserable, thinking you're not struggling. Full-time work that you don't want to do is fucking slavery. Early retirement is great, but don't waste anymore of your life saving money to retire from a job you don't like. Retire today and figure out the details later.

I've read the entire livingafi blog. That dude used to be on here, and I don't want to offend him, but that shit is fucking insane. His base assumption was that he had to suffer through a ton of awful full-time work in order to afford a pretty pricey retirement. IMO, given that he figured out he could retire early, he did everything else wrong.

Don't assume you have to suffer. Jacob, MMM and MadFIentist all had great careers that they enjoyed. I think that you should take some time off and think about what you really want to do. Do you want to work part-time? Change careers? Work full-time sometimes? I know the goal of ERE is to stop working for pay, but I don't even think that's a good idea. So much of our world is based around working for pay. There are so many opportunities that are only available through work. Total escape isn't the only way out. You just need the courage to change your situation. A little fuck you money is good at inspiring that courage.

I encourage you to keep reducing your expenses. Once you're down to 1 Jacob* you're basically free. You can make 1 Jacob working at a minimum wage job part-time. It's ok to buy shit that makes you happy (this would be 100% true if our fucking whole system wasn't totally lame. Sometimes it's less than ok because of environmental or socioeconomic variables, but worry about getting yourself to a good spot first), but most of the shit you're buying is either not making you happy or is a crutch to deal with work bullshit. My life is fucking decadent and I can afford to buy anything I want, it's not expensive.

*Don't obsess though. 2.5 is already great. 1-2 is where your options really fucking open up, even without much savings.

AnalyticalEngine
Posts: 278
Joined: Sun Sep 02, 2018 11:57 am

Re: AE's Journal Round 4

Post by AnalyticalEngine »

@J+G - You know, you bring up some really good points. I've thought about the things you've said there, and it helped me draw a few conclusions.

I do agree that LivingAFi blog definitely had some moments like that. In particular, I am still shocked he didn't just quit when faced with that horrifying Chuthlu boss. He had enough FU money at that point, and that dude was insane. But this really proves your point about the base assumption--when you just assume all work is going to be horrible, and then work turns out to be horrible, that assumption is going to keep you trapped in a bad situation that you actually could get out of.

Right now, I have about 4-5 years of 1-Jacob hoarded in a savings account. At my current spend rate, that's about a 1-2 years. If I cut my spend, I could probably make it last 2-4 easily. Additionally, if I sold the condo and moved somewhere cheaper, that would last longer still.

What I actually think is stopping me right now is an extreme Salaryman mindset. I have a lot of friends who try to make a living as artists, and while not all of them succeed, some of them do. The key mindset difference of the successful ones is the fact they are always looking for freelance work. They're not nearly as trapped in this linear-corporate-mindset as I am.

I think I'm also putting too much of my self-worth into being a software developer. I went to school for this, and it's a prestigious job. Everyone and their mother wants to be a software developer. So I'm afraid if I quit that and do nothing, I'm officially going to be a "loser." As I've mentioned in previous posts, being an antenna-TV-Internet-Loser is one of my biggest fears.

But you're right. Most of our world is based around working for pay, and it's actually pretty easy to find people to pay you if you're highly skilled and can add value. I'm still really young, so it's not like hoarding money to retire at 33 and then play video games all day is the plan. I've always intended to still do something after reaching 4%-FI.

I've tried to put thought into what that second career looks like, but it's been hard when FT work is so draining. It feels impossible to think longterm/strategically/introspectively enough to truly change careers when I'm this drained. And yet, that salaryman-mindset is stopping me from just quitting and making something happen.

AxelHeyst
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Location: The Mountains, USA

Re: AE's Journal Round 4

Post by AxelHeyst »

I'm in a ~somewhat similar boat as you, AE. Salaryman for 11 years (at only *one* company, so I haven't even had to interview / get another salary job), have <10 years CoL saved liquid, am burned out, etc.

