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General Discussion => Welcome and General Discussion => Topic started by: EconDiva on January 18, 2018, 12:25:11 PM

Title: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: EconDiva on January 18, 2018, 12:25:11 PM
I'm not speaking about those who were anywhere close to being FI either...as I'm not.

I feel like I always go through this cycle of wanting to try something different but never do.  Actually, its moreso a matter of having too much stress which comes in waves for me.  Sometimes I could go 4 months without it being "too bad"...other times it could be an entire 8 months of stress, night meetings and little sleep. 

I guess I'd just like to hear some stories of people who did it and why and how it worked it out.  Going through some major changes at work and hadn't slept most of the week due to anxiety about it.  Don't want to be a complainypants; just having one of those days but wondering more and more if it's all worth it.  I swear now I'm almost 40 it just really gets harder to do what I do; particularly because I do it only for the money and it's hard work for me because the skills I have to employ don't come naturally.

Anyways....any stories to share?

Update Dec 10, 2019:    Wow...this thread was started almost 2 years ago.  My, how time flies.  I am still at my current company fyi, and have since accepted a promotion in the same department I've been in for a while now.  Although it's nice to have the additional money, it has only increased my feelings of wanting to leave.  I think I am simply burnt out honestly.  On one hand I want to keep pushing because every year here would put me that much closer to FI (I'm not interested in RE).  Also, earlier this year I drained my 6 month emergency fund to pay off some old IRS stuff so it's not like I can just jump ship right now honestly.  I hope I can take some time during the upcoming holidays to think through all of this.  It's funny how certain "golden handcuff" scenarios make it so much harder to consider changing employment situations; since my original post we've been given 3 additional holidays for the year, I've gotten a promotion that has increased my salary ~20% or so, I have now been given restricted stock units (of course they take 3 years to vest), and this year I've gotten around 5 or so small unexpected bonuses here and there that I never used to get. 

Anyways, I'm very interested to hear from those who posted in this thread originally who were contemplating on a change.  Have you taken the jump yet?  How are things?  Updates from those who originally leave and take a pay cut - are things still peachy on your end? 
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: EmFrugal on January 18, 2018, 01:41:52 PM
MY DH and I both did it. I became a SAHM and he left big law and a massive salary for a government job. While we were never in debt (aside from our current mortgage), we still have a significant amount of savings to accumulate to be able to pay for our kids' college and get to full retirement. I'm not entirely sure what you mean by FI here... at the time of the switch we had enough saved for an emergency, so maybe we're not the example you're looking for.

But a few more details in case we are...
He left private practice for the reasons you describe. He was a walking zombie, miserable, over worked, depressed and anxious, and just not the person I married. As soon as he left private practice for a lower salary and better work/life balance (plus a job he actually liked), I got my husband back. And my kids got a "real dad." Salary-wise, we are definitely at the mid-lower end of the scale in the affluent DC area. And to look around us, it often feels like the lower end. But it's OK because our quality of life is so much better and I don't want that consumer crap anymore. It doesn't bring lasting happiness.

For me as a SAHM, I've been with my kiddos exclusively for 5 years but in the last year I started my own small business.

We save less than we would have if my DH was still in private practice and I was still working full-time, but our lives would not be content. This is a case where less money is better (while still working toward savings goals and avoiding massive consumerism).

I think you have to choose quality of life sometimes. Then adjust your spending/savings accordingly.
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: KMMK on January 18, 2018, 01:58:12 PM
I've done it. I don't know how it's going to work out as I'm still in the middle of it. I wasn't making huge money, compared to other people on the forum but more than I ever expected to make, especially without a university degree. Enough to save 50% of my pay or more. I was halfway to a cheap FI, 37, and I just couldn't stand it anymore. Doing another 10 years at a job that had sucked out all my enthusiasm was just something I couldn't do. I hated almost every part of it at the end. And my formal attempts to make the job more interesting for me were completely ignored.

I quit completely, took some courses, moved a couple times, and started a business. I'm still in the business start-up stage. I may have to get another job eventually. My net worth has taken a hit. But I don't regret my decision at all. It lead to some amazing things and the freedom and fun from not knowing exactly what is going to happen is great. I'm in control of my own life again.
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: SwordGuy on January 18, 2018, 02:04:51 PM
I did it.  Went from $130k to $80k so I didn't have to be out of town all week, each week.   Worth every penny.   Worked back up to $100k.

I may not have known about FI and FIRE, but I sure as hell knew I preferred sleeping in the same bed with my wife!
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: Brother Esau on January 18, 2018, 05:05:06 PM
Yes! switched jobs 5 months ago. Went from a salary of $105k to $85k. Shorter work day, no night meetings, shorter commute, more vaca time, better/cheaper health insurance, etc. Improved quality of life while still on a good track to FI and RE.
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: Fi365 on January 18, 2018, 05:14:05 PM
Yes!

Well, kind of.

At 28, I was getting sick of my salaried job (long hours, weekend work, typical DC consulting gig). It paid $60k which was pretty typical for a non-doctor, non-lawyer, non-programmer, non-PhD job.

The husband and I crunched the numbers. We couldn't pay the bills in his salary alone. He was making around $50k gross. Our STUDIO apartment--meaning we didn't actually have a bedroom--was around $2,300/month.

We figured I needed to make $20k to continue paying the rent. I don't think we factored in retirement contributions. I wasn't contributing anything at the time and he was maybe putting in 5%.

I left the salaried job and started my own gig. I was really surprised to make $75k the first year. My goal was $20k! I gave away SO much work for free that year--free workshops, free webinars, free consulting hours.

The second year, I made $180k. The third year, I made $210k. This year, I've scaled back--4 days a week to have more mommy time--so I might hit $150k and then be finished for the year. I've said that a few years in a row, though... so who knows! But I definitely don't work full Fridays anymore, and I do minimal work at night and on the weekends.

Pull the trigger!!!

But maybe do more budgeting than I did. And aim higher than $20k for your first year. :)
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: Tabaxus on January 18, 2018, 05:46:43 PM
I have not. 

I think about it dozens of times a day, probably, but I have not.  And will not.  I have a love-hate relationship with my job and love seems to win out...
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: thriftyc on January 18, 2018, 05:57:37 PM
I have more than once.
Quit 2 jobs that paid over 100k w/o another lined up. 
Also, quit a 110k plus job to go to a 90k job....

