Author Topic: Friends who are coworkers  (Read 3957 times)

dragoncar

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Friends who are coworkers
« on: March 07, 2017, 09:24:33 PM »
I know we've discussed friends' reactions, and coworkers' reactions, but not really both at the same time.

I'm OK friends with a few people who started at the same time as me.  As in, I wouldn't mind keeping some relationship outside of work, but I'm not extremely attached. 

When I gave notice, I mostly told people that I was taking some time off to travel and pursue other interests (which is true, but possibly misleading).  Given the nature of the discussions, I didn't have to answer any in-depth questions about these plans.

But I'm going to be having dinner with a coworker friend soon, and I'm not sure what to say if the topic comes up.  If I'm completely honest, maybe the truth will get spread around the office -- is this a bad thing?  I don't want to burn bridges.  Moreover, the coworker obviously had the exact opportunity to do what I did.  I wonder if honesty will cause ill will there.

On the other hand, if I stay vague, it might just seem like I'm being dishonest and hurt the friendship.  Like I said, I'm not personally gonna cry if I never see this person again, but our wives are friends and they have been a part of our lives. 

So in the end, the situation isn't that different from telling normal friends or coworkers, except there's the more acute comparison aspect -- we've both made the same salary and had the same regional opportunities.

Maybe I'm just overthinking it, but if anyone has any anecdotes please let me know how it worked out with your coworker friends after you FIREd.

Goldielocks

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Re: Friends who are coworkers
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2017, 10:30:36 PM »
My co-worker friend already knows that I am frugal and don't spend much money -- older car, never eating out, take transit to work, don't buy new clothes, etc.

So no jealous surprise that we are in different places.

I do find that I am describing the new consulting lifestyle business I am moving to, yet I am not actually do much to bring it about.  People are definitely reassured that I am moving towards something, even those for whom I just say I want to look into more charity / volunteer work, or mention a vacation I am planning.   

People are uncomfortable with a vacuum, as long as I paint a picture of something I am going to do, others find it comforting.


When is your last day?  I must have missed it...   Mine is Friday, although there is a story behind it...

mandy_2002

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Re: Friends who are coworkers
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2017, 08:20:56 AM »
I told my close work friends that I was retiring about 8 months before it happened. These were women that I went on vacations with, so they knew me and my frugality pretty well. One commented that we went on the exact same vacation and I somehow spent half what she did.

I was honest with work when I put in my notice (about 4 weeks early), so they didn't have to hide anything after I gave my notice.

I did retire to the Peace Corps so mousy people just humored me and assume that I'll do some other kind of work after. I may, I have about 8 options and 5 of them involve some kind of work, but the last likely of these 5 is that I go back to Chem Eng.
Retired:  April 2016
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Sure this is technically a job (the toughest you'll ever love, I hear), but I went from 60-90 hrs a week to living in a foreign country on Uncle Sam's dime teaching English ~20 hrs/week when schools in session, so I'll take it.
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lthenderson

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Re: Friends who are coworkers
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2017, 08:30:03 AM »
I still stay in touch with a couple of them that were as fiscally conservative as me but not as far along. Those that weren't, we have gradually faded apart. However, they have been replaced by others I have met outside of work who like me, have time to do things that 9 to 5'ers don't.

bacchi

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Re: Friends who are coworkers
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2017, 08:59:21 AM »
You don't have to get in your coworker's grill, "I'm done forever, muthafuckah! Bwahahaha!!!"

Tell your coworker that you're on an extended sabbatical and leave it at that.

The wisdom around here is true: opportunities just show up, unasked. I've had more unbidden job offers than I had when I was actively seeking work.

dragoncar

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Re: Friends who are coworkers
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2017, 10:41:15 AM »



When is your last day?  I must have missed it...   Mine is Friday, although there is a story behind it...

I only mentioned it in the 2017 cohort thread, but hopefully this Friday.  Unfortunately, it's up to some interpretation at the moment since I said I was flexible.

Goldielocks

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Re: Friends who are coworkers
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2017, 11:54:02 AM »



When is your last day?  I must have missed it...   Mine is Friday, although there is a story behind it...

I only mentioned it in the 2017 cohort thread, but hopefully this Friday.  Unfortunately, it's up to some interpretation at the moment since I said I was flexible.

Ah, I know.  I agreed to stay on the books as casual, hourly, call up basis.   Mainly so they could use my resume to get more work...  It now looks like I might have more work in the next 3 months than I had in the past 6 put together!  ARGH.

Financial.Velociraptor

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Re: Friends who are coworkers
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2017, 11:55:05 AM »
I meet with some former cow-orkers for "lunch bunch" once a quarter.  I rarely see them outside of the quarterly lunch.  They know my situation and it hasn't been problematic.
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StetsTerhune

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Re: Friends who are coworkers
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2017, 01:30:06 PM »
I think if the news "spreading" is something you don't want to happen and this friend "spreading" it is something you think is possible, then you shouldn't tell them. There's people you trust to not tell other people stuff, and there's people you don't. This is certainly correlated with how good of friends you are with the person, but not 100%.

