Mini-retirements vs ERE?

Simple living, extreme early retirement, being wealthy, ...
classical_Liberal
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Re: Mini-retirements vs ERE?

Post by classical_Liberal » Tue Mar 19, 2019 5:11 pm

@Jin+Guice
I agree problem doesn't go away, this is what I have spent the last year realizing and what am trying to deal with now. Also, I would agree the problem of time is probably about a 50/50 issue.
Jin+Guice wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 4:03 pm
but it's a categorically life when you're working 1-2 days a week. The line starts to blur around 3 days and I doubt it's much different at 4 days. If you're working only 12 hour shifts that changes things too.
Are you able to articulate the differences you see here?

7Wannabe5
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Re: Mini-retirements vs ERE?

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Tue Mar 19, 2019 6:51 pm

I agree that 2 days/week of work-for-money is the sweet spot where you feel like you have oodles of free time/vigor to use according to your druthers. Really the only downsides in my experience would be location dependency and/or/vs. transition costs.

Jin+Guice
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Re: Mini-retirements vs ERE?

Post by Jin+Guice » Tue Mar 19, 2019 9:48 pm

@c_L: Man it's like a fucking different world. I honestly can't imagine going back, unless it was something that was a calling. When you work full-time it permeates every moment of your existence. You spend all of your time getting ready for work, getting to work, getting home from work, decompressing from work. After you feed yourself and exercise you have what, maybe an hour or two of your own time if you're not too tired? When you only work two days a week, work is just an annoyance to be planned around. You can also prepare for work because you're rarely tired from working too much the day before or unable to get a good night's sleep because you didn't workout that day. If I'm actually working 2 days a week, instead of just an average of 2 days a week, I'm often happy at work, even if I dread going. It's nice to accomplish a defined goal with other people and do something easy that I know I'm good at. Self-directed time is often frustrating and work can be like a nice little vacation from whatever other shit you're working on. Honestly, 5 days a week is way too much time if you don't have another productive thing you like to do.

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 6:51 pm
I agree that 2 days/week of work-for-money is the sweet spot where you feel like you have oodles of free time/vigor to use according to your druthers. Really the only downsides in my experience would be location dependency and/or/vs. transition costs.
This is wear having some of the old fuck you money kicking around is helpful. The boss won't let you take 6 months off this year to go slow travel? Fuck him!

I'd also much rather live in a city I consider great than travel all of the time. Unlike the supreme leader I like and value travel, but a couple weeks a year and a longer trip every 5-10 years seems to do it for me. It's hard for me to understand the appeal, though I would travel a bit more if I could figure out a remote job I'd like.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Mini-retirements vs ERE?

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Wed Mar 20, 2019 8:30 am

@Jin+Guice:

I can take as much time off as I like from my current professions. I am working more right now because I have to chip in for DDs wedding and I am stuck helping my mother until she regains mobility or gets place in assisted living. I like throwing parties, so I am okay with the wedding being my big adventure this year.

I was going to make additional note that for me time of day that I am scheduled to work makes a big difference, because I deeply crave early morning hours to myself. When I had a corporate full-time job with scheduling flexibility, I finally settled on 11-8 as best case scenario.

Jin+Guice
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Re: Mini-retirements vs ERE?

Post by Jin+Guice » Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:16 am

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 8:30 am
I was going to make additional note that for me time of day that I am scheduled to work makes a big difference, because I deeply crave early morning hours to myself.
Ditto for me, one of the problems with my current employment is a lack of control over the time of day work happens It's usually when I don't want it to. The downside of working 2 days per week are that you start to notice shit like this. You also lose the resigned, this is my life, soldiering on feeling that you get when you work 3 or more days in a row. This may seem like a positive, but when most of your life is a delight, you feel the pain of confinement and boredom more heavily.

classical_Liberal
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Re: Mini-retirements vs ERE?

Post by classical_Liberal » Fri Mar 22, 2019 12:22 am

Time of day and duration requirement of activity are both huge! Doing something for two hours in the afternoon is different than doing it for 12.

It seems in virtually any employed by other situation you loose out on at least one of the big three (flexibility to choose which days, duration, time of day). Usually more.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Mini-retirements vs ERE?