"other times it could be an entire 8 months of stress, night meetings and little sleep."  - this is a huge red flag, you are in an unhealthy environment for you

Attempt to work with your team/boss to make your situation better, if you can't or tried everything it's time to leave ASAP.   You will land on your feet again.
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: ptobeast on January 18, 2018, 05:57:42 PM
I did it! About 10 years ago, I was working at a position doing art reproductions - it had become incredibly dull for me and Iíd more or less hit my earnings ceiling there at around 40k. So I quit, and lived off of my earnings (20k, which seemed like a lot at the time) when I taught myself PHP. Totally worth it, even though I was nearing empty in my bank account by the time I managed to secure work with my new skills.

Fast forward to recently, Iím starting to feel antsy again - programming for a living feels really tedious, and I long to invest more time in some creative projects that I think could make some money. Of course now, Iím making 6 figures and if I can hold on to this job for several more years, Iíll be in a very good position to have all the time in the world to work on my creative projects as Iíll be FIRE. If I quit now, I have a respectable stash but not enough to feel comfortable if the creative work ends up not being profitable. I sometimes struggle with what to do, and try to remind myself that itís a good problem to have, as, tedium aside, I have a very good position.
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: Dee on January 18, 2018, 06:43:59 PM
Great thread. I feel similarly to you, EconDiva, so don't have a story to share. But feeling inspired by those who have posted.
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: TartanTallulah on January 18, 2018, 07:25:22 PM
I have, on several occasions, once after eleven years because I felt my philosophy had diverged from that of my colleagues, once after two years because I felt a knife hovering over my back, and twice because I relocated. In my line of work there are always plenty of freelance opportunities so I never had to be without an income.

If I weren't close to FI now I'd be considering doing the same thing again, but with only months to go I think I can cope with the particular frustration I'm experiencing until I retire even if I can't resolve it.
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: EconDiva on January 18, 2018, 09:32:33 PM
Yes!

Well, kind of.

At 28, I was getting sick of my salaried job (long hours, weekend work, typical DC consulting gig). It paid $60k which was pretty typical for a non-doctor, non-lawyer, non-programmer, non-PhD job.

The husband and I crunched the numbers. We couldn't pay the bills in his salary alone. He was making around $50k gross. Our STUDIO apartment--meaning we didn't actually have a bedroom--was around $2,300/month.

We figured I needed to make $20k to continue paying the rent. I don't think we factored in retirement contributions. I wasn't contributing anything at the time and he was maybe putting in 5%.

I left the salaried job and started my own gig. I was really surprised to make $75k the first year. My goal was $20k! I gave away SO much work for free that year--free workshops, free webinars, free consulting hours.

The second year, I made $180k. The third year, I made $210k. This year, I've scaled back--4 days a week to have more mommy time--so I might hit $150k and then be finished for the year. I've said that a few years in a row, though... so who knows! But I definitely don't work full Fridays anymore, and I do minimal work at night and on the weekends.

Pull the trigger!!!

But maybe do more budgeting than I did. And aim higher than $20k for your first year. :)

Ummm....what the heck kind of gig do you have?! lol
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: Fi365 on January 18, 2018, 09:38:34 PM
Consulting! I teach workshops about basic stats and data analysis for companies. I have to travel a lot, usually a few times a month, but I charge anywhere from $3,000 to $20,000 per gig depending on length, number of attendees, prep time, etc., and I absolutely love teaching. I have a thriving blog for my business but canít link to it here because Iím, ya know, anonymous.

I make probably HALF of what my competitors make. One woman brings in around $20,000 PROFIT per 1-day training session. Some days I get jealous and hope to get to that level. But most days I remind myself that Iím going to FIRE anyway so who cares about the exact timeline so much.
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: Suit on January 18, 2018, 09:51:35 PM
I was recently miserable at a job and took a $20k paycut to go elsewhere. Everyone says I look happier now and I am much happier and to me my happiness is worth it. I am at least several years away from FI.
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: MaaS on January 18, 2018, 11:05:04 PM
I was 26 and making a little over 100k in a LCOL area.  The people were great and the job was fine. I just realized I was climbing the wrong ladder. I had about 25% of my FI number.

It seems a little nuts in hindsight, but I'm incredibly glad I did it. I'm much happier and surprisingly making a little more being self-employed (so far!).

I eventually came to the conclusion that I'd rather live an interesting life than a safe one. For me, that meant leaving the job. Your results may vary.

Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: Villanelle on January 18, 2018, 11:35:35 PM
What is yout timeline to FIRE, and would would your timeline be with a lower paying job (some salary you think you can reasonably make at a job that wouldn't be so miserable).

I think people who are miserable due to a specific job should generally leave if they aren't super close to FIRE.  But you also need to look at the timelines and see if you'll be more miserable sticking it out until FIRE vs working maybe 1.5 or 2x as long at something else.  Also, be mindful of what it is about your job that makes you miserable, and make sure it's not work in general, or something else you are likely to deal with at most jobs.  You don't want to pull a "grass is greener", only to find out it isn't but you've given up a higher salary.

Finally, evaluate honestly whether it's 100% the job or if there are some other mental health issues at play, which might he helped with counseling.  If it truly is mostly the job, the factors are things that would most likely be different with another job, and you've done the math and are comfortable with the increased working time til FIRE, why wouldn't you bail ASAP?
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: bpobst on January 19, 2018, 05:18:48 AM
I did it last year. I left a $100k+ job for a lot of reasons. Main ones being I hated life every day and my superiors were treating our employees horribly (not me and the other managers, but the ones below us). I took about two months off and then got a job at a warehouse as a regular worker making $25k. I am already up to around $40k with better benefits than I had before. Plus I am much happier. We had to scale back the savings significantly but it is worth it to us. Now we have a challenge of trying to spend less and do more with what we have available. In the end I think it has made us better mustachians.

Background: Wife and I are 29 with about $150k in retirement savings. $1,400 mortgage and $600 per month in low (0% and 2%) student loans that will be finished in November 2018 and June 2019. We aim to have kids in the next 2 years so we are trying to do our best to minimize monthly obligations between now and then.
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: MrMoneySaver on January 19, 2018, 05:32:21 AM
PTF
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: EconDiva on January 19, 2018, 06:59:10 AM
Consulting! I teach workshops about basic stats and data analysis for companies. I have to travel a lot, usually a few times a month, but I charge anywhere from $3,000 to $20,000 per gig depending on length, number of attendees, prep time, etc., and I absolutely love teaching. I have a thriving blog for my business but canít link to it here because Iím, ya know, anonymous.