I had one good friend at work who I told (and still tell) everything, but that's the nature of our work relationship -- we knew we could complain to each other about anyone and anything and know it would go no further. My few other work friends all got the same story as everyone else at work, which is true enough that I don't think anyone could be offended, but not the whole truth.

FIREby35

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Re: Friends who are coworkers
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2017, 01:28:17 PM »
Hey DragonCar - very interesting question in light of recent conversations I've had.

I'm an attorney - as are you. I originally started in a firm and had multiple co-workers/friends. One in particular is closer than the others. Well, I'm not retiring, but I am being very aggressive in getting rid of certain types of cases and streamlining my practice to only the most profitable, most enjoyable cases. I also just spent two months in Mexico. I've got zero debt and a pile of cash invested.

My friend worked with me at the other firm and left to open his own firm right next to me. In total we have 6 years of practicing right next to each other. An interesting twist in this situation is that my friend/co-worker is my former partner/boss and is actually  6 year older than me.

Anyway, I have been open with him. Maybe open in a way that is uncomfortable to him. Just a few days ago he told me he was jealous of me because he sees me rejecting cases I don't want and re-organizing my firm to work less but make more. He specifically commented on how he was jealous that I have no debt but he has student loans, car loans and a big mortgage. He wasn't being angry or weird but it was a tough comment because I had no idea what to say and, probably handled it badly because I was caught off guard, said "I'm sorry. I don't mean to be a dick. I'm not trying to put you down ever maybe view it as aspirational??" What a dumb comment (on my part).

Anyway, it is tough because who can you share your success with if not your friends? What does it feel like to always be hiding a part of you? I now understand the saying, "It's lonely at the top." If you can't talk about your success and you don't want to lie and commiserate in a way that is inauthentic then your only option is to remain silent. The silence will kill your relationships because sharing and mutual understanding is the basis of enjoyable relationships.

Anyway, a conundrum to be sure. I know some recommend being totally silent on the issue. So far, I do the opposite. I tell people the truth.*** I figure its better to have people around me that get it. That understand me, where I'm coming from and where I am going. If it makes them feel bad we will probably drift apart. But, what good is a relationship based on fundamental misunderstanding anyway? I feel like this approach has cost me some relationships but also attracted some other really awesome people into my life.

So, there you go. My two cents.

*** It's not like I go around saying, "My net worth is XXXX." But, I talk about MMM, the 4% rule, my business successes/failures, my worst financial mistakes, whatever is relevant to the conversation. When people ask questions, I answer.

Dicey

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Re: Friends who are coworkers
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2017, 01:28:16 PM »
Anyway, it is tough because who can you share your success with if not your friends?
You can share it with all of us. We're the finest Early Retirement Greek Chorus ever!
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DavidinNOLA

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Re: Friends who are coworkers
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2017, 08:35:03 PM »
Here's a little twist to the issue, looking at it from a different perspective.  I was a somewhat spendy person years ago when a coworker/friend shared with me over lunch that he was planning on retiring early.  I asked him if he wanted to grab a beer after work and talk about this outside the office.  That evening he described his financial habits and, as an early MMM reader, he directed my to this blog.  That was about 4 years ago, 2013, and now, as a result of that conversation, I'm looking at FIRE in 2019, age 37.

Of course, I don't know enough details about the OP's office and coworkers, so this may not apply, but I'm grateful that my coworker/friend took the risk of sharing his FIRE plans with me. 

Half Stached

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Re: Friends who are coworkers
« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2017, 09:58:20 PM »
Even though we are two years away from FIRE, I've shared this with a number of friends at work, including my boss. Everyone has been very cool with it, and quite supportive.

Slee_stack

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Re: Friends who are coworkers
« Reply #13 on: March 15, 2017, 12:01:44 PM »
I like Fireby35's introspective and think I would do the same thing.  Be upfront and face the consequences.

CptCool

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Re: Friends who are coworkers
« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2017, 08:27:03 AM »
Here's a little twist to the issue, looking at it from a different perspective.  I was a somewhat spendy person years ago when a coworker/friend shared with me over lunch that he was planning on retiring early.  I asked him if he wanted to grab a beer after work and talk about this outside the office.  That evening he described his financial habits and, as an early MMM reader, he directed my to this blog.  That was about 4 years ago, 2013, and now, as a result of that conversation, I'm looking at FIRE in 2019, age 37.

Of course, I don't know enough details about the OP's office and coworkers, so this may not apply, but I'm grateful that my coworker/friend took the risk of sharing his FIRE plans with me.

