Author Topic: Transition year(s)?  (Read 2932 times)

JohnGalt

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Transition year(s)?
« on: July 24, 2018, 01:05:14 AM »
I think FI and burned out.  However, wife and I havenít been settled into anything close to what we think will be our FIRE lifestyle so we arenít exactly sure.  Currently we are expats living in London for my work and spending at a ridiculous level traveling around Europe.  Weíll be moving back stateside in a couple months.

My plan for the last year was to pull the plug when we move back, but now we are thinking a transitional period would be good until we establish a normal lifestyle and know what our expenses actually are.  Weíre also looking at buying a house and are finding we may want to spend 50-75% more than originally budgeted.

Iíve broached the topic of shifting to part time next year with my boss and he is amenable.  We donít have anyone part time right now so he asked me to put some proposals together for how that might work.

For those of you who are working part time, what schedule do you have?  What schedule would you prefer?

My goal is to be working between 30%-50% of full time equivalency.  We would do a year to start but if it works out this may be a multi-year thing.

I see three types of schedules that would work for me and the company. 

1.  Work partial weeks (2-4 days) with several 4+ week breaks throughout the year. 

2.  Work fuller weeks (4-5 days) with many breaks or a few long breaks

3.  Be on call so to speak with a guaranteed minimum number of days each year where Iím brought in as needed (and assuming Iím available). 

I think my preference would be option one with a 3 day work week and four 4-6 week breaks throughout the year.  It would give me regular free time with the 4 day weekends and enough breaks to go do the slow travel trips we want to be doing while earning at least enough to cover our expenses.  I worry that if I have extended breaks it will be tough to go back each time with a stark difference between being off for 6-8 weeks then back in 4-5 days per week

deborah

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Re: Transition year(s)?
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2018, 04:59:40 AM »
Why donít you ask for a sabbatical instead? You need three months off to find out what you spend, what you would be doing...

JohnGalt

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Re: Transition year(s)?
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2018, 05:53:45 AM »
Why donít you ask for a sabbatical instead? You need three months off to find out what you spend, what you would be doing...

Not a bad idea and I'll give it some more thought but here are my initial concerns.

We'll need much longer than 3 months to figure out what our spending will be.  I can figure out what a typical month's budget might look like covering housing, food, transit, entertainment, utilities, healthcare, etc.  Although given how frequently we typically change our lifestyle, even that is hard to nail down for the long term.  What I can't figure out at all right now is what our appetite for less regular purchases such as travel, hobbies, etc.

We are looking for a house and I would much prefer carrying a mortgage at today's interest rates to pulling all that cash out of income producing assets.  I imagine being on sabbatacle would make that difficult.

My RE plan isn't really full RE anyways.  I would plan on picking up consulting engagements in this industry anyways.  Both to stave off boredom and as a hedge to keep me employable at my current level in case we have some investment downturns or changes in expenses.

I also don't think I'd go back if I took off 3 months straight right now. 

soccerluvof4

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Re: Transition year(s)?
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2018, 11:59:02 AM »
I was kinda in your position but different...

Having said that what I would suggest is moving back  and going 3-6 months to establish your costs and then figure out what you have to do. I would over shoot by 20% to cover your ass. So if you need 5k a month figure 6k.  I took about a year to get everything settled before I felt comfortable with my numbers and all but at the time I was going to Fire I had 4 kids still at home. You should be able to do in 3-6 months in my opinion. Good luck!

deborah

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Re: Transition year(s)?
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2018, 01:31:26 PM »
As someone who is retired I know no one who got their retirement expenses correct. Usually you find that just interacting with people at work makes you a bit more spendy. And you donít seem to have much of an idea of your current expenses, so I canít imagine how you would be figuring out what youíll use in retirement.

As @soccerluvof4 says, you need to start with a baseline, so sorting out your expenses before you do anything about going part time or having a sabbatical would probably be best.

JohnGalt

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Re: Transition year(s)?
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2018, 03:30:08 PM »
Thanks all for the replies so far.

I'm not actually too worried about expenses, we'll figure that out easily enough.  We are generally naturally frugal and overshot our goal savings for FI that we set a couple years ago.  Either way our plan has always revolved around flexibility more than any hard numbers - that's part of what trying this part time thing out is about. 