I make probably HALF of what my competitors make. One woman brings in around $20,000 PROFIT per 1-day training session. Some days I get jealous and hope to get to that level. But most days I remind myself that Iím going to FIRE anyway so who cares about the exact timeline so much.

I tip my hat off to you :)

I didn't get the background though on what you used to do and how much more that was than what you make now...?
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: ptobeast on January 19, 2018, 11:02:38 AM
Finally, evaluate honestly whether it's 100% the job or if there are some other mental health issues at play, which might he helped with counseling.

Definitely this. I started therapy mid last year, and one thing that's been helpful is realizing that, at points where I am completely miserable with my job, that misery has generally been spread across other areas of my life as well. So, when I experience work-related unhappiness, I try to separate what is related to the job itself and what is related to other factors in my life.
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: FIRE Artist on January 19, 2018, 11:21:42 AM
I did it, went from 180K to 110K salary by leaving private sector for public sector.  My responsibility, work hours and stress levels were reduced in line with the reduced salary. 

I had not discovered MMM at that time, but did take into account early retirement plans, I was focused on still being able to retire at 55 if I didn't save anything more than my public sector pension for the rest of my working career (after pension deductions, Canadian taxes, CPP, EI my take home pay is basically at about my target FIRE spending level of 60K).  I have since learned that I will likely FIRE between 48-50yrs old instead of 55.  When I switched jobs I was at 50% of my now target FIRE amount and it looks like it will be 7-9 years total working at the public sector job for FIRE. 

I have recently learned the term Coast FIRE, that is essentially what I am doing now, having front loaded my retirment savings so I can downshift to a better lifestyle job while waiting for the markets to do their thing and hit my target number for FIRE.
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: Tabaxus on January 19, 2018, 11:28:02 AM
I haven't heard that Coast FIRE term.  Hmm.  I wonder if my current savings are enough (oh nope, I have a kid coming.  whoops).
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: montgomery212 on January 19, 2018, 01:25:11 PM
I did it last year. I left a $100k+ job for a lot of reasons. Main ones being I hated life every day and my superiors were treating our employees horribly (not me and the other managers, but the ones below us). I took about two months off and then got a job at a warehouse as a regular worker making $25k. I am already up to around $40k with better benefits than I had before. Plus I am much happier. We had to scale back the savings significantly but it is worth it to us. Now we have a challenge of trying to spend less and do more with what we have available. In the end I think it has made us better mustachians.

Background: Wife and I are 29 with about $150k in retirement savings. $1,400 mortgage and $600 per month in low (0% and 2%) student loans that will be finished in November 2018 and June 2019. We aim to have kids in the next 2 years so we are trying to do our best to minimize monthly obligations between now and then.

You don't have to say if you don't want to but I'm curious whether you have any intentions of going back to a 100k+ job -- either in that industry or a different one -- or if you think you'll stay in the warehouse industry despite your college degree etc. (I'm not criticizing -- warehouses are a huge industry now with e commerce and I imagine there's management/opportunities to move up just like anyplace else.)
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: Schaefer Light on January 19, 2018, 02:04:02 PM
I did it last year. I left a $100k+ job for a lot of reasons. Main ones being I hated life every day and my superiors were treating our employees horribly (not me and the other managers, but the ones below us). I took about two months off and then got a job at a warehouse as a regular worker making $25k.

I'm impressed.  That takes some courage.
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: Fi365 on January 19, 2018, 05:28:21 PM
Consulting! I teach workshops about basic stats and data analysis for companies. I have to travel a lot, usually a few times a month, but I charge anywhere from $3,000 to $20,000 per gig depending on length, number of attendees, prep time, etc., and I absolutely love teaching. I have a thriving blog for my business but canít link to it here because Iím, ya know, anonymous.

I make probably HALF of what my competitors make. One woman brings in around $20,000 PROFIT per 1-day training session. Some days I get jealous and hope to get to that level. But most days I remind myself that Iím going to FIRE anyway so who cares about the exact timeline so much.

I tip my hat off to you :)

I didn't get the background though on what you used to do and how much more that was than what you make now...?

Ah, sorry.

I used to work for a 10-person organization. We were technically a nonprofit but we functioned like a consulting firm. Our clients were typically foundations and big, national nonprofits. We helped them collect data to see whether their grants were effective.

I always had the feeling that I was working a LOT yet getting paid just a fraction of what that project brought in. I mean, that's how all companies work, right? The boss and the HR person and the accountant and the receptionist all get a piece of the money, too.

Now i do nearly the exact same work. I just keep 100% of my paycheck. I have a few passive income streams (a YouTube channel where I get ad money, an e-book that I sell for $40 on my blog, and some affiliate programs---I advertise for a friend's book or online course in my newsletter, someone buys it, and I get a cut). But the passive income is just a sliver of my money. I should really build up the YouTube channel and e-book and affiliate programs more. But I don't want to decline client projects in the meantime to make time for them. They've never been a priority. BUT, after reaching FI, I plan to spend a significant portion of my time on my YouTube channel and blog so that I can share skills with others and not have to worry about whether it's making money or not.

I'm very surprised I'm making so much more than I used to. I have no idea how much I'll make during 2018. It could be half of what I made last year. It's a real crapshoot. The potential government shutdown won't help because a lot of my clients are Federal government agencies. When they're not allowed to spend money, I obviously don't get paid.

Happy to chat more via one-on-one messages or emails!!
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: gerardc on January 19, 2018, 08:06:19 PM
What is yout timeline to FIRE, and would would your timeline be with a lower paying job (some salary you think you can reasonably make at a job that wouldn't be so miserable).

I think people who are miserable due to a specific job should generally leave if they aren't super close to FIRE.  But you also need to look at the timelines and see if you'll be more miserable sticking it out until FIRE vs working maybe 1.5 or 2x as long at something else.  Also, be mindful of what it is about your job that makes you miserable, and make sure it's not work in general, or something else you are likely to deal with at most jobs. You don't want to pull a "grass is greener", only to find out it isn't but you've given up a higher salary.

Finally, evaluate honestly whether it's 100% the job or if there are some other mental health issues at play, which might he helped with counseling.  If it truly is mostly the job, the factors are things that would most likely be different with another job, and you've done the math and are comfortable with the increased working time til FIRE, why wouldn't you bail ASAP?