For almost that entire 10 years, I've had dreams of other stuff I wanted to do, that people would theoretically pay me for, that I didn't have time to do while still working my FT job. I fantasized about quitting and trying those other things. Why didn't I? I didn't have FU money, my CoL was high, and so I assumed I'd have to almost immediately make my dream net some significant amount of income. The idea of dropping my CoL to ~$10k never occurred to me (I'm kinda stupid), and so my dreams never seemed remotely realistic.

What I'm getting at here is, I have no idea which of my looney ideas are going to make money, or how much, or how long it'll take. And frankly, I don't have the time or the life-energy while I'm still working my FT job to figure it out, much less do that stuff as a side hustle and "prove" it's feasible. That's the magic of a couple years FU money (only have 2? drop your CoL and magically you have 4!). That's the runway required to take a damn chill break, recover the ol' nervous system, and then play around and figure out how to make the freelance/side hustle/whatever work out. The stash means you don't have to have it all figured out before turning in your resignation letter.

And if it doesn't work out, hey whatever, you can always go back to the FT dev work in *half a decade* when your stash dries up. There isn't really a lose scenario here.

For what it's worth I've made lateral moves three times. Degree'd and started out as a mechanical engineer, shifted to a glorified CAD guy (but cool 3d stuff) which is generally "lower than" the engineers for sure, then shifted to a 3d animator. As long as what you're doing is interesting to you, you'll probably forget about the prestige thing. People who can invent and shift their focus are cooler people anyways. "Aw yeah I was a dev for a few years, got bored with it so scratched my itch doing desktop 3d resin printing (or whatever), now that's my jam". Wow, that guys so cool he got a dev job and then pivoted to some other thing he thinks is cooler, what an interesting and courageous fellow, I wonder if he's available...

lightfruit55
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Re: AE's Journal Round 4

Post by lightfruit55 »

Feel compelled to chime in here as I 100000% relate to how you feel. Are you me???

I've been a salaryman for close to 7 years, and I feel so stuck even though I have (conservatively-speaking) around 7 years of current expenses in cash or (almost immediately) liquid assets. I would not even have to sell any equities. Yet I feel so trapped in my salaried job and in the salary man state of mind. I'm afraid of getting laid off (because that would extend my accumulation phase and thus an extension of my work life) yet I'm not doing anything to shine at my job or developing myself career-wise because I'm completely unmotivated and the thought of it makes my stomach retch. I'm literally slow burning to waste at work. To be honest, while I'm afraid to be laid off, I'm also secretly wishing for it to happen so that I don't need to make the decision to jump off myself.

My DH is constantly screaming at me to just quit. He's a J+G-type character (always hustling, etc) and simply cannot understand my "limited" / "salaryman" mentality. To him, there are so many things to try out there and we have only one life, so we should go out and try try try all sorts of stuff. It makes so much sense to me and it sounds so cool, but the thought of jumping off into the unknown is so paralysing.

I always think... Oh, once I'm FI or have close to enough to feel financially secure, then I can let myself go. But how much is ever enough and at what cost? How many years of wasted time and life energy?

I'm been struggling with this for some time now, and the struggle is even more acute during this Covid period. I know that one problem is my underlying unhealthy assumption that work sucks, work is bad. I know it to be unhealthy but I can't seem to not think otherwise. Another problem is my view that I'm inherently lazy and unmotivated to learn and incapable of producing anything of value, and that if I am not in a full time job or structured environment, I won't do anything productive, won't hustle and won't be able to self-direct and thrive... and that would be a fate worst than that of a salary-man.

Also, like you, I have a somewhat "prestigious" (to the general public but it means little to me) education and it will all go to waste if I don't use it. Already, I'm not developing myself career-wise and I see my career life span to ride out this career as a short one. If I were to jump off, I will be so obsolete that I won't be in a position to return to this field.

I have no solution. But maybe when you read my ramblings, you will see how irrational my thinking is and that can help you in some way or other.

