Author Topic: Afraid of coasting. WTH is wrong with me?  (Read 3277 times)

Bird In Hand

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Re: Afraid of coasting. WTH is wrong with me?
« Reply #50 on: February 12, 2020, 06:17:23 AM »
Right now it may be a challenge to know what you want to do, yet if you give yourself that space, you may push yourself to figure it out.
...
Your worst case scenario is, 6 months later you go back to work and say, jack my hours back up please. I’m sure they will. You have everything to gain by choosing to be brave, daring and experimental. You only get one life, and your family only gets this short time with in the center.

Great stuff @MrThatsDifferent.  Even though I've had similar thoughts myself, it helps me to see other people saying the same thing in a slightly different way.

Bird In Hand

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Re: Afraid of coasting. WTH is wrong with me?
« Reply #51 on: February 12, 2020, 06:25:57 AM »
When our son was born two years ago, we both decided to reduce from full time (40+ hours per week) to "full time part time", i.e. 75% (30 hrs per week).  It's been amazing.

Nice!

Quote
So, for me personally, reducing my hours below the 75% will be a huge drop in benefits, and since it's a cliff, I have a hard time rationalizing it.  Not sure if you've considered that.   The 25% reduction in hours is actually a 25%.  But the 26% reduction in hours is more like a 35% given that I'll lose my health care, lose my 401k match, and lose my PTO.

I'm lucky that my employer provides full benefits (prorated with % time for some things like PTO) down to a 50% schedule.  75% is still pretty good though.  My wife has a similar schedule and she definitely feels more relaxed than when she worked FT.

Bird In Hand

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Re: Afraid of coasting. WTH is wrong with me?
« Reply #52 on: February 12, 2020, 06:38:42 AM »
People have a misconception that "making something a priority" means trying to cram it into their existing lifestyle through sheer will power.

In reality, when something is truly a top priority, it takes no will power to do it and everything else takes a back seat to making sure the priority is met.

I'm going to say this a different way:  your priorities are what you do, not what you say
...
The question is whether your current priorities are actually getting you where you want to be in life.
...
Yes, it takes some courage, but as Malkynn mentioned, if those actions are aligned with your real priorities (not what you tell yourself your priorities are/should be), then it won't really be that hard to pull the trigger once you realize your current path is taking you in a different direction.

I've been aware of the fact that I'm not making decisions that are in accordance with what I say my priorities are, but it's harder to continue sweeping that under the rug when everyone's beating me over the head with my own contradiction.  Nice work @Malkynn and @Laura33 :)

Quote
Whatever you do, don't let yourself wind up in a cycle where you sit and spin for days/weeks/months/years while you waffle over whether you really want to do it or not.  At that point, all the talking and self-analyzing is really just an excuse not to change anything -- it allows you to feel like you're making progress by evaluating and re-evaluating, which eases some of the pressure of the dissatisfaction/ennui, and therefore decreases the sense of urgency that would otherwise push you to actually do something different.

Holy crap, you nailed it.  I'm a chronic cyclical waffler/analyzer on this issue and have been for a few years.  How annoying!

nereo

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Re: Afraid of coasting. WTH is wrong with me?
« Reply #53 on: February 12, 2020, 06:45:05 AM »

Quote
So, for me personally, reducing my hours below the 75% will be a huge drop in benefits, and since it's a cliff, I have a hard time rationalizing it.  Not sure if you've considered that.   The 25% reduction in hours is actually a 25%.  But the 26% reduction in hours is more like a 35% given that I'll lose my health care, lose my 401k match, and lose my PTO.

I'm lucky that my employer provides full benefits (prorated with % time for some things like PTO) down to a 50% schedule.  75% is still pretty good though.  My wife has a similar schedule and she definitely feels more relaxed than when she worked FT.

My father - a physician in a private practice - realized just how much of a cliff he faced when he tried to reduce his hours.  Because of how the practice was structured the substantial overhead was deducted first, and he had set the bar of working 55-60 hours a week for decades.  HIs patients were also predominately older and required far more time per patient than younger ones.   As a result, he tried to go to a 40 hour, 4-day per week schedule but quickly realized that it resulted in an almost 80% pay cut even though it was just a ~35% reduction in time worked.

