Should I Go Back To Work Now That The Good Times Are Back?

Long endless lines at the airport

Hold the plane!

One of the reasons why I left corporate America was because there was a disconnect between pay and performance. It didn’t matter how well you did, everybody got paid the same (poorly). It didn’t feel right to slack off so I made a move instead. I took a chance that 2012 compensation would be abysmal, and from the discussions I’ve had with friends in the finance industry, 2012 was indeed a piss poor year.

You did great, but it was a bad year to have a great year,” is a favorite line of a manger looking to console a disappointed employee. The manager will then go on and promise an employee how the next year will be better in order to keep an employee’s hopes up just so he can get underpaid again. You can only fool an employee a couple times before he decides to say sayonara. You can read more about other ways employers manipulate employees.

The most valuable asset we have is our ability to work for a living. It sounds a little sad, but it’s true so don’t forget to review your short-term and long-term disability coverage.  I would guesstimate around 60% of my net worth is directly due to the aggressive saving of my income over the past 14 years. The other 40% of my net worth comes from capital appreciation. When compensation is declining, it doesn’t feel bad to take yourself out of a job, especially if you have the financial means to do so.

Conversely, when compensation is increasing, it becomes harder to sit on the sidelines as everybody but you gets rich again. This feeling can be attributed to greed, as well as the feeling of not wanting to get behind. A powerful V8 engine just isn’t the same when only six pistons are firing.

THE PROS OF GOING BACK TO WORK IN A GOOD ECONOMY

* Human interaction. I enjoy interacting with good people on a daily basis. When you’re working from home it gets lonely sometimes. Despite all the office politics, I know I will enjoy getting to know new folks in the workplace. Now that league tennis season is back in full swing, I’ve got a regular group of people I can compete with every other day for the next several months at least.

* Free travel. Besides the daily camaraderie of folks in the office place, there is potentially travel involved. By the time I retired, I was sick of travel. But now that I haven’t traveled extensively for over a year now, I wouldn’t mind getting on a plane to Portland or LA or somewhere overseas. The best feeling is when you get to go to a new place, learn a lot, have fun, and pay for nothing. The flight delays and travel time aren’t so bad anymore now that wifi is ubiquitous. My iPhone 5 is the best time killer in the world.

* A replenishment of capital. I’m like my friend Jaabir now, poor (but slightly better looking). Starting in 2013, I will no longer be able to save more than 50% of my after tax income because 2013 will be the first year where I completely earn $0 W2 income. It’s all about surviving on passing income now, which is somewhat daunting but thrilling at the same time. Although you don’t have to save for retirement when you are retired, the conservative side of me always likes to save a lot for the future. The habit of saving is in my blood, no matter how rich or poor I become.

* Colleagues are nicer. Although money is in many ways evil, people tend to be nicer when they are feeling fairly compensated. People are also less insecure because they’ve probably got that promotion as well. During the recovery from 2004-2007, I remember colleagues randomly buying lunches for the department due to some big win. During the 2008-2011 downturn people turned off their happiness because colleagues were getting laid off left and right. Misery is no fun.

* Potentially cheaper and better benefits. The benefits of a job besides a salary should not be taken for granted. Company 401k match and profit sharing really add up over time. My last year of work saw a $27,000 match + profit sharing contribution for example. Health care is heavily subsidized by the employer’s group plan, however, thankfully there are now plenty of affordable health insurance alternatives I’ve found for the unemployed. Employer sponsored life insurance, paid work leave, education reimbursement, and sabbatical sponsorships are also other benefits not to miss.

* Better correlation with performance . When times are good, there’s a tighter correlation with performance and pay. A meritocracy is all I want. If I suck at work then don’t pay me. I don’t want what’s not mine. But if I’m a top performer, please pay me like you care. When times are good, the pay band increases. Unfortunately, finance is a very cyclical business which has seen a 30%-50% structural pay decline since 2007. Just like how you don’t want to miss the first few years of a market rally, you don’t want to be unemployed for the beginning of a bull market.

