I Didn’t Want to Leave My Job Before Pursuing FI

While Financial Independence mostly contains discussions about how to save more money on X items and put the most away for your retirement now, it’s not all about the money. The most important thing that the pursuit of FI provides those who take the journey is peace of mind.

But wait… you should be happy that you have a job, even if you can’t stand the culture, constant unnecessary pressure and berating, right? WRONG. I used to think that a job was something that you just had to do whether or not you loved it. It was just something that had to get done in order to guarantee that you’ll be able to put food on the table.

I’ve worked for the past 14 years, starting when I was 15 years old, sometimes having as many as 3 jobs at once when I was in college on top of my course work. This wasn’t fun by any means and the third job I picked up at this time is the only job I’ve ever quit; a fact that I was previously very proud of because I am not a quitter. Since starting my journey to FI though, I look at work with a different attitude.

The Good Side of Work

I’ve always been a go-getter. Even at my first job at 15, I showed up early and stayed late. I’ve always worked hard and moved up quickly.  Luckily, I work for a company that does reward hard work and have enjoyed all of my positions here. The pay is good, the benefits are excellent and I enjoy not having to pay for a gym membership, as well as the free personal training that comes along with it.

As far as what I do on a day to day basis, I really enjoy the technical work. I love being able to work with a team to take a problem from root cause analysis. through design to test and verification. I aspire to never hold a job that lacks the aspect of creative problem solving that I’ve had working for the company I do and the programs of which I have been a part.

The Bad Side of Work

Unfortunately, my current position has not been all roses. About 6 months ago, there was a major shift in the way the program was run. This added much more of the paper pushing aspect to my job as opposed to that creative problem solving that I love. As an example, there was one week where I re-made the same presentation 5 times due to uncertainties about how the material was to be presented, each time being told to drop everything else in order to meet a deadline without context of why that deadline existed. Now, more often than not, paperwork and discussing the status of a project has overshadowed the ability to make major progress on the technical work being done at the time.

Even more importantly than this change in my work and workload, the culture surrounding the program has gotten fairly sour with the first principle to walk out the door being respect. It is a stressful program already and the pressures are substantial. I accept that and have worked in stressful environments before, but the lack of respect for others has really changed everything for me.

How FI Helped Me See the Light

Before our pursuit of FI, I would have just dealt with the current climate of my position. I would have just put my head down and done my job, even as my dissatisfaction with how I spend my 50 hours/week grew to the point of not wanting to get out of bed in the morning.

A beautiful sunset after a stressful day at the office. Gentle reminder that there is more than the gray cubicle walls I (and possibly you) see everyday.

We are fortunate to be far enough on our FI journey that even though I am the main breadwinner, we could easily live on just my wife’s income while I pursue another position or career field entirely. My plan forward is not to just quit my job, but knowing that I could do so and we would be okay is unbelievably empowering.

So… Now What?

Well, I’ve recently been offered a new position within the same company. This position is on a completely different program where I will be able to utilize my creative problem solving skills in a new way and on a broader range of technical issues. I’ve very excited for this opportunity. (The raise that comes with it doesn’t hurt either haha.)

Even as this new opportunity begins, I am already looking for another challenge to add to my skill set. I can tell that I don’t want to work a 9-5 job forever and while this job will be very interesting and challenging, I want to use the next few years to pave myself a way out that will make me quitting my job a bit more manageable financially. So, I want to take this opportunity to tell you all that I have begun a certification in Financial coaching and will start to work with clients in a 1-on-1 capacity to help them see the full potential in their financial journey. I’m excited to take this on and will be building out a new page offering these services soon so stay tuned!

Does your job drive you crazy? Are you staying for the money or maybe you’ve set yourself up where you don’t HAVE to stay for the money? I’d love to hear about your story. Leave me a comment below!

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