Makes me glad our jobs scale - so long as we work at least 24 hours per week we get full benefits, and everything is calculated on hours actually worked.

Bird In Hand

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Re: Afraid of coasting. WTH is wrong with me?
« Reply #54 on: February 12, 2020, 06:59:17 AM »
I can say with a FT job and 2 kids and a dog...honestly I'd rather be working 6 hours.  When my husband travels?  It's a shit show.  Something in my regular job has to give, and usually it's exercise and work.

I hear you.  My wife doesn't travel often, but we have three elementary-aged kids, so even when we're both available things can and do get crazy almost every day (most notably getting ready for school, dinner, and bedtime).  When she travels?  Yeah, that can be rough!

Quote
What aren't you getting done that you want to get done?

Heck if I know.  :D  But seriously, this thread has challenged me to think more about questions like that.  The truth is I don't (yet?) have a burning desire to do anything particularly incredible, nor a severe/chronic lack of time for things that need to get done.  Everything is more in the "wouldn't it be nice if I had more time during the work-week for X?" category.  Examples of X:

- being outside
- gardening
- generally moving (vs sitting)
- a long list of things around the house -- painting, minor DIY renovations, etc.
- tidying up/organizing (physical space and digital)
- grocery shopping
- meal prep so mornings and evenings aren't so hectic

None of this stuff is terribly exciting, but then again I'm a pretty low-key person.  I think I would feel happier and calmer if I had time to do these simple things at a relaxed pace when the kids are at school.  Would more time off lead to even greater happiness, or possibly trigger a desire for more meaningful changes?  Maybe.

Malkynn

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Re: Afraid of coasting. WTH is wrong with me?
« Reply #55 on: February 12, 2020, 07:07:10 AM »
People have a misconception that "making something a priority" means trying to cram it into their existing lifestyle through sheer will power.

In reality, when something is truly a top priority, it takes no will power to do it and everything else takes a back seat to making sure the priority is met.

I'm going to say this a different way:  your priorities are what you do, not what you say
...
The question is whether your current priorities are actually getting you where you want to be in life.
...
Yes, it takes some courage, but as Malkynn mentioned, if those actions are aligned with your real priorities (not what you tell yourself your priorities are/should be), then it won't really be that hard to pull the trigger once you realize your current path is taking you in a different direction.

I've been aware of the fact that I'm not making decisions that are in accordance with what I say my priorities are, but it's harder to continue sweeping that under the rug when everyone's beating me over the head with my own contradiction.  Nice work @Malkynn and @Laura33 :)

Quote
Whatever you do, don't let yourself wind up in a cycle where you sit and spin for days/weeks/months/years while you waffle over whether you really want to do it or not.  At that point, all the talking and self-analyzing is really just an excuse not to change anything -- it allows you to feel like you're making progress by evaluating and re-evaluating, which eases some of the pressure of the dissatisfaction/ennui, and therefore decreases the sense of urgency that would otherwise push you to actually do something different.

Holy crap, you nailed it.  I'm a chronic cyclical waffler/analyzer on this issue and have been for a few years.  How annoying!

Not making a decision *IS* making a decision.
You realize that, right????

Not making a decision is the wimpy way of making a shitty decision and fooling yourself into letting yourself off the hook for it.

Make no mistake and understand this clearly: you have actively and consciously DECIDED to not pursue a path that you know you want.

You decided, no one decided for you, and no significant external pressure or consequences exist to motivate you to make that decision. And yet, you continue, every single day to actively choose a path you do not want.

Don't let yourself off the hook with "I can't seem to decide", you ARE deciding. You are living EXACTLY the way you have chosen to live. You are choosing a sedentary lifestyle that you know is bad for you and that you know full well that every day you choose it is a day more that you will need to try and offset with future effort.

You're the person who wants to lose weight and says "I'll start eating healthy tomorrow" and then binges at a restaurant today and somehow considers that a healthy part of the process, even though they don't actually start eating healthy the next day and these day-before binges keep happening for months. (Actual example of a coworker who committed this year that they will lose substantial weight by their birthday...which is now 2 months away and they've gained weight)

Never lie to yourself that inaction is the same as avoiding making a decision. That is the most insidious lie that people tell themselves.

