Smashter's Great Adventure

Where are you and where are you going?
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Smashter's Great Adventure to Chicago

Post by Smashter » Thu Jul 26, 2018 8:34 am

The startup I was working at decided that continuing operations in New York was no longer sustainable, and I was let go. I got a 2.5-month severance, lump sum, which I am thrilled with. I was sick of the job anyway but I had the golden handcuffs on so tight I was losing circulation. I probably started and then deleted 5 posts along the lines of this one, asking if it would be worth it to leave a high paying job for something lower paying but more sustainable.

Now, I feel free and like I can finally try new things. DW and I took the job loss as a chance to reassess our situation. We decided to move to Chicago to be closer to family and to reduce our cost of living.

So, within the next month, I will be joining the long list of ERE’ers who live or have lived in Chicago. I’m excited!

Any suggestions on where to live? We’d like to pay $1400 / month max. We are currently paying $2100 for a Brooklyn studio, so pretty much anything will be an improvement over that.

My wife will be working in the Loop, and I am still job hunting but will probably end up in an office near hers. We are trying to find a place within a 3-mile radius of work so that we can see what city life is like with an ultra-short commute.

I could walk/bike anything under 4 miles (I’ve done further in NYC), so even with high rent my housing score could still be a respectable 14.

Mister Imperceptible
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Re: Smashter's Great Adventure

Post by Mister Imperceptible » Thu Jul 26, 2018 10:51 am

Congrats on being liberated from the golden handcuffs. A old colleague told me being laid off is one of the most freeing things because it eliminates the choice of being able to stay.

Could you talk your wife into living in an RV? Or do Division I basketball players not fit in RVs? :P

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Re: Smashter's Great Adventure

Post by suomalainen » Thu Jul 26, 2018 10:57 am

I'm irrationally envious.

-Golden handcuffs guy

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Re: Smashter's Great Adventure

Post by RFS » Thu Jul 26, 2018 1:53 pm

Good luck with your move! I hope it's a refreshing and invigorating change.

You should check out the Pilsen neighborhood in Chicago. It's a Mexican neighborhood that has changed/gentrified a lot in the past 10 years. 2.9 miles from the city center on Google Maps.

The Northeastern part is the nicest, and it gets crappier as you go southwest. I heard to avoid west of South Racine, but that was about 4 years ago.

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Re: Smashter's Great Adventure

Post by Smashter » Fri Jul 27, 2018 9:33 am

Thanks guys.

@RFS Pilsen is interesting to me but I think it's a bit grittier than DW is wants. We've been zeroing in on Wicker Park, Ukranian Village, and Lincoln Park.

@MI lol, DW is so easy going and resilient and down with so many ERE things, but living in an RV would be a bridge too far : )And also, I am one of the lucky few who played bball at an elite level but is still small enough to comfortably fit in a coach seat on a plane. My brother is 6'4. Oh, cruel genetics!

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Re: Smashter's Great Adventure

Post by Smashter » Thu Nov 08, 2018 9:49 pm

I totally underestimated how mentally challenging it would be to move to a new city and find a new job. My transition was so supremely awful that I hope it can stand as a lesson for someone else in what not to do. Here’s what happened:

While searching for jobs before my move to Chicago, I narrow it down to two choices. One of them is a tiny startup that seemed really excited to potentially have someone with my experience. I get excited about it too, totally get the CEO’s hopes up and imply I will join the team, and then change my mind at the last second to take the higher paying job at a more established company.

I start learning more about the field I am going to to be in and something isn’t sitting right with me. The company sells third party data (gleaned from god knows where) in order to power more effective online ads. My job (sales) would be to hunt people down and be like “yo, I know you are already buying data from 9 other sources, but you should use our source too. Also we have a way of tracking people without using cookies, which is totally legit and not creepy.”