Jin+Guice
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Re: AE's Journal Round 4

Post by Jin+Guice »

Y'all are making me fucking sad! FI will actually solve none of your problems.

Quitting to do nothing is lame. I'm sorry if anyone reading this really wants to quit and play video games for 70 years, it's your life, but I think that is boring. Quit to do something cool! Not an artist? Don't have a "passion" that you need to quit to do? This is actually great. I am a musician, trust me, I'm a fucking slave to it. Try doing a bunch of shit and see what works and what doesn't. Design your work around your life. You don't have to be 100% happy at work all the time, but don't let it make you miserable.

I quit my job with <1 year of savings (before discovering FIRE and I was also 24. The weird part about being young is you are more bold. I wouldn't be brave enough to quit with that amount of money now, yet dumb, only 1 pretty worthless skill 24 yr old me quit with 10k and then traveled for three months, blowing $3k on the trip, then moved somewhere I didn't know anyone that had no jobs). I convinced my gf to quit her job and go freelance and now she is hugely successful. I can't guarantee you will be successful, but if you quit and are open to opportunities, it usually works out. This is the most economically rich time in history, the resources are out there. If you are conservative with resources, build resilience, not a pile of money.

We are nerds so we hate to admit we care about prestige and fitting in. I'm an NT so I don't really give a fuck about fitting in, except that it's easier be able to tell the in-laws something they understand at Thanksgiving. You can usually achieve this with framing whatever you're doing in a way the normals are used to thinking. Prestige is important to me. I like to pretend that it isn't, but it is. If it's important to you, do something prestigious. Remember that you will have always already done your job. You've already been a software developer. It will be more prestigious when you used to be a software developer but now you're someone who lives on a boat and fixes jet skis or who lives in a van and somehow grows plants in the desert.
lightfruit55 wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 10:47 pm
He's a J+G-type character (always hustling, etc


Thanks, but I am actually pretty lazy. It's amazing how many people lack the skills to show up on time and do what they said they were going to do. Frankly, the best way to hustle is to only do shit that's interesting or easy and focus on shit that's going well. Additionally, people will generally pay at least $15/ hour if they like hanging out with you and you are marginally competent at whatever it is they want you to do.

ertyu
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Re: AE's Journal Round 4

Post by ertyu »

Hmmm, disagree. Quitting to do nothing might make sense depending on where a person is at. One might need to do nothing for a while before one can do something. Retiring "away from" is perfectly acceptable when the thing you're retiring away from is what's holding you back from seeing what you could be retiring "to." It's fine to take time off and rest, and give time for your interests and your joy to reemerge.

Insisting there is one way to retire "right" and other ways are "lame" shows lack of compassion and understanding for the variety of human experience. It is also shaming people for taking time to heal and recover. It's not "lame" to do what you need to do to be whole.

2Birds1Stone
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Location: Earth

Re: AE's Journal Round 4

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

My wife is giving me dirty looks because we were supposed to leave the house 20 minutes ago but this journal got so damn good over the past dozen posts...

As someone who can relate to how most of you have felt (trapped, salaryman, thinking we need $X to give ourselves permission to cut the chord), I want to share a few thoughts.

First of all, I may be a hypocrite, or rather "hindsight is 20/20"....because I did in fact wait till I was at least 4% > trailing 12 month spending to fully quit my job, but I leveraged the FU money several times to make very bold career related moves that ultimately led to full ERE mode last year at age 33.

Seems like most of you read the LivingAFI blog, well what happens when he finally, after years of suffering tells his superiors he is quitting. He gets a gold plated sabbatical + the opportunity to return to work remotely with a 3 day a week schedule. He could have probably used his FU$ to do something along those lines YEARS before he actually had enough to fully retire. I was able to use FU money to make a power move from a role within my company that required 40 hours in the office into one that was WFH and came with a 50% pay raise, then 9 months later I threatened to quit and received another 30% raise, which I used 4 months later to get a job at a different company for even more money, where after burning out within 9 months I pulled an Office Space move and still looked like a rock star because Pareto really was onto something......It took 6 months before I engineered my eventual lay-off, full severance and everything. The point being, I could have done this shit much sooner if I had bigger balls.

