Author Topic: those last 6 months of work - psychological challenges  (Read 3613 times)

financiallypossible

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those last 6 months of work - psychological challenges
« on: January 23, 2017, 05:26:28 PM »
I've been inside the stretch run (final 6 months of work) for several months now and it's been very challenging for me psychologically. I have so much freedom and flexibility with my work, yet, I have grown to strongly dislike not being the owner of my own time. I have about another 2 months left.

I keep thinking about what I'm going towards rather than what I'll be moving away from, but it just doesn't seem to help.

I want to volunteer to provide free financial coaching to others.
I want to spend significantly more time with my daughter and wife.
I want to build an army of like-minded FIRE individuals to go out and change the world.

And I want all that now or even yesterday. These desires became even stronger when I read Pete's eulogy to his father.

For those of you who already achieved FIRE, how did you push/motivate yourself during those final few months?
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Libertea

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gerardc

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Re: those last 6 months of work - psychological challenges
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2017, 10:20:40 PM »
I'm not sure if the last 6 months cause psychological challenges to you, or if existing psychological challenges make you want to quit in 6 months :)

But yeah, I hear that affects many people of normal retirement age (65) for the last months or years before retirement. Probably because you need goals at work not to be bored, and you just stop setting goals when your exit is imminent.

Miss Prim

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Re: those last 6 months of work - psychological challenges
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2017, 07:22:12 AM »
On a side note, as far as volunteering to do financial counseling, I am volunteering this tax season to do tax returns for seniors and low income people and I asked about doing financial counseling and there is a program for that too.  I am volunteering with VITA through United Way.  Not sure if you are in the U.S., but if you are interested you could look into that.

I also found it so hard to keep working after I decided to retire, that I upped my retirement date a few months before I was planning on retiring.  I just couldn't wait that long! 

Good luck to you.                                Miss Prim

financiallypossible

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Re: those last 6 months of work - psychological challenges
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2017, 12:32:07 PM »
On a side note, as far as volunteering to do financial counseling, I am volunteering this tax season to do tax returns for seniors and low income people and I asked about doing financial counseling and there is a program for that too.  I am volunteering with VITA through United Way.  Not sure if you are in the U.S., but if you are interested you could look into that.

I also found it so hard to keep working after I decided to retire, that I upped my retirement date a few months before I was planning on retiring.  I just couldn't wait that long! 

Good luck to you.                                Miss Prim

Hi Miss Prim,

We have been pulling my wife's retirement date in by months/weeks earlier than what we were planning last year.

I am in the US. What were the requirements for you to do volunteering with VITA through United Way? Background checks, certain training, etc.?
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oblivo

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Re: those last 6 months of work - psychological challenges
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2017, 05:09:11 PM »
I've found that I am going back and forth between a few emotional states:
- Feel guilty for leaving the job / people / company (mostly people)
- Very strong angst about how many days are left and how boring they are and how difficult the work is and how will I get through each and every one of them (how many again? how many are work days?)
- When something at work goes well I feel very good, like uniquely good (like donald trump good) and wonder why I would give up a career I am clearly so good at
- Worry that the FIRE prize somehow won't measure up to how much effort has gone into getting there

In other words, mostly negative states?

It's gotten a lot easier once I gave notice. The guilt part has gone away a bit. And now I care less about showing that I'm working hard (wish I'd figured that out a long time ago). I have a month or so left before I am entirely done....

financiallypossible

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Re: those last 6 months of work - psychological challenges
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2017, 05:16:22 PM »
It's gotten a lot easier once I gave notice. The guilt part has gone away a bit. And now I care less about showing that I'm working hard (wish I'd figured that out a long time ago). I have a month or so left before I am entirely done....

Thanks oblivo. I'm going through all the same things you listed there. It helps me to know I'm not the only one. Looks like we'll be reaching FIRE at roughly the same time.

I may continue working a few more months simply for the health care benefits -- want that cloud of uncertainty cleared up.
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Cookie78

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Re: those last 6 months of work - psychological challenges
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2017, 08:15:10 PM »
I can relate to this soooo much! And I have 6 months 11 days left! I really would like to hear some coping strategies too because it's starting to get out of control. I'm not sure if I can cope. I just want to be done!