Coming out of a sales job that already made me feel kind of sleazy, I start having second thoughts. I figure that because I already paid off my student loans and my wife and I had built up a 200k surplus, I was stable enough to stop doing dumb sales stuff if I wanted

I back out of my offer three days before I am supposed to go back to NYC to start training. I refund them for my plane ticket. They are not happy. The recruiter who found me the job is especially salty, having now lost out on her commission.

I feel bad, but motivated. I am going to do work I like and am at least somewhat proud of!

I go to the ERE meetup at Jacob’s house. It’s great. Awesome dog, awesome garden, tons of inspiring people to learn from.

I spend about two weeks searching for jobs in the field I like and have some experience in, get anxious and scared, give up.

I go back to the original startup that I bailed on and say “now I want to join you!” The CEO is thrilled, brings me on board right away. 2 weeks into the job I realize I am in way over my head. It was a strange feeling. Before I started, I really thought I’d have the motivation to do what the job required, but I totally did not. Not even close. I’m panicking. I hate the work and feel so bad for joining the company. My mental state deteriorates.

I start to have a lot of trouble sleeping. I wake up between 2-4 AM and have racing thoughts about how I should have just stayed with that first damn job. It was so much money! I could have just toughed it out for a few years and been FI. Now my savings is stagnating! I cannot stop ruminating about how I shouldn’t have bailed on the first job. Negative thoughts loop in my mind.

My amazingly patient and loving wife spends like 700 hours reassuring me that she doesn’t think the first job would have been a good fit and she is proud of me for leaving and this is all a phase that will pass and money isn’t everything and she loves me very much. I nod like I am absorbing what she is saying but after each talk instantly start feeling overwhelmed with regret once again.

On top of the job stuff, I start to miss Brooklyn. I decide that I had it perfect there, I never should have left, and that I am an immature loser who is never satisfied and always thinks the grass is greener. I am not sure what to do with this information except sulk.

I start to feel depressed in a way that I haven’t felt in 6 years. It’s bad. My wife talks to me and I am awful and then she cries and tries to get me to see a therapist. I don’t. I don’t even want to read the forums anymore, something I love, because every positive journal report about people making great money and reducing their SWRs makes me feel more awful. I don't want to seek career advice on the forums because I feel dumb and embarrassed.

Now I have a job that sucks and barely pays anything. At least before I was getting big bucks to do my not very interesting job. I decide to quit. My boss is surprised and disappointed but very supportive and kind overall.

I feel terrible about everything. I consider going back to sales just for money, but can't, having now told two separate jobs that I am leaving because I no longer want to do sales. I think a third time would qualify me as a sociopath. I have a modicum of honor.

I lash out my brother over text message and start a massive fight. We both say very mean things to each other. It’s very upsetting.

Things get a little better as I slowly pick up freelance work in the area I like. It gets to the point where I am decently busy and making some good money. I get positive feedback from clients and feel validated. It’s not perfect, but it’s something I can build on.

I still wonder what could have been with the first job, but I start to feel okay about things. I begin meditating again. I force myself to see some friends. I schedule my first meeting with a therapist for this coming Monday. I can sleep through the night.


TL;DR it’s been rough. I’m still trying to glean lessons from it all. I definitely need to seek out help faster next time I start spiraling. I also need to work on decoupling my self-worth from my finances.

Another lesson is that I either have to be doing something I enjoy or I have to be making a lot of money. There is no in-between. I need to sell a bit of my soul in a job and be okay with it or truly like what I’m doing. I know that’s some soft, weak, Millenial BS right there. I can imagine IlliniDave saying “there’s a reason they give you a paycheck on the way out and you don’t buy a ticket on the way in.” But it seems to be how I am wired.

The whole experience has given me a lot more empathy for people who get a little crazy over a job loss or a career setback. I read that over 10,000 suicides were attributed to the last financial crisis. When I originally read that it seemed so insane to me. I couldn’t imagine being that upset over financial turmoil. It just didn’t make sense, having never experienced anything even remotely like that. Now I see how it can happen.

Somehow through it all, with my freelancing and my wife being a rock with a great job, our net worth is at a rock solid $211,000. It seems so good now. I will work on appreciating it more.