THE CONS OF GOING BACK TO WORK

* Office politics. Office politics is something I dislike most about work. It was obvious when nepotism was involved. All you’ve got to do is notice a trend of who your manager or other managers hire. The worst managers are the ones who hire people who all look and talk like themselves. I also don’t like the various turf wars that inevitably comes up. I’m a “one team, one dream” type of guy, unless you really screw me over. Then it’s game on!

* The commute. I cannot stand the bus system in San Francisco because the drivers are always late, and there are never enough buses to go around. It doesn’t feel good to be a sardine for 15 minutes while some fella who hasn’t showered for days lets out a nasty fart in your direction. I’m also too poor or stingy to pay $400 a month for parking to go to an office just three miles away. That just sounds ridiculous to me.

* Decreased freedom. When I do something I am focused to the max. I give everything I got to my employer because that is what is expected. There is no half-fast effort with me when the correlation between performance and reward is tight. I am a relentless competitor who enjoys going into battle to win one for the team. I won’t let a lack of effort be the reason for my defeat as that’s the one thing I can control. There will be a lot of late nights as I demonstrate my worth the first year.

* Less time for writing. Writing is very cathartic. Writing helps me think things through and the community often highlights angles I would have never thought about. If I spend 12 hours a day at the office, there’s a good chance the thoroughness of my articles will decline. I’ll still publish at least two articles a week. They just might not be as meaty as you or I would like. This might be a good chance to adopt a different writing style based on brevity.

* More stress. I used to grind my teeth and have a slight case of TMJ (sore jaw due to clenching) when I was working. Within a month after I stopped working my grinding and soreness went away. I’m pretty sure stress cuts lives short by causing all sorts of physical problems. Hopefully by changing my expectations of work, I won’t put so much pressure on myself that I no longer want to work again.

* Supporting a wasteful government. The more you work, the more you will do the government’s bidding. The average person spends three months a year working to pay their annual tax bill. It’s often better to make less money to spend less time working for the government for free and more time enjoying life.

WOULD YOU RETURN TO WORK IF YOU DIDN’T NEED THE MONEY?

You’d think this emerging desire to go back to work stems from the typical “the grass is greener” syndrome. The problem is I’ve already been on the other side and have written extensively about the wonderful experience of early retirement and the security of being financially independent.

I’ve always enjoyed work at least 70% of the time. What I absolutely dislike is the lack of correlation between performance and reward. This is part of the reason why I’m hesitant to work for the foreign service or take on any type of federal job (can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em). The small and rigid promotion scale would feel so demoralizing. Can anyone seriously get pumped up over a 3% raise?

There’s a part of me who really believes work will be so much more fun because I don’t need the money. Imagine working solely because you enjoy the challenge and love the camaraderie. Imagine not carrying so much about how much you make, but by whether you see progress. I think I’d love it. However, I don’t know for sure because I’ve never been in such a situation.

Perhaps not needing more money to survive is why I love to write online. It’s gratifying to finish writing a 1,500 word article and pressing publish because of the feedback from all of you. Seeing immediate results is a perpetual feedback loop. If I start writing for the primary sake of making money, I’m sure I’d probably quit Financial Samurai a long time ago!

Any stay at home parents, early retirees, or semi-retired folks out there having the itch to get back to work now that the bull markets are back? What are some of the things you look forward to if you go back to work? Do you feel like you’re missing out on fully participating in the good times? Any evidence finding a job is easier nowadays?

Photo: Good times at the airport security line! FS.

Regards,

Sam

 

Sam started Financial Samurai in 2009 during the depths of the financial crisis as a way to make sense of chaos. After 13 years working on Wall Street, Sam decided to retire in 2012 to utilize everything he learned in business school to focus on online entrepreneurship.

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Comments

  1. Jennifer says

    Biking to work would instantly solve the public transport problem. Never been to SF but from all I have heard, the climate is quite decent there ;) And three miles is really not far!