In the meantime, I'm trying to set smaller goals with a time frame of 2-6 weeks to distract myself from the ultimate goal. I don't know if it's working as a coping strategy or not.

gerardc

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Re: those last 6 months of work - psychological challenges
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2017, 09:33:03 PM »
I really would like to hear some coping strategies too because it's starting to get out of control. I'm not sure if I can cope. I just want to be done!

If all else fails, there's always junk food, sex, alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, and being mean to people. That really hits the spot.

/s

Cookie78

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Re: those last 6 months of work - psychological challenges
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2017, 08:12:16 AM »
I really would like to hear some coping strategies too because it's starting to get out of control. I'm not sure if I can cope. I just want to be done!

If all else fails, there's always junk food, sex, alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, and being mean to people. That really hits the spot.

/s

I'm having no problems coping outside of working hours. Now I'm trying to figure out how I can manage all your suggestions while at work. Hmmm... Trying may immediately solve the problem of having to work 6 more months!

oblivo

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Re: those last 6 months of work - psychological challenges
« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2017, 09:14:02 AM »
Also the six months will pass whether they're enjoyable or not

Also helpful to me when I am feeling that the time is endless, to imagine the six months with 50% or 75% less net worth, which brings back feelings of gratitude and accomplishment


Moustachienne

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Re: those last 6 months of work - psychological challenges
« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2017, 10:34:58 AM »
Helpful thread!  I have 4.5 months to go; 6 including accrued vacation time, most of which I'll tack on the end. 

I've really enjoyed my job/career and my co-workers and want to keep my "top performer" reputation. And I want to set my areas and reports up for success as far as possible.  But there's such a clash between my psychological need to close things down and detach and my work obligations to continue to drive projects and plans forward!

I've caught myself increasingly making comments like "we'll have to keep an eye on that [issue/opportunity/question]...and by "we" I mean "you"!"

The long goodbye is common in my environment but it is harder than I though it would be.  Strategy - I'm going to figure out how to split my time between current projects and close down work on a daily basis.  Maybe a 90/10 split now but should shift every week to become 0/100 at the end.  :)

Freedom17

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Re: those last 6 months of work - psychological challenges
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2017, 08:35:31 AM »
I have 6 months left and it definitely goes slow.

I've started working 9:30 - 3:30 and taking 2 hour lunches to pass the time. Also regular gym and meditation sessions help the day go faster. I also listen to coursera courses with headphones to pass the time or go for long (1-2 hour) hikes. Something interesting has happened. The more checked out I become the better my career is going. I've gotten the best performance rating ever. They made me a manager of a 3 person team, and my boss just gave me another 4 person team to manage. I guess I seem calm and able to handle more responsibility.

I wish I'd realized this sooner.



markbike528CBX

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Re: those last 6 months of work - psychological challenges
« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2017, 08:44:36 AM »
...... The more checked out I become the better my career is going. I've gotten the best performance rating ever. .....
The spirit of Peter Gibbons lives on!

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Peter Gibbons: I wouldn't say I've been *missing* it, Bob.

financiallypossible

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Re: those last 6 months of work - psychological challenges
« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2017, 11:29:36 AM »
I have 6 months left and it definitely goes slow.

I've started working 9:30 - 3:30 and taking 2 hour lunches to pass the time. Also regular gym and meditation sessions help the day go faster. I also listen to coursera courses with headphones to pass the time or go for long (1-2 hour) hikes.

This sounds so much like the types of things I'm doing. Nowadays I only go to the office when I feel like socializing or if it fits my needs.

They didn't put me in charge of any team though; don't think I'd want that anyway.

At this point, I'd welcome a layoff and the "standard" package that comes with it from my company.

Quote from: markbike528CBX
The spirit of Peter Gibbons lives on!

Bob Porter: Looks like you've been missing a lot of work lately.
Peter Gibbons: I wouldn't say I've been *missing* it, Bob.

Office Space is one of my favorite movies of all time.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2017, 12:26:36 PM by financiallypossible »
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SunnyMoney

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Re: those last 6 months of work - psychological challenges
« Reply #15 on: January 30, 2017, 09:27:38 PM »
A few things I did to help during those last few months...