Mostly I'm looking for any feedback from others working part time as to what kind of schedule they have and how they feel about it.  Or thoughts on what an ideal part-time working schedule might be in case I'm missing some idea.


Mr. Green

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Re: Transition year(s)?
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2018, 05:54:22 PM »
I'm a big fan of the transition period. I would say my transition into FIRE was almost 18 months as we relocated, stopped working, and attempted to start a family. We started with quick changes to numerous areas of our lives and had to backtrack and slowly transition some things. The transition period really gave us time to digest everything as it was happening and feel confident about the changes we we're making.

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Transition year(s)?
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2018, 08:53:59 AM »
I'm considering this as well. I tried to give notice last week, and was offered both a sabbatical & the option to do part-time (assuming we could find something mutually agreeable). I'm really struggling to figure out a role that would allow me to work part-time, while not consuming all of my mental energy when I'm not working. That's a bigger challenge for me than the actual schedule or hours. But, assuming that comes together, I'm currently thinking of 8-1, M-Th & no working on Fridays. I could flex to do 8-2, but want to be done by 2 pm each day for kids school stuff.

Bird In Hand

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Re: Transition year(s)?
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2018, 11:08:08 AM »
I'm currently thinking of 8-1, M-Th & no working on Fridays. I could flex to do 8-2, but want to be done by 2 pm each day for kids school stuff.

This sounds awesome, and close to what I imagine my ideal PT schedule would be.  If you're currently working full-time, I suspect you'll find this schedule quite agreeable.  And if you don't feel that way after a short while, you can always quit.  What are you waiting for?  :)

JohnGalt

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Re: Transition year(s)?
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2018, 12:34:02 PM »
I'm currently thinking of 8-1, M-Th & no working on Fridays. I could flex to do 8-2, but want to be done by 2 pm each day for kids school stuff.

I don't think I could get the mental freedom I want with a half day type schedule.  If I'm in work mode 20 hours per week, I'd rather it be two 10 hour days or three 6-7 hour days so the other days I'm completely free to focus on other things.  But then, I don't have kids work around.

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Transition year(s)?
« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2018, 03:41:03 PM »
I'm currently thinking of 8-1, M-Th & no working on Fridays. I could flex to do 8-2, but want to be done by 2 pm each day for kids school stuff.

This sounds awesome, and close to what I imagine my ideal PT schedule would be.  If you're currently working full-time, I suspect you'll find this schedule quite agreeable.  And if you don't feel that way after a short while, you can always quit.  What are you waiting for?  :)

The "what role could I realistically take that wouldn't suck up all of my time/life & would work within the confines of this schedule" is more of a challenge than moving forward. I work on a global team, so there are extra complications with time zones.

Bird In Hand

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Re: Transition year(s)?
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2018, 08:56:43 AM »
I'm currently thinking of 8-1, M-Th & no working on Fridays. I could flex to do 8-2, but want to be done by 2 pm each day for kids school stuff.

This sounds awesome, and close to what I imagine my ideal PT schedule would be.  If you're currently working full-time, I suspect you'll find this schedule quite agreeable.  And if you don't feel that way after a short while, you can always quit.  What are you waiting for?  :)

The "what role could I realistically take that wouldn't suck up all of my time/life & would work within the confines of this schedule" is more of a challenge than moving forward. I work on a global team, so there are extra complications with time zones.

I guess my point was that since you're either FI or have FU money (you tried giving your notice after all), that the details of your work arrangement probably don't matter all that much.  This assumes that you can easily quit if you don't find it to your liking.

I think there's a good chance that a 1/2 time schedule will feel like paradise when you're used to a full-time schedule.  At least initially.  And it's possible that you'll start liking your job much more when you only have to do it half as much.  That's kind of a best case scenario in my mind -- keep doing something that you like, but with lots of extra time for other things, all while getting paid so you can continue fattening your 'stache and lowering your future SWR (or increasing your future income).  The worst case is that it sucks and you quit in short order.  And that doesn't sound like such a bad thing, since you were going to quit anyway!

Retire-Canada

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Re: Transition year(s)?
« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2018, 10:28:40 AM »
For those of you who are working part time, what schedule do you have?  What schedule would you prefer?

I've done a lot of part-time and seasonal work over the years. My preference if I can get it would be to work 30-40hrs a week over 4 days [3 day weekends] for 6-8 months a year and get the rest of the time off in decent chunks of 1-6 months at a time. Having 4 months off is a lot different than having 4 x 1 month breaks. I'll take either over working FT, but if you give me the choice I'll take fewer longer breaks as I think you get to decompress from work much better/deeper that way.