  2. JayCeezy says

    FS, you have always had a very unique situation, and been a great performer with impressive results. I also think you might be seeing your old gig through a very tight prism. Most people would be psyched for a 3% raise; surely you have seen how hourly compensation has been declining for years. The nominal value of your old compensation was in the 1%, and when you factor in your youth it not only is impressive, it is very rare and unachievable for most of us.

    That said, I think you should reach out and see what the possibilities are for a return. Here is why: 1) you can always quit (or !=Get Laid!) if you find it has been a mistake; 2) Complaining about a 15 minute commute? Speaks for itself.; 3) you have been making noises about a potential return to the workforce, and it will be much easier to do so now than, say, 5 years from now; 4) Just a few more years of work will change your life and your possibilities; 5) you have the rest of your life to play tennis and write; you have downtime now and as the years go by in your current lifestyle you may find it even harder to find fulfillment in these lonely hours; and 6) the absence of ‘bad’ does not equal ‘good’. There is a big downside to working, we all know this and you had the opportunity to walk away and live the dream. You have lived it, and now are considering turning and walking back into the fire. If you do not, you will always wonder (if not regret) about the path not taken.

    Take it. At the very least, it will give you tons of great stuff to write about and we would love to read it. Whatever you choose, it will be the right choice and you are the President of your world. A great choice to have! Continued success to you.

    • says

      Thanks for your perspective in setting me straight Jay on the 3% pay increases. If people are psyched about 3% pay raises, then no wonder why so many people get sick of their jobs. We’d get used to that raise in a nanosecond, especially after taxes!

      There’s one part of the equation I failed to mention. An employer has to take me too!

      Sometimes I wonder whether I’m just looking to mix things up so I can continue to write about my experiences.

      • JayCeezy says

        LOL~! FS you don’t need to be set straight on anything, and someone like you with a 12-year long worklife would not find a 3% raise compelling. But for 99% of the world that works 40 years (or more, if they are lucky enough to keep a gig) and doesn’t really add a quantified value to product or service, in an economic environment where wages are declining and un/underemployment is now entrenched and most laid-off workers take significant paycuts, 3% a year is something to be grateful for.

        And I have wondered about the automatic assumption that many PF bloggers and posters have about just switching employers or getting re/hired (with an attractive compensation package). It seems really hard, and I am not seeing those assumptions in my environment (aerospace layoffs, no raises, engineering/construction money dried up so no projects to absorb the excess ‘talent’, hard bottom-line decisions made and the decreasing well-paid positions are fought for and protected by those who have them or are next in line) as realistic. I wonder if your old employer and colleagues would welcome you back into your slot, after they have been stuck with the hard times and lower compensation. But perhaps I am guilty of , and just because I can’t “make it happen” somehow I think it might be that way for everyone. Cognitive Egocentrism

        Would you go back for 20% less than you made? An opening in another city, requiring a move? A lower title and position? As someone with 30 years in my worklife, topped out in compensation and position and several years of no movement or (attractive) opportunities elsewhere, this lack of choices is another reason I am working the “Engineer Your Layoff” program. Will keep you apprised, continued success to you!

        • says

          It’s definitely not easy to switch or find a new place with similar income. No way. This is something I should write more about as nothing is a guarantee in this competitive world.

          I would go back for 20% less depending on the environment and the cause. BTW, I’ve got 13 years under my belt of work experience post college, not 12 :) But, maybe it’s 18 years since I was a McDonald’s slave an envelope stuffer and mover before!

  3. says

    I am quite content right now being a stay at home dad. I don’t feel an itch to go back to work for other people at all. I think in a few years, I might feel differently, but for now I am very happy with my situation. I think I stayed in a job I didn’t like too long. In the end, I only like being in the office 10% of the time. If I go back to work, I would change field. Working for the government is something I’d like to try at some point.
    I’d rather start some kind of small business than going back to work for a corporation. We’ll see how it goes.

  4. says

    I wouldn’t go back to work for any amount. I would however consider some freelance or contractor positions that are only for the short term. And no boss above me! I value my time and freedom too much, the sacrifice is not worth it.

  5. says

    The big question for me would be whether I needed mental and/or social stimulation that work can provide. I doubt that I would walk off of a job that I generally enjoyed (especially a well paying one) unless I had more than enough passive income to finance my preferred lifestyle.