Yes! I see many people going from $180k to $100k and reporting much better work-life balance, but for me (currently earn $370k in software) I feel like going to a smaller company for significantly less pay wouldn't even reduce stress that much, so it would just delay FIRE needlessly.

Maybe going to a completely different line of work would help, but at what cost? My specific company/job are pretty good. I'm burning out but not due to the number of hours (40-50h on average). What kills me is the specific type of work (software) that definitely causes some mental health issues for me (might exacerbate autistic tendencies and is just mentally/physically painful after a while). Therapy or medication might help, but I have a feeling there's not much they can do short of having me do less of that job -- e.g. medication would work at the expense of my ability to do the job. I posit that stress is necessary to actually accomplish tasks, unless you're a manager of course, but then you're not really doing any work. (just kidding on the last bit)
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: EconDiva on January 20, 2018, 09:55:30 AM
Finally, evaluate honestly whether it's 100% the job or if there are some other mental health issues at play, which might he helped with counseling.

Definitely this. I started therapy mid last year, and one thing that's been helpful is realizing that, at points where I am completely miserable with my job, that misery has generally been spread across other areas of my life as well. So, when I experience work-related unhappiness, I try to separate what is related to the job itself and what is related to other factors in my life.

RE: therapy...I totally agree as well; good points here.  I wouldn't mind hearing from those who went through therapy only to find that it was something internal they needed to fix and then work was all of a sudden much better and worth staying at?  I am pro-therapy and might just consider going back for a while soon due to anxiety that's popping up over work recently.  I must say I'm not confident it will change my feelings about things as I've been working long enough and have had prior experience with therapy to pinpoint some of the things at root of the problem:

I consider myself to be pretty self-aware and can acknowledge I have my own issues that do contribute to job dissatisfaction.  However, I also believe I work in a type of role that is in direct conflict with my personality and at times of high stress this becomes much harder to manage.  For those that are really into the Myers-Briggs stuff, the industry I work in is at total odds with an INFP such as myself.  But getting into the personality typing stuff is probably another thread.  I'll just say that INFPs are some of the most unsatisfied in the workforce.   I've read a few books and perused more than my fair share of personality-centered forums/threads to come to the conclusion there is truth in this.  So I will be the first to admit even leaving may or not be the right answer as the likelihood of still being discontent is a bit high. 
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: EconDiva on January 20, 2018, 10:06:55 AM
I think I maybe should have titled my thread "how many of you actually left a high paying job for a much lower paying job prior to FI?" 

But then I imagine there would be much debate over what people consider "a high versus a low paying job" of course.

Going from $300k/yr to $150k/yr is not as hard as going from $80k/yr to $40k/yr I would think, even though in both examples the newer salary is half of the original salary.  Not sure how much others agree.
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: EconDiva on January 20, 2018, 10:10:50 AM
I did it last year. I left a $100k+ job for a lot of reasons. Main ones being I hated life every day and my superiors were treating our employees horribly (not me and the other managers, but the ones below us). I took about two months off and then got a job at a warehouse as a regular worker making $25k. I am already up to around $40k with better benefits than I had before. Plus I am much happier. We had to scale back the savings significantly but it is worth it to us. Now we have a challenge of trying to spend less and do more with what we have available. In the end I think it has made us better mustachians.

Background: Wife and I are 29 with about $150k in retirement savings. $1,400 mortgage and $600 per month in low (0% and 2%) student loans that will be finished in November 2018 and June 2019. We aim to have kids in the next 2 years so we are trying to do our best to minimize monthly obligations between now and then.

Thanks for sharing your story; glad to hear you are much happier now. 

It is nice to have the flexibility to make such a move; I am assuming the mustachian lifestyle played a part in this.  Many living close/at/above their means are tied to their roles making this type of move nearly impossible. 

So if you had to do it again, I assume you would have?
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: EconDiva on January 20, 2018, 10:50:40 AM
Since you like the MBTI, have you read the book Do What You Are?   I found it very helpful in deciding to take my last proper professional position (got a fake temporary promotion later that was NOT a good fit) -- at the time I was shifting from a very strong INTJ to more of an INFJ, and the program position I took meant more hands on contact with grantees than I had had in my prior work (which was mostly program design and very cerebral).   It turned out that that person to person mentoring aspect of the job was indeed what I thrived on/enjoyed the most.

Just guessing, but you might be happier in a job that focuses more on your "F" tendencies.  Or in an organization that values the people side of things.

Thank you for sharing your story.  You are *totally* right I'm sure that something that speaks to my "F" side would probably be SO much better for me.

Yes, I actually have that book :)

Throughout my 20s I read my fair share of Barbara Sher stuff, had career coaching sessions offered free through my employer, did a bit of therapy and a crap ton of introspection.  I came to some very important conclusions, one of the most important being that I actually may never be happy with work.  Not really a big deal considering how many people share the same sentiment, right?

Well...I'm actually okay with not being "happy" with work.  It's just the times when the stress has an impact on my ability to function which happens more often than I would like.  And I personally do contribute this to being an INFP in my type of role.  I do hate to admit that with my goal of becoming FI, I am at odds with taking a totally different career path because it is likely to pay so much less.  So despite spending so much self reflection in my 20s, I find I put nothing into practice as it seems I've chosen to delay potential happiness for the money.  The board has been a blessing in that at least I now know I could achieve FI and 'eventually' one day switch into something more fulfilling whereas in my 20s I could never envision this as a possibility.  However, I'm not on track for that to happen before my 50s as I'm now approaching the end of my 30s and the whole FI thing well...wasn't a "thing" I was aware of until later in life and even then it took time before I started seriously putting anything into practice. 

I just sometimes wonder how long I can hang in there going through the same cycle for so long is all.

So bottom line is I always end up "seriously contemplating" a move to a lower paying position.  I did this at the age of 24 when faced with a similar type of work environment and stress level.  At the time I quit with no notice.  Went from a $45k/yr job with a management title to a night temp position at $12/hour.  Found a $28k/yr job and worked the night job in addition to the day job for a year and a half until the $28k job got to be in the $30k's range.  From there I then stayed in the industry until getting to where I am now which is close to $100k.  Perhaps that time period of working 80 hour weeks to survive is at the real root of my fear of doing something different, who knows. 
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: EconDiva on January 20, 2018, 10:52:22 AM
Not to get this thread totally off track, but just in case there are any INFPs reading:

From:
http://oddlydevelopedtypes.com/content/infps-work


Job Satisfaction

INFPs and INTPs have the lowest job satisfaction of all types (Myers et al., 1998).  Both types noted that they were dissatisfied with their company, the work they did, and their future job opportunites.  They were also noted that they were likely to leave their current job.  Big dissatisfiers for INFPs were "Promotions," "Stress," and "Accomplishment."