I think the biggest takeaway from this is that YOU initiated it. You were already receptive to the idea. Most of the time it hasn't even occurred to people that you can retire early so saying "all I had to do is cut down spending" is seen as an impossibility or a personal attack on their own spending

Spork

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Re: Friends who are coworkers
« Reply #15 on: March 18, 2017, 10:29:16 AM »
Here is my perspective looking back in the mirror.

I was always a relatively open cheapskate.  I rarely went to lunch with folks, but I'd suggest they get it to go and come back and I'd eat my leftovers with them.  I never bragged about net worth... but little things I would say eventually sort of made me the guy several went to and would ask "hey, what would you do in this situation with (buying a car/401k/etc)."  They didn't always like my answers, but that was fine.  We didn't argue over it.

When I was hired at my last job, it was known, due to a considerable resume gap, that I'd taken 3 years off.  A few asked how, and I simply explained it as "spending less than I earned for many, many years."  They'd ask how I could afford insurance (pre-ACA) and I'd tell them that HDHPs were actually very inexpensive.

Probably a close to a year before I left, I came out of the closet in the sense that if asked goals for next year, I'd answer, "To be retired."  I asked well in advance how much notice they'd want and gave them 6 months as requested.  When I left, I didn't give details, but I openly said "I am retiring."  I didn't sugar coat it under any other code word. 

As to the real question of friends: I have a history of being pretty awful maintaining friendships for folks that are out of my line of sight.  I've done fairly well (but could do better) maintaining a friendship for the last 2 years with my best friend from work.  We do go to lunch occasionally... but not frequently.  We stay in touch via online chat and SMS messages.   Lesser friends ... I've probably been to lunch with a few once...  I've not done well there.  I maintain some of those friends somewhat on Facebook, but that is far less than "real life" -- and Facebook participation really varies from person to person.
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Cassie

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Re: Friends who are coworkers
« Reply #16 on: March 21, 2017, 02:34:09 PM »
It's a tough decision. I would probably just be honest because if you are vague he will sense that you are holding back.

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: Friends who are coworkers
« Reply #17 on: April 18, 2017, 10:02:34 AM »
But I'm going to be having dinner with a coworker friend soon, and I'm not sure what to say if the topic comes up.  If I'm completely honest, maybe the truth will get spread around the office -- is this a bad thing?  I don't want to burn bridges.  Moreover, the coworker obviously had the exact opportunity to do what I did.  I wonder if honesty will cause ill will there.

On the other hand, if I stay vague, it might just seem like I'm being dishonest and hurt the friendship.  Like I said, I'm not personally gonna cry if I never see this person again, but our wives are friends and they have been a part of our lives. 

I routinely speak to my friend-coworkers and tell them that there is a different message in the office. I don't think of it as a problem and I've never had a confident spread to the office (that I've heard about anyway).

Like: I said in the office that I took time off to go on a retreat, but actually I was in rehab... Please don't share this further.
Or: As I said in the office I'm not going out tonight because I have a headache, and by headache I meant hangover...

zinethstache

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Re: Friends who are coworkers
« Reply #18 on: April 23, 2017, 04:24:40 PM »
I became quite close to one of the people on my team. For many years I was in IT and she was my customer. Last year they moved me temporarily onto her team as the Scrum Master. Later in the year it became permanent. She knew I owned rentals, watched me sell my home, buy the truck and trailer, move it to my mom's when our house sold. I never said directly what my plans were. At Christmas I went to her house and we spent the day crafting. She outright asked me my plan, more like what my schedule was. I told her that DH and I were making our final decision and that she would know the answer very soon.

On 1/2 I gave notice and she was like WHAT? So SOON? but then she backed down and said she knew it was going to happen, but it just snuck up on her.

In my case I am now out of the area, no chance for lunches or after work activities for me. I do keep in contact with her via text and email. I also mail her completed projects (We make cards).

I did text my onsite coordinator who took care of my offshore team, he hasn't responded to me so I suspect he is mad. Oh well, can't help him if that is the case.

She is older than I, and her husband quite a few years older than her and they have not positioned themselves well for retirement anytime soon. In fact when they first moved here, she technically was retired but got bored and got her web programming certificate. Now she has a high paying job that IF they've been saving their pennies properly, they could retire soonish, but it doesn't sound like that is what's happened. Oh well. I try not to discuss my thoughts on that matter, we just craft and have a good time with our hobby together.

gerardc

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Re: Friends who are coworkers
« Reply #19 on: April 24, 2017, 09:42:21 PM »
Ah, I know.  I agreed to stay on the books as casual, hourly, call up basis.   Mainly so they could use my resume to get more work...  It now looks like I might have more work in the next 3 months than I had in the past 6 put together!  ARGH.

I noticed that when I don't work for a few days / weeks, my tank fills up, and I'm eager to say yes to every project coming my way. So I can see how the project list could quickly grow in FIRE.