    This is an issue that I think about a lot when I consider the possibility of early retirement. I don’t have an answer. If you dropped $100K/year in passive income in my lap right now, I could easily fund my preferred lifestyle. But I still think that I might work my day job for the stimulation that it provides.

    Of course, I really like my current jobs. I’ve worked some jobs where I would have walked off in a heartbeat never to return to the workforce.

    • says

      Exactly. Work stimulation in an environment is quite stimulating, even with all the office politics involved. I’ve never had the fortune to have a job I disliked… except for my first one at McDonald’s.

  6. Money Beagle says

    It sounds like freelancing or contracting, as Pauline mentioned, could be good for you. Quite honestly, it sounds like you go back and forth on wanting to work, where maybe working for short times would satisfy that want to be productive, but not have you as part of something that doesn’t have an end in sight. I think working, then taking time off, and repeating, would keep your interest in both working and not working, both of which you’ve done a good job explaining the benefits and drawbacks of. Wouldn’t it be nice to have the benefits of both?

    • says

      The ideal job would be one that gave absolute freedom, required only 3-4 hours of work a day, and potential for growth. Too bad there’s no such thing! I do believe there are benefits to both work and continuing to write online. The difficult part is finding that balance. We’ll see. Gotta keep searching.

  7. says

    In your situation, I’d dig deep to develop a new business venture that I’m super passionate about – maybe online, maybe local.

    Seems like you enjoy hustlin’, so find another passion and monetize it!

    • says

      Easier said than done. I’ve dedicated so much energy to this site (just responding to the majority of comments after writing the post takes a lot of energy), that I don’t think I can do that much more intense mental work on the computer much longer until my happiness starts to fade. I can do it, it’s just not optimal to spend more than 4 hours online. We’ll see what else.

      Maybe I’ll go coach high school tennis!

  8. says

    Why don’t you have some kids? You’re getting older by the day Mr. Samurai!

    Have you thought about maybe going back part-time? The other day I was talking to a young lady who managed to negotiate Fridays off in her office. Maybe you could try something like this?

  9. says

    Great post Sam! I actually wrote today on whether or not employers care about employees today. I don’t think I would go back to work for anything. Sure, if our business just took a nosedive and we needed me to then I would, of course, go back to work. That said, I do not see that happening. There is just too much reward in terms of working for myself and seeing the direct result of the job being completed and getting paid as a result. On top of that, getting new clients because our other ones like the work we do is very rewarding. That freedom is something that I never saw in a corporate job and once tasted is very intoxicating.

    • says

      Getting new clients from referrals definitely is very satisfying. What type of business do you have again?

      I guess I had plenty of freedom at my corporate job as HQ was elsewhere. But I understand.

  10. says

    Great post and great timing! The key to financial independence is the freedom to do what you want to do. If, like Joe, you want to sat at home and raise the next generation, you can do that. If you’re unattached and you like the buzz of a job, you can do that, too.

    What financial freedom brings, though, is a subtle often-unasked question: what do I really want to do with my life? Many people don’t know the answer to that question. For many, working at a job is all they know.

    In order to answer your question, then, you need to answer another one: what do you want to be when you grow up? :)

    • says

      All I want to do is stay in the zone of happiness. Hence, I will do less of what isn’t fulfilling and slowly march towards what is more fulfilling. It’s like I’ve got a happiness radar.

  11. says

    I think not needing to work gives you a significant advantage if you chose to re-enter the work force. You can be as picky as you want and really hold out and negotiate for whatever sweet terms you want because you’re not going to starve if they say no.

    • says

      I’m definitely going to be super picky, perhaps to the point where I’ll end up finding nothing. Kinda the way some folks are super picky with a mate, and wake up older and realizing their beauty can no longer carry them.

  12. Jason says

    Wow, Sam, don’t tell me you’re actually considering doing this! Maybe we should have an intervention of some sort – LOL.

    I do know that once I cash in my chips, you can bet your last, best, bottom dollar that I’ll be very permanently done.