1) Treat myself to something that I had been purposefully denying myself so that it felt like I was getting a little reward for being disciplined and staying on the job.  In my case I allowed myself to read 1 chapter a day of the most recent George RR Martin Game of Thrones novel.  I really like that series so this was a great zero calorie, low cost, yet meaningful treat.

2) I had a little figurine on my desk of a person holding binoculars.  Whenever my job antsy-ness (is that a word?) got bad I would hold the figurine and chant in my mind "keep your eyes on the prize, keep your eyes on the prize".  I know this sounds pretty hokey but it worked for me.  Use whatever little reminder of your future life works for you.

3) Take comfort in the knowledge that you are a professional and you will see this job through to the end.  You have made a commitment to your employer and your team and you will do the honorable thing and fulfill that commitment to the best of your ability.  Now that I am in ER and I look back to those last months I am proud of myself that I did my best and was productive right until the last day.  It makes me feel good about myself.  Don't deny yourself those future good feelings.

Freedom17

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Re: those last 6 months of work - psychological challenges
« Reply #16 on: February 12, 2017, 08:24:13 PM »
I have 6 months left and it definitely goes slow.

I've started working 9:30 - 3:30 and taking 2 hour lunches to pass the time. Also regular gym and meditation sessions help the day go faster. I also listen to coursera courses with headphones to pass the time or go for long (1-2 hour) hikes.

This sounds so much like the types of things I'm doing. Nowadays I only go to the office when I feel like socializing or if it fits my needs.

They didn't put me in charge of any team though; don't think I'd want that anyway.

At this point, I'd welcome a layoff and the "standard" package that comes with it from my company.

Quote from: markbike528CBX
The spirit of Peter Gibbons lives on!

Bob Porter: Looks like you've been missing a lot of work lately.
Peter Gibbons: I wouldn't say I've been *missing* it, Bob.

Office Space is one of my favorite movies of all time.

The most bizarre thing has happened. I heard rumors of layoffs and decided to take things into my own hands. I spoke with the director and let him know that I'm thinking of leaving for another project so if a layoff comes you might as well put me on the list. They kind of panicked and said they really don't want me to leave and asked me to define any role I want for myself. So my attempt at engineering my layoff didn't work out. On the positive side I'll be doing high level research for the next 6 months.

I guess working 9 - 3 backfired and caused them to have a really good impression of me.

So it turns out the rumors of layoffs were correct and we are cutting 80% next week. Incredible.



Spork

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Re: those last 6 months of work - psychological challenges
« Reply #17 on: February 13, 2017, 12:28:14 PM »
I think I may have been (mostly) the opposite.  There were times where I had a little guilt leaving... but mostly I felt like a little kid skipping down the halls.  Every day it was like someone walked in and took just a handful of weight off my shoulders... and towards the end it was awesome.
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marty998

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Re: those last 6 months of work - psychological challenges
« Reply #18 on: February 13, 2017, 02:03:50 PM »

The most bizarre thing has happened. I heard rumors of layoffs and decided to take things into my own hands. I spoke with the director and let him know that I'm thinking of leaving for another project so if a layoff comes you might as well put me on the list. They kind of panicked and said they really don't want me to leave and asked me to define any role I want for myself. So my attempt at engineering my layoff didn't work out. On the positive side I'll be doing high level research for the next 6 months.

I guess working 9 - 3 backfired and caused them to have a really good impression of me.

So it turns out the rumors of layoffs were correct and we are cutting 80% next week. Incredible.

That's a shame you won't get the big payout. I'm kinda hoping for a kicker like that when I decide it's time to fly the coop.

For better or worse, I seem to get additional duties constantly added to my team's work, making redundancy a less likely option.

Need a big M&A deal to make that happen, hopefully in a couple of years time.