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Fri Mar 22, 2019 5:06 am

@classical_Liberal:

In the growing gig economy, there are quite a few jobs that provide all three forms of flexibility, but what you have to give up in exchange is some level of security that work will be available. For instance, I could set my app to indicate that I am only available to teach on Tuesday and Thursday afternoon half-day shifts, but I wouldn't be able to count on getting jobs in these narrow windows of availability, so I would only do this if I was okay with only working half this much. Obviously, the more competition there is to fill any given gig, the more available hours you will have to offer up to get the minimum hours you need/want to work.

Another variant which I have found to be quite important in the realm of temp work is whether you prefer a very busy chaotic work environment vs. calm routine. For instance, I have found that I enjoy being on board for the start of the school year in teaching or holiday shopping season in retail or any other sort of "rush" season where you have to be very flexible and amped, but steady part-time work throughout the year where you are just doing the back-up dull stuff that the full-time staff left behind is not at all appealing. There's always a sort of festive vibe which I enjoy when humans come together to take on some big short-term task like raising a barn.

SustainableHappiness
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Re: Mini-retirements vs ERE?

Post by SustainableHappiness » Fri Mar 22, 2019 8:42 am

I disagree on the 2 days per week as ideal for my life situation and demeanour. I've become a morning person, therefore my most productive hours are between 6am to lunch. Typically that gets filled with an hour of physical work (exercise) and 3-4 hours of mental work (I like the term "deep work") + breakfast.

Ideally, I do this 3 to 5 days a week (depending on workload) and have every afternoon to play, socialize, not look at email, or do structured work-related events (i.e. a dinner, or a meeting) if necessary.

With this structure, I generally get more done than bosses expect and yet DW and friends think I am a slacker if the conversation turns to work schedules... That is nature of being distracted during working (the majority) vs turning everything but Spotify off and hunkering down for a couple few hours (the minority).

Caveat, this only works for creative (hours put in isn't indicative of success) jobs, not applicable to, your ass has to be in the chair, or walking around hammering stuff types of jobs.

This is also why I quit my past corporate jobs because they turned an essentially creative job into a "your ass has to be in the chair" job for no good reasons.

SustainableHappiness
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Re: Mini-retirements vs ERE?

Post by SustainableHappiness » Fri Mar 22, 2019 8:45 am

For me, unstructured work after lunch goes side-ways without extra effort and mental drain, particularly, if it isn't forced.

conwy
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Re: Mini-retirements vs ERE?

Post by conwy » Fri Mar 22, 2019 2:56 pm

I've been thinking about this topic a lot.

I've been working for about 12 years as a software developer (contractor). During some periods I stepped down to part-time and studied or relaxed out of hours. That was great fun. I also took 3 months off travelling the US, while working part-time remote for a company. Also great fun.

Here's my ideal life-style, which I'm strongly considering adopting:

3 months of the year: Take time off, travel, muck around with new technologies, monitor the job market and do some networking.
9 months of the year: Pick up work resulting from my activities in the previous 3 months and save 70% of my income + enough to cover my expenses for the next 3 months.

I worry a bit about my my rate going down if my breaks get too long, but career advancement isn't such a big deal for me, as the work is purely a means to 1) make money, 2) gain some enjoyment from the creative problem-solving.
Last edited by conwy on Fri Mar 22, 2019 4:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Augustus
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Re: Mini-retirements vs ERE?

Post by Augustus » Fri Mar 22, 2019 3:41 pm

conwy wrote:
Fri Mar 22, 2019 2:56 pm
I'm in a very similar position, I've cut back to 1 large whale client. I'm planning to reverse your ratio though, 3-6 mos work, 6-9 mos off. I know a guy who has been successful doing 2 months work, 10 months off, for the last 3-4 years. Lives a block from the beach. Dude is killing it.

Jin+Guice
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Re: Mini-retirements vs ERE?

Post by Jin+Guice » Fri Mar 22, 2019 3:59 pm

SustainableHappiness wrote:
Fri Mar 22, 2019 8:42 am
I disagree on the 2 days per week as ideal for my life situation and demeanour. I've become a morning person, therefore my most productive hours are between 6am to lunch. Typically that gets filled with an hour of physical work (exercise) and 3-4 hours of mental work (I like the term "deep work") + breakfast.
What is your job? I agree the situation would be different if you can work only 3-4 hours a day and/ or you view your work as more of a calling. For 2 days a week I'm assuming fixed 8-12 hour days.
classical_Liberal wrote:
Fri Mar 22, 2019 12:22 am
Time of day and duration requirement of activity are both huge! Doing something for two hours in the afternoon is different than doing it for 12.