I repeat: you are living EXACTLY the life that you have chosen for yourself.

Malkynn

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Re: Afraid of coasting. WTH is wrong with me?
« Reply #56 on: February 12, 2020, 07:17:25 AM »
People have a misconception that "making something a priority" means trying to cram it into their existing lifestyle through sheer will power.

In reality, when something is truly a top priority, it takes no will power to do it and everything else takes a back seat to making sure the priority is met.

I'm going to say this a different way:  your priorities are what you do, not what you say
...
The question is whether your current priorities are actually getting you where you want to be in life.
...
Yes, it takes some courage, but as Malkynn mentioned, if those actions are aligned with your real priorities (not what you tell yourself your priorities are/should be), then it won't really be that hard to pull the trigger once you realize your current path is taking you in a different direction.

I've been aware of the fact that I'm not making decisions that are in accordance with what I say my priorities are, but it's harder to continue sweeping that under the rug when everyone's beating me over the head with my own contradiction.  Nice work @Malkynn and @Laura33 :)

Quote
Whatever you do, don't let yourself wind up in a cycle where you sit and spin for days/weeks/months/years while you waffle over whether you really want to do it or not.  At that point, all the talking and self-analyzing is really just an excuse not to change anything -- it allows you to feel like you're making progress by evaluating and re-evaluating, which eases some of the pressure of the dissatisfaction/ennui, and therefore decreases the sense of urgency that would otherwise push you to actually do something different.

Holy crap, you nailed it.  I'm a chronic cyclical waffler/analyzer on this issue and have been for a few years.  How annoying!

Not making a decision *IS* making a decision.
You realize that, right????

Not making a decision is the wimpy way of making a shitty decision and fooling yourself into letting yourself off the hook for it.

Make no mistake and understand this clearly: you have actively and consciously DECIDED to not pursue a path that you know you want.

You decided, no one decided for you, and no significant external pressure or consequences exist to motivate you to make that decision. And yet, you continue, every single day to actively choose a path you do not want.

Don't let yourself off the hook with "I can't seem to decide", you ARE deciding. You are living EXACTLY the way you have chosen to live. You are choosing a sedentary lifestyle that you know is bad for you and that you know full well that every day you choose it is a day more that you will need to try and offset with future effort.

You're the person who wants to lose weight and says "I'll start eating healthy tomorrow" and then binges at a restaurant today and somehow considers that a healthy part of the process, even though they don't actually start eating healthy the next day and these day-before binges keep happening for months. (Actual example of a coworker who committed this year that they will lose substantial weight by their birthday...which is now 2 months away and they've gained weight)

Never lie to yourself that inaction is the same as avoiding making a decision. That is the most insidious lie that people tell themselves.

I repeat: you are living EXACTLY the life that you have chosen for yourself.

nereo

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Re: Afraid of coasting. WTH is wrong with me?
« Reply #57 on: February 12, 2020, 07:32:23 AM »
Quote
What aren't you getting done that you want to get done?

Heck if I know.  :D  But seriously, this thread has challenged me to think more about questions like that.  The truth is I don't (yet?) have a burning desire to do anything particularly incredible, nor a severe/chronic lack of time for things that need to get done.  Everything is more in the "wouldn't it be nice if I had more time during the work-week for X?" category.  Examples of X:

- being outside
- gardening
- generally moving (vs sitting)
- a long list of things around the house -- painting, minor DIY renovations, etc.
- tidying up/organizing (physical space and digital)
- grocery shopping
- meal prep so mornings and evenings aren't so hectic

None of this stuff is terribly exciting, but then again I'm a pretty low-key person.  I think I would feel happier and calmer if I had time to do these simple things at a relaxed pace when the kids are at school.  Would more time off lead to even greater happiness, or possibly trigger a desire for more meaningful changes?  Maybe.
Your list is not that different from what I miss about having a 4-day work week (and no toddler!).

Unlike many here, we’re not running from our careers.  We both rather enjoy what we do but realize a full work week does not leave us with enough time to do the dozens of things we hope to do in just two short days each weekend.  An additional day off changes all that. 