^I'm sure many INFPs will be able to relate.
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: gerardc on January 20, 2018, 11:18:08 AM
Throughout my 20s I read my fair share of Barbara Sher stuff, had career coaching sessions offered free through my employer, did a bit of therapy and a crap ton of introspection.  I came to some very important conclusions, one of the most important being that I actually may never be happy with work.  Not really a big deal considering how many people share the same sentiment, right?

Yeah, you may never be happy at work. At least in your 20s, you usually have hope it can be fixed someday and this hope keeps you going, but once you realize this, you can get a little jaded waiting for FIRE.

Could you try the lower stress position see if you like it? then come back after a year if not.
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: 2Birds1Stone on January 20, 2018, 12:02:39 PM
I am considering it very regularly.

Having grossed over $100k/yr over the past 3 years I am starting to feel very burnt out and losing motivation at work.

I am actually considering a sabbatical and then a return to low paid work, just enough to cover necessary expenses while the stache grows in the background.
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: Bicycle_B on January 20, 2018, 12:14:16 PM
Since you want different work but don't want to lose pay, maybe if you define very carefully the rare jobs you would like, you could search for those rare jobs that you like until you find a high paying one.

What Color Is Your Parachute has been around a while, but still might be helpful for that kind of thing.

I left the highest paid job of my 20s (about 45k in today's terms) to start a business, without a very serious plan for the "business".  I made less than $20, took three years off living on savings, became essentially a full time community volunteer.  The volunteering led to public service jobs, which in turn helped me gradually reach a modest FI in late 40s.
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: Joeko on January 20, 2018, 02:35:18 PM
Inspiring stories.  Iím leaving my 100k IT gig to take a 3-4 month sabbatical this Friday.  Burnt out of 60-70 work weeks.  When Iím ready to start working again want to find something in the 30-40 hour work week range.

Life is too short to be miserable at work
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: MrMoneyMullet on January 20, 2018, 09:58:16 PM
I haven't ever quit a six figure job, but I am going to do so this spring! Not close to FIRE.

Technically, you could also consider it "quitting a high paying job for a low paying job" since I'll still be in the US Army Reserves, which is a $12k a year job with full healthcare benefits.

I'm excited to see there are others taking similar jumps soon. Never heard the term "Coast FIRE" but I think it describes what I'm going to do ...

We should start a club. Or a thread. Or both.
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: thriftyc on January 21, 2018, 11:17:04 AM
I haven't ever quit a six figure job, but I am going to do so this spring! Not close to FIRE.

Technically, you could also consider it "quitting a high paying job for a low paying job" since I'll still be in the US Army Reserves, which is a $12k a year job with full healthcare benefits.

I'm excited to see there are others taking similar jumps soon. Never heard the term "Coast FIRE" but I think it describes what I'm going to do ...

We should start a club. Or a thread. Or both.

Agreed, coast fire is where it's at for me too...
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: bridget on January 21, 2018, 01:22:29 PM
"Coast FIRE" sounds like what I call "hobby job time," as in I can spend the rest of my life doing low-paying fun jobs that just cover expenses without adding to savings (just letting them grow without drawing down).  My hobby job/Coast FIRE number is $1M, and my true FIRE number is $2M ($1M will eventually become $2M if left alone long enough). 

I just updated my forecasting spreadsheet today.  If I stay at my high-paying but stressful job until ~Feb 2020, I will have hit the $1M number and will quit it then to take subsistence jobs and coast until $2M. 
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: Pennycounter on January 21, 2018, 02:20:50 PM
In response to your question regarding therapy, I would recommend to taking up meditation. You can try the headspace app which is very easy to use. I've been meditating regularly for about a year and it helps me step away from the work stress and not internalize it so much. I heard a lot of people say that meditation can give you the space between us stressful or anxious moment to react, without getting worked up. I find this is a good way to describe it.

I've been contemplating what you say for about a year, but I'm just scared to take the plunge and I don't know what else I would do. I would have to change Industries completely. That coupled with the fact that my husband isn't working right now and we have two small children just doesn't give me a warm fuzzy feeling about quitting.
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: MrMoneySaver on January 21, 2018, 06:42:35 PM
"Coast FIRE" sounds like what I call "hobby job time," as in I can spend the rest of my life doing low-paying fun jobs that just cover expenses without adding to savings (just letting them grow without drawing down).  My hobby job/Coast FIRE number is $1M, and my true FIRE number is $2M ($1M will eventually become $2M if left alone long enough). 

I just updated my forecasting spreadsheet today.  If I stay at my high-paying but stressful job until ~Feb 2020, I will have hit the $1M number and will quit it then to take subsistence jobs and coast until $2M.

That seems like such a high coast number. (High FI number, also.) Is it just you, or is that counting a significant other also?
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: gerardc on January 22, 2018, 02:22:50 PM
Love your posts, Malkynn. It's refreshing to read, especially the bit about living your best life.

I'd be worried about a negative net worth, but if it keeps going up and you feel good, it should work out fine.
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: Pennycounter on January 22, 2018, 07:57:13 PM
Love your posts, Malkynn. It's refreshing to read, especially the bit about living your best life.

I'd be worried about a negative net worth, but if it keeps going up and you feel good, it should work out fine.

Thanks, I appreciate the comment.

Iím not at all worried about my negative net worth, I mean, Iím worried about it, obviously, my hair is on fire, but Iím not concerned about my long term financial security at all.

As I said, Iíll stay at my predictable 6 figure day job until the debt is gone, but what happens after that will depend on what projects I enjoy best.

My side hustle business is poised to outperform my day job in a few years and literally today I was at a networking meeting and accidentally fell face first into a major impact project with backing from a national agency that will also end up directly profitable in a few years and have immeasurable impact on my personal brand.
Itís doing something that I had planned to dick around with in retirement anyway, but instead of being a quaint, self produced retirement project, itís going to hit national scale this year and be an anchoring force for all of my future endeavours.