Freedom17

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Re: those last 6 months of work - psychological challenges
« Reply #19 on: February 13, 2017, 02:12:34 PM »

The most bizarre thing has happened. I heard rumors of layoffs and decided to take things into my own hands. I spoke with the director and let him know that I'm thinking of leaving for another project so if a layoff comes you might as well put me on the list. They kind of panicked and said they really don't want me to leave and asked me to define any role I want for myself. So my attempt at engineering my layoff didn't work out. On the positive side I'll be doing high level research for the next 6 months.

I guess working 9 - 3 backfired and caused them to have a really good impression of me.

So it turns out the rumors of layoffs were correct and we are cutting 80% next week. Incredible.

That's a shame you won't get the big payout. I'm kinda hoping for a kicker like that when I decide it's time to fly the coop.

For better or worse, I seem to get additional duties constantly added to my team's work, making redundancy a less likely option.

Need a big M&A deal to make that happen, hopefully in a couple of years time.

After this big round of layoffs there's only 400 people left. It'll make it easy to shut us down in 6 months if things don't pan out. So I'm hoping it happens just before I give notice.



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Re: those last 6 months of work - psychological challenges
« Reply #20 on: February 13, 2017, 04:46:31 PM »
After this big round of layoffs there's only 400 people left. It'll make it easy to shut us down in 6 months if things don't pan out. So I'm hoping it happens just before I give notice.

At least you can see how things are after six months and then decide to delay giving notice for a month or two, if the probability of a general shut down in the near future is high enough. (Whatever "near future" and "high enough" means to you).

Freedom17

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Re: those last 6 months of work - psychological challenges
« Reply #21 on: February 13, 2017, 05:36:15 PM »
After this big round of layoffs there's only 400 people left. It'll make it easy to shut us down in 6 months if things don't pan out. So I'm hoping it happens just before I give notice.

At least you can see how things are after six months and then decide to delay giving notice for a month or two, if the probability of a general shut down in the near future is high enough. (Whatever "near future" and "high enough" means to you).

Flights are booked so my deadline is a hard one. I considered this as a lottery ticket going in (I could see this project going nowhere when I joined it late 2015 which is sort of why I joined it). If the lottery ticket pays off that's great. If not that's OK too.



financiallypossible

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Re: those last 6 months of work - psychological challenges
« Reply #22 on: February 15, 2017, 02:11:37 PM »
After this big round of layoffs there's only 400 people left. It'll make it easy to shut us down in 6 months if things don't pan out. So I'm hoping it happens just before I give notice.

At least you can see how things are after six months and then decide to delay giving notice for a month or two, if the probability of a general shut down in the near future is high enough. (Whatever "near future" and "high enough" means to you).


I have 6 months left and it definitely goes slow.

I've started working 9:30 - 3:30 and taking 2 hour lunches to pass the time. Also regular gym and meditation sessions help the day go faster. I also listen to coursera courses with headphones to pass the time or go for long (1-2 hour) hikes. Something interesting has happened. The more checked out I become the better my career is going. I've gotten the best performance rating ever. They made me a manager of a 3 person team, and my boss just gave me another 4 person team to manage. I guess I seem calm and able to handle more responsibility.

I wish I'd realized this sooner.
Flights are booked so my deadline is a hard one. I considered this as a lottery ticket going in (I could see this project going nowhere when I joined it late 2015 which is sort of why I joined it). If the lottery ticket pays off that's great. If not that's OK too.

Here's hoping it pays out for you! Have we met in person?

Quote from: Freedom17
I have 6 months left and it definitely goes slow.

I've started working 9:30 - 3:30 and taking 2 hour lunches to pass the time. Also regular gym and meditation sessions help the day go faster. I also listen to coursera courses with headphones to pass the time or go for long (1-2 hour) hikes. Something interesting has happened. The more checked out I become the better my career is going. I've gotten the best performance rating ever. They made me a manager of a 3 person team, and my boss just gave me another 4 person team to manage. I guess I seem calm and able to handle more responsibility.

I wish I'd realized this sooner.

I've added listening to a lot of calming music to my list (awesome soundtrack music from the Final Fantasy games). This definitely is helping my work days go by more easily.
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gerardc

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Re: those last 6 months of work - psychological challenges
« Reply #23 on: February 15, 2017, 07:52:09 PM »
I have 6 months left and it definitely goes slow.

