DutchGirl's journal

Where are you and where are you going?
rube
Posts: 686
Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2012 7:54 pm
Location: Europe (NL)

Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by rube »

Hi DG, I guess your week off started today? Hope you can enjoy it!
And January is approaching fast. I am curious how you like the months off early 2021.
Good luck with life.

DutchGirl
Posts: 1280
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:49 pm
Location: The Netherlands

Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by DutchGirl »

@Mendes: thanks :)

@Rube: yeah, I'm in my week off; I always get philosophical when I have the time...

I feel like I'm on the edge of something new for my career, and that it's going to be an interesting few months.

I struggle a bit with my feelings still. I feel a bit relevant and useful in this COVID19 pandemic, if only by helping to keep my little part of the medical world going. (And I know it's only a very small medical contribution, but it is one). And then we've always struggled to keep enough people interested in this job of being a blood bank doctor (it's not glamorous, it's not very interesting, it's not high pay), so if I leave, that's one more new colleague needed and perhaps not found. But then on the other hand, the upper management truly isn't helping to make this job better, so why would I keep going if I no longer need the money and am not appreciated by the organisation? I know I am appreciated by my direct colleagues, though.

I know from the previous time (when I switched from working here to doing the PhD research) that the feeling of "abandoning your colleagues" subsides; and I know that personally I do not hate or blame other people for quitting their job, but hope they'll enjoy their life (including, often, a new career). So nobody will (or at least: should) hate me for leaving, either.
Taking a step back, I like it when people create the life they want for themselves (within ethical boundaries of course). So I should go do that myself, too.

So: working on this!

My pension money has now grown to an amount that will easily be able to sustain me after official retirement age. It's going to be a rich and boring retirement after age 70, you guys. How sad ;)

My current savings are not enough to carry me to age 70, but they would cover my expenses with a 5% withdrawal rate for roughly 75%. The other 25% could quite easily come from some work I could do. Helping my boyfriend with his company for example and getting paid a reasonable amount for that could cover the rest. Or finding some other way to make some money and maybe to contribute to society. Thinking, thinking...

DutchGirl
Posts: 1280
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:49 pm
Location: The Netherlands

Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by DutchGirl »

So far for 2020 I reduced my "gifts and fun" budget by 50%, massively helped by going out very little, visiting friends very little and very few stops at a "to go" shop at the train or petrol station (when it comes to COVID19, I value my health over buying a coffee on the go, apparently).

My transport spending has gone up as I've bought a car. Where I planned to use it only for trips to workplaces hard to reach by public transport, for most of 2020 I have used my car for almost every trip to and from work. So that has cost more than expected, but again I feel I value my health more.

My charitable donations have gone up, too. Hard to not see the need these days.

I actually don't know yet whether my total average spending went up or down. I used a budgeting app for 2019 that I stopped using by the end of it (due to it no longer being supported on my phone). For 2020 I started using a spreadsheet I made. It works well, but now I can't compare this year's numbers to last year's ones. But it does seem like my savings rate will be slightly lower than last year's, so I guess all in all I'm spending more.

Still I'm continuing to inch closer to being FI every month, so I'm happy about that.

As I wrote last month, I'm still thinking about how to shape my work or "work" life over the next couple of years. I'm going to have a sabbatical at the beginning of 2021! It's going to be for three months, and I'm looking forward to it. I actually wish I could do this every year, but I'm not sure whether they'd let me. For 2021 they are happy with me not being there, as all of my colleagues have not asked for any weeks off during these months (they're hoping to be able to travel again in summer/autumn 2021), so for these first couple of months enough people are working to easily cover my absence. So for 2021 it'll work.

7Wannabe5
Posts: 6861
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:03 am

Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

Sabbatical- that’s a lovely sounding word. Like a vacation, but with visits to libraries assumed.

CS
Posts: 659
Joined: Sat Dec 29, 2012 10:24 pm

Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by CS »

Congrats on the sabbatical and all your progress. You might be able to do it every year. Worth the ask. I mean, it's win-win for them if it means they can keep you.

DutchGirl
Posts: 1280
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:49 pm
Location: The Netherlands

Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by DutchGirl »

2.5 more weeks to go before the sabbatical. Of course, with some days off due to the holidays, so it's going to be relatively easy. I'm looking forward to it!

