Author Topic: Should I go for outrageous optimism or stay in a career I don't enjoy?  (Read 1640 times)

gramnaes

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 5
Hi there Mustachians!

I'd be very grateful for some thoughts on my situation. I'm 34 years old, no kids and currently have a decent paying engineering job. The only problem is that I've come to loathe this job and it's getting worse every day. Through various circumstances, the work I'm supposed to do makes me feel dishonest and at conflict with my moral compass. I've raised the issue with my boss, but he didn't take it very well and basically told me to get a more positive attitude.

Last October I saw the Mustachian light and since then me and my girlfriend have gone from financially illiterate clowns to a 60% savings rate.

This makes matters a bit complicated and the dilemma is basically: Should I stay put and continue building the stash while browsing for a new engineering job, or should I just assume outrageous optimism, quit right now and feel confident I'll be able to create something awesome before money trouble hits?

Our situation at the moment:

*We have two years of living expenses saved up (43 000 USD)
*Our only debt is our student loans (also at a rough total of 43 000 USD). The interest rate is at 0,15% and the monthly payment totals 300 USD. It's all government run and the interest rate will always stay just a fraction above the central bank rate.
*We live in an amazing, rent controlled apartment within walking distance of everything, so no car ownership and muscle over motor reigns supreme.
*We live in Sweden, meaning free health care and an unemployment insurance that'll easily cover our living expenses for one year -even if I'm the one who quits
*My girlfriend has her own buiness and her earnings can currently pay our living expenses without problem

If I'm honest with myself I don't think I ever wanted to be an engineer, but chose it out of fear of the poverty I grew up in. If I could dream freely I'd just quit my job right now and get certified within personal training and nutrition. Then I'd start a consultancy business helping people who are successful professionally but have no clue about how to take care of themselves. If I don't see any signs of it taking off after a year I guess I could just resume my engineering career, continue the stash building and reach FI a bit later.

So, to summarize, I guess my question is: Should I shut up & toughen up, keep engineering until FI, or use our current pretty robust situation as a launchpad into something more fulfilling and maybe just as lucrative as the engineering job?

Once again, I would be eternally grateful for your thoughts, o wise Mustachians!
« Last Edit: June 13, 2018, 07:55:54 AM by gramnaes »

Malkynn

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 754
I left a very high paying shit job while still carrying over 200K in student debt.

It was the best decision I ever made, and I canít believe I ever considered staying there until I reached full FIRE. I now personally consider hating a job to be an emergency situation that should be top priority to resolve. Iím actually now totally spoiled and consider disliking anything significant about my job to be an urgent issue in need of speedy resolution.

The fun part: I took a massive pay cut leaving my old job, but 2 years later, after focusing primarily on my own happiness, and refusing to do work I donít want to do, Iím actually set up to make far more money than my previous job would have given me, and under infinitely less stress and pressure.

For me, outrageous optimism is paying off big time.

I donít know what that means for you, but Iím happy to share my personal experience of not waiting for any level of security before prioritizing building my best life. No FIRE, no FU money, no plan even...I just got pushed too far one day, gave my notice the next, and made a commitment to myself to live better.

elliha

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 176
I think you should go for it (I am in Sweden too so I know the country) and quit or if really cannot bring yourself to do it, start looking for new jobs but stay put until you have a new offer. Don't stay too long if you are not satisfied (coming from one who has already gone past the point of staying too long in her current job), it will either become harder or you will might start to suffer health problems.

Linda_Norway

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2822
Another voice for leaving as soon as you can. Start looking for a new job now. Mental stress is very bad for your health.

Is there a chance you could let yourself get fired from your job with a nice goodbye package (6 months salary or so)?

You say that your GF can provide for both of you and you can claim unemployment money for a year. Then it sounds like a good idea to quit and study, but make sure to have a new job when the year is over. I presume you GF does not want to stay the sole cost winner for a long time.
Be aware that a new study again costs money. Are you sure this is going to be an investment that will pay off? It might take some time before a consultancy firm is running well. On the other hand, your GF knows how to run a company, so she can help with insights on how to do it. And a consultancy firm is something you can start small, beside a (PT) job, and build up later.