It sounds like many of you are on the fence, and the grass is definitely greener on this side. I can already tell that after getting the initial 12-18 months of travel out of our system, my wife and I will definitely do "something" that will either drastically reduce COL (WOOF, Workaway, etc) or earn us some income. It's just impossible not to get paid for something you enjoy/you're good at when you don't need the money.

I waited till I was 32 years old to finally pull the trigger and remove myself completely from FT work. I do wish I had done it sooner, and guys like J+G, c_L, Slowtraveler were edging me on to do it. There is no need to have 5+ years in cash + $100k's in investments before leaving a FT job that you don't absolutely love, life is WAY too short for that.

You have permission to either flex your FU$ and tell your employers the term of your continued employment, or just quit and figure it out as time goes on.

Jin+Guice
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Re: AE's Journal Round 4

Post by Jin+Guice »

@ertyu: I think you are misunderstanding me. I don't think it's lame to take time off to recover or to play video games for 70 weeks. Please, please, please take time off to do whatever is most relaxing and re-energizing to you personally for a long time. If doing nothing means finding inner peace through meditation or strengthening your relationship with your grandmother that's great (you still don't need to save enough to retire forever though). The recent commentators are in their early 30s. I think it's lame to do nothing that contributes to other people for 50-70 years of your life. If you think "fuck this J+G guy, I must watch reruns of Seinfeld and eat takeout for 60 years and that is completely worth suffering for 12," I'm not going to stop you. I still think it's lame, but at least you considered your options.

What I want is for people who are attempting to save 33x expenses (or more) to consider that saving 5x expenses gives you considerable optionality. Living below the poverty level gives you considerable power. The set of options are not restricted to 1) work 45 years and spend all of your money while suffering; 2) work 5-15 years and save all of your money while suffering. If the goal is to spend as little time as possible suffering at work, then everyday you spend suffering at work moves you farther away from that goal.

Hristo Botev
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Re: AE's Journal Round 4

Post by Hristo Botev »

AE: Just discovered and dove into your journal; great stuff. Back to your first two posts--and specifically (1) going back to school and doing a bit of a career/work reboot, and (2) perhaps seeing that it's possible that you can find some real life fulfillment in a job (forgive me if I'm reading into your posts something that wasn't actually there)--I've got an unsolicited book recommendation. A few weeks ago I read Albert Schweitzer's autobiography, Out of My Life and Thought. I don't really agree with Schweitzer on much of anything from a theological standpoint, but his life story and the way that he looks at life is utterly fascinating, and really inspiring. I mention it only because he went back to school (medical school) in his early 30s and completely shifted course: from a polymath theologian/academic/pastor/organist at the top of his game, to a missionary doctor. Anyway, the book and Schweitzer's journey might be of interest to you as a study in someone who did what you're considering doing, and Schweitzer's insights on why and how he made the jump might be informative for you.

classical_Liberal
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Re: AE's Journal Round 4

Post by classical_Liberal »

This thread deserves so much more of my attention, but I'm in the middle of a month long road trip vacation, and haven't had much time to spend on here. I'm on this vacation because I'm winding down from a 3 month period of FT work. After, I'll feel refreshed and will settle into summer of doing whatever the fuck I want. I'm planning on a lot of camping, hiking, bike riding, and whatever else comes up. This is all possible because I no longer allow myself to be a slave to FT work. In total this will probably cost me 5K. If I take another few months this winter to decide if I wanna still be a nurse or do something else, maybe a few more grand, but definitely not more than 10K. So there you have it, 10K would have been enough to buy my freedom all along. For anyone who is wallowing in misery, think about that, because I didn't. Instead I slaved away, unhappily in a FT job for years to save a bunch more. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad I have the buffer, but I wouldn't have needed it to change my life.
Jin+Guice wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 8:58 am
people will generally pay at least $15/ hour if they like hanging out with you and you are marginally competent at whatever it is they want you to do.
The above is a gem, reread it, and believe it. I, or you, can earn enough to cover expenses doing absolutely anything I/you feel like. FI will change very little, but the time it takes to get there may break your soul if unhappy and will work to solidify salaryman mindset when we should be going the opposite way. For anyone who thinks it's hard to walk away from golden handcuffs before FI, after it'll be just as hard. You will always think of the "what if's" and always think you need more money, always think you need the work for "prestige". That is, until you realize you can earn the tiny amount needed to live a great life easily, doing things you actually want to do, for people you want to do them for.