FWIW, my hobbies expanded greatly with that extra day off.  Without the need to cram all the cleaning and laundry into a short weekend my goal of simply exercising more expanded to joining a group that went hiking regularly. Basically my goals each week shifted from something simple (e.g. “weed my pathetic garden patch”) to something a bit more grandiose and ultimately more rewarding (e.g. build new planters to fit the odd-sized corner of my yard).

In retrospect I realize that during ‘normal’ 2-day weekends I was just completing the minimum of what I **actually** wanted to do (and often doing that poorly).  With the added day I was able to go from the minimum to doing what I really wanted, and doing it well.

Bird In Hand

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Re: Afraid of coasting. WTH is wrong with me?
« Reply #58 on: February 12, 2020, 09:11:29 AM »
Not making a decision *IS* making a decision.
You realize that, right????
...
Not making a decision is the wimpy way of making a shitty decision and fooling yourself into letting yourself off the hook for it.
...
You decided, no one decided for you, and no significant external pressure or consequences exist to motivate you to make that decision. And yet, you continue, every single day to actively choose a path you do not want.
...
I repeat: you are living EXACTLY the life that you have chosen for yourself.

I hear you loud and clear.  I greatly appreciate what you're saying (and the time you spent typing it out), and I just wanted to reiterate that your incisive input is valuable to me.  You're really good at this stuff.

Bird In Hand

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Re: Afraid of coasting. WTH is wrong with me?
« Reply #59 on: February 12, 2020, 09:38:08 AM »
My father - a physician in a private practice - realized just how much of a cliff he faced when he tried to reduce his hours.
...
As a result, he tried to go to a 40 hour, 4-day per week schedule but quickly realized that it resulted in an almost 80% pay cut even though it was just a ~35% reduction in time worked.

Ouch!  It's basically the exact opposite for me and probably for most of us: reducing work hours by X% results in a reduction in take-home pay of (X% of salary)*(1-(FED+FICA+STATE+LOCAL taxes).  In higher-tax states/cities this could mean a 35% reduction in work hours results in only a 20% reduction in take-home pay.

Quote
Makes me glad our jobs scale - so long as we work at least 24 hours per week we get full benefits, and everything is calculated on hours actually worked.

For sure.  It is a bit of a bummer that the vacation scales, but I don't think I'll miss it much when working PT hours.

Bird In Hand

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Re: Afraid of coasting. WTH is wrong with me?
« Reply #60 on: February 12, 2020, 09:49:43 AM »
Your list is not that different from what I miss about having a 4-day work week (and no toddler!).

Sorry if I overlooked it before, but do I understand correctly that you used to have a 4-day work week but don't anymore?  If so, what got you back to 5-day, and is there any prospect of going back?  From what you said below it sure sounds like you enjoyed that day off.

Quote
FWIW, my hobbies expanded greatly with that extra day off.  Without the need to cram all the cleaning and laundry into a short weekend my goal of simply exercising more expanded to joining a group that went hiking regularly. Basically my goals each week shifted from something simple (e.g. “weed my pathetic garden patch”) to something a bit more grandiose and ultimately more rewarding (e.g. build new planters to fit the odd-sized corner of my yard).

I'm definitely curious to see whether my ambition ramps up once I have a taste of free time.  Though if it ramps up beyond the available time, or to an extent that I'm faced with quitting my job a lot earlier than I had anticipated, well...that'll be a whole new challenge I guess!

Quote
In retrospect I realize that during ‘normal’ 2-day weekends I was just completing the minimum of what I **actually** wanted to do (and often doing that poorly).  With the added day I was able to go from the minimum to doing what I really wanted, and doing it well.

I like this.  Often I do feel like I'm kind of coasting along and doing the bare minimum.  Hahah, this brings to mind the scene from Office Space where Mike Judge's character is trying to guilt his employee to going beyond the bare minimum and "express herself" with more flair.

Laura33

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Re: Afraid of coasting. WTH is wrong with me?
« Reply #61 on: February 12, 2020, 09:59:34 AM »
People have a misconception that "making something a priority" means trying to cram it into their existing lifestyle through sheer will power.

In reality, when something is truly a top priority, it takes no will power to do it and everything else takes a back seat to making sure the priority is met.