Your study loan is probably one your should keep as long as you can with that low interest.

nessness

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 193
What does your girlfriend think? Since you'd be living off her income and your shared savings, that's really the most important thing.

ETA: I missed the part where you'd get unemployment that would cover your living expenses (even if you voluntarily quit? That's surprising). But this would still significantly affect your girlfriend, so I maintain that her opinion is the most important).

Do you want kids, and if so, on what timeframe? Do you want to keep both working, or have one of you stay home, or delay kids until FIRE?

Definitely start making an exit plan from your current job, but I don't think we can give you sound advice on whether to look for another engineering job or explore other careers without knowing the answers to those kinds of questions.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2018, 08:23:38 AM by nessness »

grundomatic

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 42
I was in a similar situation a few years ago. Thought I was unhappy with my company, so I found a higher paying position at a better company. A few months there and I realized I was done with that career field. I was talking with my GF (now wife), and she asked "Why don't you just quit?" It hadn't even occurred to me.

I left without a plan, and had a new job in a new field within about a month. It was a major lifestyle upgrade--I couldn't be happier now.

You have a bigger safety net than I did--my GF could pay most of the bills, but I didn't have that much savings or unemployment insurance. I say get out now.

It seems like you still have some reservations, so if it makes you feel better, make a plan and then quit. Maybe you'll feel more comfortable if you get the certification you want before you quit. If so do that. Figure out what your hang up is, address it, then get out and get on with the life you want to live.


formerlydivorcedmom

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 469
  • Location: Texas
The point of FU money, to me, is that I have the freedom to live according to my values.

You have FU money.  If your job feels unethical or dishonest to you, quit.  Today.  Do not compromise your ethics for money.

Take 2-4 weeks to decompress.  Then you can decide what path you want to take next.
Boldly leading a blended family into (future) financial independence

AZDude

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1288
You do not need this job. You hate this job. You feel like this job is immoral/dishonest. You have $43,000 saved up and you live very frugally.

Why is this even a question? Quit, and then find something better.

SunnyDays

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 84
What Elliha said.  It's always easier to find a new job if you're already employed.  You could then start your health-related interest as a side-job,see how that goes, and if it's promising, then leave the new job to do that full time.

nurseart

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 46
I would quit, take a month to decompress and then go from there. My bet is you will decide that you really aren't interested in an engineering job and will start the consulting side hustle :)

gramnaes

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 5
Big thanks for all the feedback and advise everyone, that really made my day! The jury seems to be in favour of outrageous optimism so far =)

Malkynn: That's very encouraging to hear and it would awesome if you'd like to share how you did it!

elliha: Cool, another Swede! Then you know all about fŲrstahandskontrakt, CSN and a-kassa =) Thanks for highlighting the health dimension. Early stress symptoms are creeping up and I guess I stand a greater chance of forging a new path if I don't have to fight burnout simultaneously.

Linda_Norway: Hey, I'm half Norwegian =) Unfortunately I don't think I can get fired without doing something seriously offensive. My GF will have my back, I payed the bills when she took some time finding her feet and she'll happily do the same for me.

nessness: Yup, welcome to Sweden! It'll have 2 month lag compared to if I'd get laid off, but I'm still entitled to it as long as I'm actively pursuing other opportunities. We do want kids soon and that's why I feel some urgency - I don't want to be a stressed out and miserable parent. We'd like to be at home with the kid as much as possible, which is not too since the parents get 240 days of paid leave each for every kid around here. Also health care, day care, schools and universities are all virtually free of charge so the financial implications aren't as severe as I understand them to be in the US.


grundomatic: That's really cool! What did you do before and what are you doing now?

formerlydivorcedmom Huh, it hadn't really occured to me that this is FU money. I guess it becomes that when you also have FU low expenses!

AZDude: Thanks for not beating around the bush! I needed that.

SunnyDays: That's absolutely a valid concern. On the other hand the job market for engineers is really good here in Gothenburg so I could probably come crawling back with my tail between my legs prettty successfully =)

nurseart Thanks! Time will tell =)

Malkynn

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 754
Sure!
What do you want to know?

Broad strokes are:

I quit my crazy job along with three quarters of the staff.
I found an AMAZING job, but it was only part time. I figured I would start there, get my bearings and then look for additional part time work elsewhere. In my profession, part time work is actually easier to find and itís normal to work in multiple offices.