The project literally didnít exist until I accidentally created it for myself today after listening carefully to an idea and saying: ďhave you guys considered adding this element?Ē To which they replied ďBrilliant! And *you* can do itĒ and I was like ďuh...me?...yeah....sure, why the hell not?Ē

So yeah, Iím just steadily building a collection of projects that I enjoy and building a diverse network of income streams along the way, several of which Iíll be able to happily maintain well into my senior years.

Itís shocking how easy it is to turn passion into profit when you have the time and energy to do it.
Sure, I would have been out of debt faster staying at my old job, but my career would have stagnated at its previous level and I wouldnít have anywhere near the network and potential that my career now has. 

So yeah, I donít worry about it.
Wow, your original post was definitely inspiring. Good food for thought
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: Schaefer Light on January 23, 2018, 11:25:06 AM
I wish I had the confidence to quit my job.  I'm scared that I wouldn't be able to find another job with a comparable salary, but what really frightens me is that I might take a lower paying job and end up hating it just as much.  Talk about a lose-lose scenario.
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: EconDiva on January 23, 2018, 08:24:41 PM
I wish I had the confidence to quit my job.  I'm scared that I wouldn't be able to find another job with a comparable salary, but what really frightens me is that I might take a lower paying job and end up hating it just as much.  Talk about a lose-lose scenario.

So...yeah.  This is definitely a huge concern for me too!
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: Finances_With_Purpose on January 23, 2018, 08:39:26 PM
I have. 

I remember having those same fears, too.  I was nowhere near FI/retirement, and even had a little debt. 

Life is too short to live it with constant anxiety, no sleep, and so on.  Just not worth it. 

If that's the only way you can reasonably enough survive, then sure, do that.  But if you can downgrade a lot of stress and gain your time back with some cash reduction, it may well be worth it. 

Tip: read YMOYL (http://amzn.to/2E4Ztqm) if you haven't yet.  Especially the part about figuring up your actual hourly rate.  Include all those hours you stress at home and can't sleep and so on.  Then see what you're "really" paid for.  And that doesn't even count the non-financial price you pay when you give up your mental health, your relationships, and your physical health.  You're probably not being paid as well as you think. 
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: Tabaxus on January 23, 2018, 08:47:34 PM
I wish I had the confidence to quit my job.  I'm scared that I wouldn't be able to find another job with a comparable salary, but what really frightens me is that I might take a lower paying job and end up hating it just as much.  Talk about a lose-lose scenario.

So...yeah.  This is definitely a huge concern for me too!

There are a ton of times where this kind of thinking cuts off any "maybe I should quit" type of considerations.
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: pbkmaine on January 23, 2018, 09:08:15 PM
I did. I decided to step away from a partner-track job at a Big Four accounting firm. I missed the glamour at times (I was a high-profile senior manager and did a lot of public speaking and media), but I did not miss the hours or the management responsibilities. In the end, it was the right choice for me.
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: LateToTheParty on January 24, 2018, 05:47:08 AM
I am in my final month of stressful, long hours, high paying manager position. I am downshifting to a direct contributor position, same company.  Looking forward to better balance with my personal time, less stress. Still decent pay. Am 75% to my FIRE target, but may work beyond reaching target to get the golden handcuff benefits.
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: bridget on January 24, 2018, 08:43:40 AM
"Coast FIRE" sounds like what I call "hobby job time," as in I can spend the rest of my life doing low-paying fun jobs that just cover expenses without adding to savings (just letting them grow without drawing down).  My hobby job/Coast FIRE number is $1M, and my true FIRE number is $2M ($1M will eventually become $2M if left alone long enough). 

I just updated my forecasting spreadsheet today.  If I stay at my high-paying but stressful job until ~Feb 2020, I will have hit the $1M number and will quit it then to take subsistence jobs and coast until $2M.

That seems like such a high coast number. (High FI number, also.) Is it just you, or is that counting a significant other also?

Counting a significant other also. We live in a high cost of living city that we love, and would like the option to stay here long term. I also make enough money that ďone more yearĒ makes a humongous difference, and Iím willing to do that in exchange for not having to be very focused on keeping costs down for the rest of my life (I can and have lived on low incomes before - it just takes more focus and energy than I can commit to for the rest of my life).
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: McStache on January 24, 2018, 08:55:03 AM
I am in the middle of doing this right now (at least on a small scale).  I'm taking about a $20K pay cut in exchange for a better work life balance, more opportunity for learning, and work that I find more in line with my values.  My net worth is $300K, which I figure to be at about my Coast FI number.  I'll still be able to save quite a bit in this new position, but definitely less than I would have had I stayed where I was.

As I see it (or am continuing to try to convince myself), what's the point of saving all this money if I don't use it to take chances on interesting opportunities when they come my way?
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: EconDiva on January 24, 2018, 10:34:20 AM
I have. 

I remember having those same fears, too.  I was nowhere near FI/retirement, and even had a little debt. 

Life is too short to live it with constant anxiety, no sleep, and so on.  Just not worth it. 

If that's the only way you can reasonably enough survive, then sure, do that.  But if you can downgrade a lot of stress and gain your time back with some cash reduction, it may well be worth it. 

Tip: read YMOYL (http://amzn.to/2E4Ztqm) if you haven't yet.  Especially the part about figuring up your actual hourly rate.  Include all those hours you stress at home and can't sleep and so on.  Then see what you're "really" paid for.  And that doesn't even count the non-financial price you pay when you give up your mental health, your relationships, and your physical health.  You're probably not being paid as well as you think.

Regarding YMOYL....

...I had purchased this book several years ago and actually never read it.

I dug it out just 2 or 3 days ago!  I definitely have it as a "to do" item and plan on getting through a large portion of it starting this weekend.
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: EconDiva on January 24, 2018, 12:15:16 PM
I wish I had the confidence to quit my job.  I'm scared that I wouldn't be able to find another job with a comparable salary, but what really frightens me is that I might take a lower paying job and end up hating it just as much.  Talk about a lose-lose scenario.

Itís all about risk management and priorities.

I was able to quit my super high paying job despite still having a ton of debt and no other job lined up because I knew my job market and I had been cultivating my network for over a year *just in case* the excessive stress at my job didnít ease up. It took one phone call and within two days I had my pick of the best un-listed positions in the city. Iím good at my job, but Iím better at networking.

