AE's Journal - Round 3

Where are you and where are you going?
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AE's Journal - Round 3

Post by AnalyticalEngine » Wed Jun 05, 2019 6:15 pm

Hello everyone. This is my third attempt at making a journal on this site. I keep making them and then deleting my posts. I have a tendency to get sucked into Internet communities, and so I was intentionally limiting my exposure to this site.

But after consistently journaling and using my planner for the first half of the year, I've come to realize I've been stuck in the same thought loop for years. I'll describe this loop in the later sections.

For now, I'll just introduce myself. I am 29 and currently work as a software developer in CO. I've been pursing FI since 2012, but have refined my thinking to a more ERE approach in the past year.

Goals for journal
I need a concrete, measurable way to hold myself to my goals or else I tend to lose track of my progress. I already use spreadsheets and my paper journal, but I want something more formal and structured to organize those reflections.

Additionally, most of the people I am friends with are significantly younger than me, and so I have recent realized I am lacking mentors. I hope to connect with some of the more experienced members of this forum for insight into my situation.

I do plan to eventually focus on my nitty gritty finances, but I am going to save that for a later time. My most pressing issue is the dissatisfaction in my life/job situation, and so I plan to tackle that first.

Current situation
I currently work as a software developer for a large corporation (20k+ employees), and I have been in this role for the past four years. I really enjoyed the first year of my job, but it has since grown extremely stale. I've been pretty miserable at this job for the past 3+ years, but I continue to stay there because it's easy and it pays.

After being miserable for so long, I've finally realized I need to change my approach. I spent some time reading MBTI research for my type (INTJ), and I think I have gotten stuck in an Ni-Fi loop. Because I understand all corporate jobs are basically exploitative (they pay you less than you earn them), I've become extremely cynical. This has morphed into a permanent sense of defeatism and pessimism. I view all software jobs as equally bad, and so I have not tried to find another one nor do anything more than the bare minimum in my role. This is a problem because instead of guarding myself against the scenario talked about in Disciplined Minds, all I've done is developed burn/boreout, a bad attitude, and a poor professional network.

Even though I have diagnosed the problem, I have been stuck in this rut for so long that climbing out is going to be a challenge. I will start this journal with my attempts to get out of this.

Next steps
I really need to find a way to connect with others professionally and network. Building these ties has always been a struggle for me in both my personal and professional life, and so it has made me isolated from most other people. I need to work on deliberately cultivating professional connections so I can find other opportunities to build my skills and earn my ERE nest egg.

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Re: AE's Journal - Round 3

Post by classical_Liberal » Wed Jun 05, 2019 7:54 pm

Hi AE!

Glad you're trying a journal again.

Like so many folks who wander into this community it sounds like you have a very unhealthy relationship with your work. No shame, I'm with you on this boat. Your job consumes a large portion of your energy, but instead of feeling like this energy is well spent, you feel like your simply being taken advantage of by a corporate overlord and controlled by meaningless bureaucracy. In seeking FI you are looking for a way out, ERE lifestyle is probably the quickest, most logical route to this end goal. Additionally, learning ERE provides a layer of security outside of the monetary system and is a more ethical way to live in this time of resource waste and shortsightedness. So here you are.

All of the above makes sense, except, you've already been miserable for quite some time by your own admission. Your plan seems to make sense. Tracking financials is an important part of ERE, particularly if you are weak in the area of consumption (I'm assuming in your business you are not weak in income). However, if FI is still many years away after you "handle" the consumption side, you need to make other changes sooner. Professional networking seems a good step in that direction, but if THAT makes you miserable too...

One of two things needs to happen for you to turn his around. Either the internal needs to change, meaning you need to find some form of pleasure in your current work by focusing on something other than the 1,000 feet up corporate overlord view. Can you focus on something within the structure of your employment you can control and provide positive productivity towards? Something from 100 feet up. (For me as a nurse, this was focusing on the daily patient assignment and nothing else, f**k the healthcare system and profits, I only care about the outcomes of my 5 or 6 patients for that day). Or change the external, find a job situation in which you can see how your contributions makes small positive progress towards something from that higher view. Since you've been pursuing FI for some time, maybe you have enough FU leverage to change external towards creating a more balanced approach where you do not have to expend too much energy/time on paid employment. If you can change both internal and external, and pursue ERE, FI will likely become a byproduct of living a great life.

All easier said than done, its taken me three years of hanging out here and I'm just starting to reach these goals now, but I'm a very slow learner, I expect more from you :lol:.

Good luck, looking forward to more!!

Edit: My opinions, For a great example of someone who has changed internal, try reading @suomalainen's journal. For someone who has done a great job at changing external read @SustainableHappiness or @Trailblazer's journal.

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Re: AE's Journal - Round 3

Post by AnalyticalEngine » Thu Jun 06, 2019 6:01 pm

Thanks classical_Liberal! I think you have described my relationship with work pretty well. Work is such a massive time and energy sink for me, and it kills me to know that what I am doing is, as you said, being taken advantage of by our corporate overlords. I've been trying to tell myself more lately that work is an economic exchange, but it's still hard when I don't want to be there and know the conditions of my employment are exploitative on a systemic level.

I've been pursing FI ever since I even got out of college, so to come extent I think that stunted my full transition into adulthood because I viewed FI as some kind of panacea to escaping work to play video games all day. I've now learned that's not a healthy attitude, and so I've been trying to negotiate what's next for me. So I think I probably need both an internal and external change. I appreciate those journal links and I'm definitely going to check them out.

Posts: 26
Joined: Sun Sep 02, 2018 11:57 am

Re: AE's Journal - Round 3

Post by AnalyticalEngine » Thu Jun 06, 2019 6:08 pm

I was reflecting on two things today, namely:

Predisposition to Negativity
In the Big 5 personality scheme, I score reasonably high (61%) on Neuroticism and reasonably low (30%) on Extroversion. This is concerning to me be low Neuroticism and high Extroversion are predictive of experiencing many positive emotions. This may explain some of my struggles. I have read that mindfulness can be especially helpful for people who score higher on Neuroticism, so this may be something I need to research.

The Nature of Work
I've come to realize that software development isn't about the desires you as a developer have to write certain code a certain way. The business looks at you like a generic Unit of Engineering, and they want their developers to be as interchangeable as possible. It makes sense from their perspective. They want to reduce coupling and dependence between any single engineer and the application. But it also means your life as a developer is second to their interests. You're supposed to be an interchangeable cog they throw random engineering problems at, and you need to spit out a solution no matter the context.

The worst part is I even understand why they want it this way. It makes total sense from their perspective to standardize the engineers and not worry if Alice prefers service work while Bob prefers UI work. But it sucks to be reduced to something so standardized, and the price to pay for breadth is reduced depth.

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Re: AE's Journal - Round 3

Post by bigato » Sun Jun 09, 2019 10:46 am

Yeah. I managed to bury myself in a position where I do assembly and that suits my personality. Also, it should last until I pile enough money. But it took me some years to get here. It really hurts to be forced into being something you are not.

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