AnalyticalEngine
Posts: 278
Joined: Sun Sep 02, 2018 11:57 am

Re: AE's Journal Round 4

Post by AnalyticalEngine »

Thanks for sharing your experiences, everyone. This thread gave me a lot to think about. In particular, I think a lot of what is keeping me stuck here is a combination of fear and anxiety, especially about things that will happen ~10+ years from now.

This weekend, I went on a long weekend trip to Mesa county. Mesa county is a pretty interesting place. It's got a population of roughly ~200k (compared to ~3 million in Denver), and the cost of living is much less. There's a lot of really spectacular national/state parks that are close by, and it's home to where a lot of Colorado fruit wines are grown/fermented via irrigation from the Colorado river. I've been there quite a few times in the past, but this time, I was struck by just how different the pace of life there is compared to Denver.

Right now, I live in a affluent suburb of Denver. Even a basic house here is going to cost ~$400k, which puts buying one pretty much off the table. It's along the high prairie part of the state, and so the cold/wind/hail/snow/terrible soil/drought make growing even basic tomatoes nigh impossible. Living in the suburb, I've long struggled to meet people my age or make many friends. The traffic is such that even driving 10 miles down the road takes half an hour.

It's not a horrible town by any means. The city has planned it out well, and there's good infrastructure. But this coivd thing has made me take a hard look at my life, and I'm afraid that if I keep living here, I just can't see a future for myself in this town.

Right now, my job has us all working from home until Oct at a minimum. Since Oct may be when the second covid wave kicks off, this will very likely be extended. And while I've realized I hate working from home, and my job is boring as sin, I also have the ability to live basically wherever I want for a few months. Since finding a better ERE town is something I've been planning to do for a long time, I'm thinking this might be my opportunity to go figure that out.

So I think I might try living in Mesa county for a few weeks to get a better feel for it. I am a little concerned the smaller nature of Mesa county will make it even harder for me to make friends/meet people, and I definitely don't want to be socially isolated. This has been really a challenge during covid because there's all the incentive in the world to not meet anyone. So I'm not 100% sure how to balance that while trying Mesa county out, but I suppose I'll see how it goes.

Another thing I'm fearful of is moving there and having no further opportunities due to the small size. There's not very many professional jobs there, and I've been used to living in areas with a lot of highly educated professionals. You always hear stories about people escaping small towns to move to the city in order to pursue specialized opportunities, and I'm a little worried about doing that.

Nevertheless, I think it's worth it to try, especially on a temporary basis. I've realized I need to put myself out of my comfort zone far more often because my failure to do that is holding me back.
lightfruit55 wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 10:47 pm
Yet I feel so trapped in my salaried job and in the salary man state of mind. I'm afraid of getting laid off (because that would extend my accumulation phase and thus an extension of my work life) yet I'm not doing anything to shine at my job or developing myself career-wise because I'm completely unmotivated and the thought of it makes my stomach retch. I'm literally slow burning to waste at work. To be honest, while I'm afraid to be laid off, I'm also secretly wishing for it to happen so that I don't need to make the decision to jump off myself.
This is exactly what happened to me at my old job, and it was such an agonizing trap to fall into. What happened to me was that I hated the job, so I never put in any effort above the bare minimum. But then I was afraid of being laid off because I wasn't that great of an employee. Then the anxiety of being laid off made me paranoid and view every tiny scrap of even remotely negative feedback as a sign of my impending doom. The anxiety made me hate work more, which made me want to quit more, which continued the problematic cycle.