Things were only supposed to be super high stress at my old job for 3 months, then go back to normal. I had no plans on leaving, I loved my job. However, the moment I stopped enjoying it, even temporarily, I started building a professional escape route of people who could help find me work if needed, just in case. 3 months turned into a year, and I was still committed, but that escape route was so well developed by then that when my boss crossed a line with me too far *once* I was able to quit that day. I had no plans to quit, but I was prepared to.

Iíve also researched and cultivated side hustles since I started my career. Some will pay off but only after a lot of research and effort. That said, my side hustles are all joy projects, so spending my free time on them feels no different than spending my free time here writing this post.

In contrast, a friend of mine is miserable at his job that heís been at for 20 years. Itís a technical job and the only thing heís trained to do. Heís closing in on 50, he has zero other skills, and his job pays quite well. He canít make a lateral move to another company for many reasons so heís stuck at his current company just being miserable.
He canít just quit, but heís also done *nothing* of substance to change his miserable life either because all he could see in front of him was pay cuts and no promises. Meanwhile I looked at him and said: ďdude, you could have learned a foreign language in that time and been paid more than double to do technical consulting overseasĒ and that was just one option off the top of my head that he could have done during his long daily commute to make himself more skilled and marketable.
Anyway, Iím pretty sure heís going to get fired, so the decision will be made for him soon.

Having good reasons not to quite is not the same as having an excuse to do nothing to change your life and career.

One of the best posts I've read in a minute...thanks for sharing.  That last sentence really drives home a VERY good/important point.

Now you've got me super curious (I can't be the only one wondering)...what did your boss do to "cross the line"?
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: Finances_With_Purpose on January 24, 2018, 07:17:46 PM
@EconDiva awesome.  If you don't tell anyone: I haven't finished it yet.  But the first part makes such a great point about actual hourly rates that it made an impression.  (Ditto the lifetime income piece.) 
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: SugarMountain on February 05, 2018, 01:00:05 PM
I'm not speaking about those who were anywhere close to being FI either...as I'm not.

I feel like I always go through this cycle of wanting to try something different but never do.  Actually, its moreso a matter of having too much stress which comes in waves for me.  Sometimes I could go 4 months without it being "too bad"...other times it could be an entire 8 months of stress, night meetings and little sleep. 

I guess I'd just like to hear some stories of people who did it and why and how it worked it out.  Going through some major changes at work and hadn't slept most of the week due to anxiety about it.  Don't want to be a complainypants; just having one of those days but wondering more and more if it's all worth it.  I swear now I'm almost 40 it just really gets harder to do what I do; particularly because I do it only for the money and it's hard work for me because the skills I have to employ don't come naturally.

Anyways....any stories to share?

I have struggled with this to various degrees for many years.  I have a high paying job in middle management for a large software company. I'm one who has stuck it out and am now very close to FIRE.  Was it worth it?  I'm not sure.  I suppose I'll know after I'm FIRE'd.  This past year was brutal, but so far 2018 has not been bad, despite getting yet another new boss to break in.  If it stays this way, going another 6 months to a year shouldn't be too difficult.

On the comment that it's easier to go from $300k to 150k than $80k to 40k, I'm not sure I agree.  Many years ago I quit a decent paying software dev job with no job lined up.  But, I was fairly confident that even if I took a pay cut, I'd be able to get back to where I was.  If I were to quit my middle management job now with nothing lined up, I suspect I'd have a long row to hoe to even get another job, let alone work my way back up in terms of salary.  (See the thread on OMY hits the highest paid the hardest.) But maybe that's just my internal insecurity speaking and I would discover that I was even more successful in a new endeavor.
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: living small on February 05, 2018, 04:03:35 PM
I am a health professional and have another thread that I started that sort of touches on this sort of sentiment. When you aren't FI but just aren't willing to keep on at the same thing much longer.

I have been very fortunate to have consistently made $150k + in my career. After a divorce, I found a job for half of my salary, but it was overseas and included massive perks like housing allowance, and lower taxable income. I took the job because I wanted to have a cool experience, that was definitely worth it. 

After that job, and after paying off massive student loan debt and heading steadily toward FI,  I have hit several walls. I have decided to work no more than five years in my current profession as my main source of income.

 I felt that setting this goal, wether I was FI or not, I was going to have a timeline/deadline that was tangible. After I made that decision, I made the decision to pursue several things that I am passionate about. Some of these can be monetized. I figured that I will put in the work to make these other projects monetizeable now. That way I have something that I am ready to step right into when I am finished with my official career-hopefully something that pays me back.
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: gobius on February 07, 2018, 10:53:59 AM
I did.

I worked in the energy industry for just under a decade and was making around $90K when I left (in a low cost of living area; my salary was more than the value of my house).  My wife got a job in a higher COL area.  I decided it would be a good time to take some time off, since I was moving away from my job anyway.  I took 9 months and then decided I wanted to try carpentry.  I'm not overly good at building things, so trying carpentry was a good learning experience.  Did that for about 8 months and got a call from a headhunter about a job in my old industry nearby.  I took it, making less than I did at my previous high-paying job but more than as a carpenter.

I don't have a lot of hobbies, so my time off got boring.  It didn't help that it was a new area to me and my wife was away at work all day, plus I'm introverted and not part of a religious organization that I could join.  If I were to do it again I would make a point to find more stuff to do and/or wait until both my wife and I can leave.

When I first started in carpentry I started in framing houses.  I only lasted 2 weeks.  It wasn't the physical toll, but rather the guys I worked with, that led to me quitting.  I worked with 4 guys, and 2 of them were pure jackasses (one was the foreman).  That's an issue in the trades sometimes, and a family member (who has been in the trades for about 25 years) warned me about it.  I can handle people telling crude jokes or giving each other crap, or even having to pay my dues, but the level of disrespect was more than I was going to tolerate.  The place I worked for 8 months was much better.
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: FIRE Artist on February 10, 2018, 02:42:02 AM
Not only did I do this as previously mentioned up thread,  but yesterday I turned down an offer for promotion to department Director. FU money and the finish line to FIRE in sight is awesome.
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: Sharkey on February 10, 2018, 04:37:59 AM
Not only did I do this as previously mentioned up thread,  but yesterday I turned down an offer for promotion to department Director. FU money and the finish line to FIRE in sight is awesome.

Good move. Director looks like a ton of headaches and not much fun!