I've started working 9:30 - 3:30 and taking 2 hour lunches to pass the time. Also regular gym and meditation sessions help the day go faster. I also listen to coursera courses with headphones to pass the time or go for long (1-2 hour) hikes. Something interesting has happened. The more checked out I become the better my career is going. I've gotten the best performance rating ever. They made me a manager of a 3 person team, and my boss just gave me another 4 person team to manage. I guess I seem calm and able to handle more responsibility.

I wish I'd realized this sooner.

Very interesting. Probably because you decompress and then become "better" (more efficient per unit time, but also look more calm & happy & wise). It's hard to force yourself to be disciplined and just ignore stuff without going into reactive mode. Have your 9-3 hours gotten any (indirect) comments?

Freedom17

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Re: those last 6 months of work - psychological challenges
« Reply #24 on: February 15, 2017, 08:47:26 PM »
I have 6 months left and it definitely goes slow.

I've started working 9:30 - 3:30 and taking 2 hour lunches to pass the time. Also regular gym and meditation sessions help the day go faster. I also listen to coursera courses with headphones to pass the time or go for long (1-2 hour) hikes. Something interesting has happened. The more checked out I become the better my career is going. I've gotten the best performance rating ever. They made me a manager of a 3 person team, and my boss just gave me another 4 person team to manage. I guess I seem calm and able to handle more responsibility.

I wish I'd realized this sooner.

Very interesting. Probably because you decompress and then become "better" (more efficient per unit time, but also look more calm & happy & wise). It's hard to force yourself to be disciplined and just ignore stuff without going into reactive mode. Have your 9-3 hours gotten any (indirect) comments?

I didn't get any comments about hours. I probably produce about half as much output as before. Much more calm though. The other thing is that B players can't tell the difference between half output and full output. Past a certain level there's no benefit in producing more or higher quality work.

Layoffs were more brutal than expected. 90% gone. I can't believe they wouldn't add me to the list.



gerardc

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Re: those last 6 months of work - psychological challenges
« Reply #25 on: February 15, 2017, 09:16:44 PM »
I didn't get any comments about hours. I probably produce about half as much output as before. Much more calm though. The other thing is that B players can't tell the difference between half output and full output. Past a certain level there's no benefit in producing more or higher quality work.

Layoffs were more brutal than expected. 90% gone. I can't believe they wouldn't add me to the list.

Are you a software engineer too? If so, do you call "B players" those at levels below you? I notice if you work faster and respond faster to bugs, emails, etc., people care less, but if you pop in once in a while, it looks like you're making larger steps...

markbike528CBX

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Re: those last 6 months of work - psychological challenges
« Reply #26 on: February 15, 2017, 09:28:22 PM »
........I can't believe they wouldn't add me to the list.

My condolences, survivor guilt is a real thing, even in job issues.

Freedom17

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Re: those last 6 months of work - psychological challenges
« Reply #27 on: February 15, 2017, 09:55:18 PM »
........I can't believe they wouldn't add me to the list.

My condolences, survivor guilt is a real thing, even in job issues.

Yeah. I don't want to downplay the hardship these people are going through. It's pretty real. Especially when they're not FI for the most part.

That said it is very draining to be in that environment. I think it's natural human empathy that you pick up and respond to other people's emotions. Some of these people have been working for years on this stuff and are pretty emotionally invested in it.

I'm a software engineer in a specialist domain. Generally it seems like people can't tell the level of your work so they look for other cues like self confidence. Sadly the most naive tend to have the most confidence so this leads to the least capable people running the show. Oh well. Life goes on.



gerardc

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Re: those last 6 months of work - psychological challenges
« Reply #28 on: February 15, 2017, 09:59:41 PM »
I'm a software engineer in a specialist domain. Generally it seems like people can't tell the level of your work so they look for other cues like self confidence. Sadly the most naive tend to have the most confidence so this leads to the least capable people running the show. Oh well. Life goes on.

I was thinking the exact same thing today during a conference call. Some high-level (like senior staff) engineer talking not making any sense at all, but looked neat, smiling, etc. so everyone assumed and nodded. Too funny.

That's why I think lower investment works, it makes you more attractive/confident.