Being stuck at a job you have no motivation to do is so awful because that energy drain leaks into the rest of your life.

ertyu
Posts: 909
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Re: AE's Journal Round 4

Post by ertyu »

AnalyticalEngine wrote:
Mon Jun 01, 2020 8:38 am

This is exactly what happened to me at my old job, and it was such an agonizing trap to fall into. What happened to me was that I hated the job, so I never put in any effort above the bare minimum. But then I was afraid of being laid off because I wasn't that great of an employee. Then the anxiety of being laid off made me paranoid and view every tiny scrap of even remotely negative feedback as a sign of my impending doom. The anxiety made me hate work more, which made me want to quit more, which continued the problematic cycle.

ohai, it me. describes my experience at last job to a t

bigato
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Re: AE's Journal Round 4

Post by bigato »

My experience is that smaller towns make it easier, not harder, to meet people and make friends. Big cities can also be a good place for that, but it is a different game altogether, one that you need to learn how to play. In smaller places, getting closer to people and making friends just happen naturally.

5ts
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Joined: Sat Nov 30, 2019 2:43 pm

Re: AE's Journal Round 4

Post by 5ts »

Try out Grand Junction. I imagine it will be easier for you to find friends there in contrast to Denver. There is something about the larger cities that makes interactions superficial, and you really have to dig in or luck out to meet new people. Some people are not fit for large cities. I can exist there, but it creates an empty void within me. In a sea of people there is no humanity. I don't know, it's weird. There is nothing inherently great about Denver that you can't find to some degree in a smaller place. Just try a smaller place.

AnalyticalEngine
Posts: 278
Joined: Sun Sep 02, 2018 11:57 am

Re: AE's Journal Round 4

Post by AnalyticalEngine »

Thanks for your feedback, everyone. I do think you're right. And if I try it out and learn it's not for me, then I'll know. But the only way to know is to go try it out. And if it's a bad fit, I can just move back.

I think what I'm going to do is rent something up there for a month and just see how that goes. If the month goes well, I might then go find something for a longer period of time. Since I have a condo down here, I'm going to have to figure out what to do with it if I am gone longer than a month. But I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

I do worry that it's going to be impossible to meet anyone during corona, so that's going to sway my experience a little for now. But with any luck, they actually will get a vaccine within a year, and then things can go back to normal.

SALARYMAN MINDSET
I've been looking for other jobs in the meantime just to get a gauge of what's out there. And while software development is an absolutely insane field, I've already gotten calls from like ~5 recruiters and a potential job interview from one of the FAANG companies. And this was all during the middle of the pandemic recession. So it's made me realize my fears of going broke and being unable to work are pretty unfounded. In fact, I can probably be a lot pickier about where I work than I have been historically.

I do think this is because I've got to the "senior level" of software developer. Finding something entry level right now might be a bit harder.

It does present a bit of a dilemma though because if I do get the FAANG job, I have to move to a much larger city in a different state than I live now. Additionally, to even be remotely competitive in the interview, I need to spend a ton of time ramping up on my forgotten CS knowledge from college. So I'm finding that time and energy are more and more the constraining factors in my life. If I study for the FAANG interview, it makes it harder to try out Grand Junction. If I try out Grand Junction, I can't really study for the FAANG interview. And even if I do get the job, do I want to move to a huge city in a different state? I'm not sure I do. On the other hand, it'd be a good "capstone" on my career before I quit. Then again, do I even need to bother with a capstone? I could just quit now. So these questions are going to require some more thought.

Regardless, if any of you are finding yourself stuck in the Salarymind mindset, I suggest at least looking for and applying/interviewing for others jobs. You don't even have to take the jobs, but seeing that there are indeed other opportunities out there can make you less stuck in your current mindset.

I do feel like I still have a lot of salaryman "deprogramming" to do though.