I've also done 3 days a week 8hrs/day with some 1-2 week breaks added in. That was pretty nice as well. 4 days off each week makes work almost nice to go to.

Ultimately your company's operational requirements will dictate the most agreeable way to work PT and really if you can get down to a 0.5FT engagement it will be pretty nice no matter how you structure it. Especially if it's just for a year or two it's not so critical how it is arranged.

deborah

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Re: Transition year(s)?
« Reply #13 on: July 30, 2018, 01:33:04 PM »
A person I knew started a Christmas Pudding business. He ended up working four months of the year. Something thatís seasonal can really work out well.

spartana

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Re: Transition year(s)?
« Reply #14 on: July 30, 2018, 01:37:30 PM »
 I haven't worked since I FIREd but if I did I would choose a seasonal job even if it was full time during that period of a few months. I really enjoy having large blocks of time free and would hate to be beholden to a job and schedule 365 days a year even if just a few hours a week.

JohnGalt

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Re: Transition year(s)?
« Reply #15 on: July 30, 2018, 03:12:52 PM »
I've done a lot of part-time and seasonal work over the years. My preference if I can get it would be to work 30-40hrs a week over 4 days [3 day weekends] for 6-8 months a year and get the rest of the time off in decent chunks of 1-6 months at a time. Having 4 months off is a lot different than having 4 x 1 month breaks. I'll take either over working FT, but if you give me the choice I'll take fewer longer breaks as I think you get to decompress from work much better/deeper that way.

I've also done 3 days a week 8hrs/day with some 1-2 week breaks added in. That was pretty nice as well. 4 days off each week makes work almost nice to go to.

Ultimately your company's operational requirements will dictate the most agreeable way to work PT and really if you can get down to a 0.5FT engagement it will be pretty nice no matter how you structure it. Especially if it's just for a year or two it's not so critical how it is arranged.

My job is basically being available to be scheduled for calls (typically 1-2 hours long) or trips (typically 1-2 days).  There can be longer term things to be involved in for someone full time but I should be able to structure away from those things  (and already try to avoid them as much as possible while I'm FT anyways) - which lends to a lot of flexibility and should open me up to being able to step in and out of things relatively easily.

The 3 or 4 days a week with extended breaks throughout the year is what I keep gravitating towards.

Thanks for the perspective!

happy

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Re: Transition year(s)?
« Reply #16 on: August 03, 2018, 04:19:37 PM »
I've worked part -time for 23 years in all shapes and sizes. It will depend on what your job is as to where the sweet spot is. For me 2 days a week is not enough continuity. 3 days is a bit more than what I would like, but works better for the job. And ultimately I found I felt better when the job went better. I think my ideal balance between work requirements and working as little as possible would be 3 days a week, working slightly shorter days to total half-time employment.

Some jobs however can be better compartmentalised you might find a different pattern suites you e.g.  1-2 days trips and a day scheduled for calls.

Never had the luxury of frequent 1 month breaks but that would be good too!

John Doe

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Re: Transition year(s)?
« Reply #17 on: August 03, 2018, 05:58:24 PM »
I am currently 18 months into my transition.  While I technically  have a 50% agreement, reality is I show up in the office 2 days a week (not full days) then deal with whatever comes up the remainder of the week via the phone or email.  Itís very flexible and seems to work for both me and my employer.   

Re your situation if you want multiple breaks of 4-6 weeks and work PT the remains weeks, I suggest simply quitting and be  a consultant.  That will truly give you the flexibility you desire. 

WalkaboutStache

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Re: Transition year(s)?
« Reply #18 on: August 08, 2018, 12:38:02 AM »
Much as optimization is helpful, too much of it can lead you to paralysis by analysis.  You don't know exactly what you want to do post-fire because you like flexibility (read: things change all the time for you).  I hear you there.

So, rather than going for the silver bullet part-time schedule, why not pick any that is acceptable and tell your company that you want to try to structure it that way on a trial basis and subject to change (since you are both trying something new).  If it does not work out, or if things change, you can revise it.  Look at it as an analogue of your question about expenses: you can only figure out as you go, just watch out for inflation of the hours/days you commit initially.