Hopefully the next update will be cheerier! Keep on being awesome, forumites.

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Re: Smashter's Great Adventure

Post by prognastat » Thu Nov 08, 2018 10:15 pm

Sorry to hear that you've been going through some tough times. It sounds like you've gotten through the worst of it and things are looking up so I hope that things going that way moving forward.

Definitely developing some areas outside of work such as the meditation and focusing on friendships are good. Art least you are in a position where you weren't living paycheck to paycheck so that's something to be thankful for.

Hopefully your next update will include some successes on those fronts.

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Re: Smashter's Great Adventure

Post by Gravy Train » Fri Nov 09, 2018 4:03 pm

You're doing just fine, Smashter. Thanks to your forethought, determination, and follow-through to pay off your student loans early, you now have the freedom to say no to jobs and dance around a little bit before settling down for something. Most people don't have that freedom.

This part actually made me laugh out loud:
Smashter wrote:
Thu Nov 08, 2018 9:49 pm
I consider going back to sales just for money, but can't, having now told two separate jobs that I am leaving because I no longer want to do sales. I think a third time would qualify me as a sociopath.
Because I've done that, too, but for the legal world. I found that people really don't care. Most people are way too involved in their own lives to really give your motivations or decisions a second thought. Plus, Chicago is a big town. You'll probably never run into any of those people again anyway.

Good luck and chin up! You got this.

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Re: Smashter's Great Adventure

Post by Smashter » Wed Nov 14, 2018 11:46 am

@prog, thanks. I definitely have a lot to be grateful for.

@gravy, I appreciate that perspective. It's always good to hear from folks who have been through similar circumstances. Maybe the third change of mind is the charm :)

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Re: Smashter's Great Adventure

Post by Mister Imperceptible » Thu Nov 15, 2018 7:53 pm

Not sure there’s anything wrong with being a sociopath.

When was the last time you played a ballgame?

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Re: Smashter's Great Adventure

Post by Smashter » Fri Nov 16, 2018 5:36 pm

Fair point. Sometimes you gotta honor your inner Patrick Bateman. I was definitely catastrophizing.

I got a good bball run in yesterday, as a matter of fact! Played well, though that's not saying much since it was against a bunch of out of shape Jewish dudes. Their lack of positional awareness cracked me up. Nothing quite like watching a 5'8 guy mark out territory in the paint and demand the ball like he's Shaq.

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Re: Smashter's Great Adventure

Post by Smashter » Sat Nov 17, 2018 10:54 am

Jason wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 10:10 am
A racist Jewish colleague of mine who loves to play the game is known to say "What makes LeBron James so good is that he learned to play the Jewish way"
That made me laugh out loud. I also thought you had to be exaggerating, but then I went down a Jewish bball history rabbit hole and found this interview with a filmmaker who made a movie about Jewish hoopers ( ... =123368994)
MARTIN: Oh, wow. Okay, there's is a term that you use in the film - and please, nobody, don't be mad at me, because this is a term that you use in the film. I'm just going to ask you what it's about. There's a term called Jew ball. What is Jew ball? Is that a mean term?

Mr. VYORST: No. I would hark back to your other question. That would be a proud term. I mean, I think basketball is cool. And there's a - you know, there's kind of a basketball chic and a basketball hip. So I think Jewish people are proud of playing basketball and their basketball heritage. But Jew ball's a type of basketball that I think was best exemplified by the 1970s New York Knicks, which is a team that I worshipped when I grew up, the Willis Reed-Walt Frazier teams that, you know, won two championships. And it stresses team play, five men playing together, tough defense, never slacking on defense and always hitting the open man on offense.
"Jew ball is best exemplified by a team starring 3 black dudes, a Catholic, and a Presbyterian" hmmmmmmm

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Re: Smashter's Great Adventure

Post by Jason » Sat Nov 17, 2018 11:09 am

a/k/a "Jew Ball is best exemplified by a team having no Jews."

RE: Lebron James being Bar Mitzvahed

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