And CS, that's a good idea. I can ask for 3 months off every winter and I will settle for 2 months :-D

I've also taken on a volunteer job (okay guys, it's official: I can't sit still). A hospital in my area has opened an extra ward for patients who don't strictly need hospital-level care anymore, but who also aren't well enough to go home; and for whom it is not yet possible to find a spot in a nursing home or a revalidation center. While they wait on either further recovery to be able to go home, or a spot opening up in a regular facility, they can stay at this ward. It helps making hospital beds available for people who need hospital care (for example because of their COVID19 infection). On average the people stay on this ward for a week or so.

In the ward there are nurses and doctors taking care of the medical side of things, while volunteers help with the day to day business like helping with meals, helping the patients to walk and build up strength again and entertaining them, a bit. (Due to COVID19, we're not allowed to get within 1.5 meters of them, so things like playing a board game are not possible right now). I'm one of the volunteers now and will be during my sabbatical, for one day and one evening per week. So far it's been fun and very different from my work, so in a sense it's refreshing. There are also a lot of older people there, and some of their stories already have reminded me that the clock is ticking and that I should go and have fun now, while I can. For some of the people, the recent event that put them in the hospital will be the reason that they will never be able to live independent again. That's sad. A woman who now moved on to a revalidation center had an awesome life of teaching kids in Indonesia, Africa and the Netherlands, finding the love of her life, and retiring with him in Portugal. Sadly, he died (at age 80+, so could have been much worse), and now she (also age 80+) is living her remaining years here in the Netherlands. I don't know all the medical details (not my "job" here), but I hope she is able to recover enough to go home again!

I have no further plans yet for using my sabbatical. Maybe... writing? Oh, and definitely cleaning out the attic... maybe by the end of March, ha.

My boyfriend now has more than enough money to call himself financially independent, but he is not very interested in not working, and he has some remaining fear that he won't have enough money. Still, from January onwards he'll reduce his work hours from 40 to 16 per week, PLUS he's going to develop some piece of hardware that he may or may not be able to sell later on. So hopefully he'll enjoy a more fun lifestyle as well in the upcoming months, with only 2 days/week where he's truly working and has the risk of being exposed to some corporate bullshit, and the rest of the week to spend on tinkering with hard- and software to his heart's desire. That probably won't always be fun either, but if he doesn't like it, he can just quit that project.

DutchGirl
Posts: 1280
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:49 pm
Location: The Netherlands

Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by DutchGirl »

Half a week left to my sabbatical, and some new developments. The COVID19-vaccination campaign is starting tomorrow, here in the Netherlands, and I've reached out to a local organizing party to ask whether they could use my help with that for a couple of days per week. I've already talked to them and I think the work is fun and important(ish) and different from what I've been doing these last couple of years, so I'm waiting on their final verdict tomorrow on whether they'll hire me or not for these next couple of months. (They know it's only going to be for a couple of months, but during our conversation they said they thought I could contribute something during that short time frame).

I have understood that sabbaticals used to be periods when professors would go away from their own university for half a year or a year or so, to teach and research at a different institution. The new environment, new colleagues and new resources helped them to see their profession with a fresh eye and would often lead to new discoveries.

So now my sabbatical could be more like that, with me working for a different employer for a couple of months, trying out new things and seeing how I like it.

If they will have me, I'll do it. If they won't, I'll have a three month holiday. There are no bad outcomes here for me!

My boyfriend is valiantly defending his rights for a free Monday & Friday over the next couple of months. He started out with wanting a half year off, but for him this has changed to working still on a project on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and it's possible that there will be another project that they'll need him for, for 1-2 days per week. And both projects are awesome, he tells me.

Aren't we the blessed, lucky ones? We are.

During our visit to my parents a few days ago (we tried to make it as safe as possible) I discovered that my mother is the careful & scared one when it comes to money, while my father is more trusting and ready to take on some risks. This was a new discovery for me. My mother is scared of running out of money, while my father sees money sitting in their bank account only losing value. I'm guessing I'm more like my father, although I can also understand my mother. It's nice to make these kind of discoveries and to learn something new about them. By the way, they won't run out of money - their house is paid off, they both have a nice pension from different sources coming in, and the Dutch health insurance and the Dutch longterm care system cost a bit of money every year but will never take away all their savings with one bad fall or anything like that. So they're golden.

We've laughed a bit about a suggestion I repeatedly have made to my parents since my father retired, now 4 or 5 years ago. I told them that they should go on a cruise to enjoy the sights in a luxurious way. Oh dear. So pre-COVID! But hopefully the vaccine works well and then next year they can take a nice trip and enjoy a holiday, even if it probably isn't going to be on a ship.

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