    • says

      I wouldn’t bet the farm on it Jason! I guess it depends how much you got, how much you disliked your job, and whether you have the energy.

      I know I’ll never have any regrets when I’m 70 years old looking back at my career now b/c I tried for one year. It’s good to see the other side. Now I see the positives and negatives of both sides!

  13. says

    I agree with eveyone else, I would think some kind of freelancing or new small business venture. But the negotiating power of not needing the money would make the process all the more interesting.

    If it were me in that situation, I’d play more music :) .

  14. says

    I’m not sure what I would do if I was in your shoes. I think I would not go back to work but l haven’t taken a long enough time off of work to really know what types of feelings I’d have. That’s cool you have tennis coming up to mix things up a bit. I wouldn’t miss office politics and work stress that’s for sure. Commuting is a drag but I’ve done it so long I just try to ignore it. Plus I know a lot of people have to commute for twice as long as I do so I don’t have it too bad. I did have a guy next to me the other day though who smelled so bad I had to hold my nose lol.

    I think ultimately everyone gets tired or bored of routines so if you don’t go back to work try to find a way to mix up your week. That should help and also get you more interaction whether ots through volunteering, travel, or something else.

    • says

      Everything gets boring after a while…. a title of an upcoming post. I think I have a very LOW threshold for boredom. I wish I didn’t get bored so easily. I wish I could watch the same movie 20X, instead of just once.

      I’m pumped for tennis season!

  15. says

    I resonate with everything you said. I left the corporate world to work full-time time on CalendarBudget nearly 7 years ago. Every once in a while I think about going back to a “job”, for the same reasons you’ve outlined, but then I remember how soul-crushing it was for the last year I was there. It’s easy to forget how awful it is when you have to bow to managers opinions and not be able to serve customers the best way.
    Besides, no amount of consistent income can compensate for the happiness of doing what you love.

    • says

      Congrats on 7 years of entrepreneurship! Perhaps that is the key, to intensely remember what I disliked at my job, and just focus on the negatives so I squash the desire to go back.

  16. nbsdmp says

    Just do it…go back and get yourself in the game, honestly it is more fun. I debated the same thing myself a few years back, I decided to stay in the action, but divorce myself (to the best of my ability) from allowing the stress to affect me. I called it a “working retirement”. When you have the cash to walk away in 20 seconds flat, there really is not a whole lot that can get to you…honestly I make better business decisions because of it. Just don’t inflat your lifestyle accordlingly. I probably make 15%~20% less than I used to, still save a crapload of my earnings, but work 40ish hours a week, and after each year it is just that much easier to know that nobody can touch you, your safety net is that much larger, you don’t have to rely on speculative market performance to live the next 50 years…etc. I do think you seem like a talented guy & if you are great at what you do it is a shame for that to go to waste. You can find the happy median!

      • nbsdmp says

        hold up on that last response I gave you…today has been one of those days that I wish I was already retired! Just kidding sort of : )

        • nbsdmp says

          I’m just pulling your leg a bit, but pointing out that in any line of work you end up doing there are going to be those 1-2 days a month when a cold beer and some detox is in order at the end of the day. what happened to me particularly is funny…some 55 year old guy who makes probably 80k a year (will never be able to retire because he lives at the extent of his means)as an engineer proceeds to tell me how my company isn’t capable and he has quality questions from something that we did 8 years ago. He is the typical clueless individual that has a tiny amount of power and at every turn flexes his little muscles…frustrating, but that’s when I remind myself why I never ever want to ever be that guy who has to work and is obviously pissed at life and having to work. Deep breath, today is another day and the best part is it will be all the sweeter when I close the next big deal and make more in a week than he makes in a year. The one thing to take out of being financially independent is that you get pick who you want to work with, stay away from negative people and life is pretty enjoyable! I still say do it, you’ll be happy you did & thankful that you took the time off you did at a very opportune time!