It seems in virtually any employed by other situation you loose out on at least one of the big three (flexibility to choose which days, duration, time of day).
I agree that it's difficult to lock down the 100% perfect work schedule, not in the least because the closer you get the more slippery your own definition starts to become. It's also difficult to lock down the 100% perfect leisure schedule, especially when you've got a lot of leisure.

@conwy/ @Augustus: I agree that this is also desirable. If like to focus on one thing at a time, doing things that are more project based, where extended time off is one of your projects, is more desirable. If you are focused, doing something you enjoy and your work lends itself to it, working more than 40 hours a week for a short period of time can be desirable as well.

conwy
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Re: Mini-retirements vs ERE?

Post by conwy » Fri Mar 22, 2019 4:25 pm

Augustus wrote:
Fri Mar 22, 2019 3:41 pm
I'm in a very similar position, I've cut back to 1 large whale client. I'm planning to reverse your ratio though, 3-6 mos work, 6-9 mos off. I know a guy who has been successful doing 2 months work, 10 months off, for the last 3-4 years. Lives a block from the beach. Dude is killing it.
Encouraging to hear that people out there are making this work!

conwy
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Re: Mini-retirements vs ERE?

Post by conwy » Fri Mar 22, 2019 4:28 pm

Jin+Guice wrote:
Fri Mar 22, 2019 3:59 pm
@conwy/ @Augustus: I agree that this is also desirable. If like to focus on one thing at a time, doing things that are more project based, where extended time off is one of your projects, is more desirable. If you are focused, doing something you enjoy and your work lends itself to it, working more than 40 hours a week for a short period of time can be desirable as well.
Yeah, I think this focus really suits me.

Weirdly enough, I do actually enjoy being in the midst of a challenging, hectic project, pulling long hours, meetings, phone-calls, deadlines. I enjoy the adrenaline and the social interaction and the feeling of achievement at the end of an engagement, when the project is delivered.

Just not constantly, non-stop, for 12 months of the year!

And what really drives me nuts is when things grind to a halt and there's no work for me to do. So I basically just have to sit there at my desk like an idiot. Not allowed to work on other projects on company time. Just have to sit there and wait.... Ughhh drives me insane!

So I think my ideal lifestyle would be 6-9 months of intense project work, followed by 6-9 months of completely uninterrupted rest & relaxation, preferably in a nice seaside resort with some nearby woods to wander around in.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: Mini-retirements vs ERE?

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Fri Mar 22, 2019 4:40 pm

Having absorbed this discussion and concepts over the past two weeks, it's very interesting to see what everyone values most when it comes to a work arrangement.

It's looking more and more likely that I'll simply alternate between bouts of work and bouts of play, of unspecified lengths of time. My career choice is simply not conducive to part time work, and doing a year of work followed by a year off is much more realistic to be able to do. It's also much more appealing vs. working another 4-5 years non-stop, till we hit full FI. I gotta say, it's hard walking away from that steady stream of money, knowing that it will/can be much harder to replace in the future. For me, it's going to be about taking the leap of faith and proving to myself that I can re-enter the workforce at will, and still command a respectable salary which will allow me to replenish savings and let the portfolio do it's thing in the background.

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Re: Mini-retirements vs ERE?

Post by conwy » Fri Mar 22, 2019 4:56 pm

It may be because I was younger at the time (28 I think?) but I had no problem picking up new work after taking 3 months to travel the US (some of which included remote work, but very minimal hours, maybe 5-8 hour per week). Practically the moment I set foot in my home country again and started looking for work, my phone was ringing off the hook and I had an offer lined up within days.

It seems that as long as I have (and maintain) a skill that's in demand and am willing to put in the effort of going to interviews and willing to be flexible about location and specifics of the work, then there will always be job opportunities, so I can pretty much jump back in to work whenever I want.

If somehow I were to find myself in an occupation that requires constant and complete dedication for life, with no time for breaks, I think I'd choose a different occupation.

But happily, I don't believe that's the case. My experience in the software industry so far is that taking several months off between projects isn't a problem at all. What's most important is being diligent in interviewing and scouting for work, doing the best job possible at every gig so that you always have one or two good references, and being willing to learn new technology and stay up to date.