OTHER SKILLS
I've also realized just how large the skill gap is between what I do now and ERE. I think that for many years now, I've been trapped in a "When I FI, things will be different" mindset. For example, I spend way more on food than I need to, orders of magnitude more. And I've always justified this with "Well I make a lot of money at work, so I can spend it on this. When I FI, I will learn to cook cheaper."

But the reality is, I need to develop these skills now or else I won't be able to FI successfully. It's the same thing with my physical fitness. I'm a bit more of a couch potato than I should be. So I need to develop my fitness skills. And sometimes I let my social anxiety hold me back from making deals on craigslist etc, which again, is a skill I need to develop now.

I get overwhelmed by the time and energy requirements it takes to develop these skills. I think historically, I have fallen into the trap of becoming so emotionally drained by work that I have no motivation to do anything at all. Everything in my life turns into feeling like a massive hassle. And I think this is caused by forcing myself to do something I don't want to do all day at work. I've been fairly good at doing that, but the cost has been a destruction in my ability to know what I do want and what I don't want.

I think it was Bigato who mentioned in another thread something along the lines of that the risk you run when you force yourself to do these things that you don't want to do is that you lose the ability to trust your own emotions. You get so used to gaslighting your own feelings that you lose all desire and motivation. I definitely think I've done this to myself for years, and now I'm having a hard time unraveling that.

So I need to find a way to balance all of this while having still enough energy and motivation to work on my other skills. The notion of opportunity cost is something I find myself dwelling on everyday.

mooretrees
Posts: 240
Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2019 1:21 pm

Re: AE's Journal Round 4

Post by mooretrees »

I've found that adding in some kind of daily exercise helps with energy and emotional regulation. Exercise seems to be this magic bullet that gives so much back. Check out this thread for excellent ideas for starting an exercise habit: viewtopic.php?f=9&t=10969&start=60

As someone who lived in a decent sized city for 16 years, and now lives in a small town I've found it much easier to meet people in the small town. People in the small town seem to be more eager to engage than in the bigger city. I've put myself out there to meet people as well, but people have been really welcoming. I think you're right though, this time might not be the easiest to meet folks. Though it's still worth a shot. And a month is a pretty short time frame. I think a month will give you an idea if you like the area, not necessarily if you're able to meet people.

5ts
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Joined: Sat Nov 30, 2019 2:43 pm

Re: AE's Journal Round 4

Post by 5ts »

On the heels of suggesting you should try out a smaller city, I now tweak my humble suggestion based on your last post. It seems like this job, or the last couple of jobs at least, are killing you. I wouldn't say the job field is killing you because you seem to have a genuine enjoyment of the fundamental core. So if it's the job and not the field, then I say go hardcore for the FAANG job and see what happens there. Since you like the field I think you might regret not going for that opportunity. And a new city, albeit a large one, might open up a new world. You might make friends at the new job, which is by far the easiest way to make friends. And then they introduce you to their friends, and that's how you build a social network in a new place.

What's easier, finding a killer job or moving to a new city? You admit it's almost easy to find any job in your field with your experience. So the killer job is the challenge. You can move anytime.

As for the lack of motivation, it sounds like a mild depression. I know because I know. You have to change some stuff to shake it off. Either you can do it purely mentally, which is possible but difficult. Or you can change your setting or your job or something which alters your environment, which I find makes it easier for me to get out of the funk.

And the pandemic makes everything more difficult right now. You could still find friends at a new job because you have to be around each other, but meeting strangers to become friends seems to be off the table for now.

classical_Liberal
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Re: AE's Journal Round 4

Post by classical_Liberal »