Anyway, I worked 3 days a week and spent the first 6 or so months just adjusting to the demands of the new place, where the standards are sooooo much higher, and decompressing from the overworked stress of my previous job and the many years of school before that.

I still made plenty of money, so I actually gave myself permission to just stay at 3 days a week, take a few extra years to reach my financial goals, and just be a happy and healthy person. I took all pressure off myself to accomplish anything beyond being great at my part time job.

It was lovely for awhile...but Iím not a sit still kind of person apparently.

Within a year, between volunteering, networking, mentoring, and studying things like finance, I managed to end up in the right rooms with the right people and enough boldness to suggest starting cool amazing projects, because...well why the fuck not?

From there, I developed 3 side hustles, all of which feed into each other and benefit from each other without any conflict of interest, and all of which required a sum total investment of $11K, all tax deductible.

gramnaes

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 5
Malkynn: That's so inspiring, thanks a lot for sharing :) It's getting more obvious the more I think about it - I'd much rather have 15 fun years until FIRE than 10 miserable ones. Also, as I've seen first hand a few times, life can end up beinga lot shorter than you think so I better make the most out of it!   

What was the crazy job exactly and what's the amazing 3 days a week job?

What is it you do in the side hustles?

Malkynn

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 754
Malkynn: That's so inspiring, thanks a lot for sharing :) It's getting more obvious the more I think about it - I'd much rather have 15 fun years until FIRE than 10 miserable ones. Also, as I've seen first hand a few times, life can end up beinga lot shorter than you think so I better make the most out of it!   

What was the crazy job exactly and what's the amazing 3 days a week job?

What is it you do in the side hustles?

I had the exact same attitude: I would rather 15 great years than 10 miserable ones. Now that Iím actually happy, I would say that I would rather have to work until I literally canít work anymore doing things I enjoy than spend even 5 years miserable. Literally nothing could make me go back to being voluntarily miserable ever again.

My day job is as a medical professional.
The crazy job was crazy due to the ever increasing hours, ever reduced quality of conditions I was expected to work with, and the attitude of the clinic owner. I now work with an amazing owner who insists on only the highest level of care for the patients, invests in the best of everything, and is generally a great person and we work as partners even though neither of us is interested in me buying in to the practice.

Side hustle 1: I recently started a practice thatís limited to specific procedures that arenít done by most of my colleagues, and for now Iím able to run it within my day job practice, so very little overhead for me as I build it

Side hustle 2: I write for an online national platform for my profession

Side hustle 3: I was recently brought on by a high end finance firm to develop of subsidiary of the company that specifically caters to medical professionals

grundomatic

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 42
I went from being a restaurant manager to being an elementary teacher. Love the time off and not having to be at work evenings and weekends! Time with friends! Vacations without guilt! Not to mention endless hugs and notes and art telling me I'm the best!

gramnaes

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 5
Malkynn: Thank you for validating that way of thinking =) And, wow, I'm really happy things worked out that well for you!

groundomatic: That sounds like such a rewarding way to spend your working days! No endless hugs and notes and art telling me I'm the best at the moment haha. That sure would be a sight to behold in this office!

Malkynn

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 754
Malkynn: Thank you for validating that way of thinking =) And, wow, I'm really happy things worked out that well for you!

Life is fucking short man.

FIRE wonít make your life good, you have to do that.

iwanttobelive2

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 6
Personally I don't think staying in a job you hate so you can leanfire/fire earlier is a good idea, unless the time frame is like 1-5 years to retirement. I'd switch to a job you more enjoy. Also don't quit without another job lined up.

Cwadda

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2076
  • Age: 23
If you have a job that is at odds with your moral compass, that is definitely enough reason to get out. Even if there is no stress involved. If you feel guilty about the work you do or going into work each day knowing that you're doing something wrong, get out.

patchyfacialhair

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 612
Definitely get out, but at least here in the states, it's much easier to find a new job while still employed.

Even though you have a safety net in the form of unemployment and the gf, you may find it easier to find that next step if you prevent a gap in your resume. Of course, that's my USA perspective.