I'm going to say this a different way:  your priorities are what you do, not what you say
...
The question is whether your current priorities are actually getting you where you want to be in life.
...
Yes, it takes some courage, but as Malkynn mentioned, if those actions are aligned with your real priorities (not what you tell yourself your priorities are/should be), then it won't really be that hard to pull the trigger once you realize your current path is taking you in a different direction.

I've been aware of the fact that I'm not making decisions that are in accordance with what I say my priorities are, but it's harder to continue sweeping that under the rug when everyone's beating me over the head with my own contradiction.  Nice work @Malkynn and @Laura33 :)

Quote
Whatever you do, don't let yourself wind up in a cycle where you sit and spin for days/weeks/months/years while you waffle over whether you really want to do it or not.  At that point, all the talking and self-analyzing is really just an excuse not to change anything -- it allows you to feel like you're making progress by evaluating and re-evaluating, which eases some of the pressure of the dissatisfaction/ennui, and therefore decreases the sense of urgency that would otherwise push you to actually do something different.

Holy crap, you nailed it.  I'm a chronic cyclical waffler/analyzer on this issue and have been for a few years.  How annoying!

Not making a decision *IS* making a decision.
You realize that, right????

Not making a decision is the wimpy way of making a shitty decision and fooling yourself into letting yourself off the hook for it.

Make no mistake and understand this clearly: you have actively and consciously DECIDED to not pursue a path that you know you want.

You decided, no one decided for you, and no significant external pressure or consequences exist to motivate you to make that decision. And yet, you continue, every single day to actively choose a path you do not want.

Don't let yourself off the hook with "I can't seem to decide", you ARE deciding. You are living EXACTLY the way you have chosen to live. You are choosing a sedentary lifestyle that you know is bad for you and that you know full well that every day you choose it is a day more that you will need to try and offset with future effort.

You're the person who wants to lose weight and says "I'll start eating healthy tomorrow" and then binges at a restaurant today and somehow considers that a healthy part of the process, even though they don't actually start eating healthy the next day and these day-before binges keep happening for months. (Actual example of a coworker who committed this year that they will lose substantial weight by their birthday...which is now 2 months away and they've gained weight)

Never lie to yourself that inaction is the same as avoiding making a decision. That is the most insidious lie that people tell themselves.

I repeat: you are living EXACTLY the life that you have chosen for yourself.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpOyQhgM1FU

BurtMacklin

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Re: Afraid of coasting. WTH is wrong with me?
« Reply #62 on: February 12, 2020, 10:10:09 AM »
Laura 33- nice!

Malkynn

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Re: Afraid of coasting. WTH is wrong with me?
« Reply #63 on: February 12, 2020, 10:12:47 AM »
Not making a decision *IS* making a decision.
You realize that, right????
...
Not making a decision is the wimpy way of making a shitty decision and fooling yourself into letting yourself off the hook for it.
...
You decided, no one decided for you, and no significant external pressure or consequences exist to motivate you to make that decision. And yet, you continue, every single day to actively choose a path you do not want.
...
I repeat: you are living EXACTLY the life that you have chosen for yourself.

I hear you loud and clear.  I greatly appreciate what you're saying (and the time you spent typing it out), and I just wanted to reiterate that your incisive input is valuable to me.  You're really good at this stuff.

I'm on a sort of sick leave right now where I'm desperately trying to keep myself from being too productive, so typing away on the forums keeps me from doing any real work or writing, which is good. So thanks for the distraction.

Let me add a little more perspective that just bubbled up while I'm currently out enjoying a stunning sunny midday walk because I'm not at work.

Your only fear is that you don't trust yourself. Your only fear is that you can't predict your own reaction to more free time. Paradoxically, the more you continue to make the decision to stay put against your own desires, the more you erode your own trust in yourself, and the scarier it becomes to contemplate what your own behaviour might be.

As someone who specializes in living a life jam packed with legitimately Scary Shit™, actual danger isn't really all that scary. You face it, freak out, and then deal with it, because actual scary shit doesn't really give you a choice. You just deal. That's it, you just deal.

So what you are afraid of is exactly what you are currently doing: behaving in a way that confirms that you cannot trust your own decision making mechanisms.