  17. says

    I’d rather live on the streets. I’m sorry if that is a bad attitude but I hate working for someone else since I can have the time and energy to work on the projects that I feel are most rewarding. And I feel I am actually developing skills as a result. Sometimes I wish I had more money for certain things but I’ve managed to go from $0 a month from my hobbies to around $200 a month (and trying to grow that even higher). It depends on what you want to do with yourself.

  18. says

    If I were in your shoes and walked away I wouldn’t look back especially if I was getting the itch to work in that capacity again. I would simply look for a job that made me happy and one where I was in control of what I was doing. If I didn’t need the money then there is no real pressure but the pressure i put on myself. It would be a different story if I needed the job. Great post.

    • says

      Thanks. The hard part is finding that golden opportunity. Not too easy in today’s economy. Startups are balls to the wall 80 hours a week. Prestigious corporate jobs have a lot of bureaucracy. I’ll keep looking.

  19. says

    I did return to work in a variety of ways as an employee (CFO), Consultant (self employed) and now as a teacher. The best part is I do not have to work! I like my job as a teacher about 95% of the time. The last three years has been rough because of budget cuts. The only part of my job I do not enjoy is the part outside of my control. Things like budget cuts, district decisions or even local administration whims. With 12 years in, I need to finish it out to get my lifetime benefits. Less than 5 years to go!

    Regarding returning to work, you need to look long term and what you are trying to do. If you can return in a different capacity that would make it better for you in the long run and in line with your ultimate goals, you should do it. If not, don’t do it!

      • says

        Yes, they seem to have all the fun and none of the problems! There is an obesity problem and the overweight kids do not even dress for PE. In the business world we measure our success with accomplishments. In teaching, you are faced with kids who are unwilling to try because of past failures. It is one of the frustrating parts of teaching. I try to turn them around, but my classes are large and there is only so much time. I feel pretty good, if I have only 5-15% fail rate. I spend a lot of time to motivate the laggards. The kids who fail (in my classes) are almost all absent or won’t try at all. It is a sad situation because it leads to dropping out of school. PE classes are even bigger (60-70 students). You may want to think that through again.

  20. Steve H says

    I shudder to to think that I would ever return to working for a living. TMJ and your work ethic would lead me to conclude that work is better left to those who are in need of such an activity. You will only hurt yourself. I’ll venture to guess that you are not paid what you are worth in this blogging activity either. You produce these posts with pretty good regularity and produce a quality product to boot. In short, just by looking at your volume and level of work here, I feel you are the type of person that any good CEO/manager would love to overuse and abuse for a wage well under your worth or ability. It seems odd really. You, having worked and sought freedom, found freedom and contemplate working? If your thoughts lead you to action as in the first instance, you may soon find yourself working again, only to contemplate freedom. It’s only money. Whatever you choose, be happy. It’s nice to be in a position to be able to work again for fun and not need the money.

    • says

      Steve, appreciate your thoughts and thanks for noticing my work on this site. Sometimes I wonder whether folks appreciate the effort it takes to be consistent. It isn’t easy, which is why the vast majority of bloggers quit after 6 months.

      I will always assume a corporation gets more out of me than what they pay, otherwise, they wouldn’t hire or keep me. The question is, by how much.

      It’s only money indeed. And b/c it’s only money, it’s like a game. A game I like to play for now.

  21. Sambuca says

    Ah, reminds me of the good ole days in the tech industry in the late 90’s and oil and gas industry when oil suddenly soared in 2005 – employers were falling over themselves to keep employees happy. Those times don’t last, so if you have a way to ride the gravy train for a year or two, I’d go for it, knowing you can always bail. I try to think of my ‘old age’ self, and I imagine he’s not going to complain about me making him a few extra hundred thou… especially when the hip needs to be replaced and I don’t have to put if off until whenever Medicare will kick in… I think it’ll also be interesting to be at work having had experienced retirement for a year, there will be no shortage of curious colleagues!

  22. rickey says

    I would not return to work for any amount. However, I would be a series of positions or independent contractors are only for the short term.