Linda_Norway

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2822
Personally I don't think staying in a job you hate so you can leanfire/fire earlier is a good idea, unless the time frame is like 1-5 years to retirement. I'd switch to a job you more enjoy. Also don't quit without another job lined up.

Every job has it's ups and downs. In my case I hate some of the stressful situations/periods and some of the tasks that I'm assigned to. Also a person who works for me but is so terribly unsure about everything and asks questions about each tiny little thing. But all in all, I have a very short commute and am not depending on stressful train commuting to work. Driving a car to the city is no option. So working outside the city in my own community is great. My work is important for the customers and for society, although they don't know that. And most colleagues are very much okay. My leader listens to me and prioritizes the social aspect. Some of my tasks are nice to work with. So all in all I'll stay here to FIRE, in end 2019 or early 2020, depending on lots of things. But I am considering to ask for working 80% to make my working part of life less stressful.

elliha

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 176
Definitely get out, but at least here in the states, it's much easier to find a new job while still employed.

Even though you have a safety net in the form of unemployment and the gf, you may find it easier to find that next step if you prevent a gap in your resume. Of course, that's my USA perspective.

I would say the same is true in Sweden. While a gap in your resume is not necessarily a huge problem the process is easier with a job and if you have quit multiple jobs it may affect you and you need to be prepared to discuss it. Of course, if you are not in an extremely high demand field it is possible to just lie and say that you looked for jobs but didn't get any during that time but if you are in a field where you would easily find a new one right away if you have left an employment I would go for 100% honesty why you were out and what you were doing and try to sound confident in how this is beneficial for the employer that you have done this.

Linda_Norway

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2822
Definitely get out, but at least here in the states, it's much easier to find a new job while still employed.

Even though you have a safety net in the form of unemployment and the gf, you may find it easier to find that next step if you prevent a gap in your resume. Of course, that's my USA perspective.

I would say the same is true in Sweden. While a gap in your resume is not necessarily a huge problem the process is easier with a job and if you have quit multiple jobs it may affect you and you need to be prepared to discuss it. Of course, if you are not in an extremely high demand field it is possible to just lie and say that you looked for jobs but didn't get any during that time but if you are in a field where you would easily find a new one right away if you have left an employment I would go for 100% honesty why you were out and what you were doing and try to sound confident in how this is beneficial for the employer that you have done this.

I always write the items in my CV with mention of the from-year and the to-year, not including the months. This way, a small gap is not visible.

elliha

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 176
Definitely get out, but at least here in the states, it's much easier to find a new job while still employed.

Even though you have a safety net in the form of unemployment and the gf, you may find it easier to find that next step if you prevent a gap in your resume. Of course, that's my USA perspective.

I would say the same is true in Sweden. While a gap in your resume is not necessarily a huge problem the process is easier with a job and if you have quit multiple jobs it may affect you and you need to be prepared to discuss it. Of course, if you are not in an extremely high demand field it is possible to just lie and say that you looked for jobs but didn't get any during that time but if you are in a field where you would easily find a new one right away if you have left an employment I would go for 100% honesty why you were out and what you were doing and try to sound confident in how this is beneficial for the employer that you have done this.

I always write the items in my CV with mention of the from-year and the to-year, not including the months. This way, a small gap is not visible.

My husband got this advice too when trying to make his CV better.

gramnaes

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 5
Sorry, didn't check in for a while - thought the thread had died :)

I'm leaning towards getting out and assuming I'll land on my feet. I'm in the process of joining a great network of self employed consultants who have one of the cleverest setups I've seen so far. So, no weird CV-gap if I go that route.

The plan now is to quit on Monday, go to the Spanish mountains for a month and then get consulting.

I'll keep you posted if you're interested!

Linda_Norway

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2822
Sorry, didn't check in for a while - thought the thread had died :)

I'm leaning towards getting out and assuming I'll land on my feet. I'm in the process of joining a great network of self employed consultants who have one of the cleverest setups I've seen so far. So, no weird CV-gap if I go that route.

The plan now is to quit on Monday, go to the Spanish mountains for a month and then get consulting.

I'll keep you posted if you're interested!

Have a nice trip in Spain and good luck with your consulting business. Even if it doesn't work out, it will probably look okay on your CV to be your own consultant.

Please keep us updated in this thread.