You aren't afraid of anything except the very behaviour you are currently engaging in, because if you trusted your own decisions/reactions/behaviour, you would never be afraid of having more free time and space to engage in them.

nereo

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Re: Afraid of coasting. WTH is wrong with me?
« Reply #64 on: February 12, 2020, 10:52:48 AM »
Your list is not that different from what I miss about having a 4-day work week (and no toddler!).

Sorry if I overlooked it before, but do I understand correctly that you used to have a 4-day work week but don't anymore?  If so, what got you back to 5-day, and is there any prospect of going back?  From what you said below it sure sounds like you enjoyed that day off.

Quote
FWIW, my hobbies expanded greatly with that extra day off.  Without the need to cram all the cleaning and laundry into a short weekend my goal of simply exercising more expanded to joining a group that went hiking regularly. Basically my goals each week shifted from something simple (e.g. “weed my pathetic garden patch”) to something a bit more grandiose and ultimately more rewarding (e.g. build new planters to fit the odd-sized corner of my yard).

I'm definitely curious to see whether my ambition ramps up once I have a taste of free time.  Though if it ramps up beyond the available time, or to an extent that I'm faced with quitting my job a lot earlier than I had anticipated, well...that'll be a whole new challenge I guess!

Quote
In retrospect I realize that during ‘normal’ 2-day weekends I was just completing the minimum of what I **actually** wanted to do (and often doing that poorly).  With the added day I was able to go from the minimum to doing what I really wanted, and doing it well.

I like this.  Often I do feel like I'm kind of coasting along and doing the bare minimum.  Hahah, this brings to mind the scene from Office Space where Mike Judge's character is trying to guilt his employee to going beyond the bare minimum and "express herself" with more flair.

Ah, a bit of backstory;  about a decade ago I was working for a state agency when budget cuts triggered by the ‘Great Recession’ forced (almost) all agencies to be furloughed one day per week.  I was among those furloughed and it lasted for almost three years. 

For a variety of reasons I left to get my graduate degree, which I completed in 2018.  Having gotten ‘a taste’ of what a 4-day-a-week can do for our lives my spouse and I have deliberately put ourselves onto a path where we will have something which resembles part-time* on/around 2020.  Many would say we sacrificed to get this, but it was always part of our plan.  We’ve saved enough where market-forces alone should bring us to our FI-number in a decade or so, and the next few years should cut that time period in half.  As our expenses are below-average it’s a pretty low target for us to earn enough to cover expenses each year, and we think of anything additional saved as gravy/extra financial security.

*In a bit more granular detail - spouse’s work has an intense ~10 week period each winter but far less requirements the rest of the year.  I have a summer field season and fall teaching, but otherwise could work part-time... or not at all.  Rather than the typical ~230 work-days/year we both plan on something closer to 150.  Being off-set is somewhat intensional, as it reduces/eliminates most of our daycare needs.  Of course this is our plan to start in Fall 2022 - we’ve yet to put it into action.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Afraid of coasting. WTH is wrong with me?
« Reply #65 on: February 12, 2020, 11:45:59 AM »
OP, you’ve got a ton of feedback, all saying virtually the same thing, which you’re clearly aware of and aligned with, so: what is your plan now, and when will you put that plan in action?

Retire-Canada

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Re: Afraid of coasting. WTH is wrong with me?
« Reply #66 on: February 12, 2020, 11:50:14 AM »

Bird In Hand

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Re: Afraid of coasting. WTH is wrong with me?
« Reply #67 on: February 13, 2020, 10:19:01 AM »
OP, you’ve got a ton of feedback, all saying virtually the same thing, which you’re clearly aware of and aligned with, so: what is your plan now, and when will you put that plan in action?

I was preparing to talk with my boss next week about it, but he's going to be on travel for the next 2 weeks.  I'm going to put something on his calendar for the first week of March.  That gives me some time to think over what I'm going to say.  I do feel some time pressure to take care of this soon, because there's a good chance my boss is retiring within the next year.

As far as the details of my request / a specific plan that I might propose, I need to figure that out as well.  I imagine my request will be viewed more favorably if don't go in guns-a-blazing and just state that I intend on starting the transition ASAP regardless of what's going on at work.  We have a new client coming on board soon, and I don't want management to feel like I'm totally oblivious to how my schedule might affect that and other ongoing work.