  23. says

    “It’s often better to make less money to spend less time working for the government for free and more time enjoying life.” – I was driving up the Five the other day, and there is a stretch of road where one side still isn’t paved to the same height as the other. Come back to work, comrade – we need your help paving our highways!

  24. says

    Given the pros and cons mentioned above, I will definitely go back to working in the corporate world if given that chance, because when you work alone you tend to miss out on close human interaction which you can oftentimes get from working in an office. Though, it will probably take time before you can get use to the work atmosphere because you’ll have less autonomy when it comes to the work you do.

  25. says

    Would someone hire you if they knew about your blog? Employers like employees to be a little hungry, a little desperate, they want to be needed.

    You may want to work but you don’t need to work. If they read your blog they would know that.

    • says

      I would think so. The best employees I know are those who don’t do it for the money, but for the challenge and the love of the game.

      Someone who is able to create something from nothing and who shows consistency, drive,and dedication are good candidates don’t you think?

      • says

        I have only worked near the bottom of the income level so I am only commenting from the level of people who are supervised and who punch a clock and have someone tell them what time to go for lunch and who have to sign in a late log if they are 5 minutes late.

        I do not know what people who are expected to be creative and foward thinking do all day but it sounds more fun than what I do most days.

        • says

          If I had to go to work in an environment where someone told me when I could and could not eat lunch I would definitely never go back to work!

          Having freedom while at work is one of the best combinations which I cannot compromise not having.

  26. mysticaltyger says

    Sam,

    I think it’s time to examine what’s really important to you and your values and then do whatever that is. In general, I think the world of paid employment, in varying degrees, is a soul sucking experience…but there are some exceptions. Generally, I think the world’s most important work goes undone because it is not paid. Just my opinion…just something for you to consider.

  27. mysticaltyger says

    P.S…..If you are waiting for a certain dollar amount to make you feel completely secure, it will never happen and you will always end up going back to the world of paid employment or worried about money. A little concern is not a bad thing…but honestly, I don’t have a lot of trust in the money system in general (U.S. printing money, Japan printing money, bank failures, sky high government debt, etc.). If I were in your situation, I’d be looking to set up my life to be as self sufficient as possible (living off grid with my own water source, in a super energy efficient house, growing my own food, etc). You have the ability to do something like that if you don’t live in the high cost coastal areas…I know that’s just my dream…but I admit I wish more financially independent folks like you were thinking in this direction instead of living a consumer based lifestyle in the ‘cool’ cities on the coasts.

    • says

      I have a pretty simple, non consumer based lifestyle. I choose to live in San Francisco b/c it is one of the best cities in the world to live. Very diverse and lots to do. You’d also like the eco friendliness of it all too. When you can snowboard one day and play tennis in 70 degree weather the next, life is good.

      Please share with us your story about getting off the grid. Love to hear it. Thx.

  28. says

    I think it would be really hard to have as much freedom as you do and have to go back to the full time grind. After working part time for a while, if I have to do a five day week, it feels like it’s three months long. Maybe if you could find short term consulting gigs, that would be ideal?

  29. Kristina.J says

    I think you should go back to work, but into a profession that is not based so much on the amount of money you get paid or how often you are promoted. Since you enjoy writing, I think that you should probably try being a professor or elementary school english teacher. Teaching is a profession, that most people do because they love the idea of playing a part in someone’s development, not so much because they are hungry for loads of money.

    Also, my stepfather retired early last year and was living comfortably off of money he had earned from the stock market. But after a few months he became extremely bored and decided to take a part-time job in retail to keep him busy through the day.

    • says

      Teaching definitely sounds like a rewarding occupation. KrantCents above has indicated this as well. I do wonder whether I can get hired as a teacher without any credentials. Perhaps a guest teacher, or a substitute teacher? I’d probably face spitballs though!

    • says

      Well done taking a 4 month sabbatical and then finding paid work again! I was unable to get such a long time off. I wonder if I did, whether I’d still be working. I wish more companies had a sabbatical culture.

  30. says

    Just started to work on my own terms last August. It’s been quite an adventure: good days, bad days. But always learning and for sure don’t want to look back.
    Great article. Thanks!

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