None of this at all precludes taking 3 or even 6 month holidays between gigs. In fact, I imagine taking time off can help, especially if some of that time (doesn't have to be huge) is spent learning and experimenting with new technologies and improving one's portfolio.

I also am skeptical of ageism being a problem. I have worked alongside software developers (just regular devs like me, not in any way senior or managerial) who were in their 40s-60s and didn't seem to have any difficulty getting contract extensions or new work. They weren't extraordinary in any way. Just got the basics right - got the job done, friendly, professional, good team players.

I think the software industry is productive and profitable enough that a lot of companies will hire whoever they can trust will get the job done, and aren't so hung up on details like age (at least not as much as many other industries).

classical_Liberal
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Re: Mini-retirements vs ERE?

Post by classical_Liberal » Fri Mar 22, 2019 9:54 pm

Ageism and worries of not being able to reenter.... I still have them too, and I've already proven to myself with past anecdotal experience that they are overblown.

They key here is social capital. I've never applied for a job that I wasn't pretty sure I already had (only exception being an internship in a brand new field, in a different state, once). The only thing that could have blown it in these situations would have been some massive screw up on my part during interview process. Creating this capital may take some leg work and a bit of time. Particularity if in a new geographic area, or a new field that is only tangentially related to past experience. But, generally if you meet the height requirement for a job and take the effort to break in socially, anyone here (ie people determined enough to ERE) will have no problem finding employment after an extended period off.

Ageism becomes more of a problem if your contacts in the career world leave. For example, the former manager that's 10-20 years older, who knows you are the "go to guy/girl" retires, etc. So, social capital needs to continually update with each new period of work. Also, there is always the risk that physical or mental abilities diminish over time.

bigato
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Re: Mini-retirements vs ERE?

Post by bigato » Sat Mar 23, 2019 6:24 am

Interesting take on it. In a sense, building social capital is one of the two reasons why it makes sense for me to stay working a bit more. The other is waiting until 2021 so that I complete 20 years of paid work and then I'll be entitled to some social security money after I'm 65. By 2021 I'll probably also have enough trust from my managers that I may be able to do some contract work if I want to, and even make more money than I do now as an employee.
Last edited by bigato on Sun Mar 24, 2019 11:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

SustainableHappiness
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Re: Mini-retirements vs ERE?

Post by SustainableHappiness » Sun Mar 24, 2019 8:28 am

@Jin+Guice This schedule has worked doing:

- freelance digital marketing work (primarily ad campaign management and creation across multiple platforms with weekly reports to the client)
- in a past corporate role on work from home days as a salesperson in a key account management setting (where unlike business development time put in does not necessarily translate to increased success), however, I had to keep my phone on in the afternoons. This was why I couldn't understand when a new company changed rules to having to be in the office 4 days a week (or maybe that's why they changed the rules??).
- works best with my current role as a college professor (minus when in-class hours are outside of that morning window), because I have lots of autonomy in terms of response times and I schedule almost all of the meetings.

@C_L + Bigato, +1 the social capital point (on both reentry and normal entry!). Which is why I tell almost all of my students to aim to meet with a new person for coffee every 2 weeks in their final year of schooling. If they do this (unless they are a complete nutsack), they will get a job. Unfortunately (or fortunately for everyone who does it), <10% actually do because it is harder than complaining about sending off 300 resumes online and not getting a single hit. No shit Sherlock. Same has applied to me getting work after a "normal" job.

This point on social capital is also compounded for people who are trying to break into the North American market with only international experience. I teach a lot of Indian students, they NEED to build Canadian social capital in order to break in. You build it by working shitty jobs and networking within hopefully based on some merit, and/or you build it by spending $5 a week buying someone a coffee and bagel.

fingeek
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Re: Mini-retirements vs ERE?

Post by fingeek » Sun Mar 31, 2019 11:14 pm

I've followed this thread for a while, but now I can finally add myself as a datapoint.

I've been mini-retired for 9 weeks of a 1yr period now (tldr from my journal: job is (was?) typical high salary/high stress, baby happened, took UK Shared Paternal Leave). I love it.

I've gone from grouchy, stressed and achy, to happy, joking around and rejuvenated in this time. I'm already 100% sold on "mini-RE" even if it's a method of job performance enhancement. Equally, as it stands I don't want to go back to work...

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