AnalyticalEngine wrote:
Thu Jun 04, 2020 8:49 am
I do worry that it's going to be impossible to meet anyone during corona, so that's going to sway my experience a little for now. But with any luck, they actually will get a vaccine within a year, and then things can go back to normal.
I just finished a month long road trip through the Midwest. In smaller town USA, COVID is over. Like, everything's back to normal with the exception of a few smart practices in place. I wouldn't worry about this outside of a large urban centers. They are the only places still socially isolating, in-between riots that is.
AnalyticalEngine wrote:
Thu Jun 04, 2020 8:49 am
So it's made me realize my fears of going broke and being unable to work are pretty unfounded. In fact, I can probably be a lot pickier about where I work than I have been historically.
Yep. 80/20 applies throughout. If you just show up to a job, on time, and give a shit. You can always find agreeable work, at will. If you can live on 1-2 JAFI's, that work will pay all your expenses on a part time basis . This was my experience in the great recession as well.
AnalyticalEngine wrote:
Thu Jun 04, 2020 8:49 am
It does present a bit of a dilemma though because if I do get the FAANG job, I have to move to a much larger city in a different state than I live now.
Do you want to live for work, or work to live? These are two completely different mindsets. If you dont want to move to a FAANG city, and you work to live, then why would you even consider it?

EDIT TO ADD: There is also the systems mindset, where work and leisure are melded. So while one still "works to live", one doesn't really see what they are doing as "work". It's just living. I'm trying to reach this point, but havent got there yet, so cannot offer good advice except for my struggles. I do think that, coming from salaryman mindset, it's best to first move into "work to live" mindset. Because "living to work" has been such a part of our lives that we have a distaste for the idea of melding work and daily life.... If that makes any sense?

In the work to live mindset, here's a good test. Do you think "I can't live in Durango, even though that would make me happy, because I have to work for a FAANG to make good money", or "I can't work for a FAANG because to be happy, I need to live in Durango"?
AnalyticalEngine wrote:
Thu Jun 04, 2020 8:49 am
I've been trapped in a "When I FI, things will be different" mindset. For example, I spend way more on food than I need to, orders of magnitude more. And I've always justified this with "Well I make a lot of money at work, so I can spend it on this. When I FI, I will learn to cook cheaper."
I think this depends on whether or not you want to cook cheaper and just don't have the time/life energy. Or if the reality is you do not want to cook cheaper and you use time as an excuse. In the year since semi-ER my expenses have been cut by about 30% EDITED (I made a false claim earlier based on memory of 2018 spend and just ran my numbers, my spending has only decreased by about 20%, not 30%). This during a period in which my travel time has gone up 3X as well. This was only doing things I really wanted to do, but didn't have the energy to do them. There have been several I tried for awhile and didn't like, so went back to the more expensive way too. Several others I hadn't even thought about before semi-ER and are now normal practice. @2B1S has had a similar experience in his semi-RE as well.
AnalyticalEngine wrote:
Thu Jun 04, 2020 8:49 am
I definitely think I've done this to myself for years, and now I'm having a hard time unraveling that.
Bingo. Live the life you want to, yes. But if there is not enough life energy left at the end of the work day to do that, then change needs to happen.

I think trying out the other town is a great idea! I also think you should quit your job today! However, I realize how hard that is coming from where you're at, because I was there. So, see if you can get a sabbatical, or look for part time work instead of full time. Whatever it takes to give you the courage to try and get your life back. Good luck!
Last edited by classical_Liberal on Sun Jun 07, 2020 10:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Frita
Posts: 495
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Re: AE's Journal Round 4

Post by Frita »

classical_Liberal wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 1:09 pm
EDIT TO ADD: There is also the systems mindset, where work and leisure are melded. So while one still "works to live", one doesn't really see what they are doing as "work". It's just living. I'm trying to reach this point, but havent got there yet, so cannot offer good advice except for my struggles. I do think that, coming from salaryman mindset, it's best to first move into "work to live" mindset. Because "living to work" has been such a part of our lives that we have a distaste for the idea of melding work and daily life.... If that makes any sense?
Having come from the mindset of melding work and leisure, I would discourage this unless self-employed. If the work that one loves doing goes away, one still has to figure things out. My spouse has always had the “work to live” philosophy and has not struggled in the transition like I have. Though I have dropped the role identification of being an educator, I am still adjusting.

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