I left my second permanent job, which at the time my highest paying (and it wasn't badly paid, I was making at the time 24% more than I was 1.5 years before). Reason was a senior colleague took to shouting at me in public. Second time it happened I quit and was gone the next week. Took three months much-needed break and managed to get a higher paying job - and now well on the path to FIRE.

At the time I just had a decent emergency fund, really, but it was enough.
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: Nancy on February 10, 2018, 08:36:10 AM
I did this! I switched careers and took a job paying 25% of my former salary. My story is not intended to be prescriptive since I donít think there is one right answer.

I worked in the same field for about a decade. Although I liked my organization and coworkers, the work and hours were not a match for me. There were three careers that interested me, all with extra degrees as barriers to entry, so I decided to take low paying jobs in the fields to see how I liked them before committing. Before making the switch, I meditated on my fears, which was integral to the success of my transition. I canít overstate that. I also had the benefit of a strong network in my previous field, my FI cushion, and very low expenses.

I absolutely LOVE my work now. I feel energized and alive when I'm there, and I'm happier in my day-to-day life. I work part-time, so Iím able to volunteer and focus on the things in life that matter to me.

Along the way, Iíve learned that Iím terrible at predicting what is going to happen in the future and how Iím going to feel about it when it does happen. When I left my former job, I had a plan that included working, getting degrees, and post degree jobs. I couldnít have understood back then that I would be quite happy and fulfilled in the lower paying job. I think Iíll get the degree and the professional job eventually because I truly enjoy the field, but maybe I wonít. Who can say?

I'm bare bones FI, but I'm still contributing to the stash and generally letting it coast. I rarely think about FI these days because I'm living my best life right now.
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: Rosy on February 12, 2018, 11:06:17 AM
Yes - in my early forties I left corporate America (made just under $100K back in 1986). I loved my career before that, but during a restructuring of the company, it became clear to me that I didn't like the new direction and clashed with my new manager. Life at work became torture.
Never looked back - never regretted it.

Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: Mika M on February 12, 2018, 11:34:47 AM
I haven't... yet... I've been dying to for years (and fulfill my dream of moving out west), but keep talking myself into hanging in there at least a few more years because DH still doesn't seem to feel ready.

My job has it's stresses but it's relatively cush and easy for they pay (90+ for not doing any laywer-type craziness, I'm contractually prohibited from working beyond 40 hours a week so no insane hours, I've never had to do any overnight business travel, etc.) so I figured as long as I'm stuck here (in the DC area) I may as well keep trucking along in my cush easy job, piling up more toward our goal 'number'.

But every year it definitely gets harder and harder to talk myself into working a few more years especially as our net worth piles higher (about halfway to the top end of our goal, maybe 2/3 to our no-less-than number). Depending on my work circumstances, I may throw in the towel by the time kiddo finishes kindergarden (about 1.5 yrs from now) under the official excuse of being home when she gets outta school... whether we can move away or not...
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: MrMoneySaver on February 12, 2018, 01:31:43 PM
Yes - in my early forties I left corporate America (made just under $100K back in 1986). I loved my career before that, but during a restructuring of the company, it became clear to me that I didn't like the new direction and clashed with my new manager. Life at work became torture.
Never looked back - never regretted it.

What did you end up doing?
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: begood on February 12, 2018, 02:52:40 PM
My husband did this almost nine years ago at age 44, after 20 years with a multinational corporation. He liked the company and the work, but an opportunity came open at his high school alma mater and he went for it. Took a 2/3 salary cut, but the job came with housing and we eat dinner during the school year in the dining room at the school. We simplified our lives dramatically, moving from a 4200 s.f. Colonial to a 1300 s.f. farmhouse. We sold about half of our belongings when we moved and haven't missed ANY of it.

My husband walks to work and he hasn't missed one of our daughter's school performances, track meets, et cetera. We were nervous about making the leap, but it was a very soft landing in a community with very Mustachian principles overall, especially around materialism and simplicity.
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: EconDiva on December 10, 2019, 07:22:04 AM
Update Dec 10, 2019:    Wow...this thread was started almost 2 years ago.  My, how time flies.  I am still at my current company fyi, and have since accepted a promotion in the same department I've been in for a while now.  Although it's nice to have the additional money, it has only increased my feelings of wanting to leave.  I think I am simply burnt out honestly.  On one hand I want to keep pushing because every year here would put me that much closer to FI (I'm not interested in RE).  Also, earlier this year I drained my 6 month emergency fund to pay off some old IRS stuff so it's not like I can just jump ship right now honestly.  I hope I can take some time during the upcoming holidays to think through all of this.  It's funny how certain "golden handcuff" scenarios make it so much harder to consider changing employment situations; since my original post we've been given 3 additional holidays for the year, I've gotten a promotion that has increased my salary ~20% or so, I have now been given restricted stock units (of course they take 3 years to vest), and this year I've gotten around 5 or so small unexpected bonuses here and there that I never used to get. 

Anyways, I'm very interested to hear from those who posted in this thread originally who were contemplating on a change.  Have you taken the jump yet?  How are things?  Updates from those who originally leave and take a pay cut - are things still peachy on your end? 
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: bridget on December 10, 2019, 01:26:10 PM
"Coast FIRE" sounds like what I call "hobby job time," as in I can spend the rest of my life doing low-paying fun jobs that just cover expenses without adding to savings (just letting them grow without drawing down).  My hobby job/Coast FIRE number is $1M, and my true FIRE number is $2M ($1M will eventually become $2M if left alone long enough). 

I just updated my forecasting spreadsheet today.  If I stay at my high-paying but stressful job until ~Feb 2020, I will have hit the $1M number and will quit it then to take subsistence jobs and coast until $2M.

That seems like such a high coast number. (High FI number, also.) Is it just you, or is that counting a significant other also?

Counting a significant other also. We live in a high cost of living city that we love, and would like the option to stay here long term. I also make enough money that ďone more yearĒ makes a humongous difference, and Iím willing to do that in exchange for not having to be very focused on keeping costs down for the rest of my life (I can and have lived on low incomes before - it just takes more focus and energy than I can commit to for the rest of my life).

Thanks for calling us back, EconDiva! I had forgotten I ever wrote this. Fast forwarding to today:

- Divorced the significant other
- Quit my very high paying big law job ($305k plus $90k annual bonus) in June
- Taking a six month sabbatical to travel, regroup, and work on some personal goals
- Iím starting a new job at a boutique firm in January; it pays well but not as well as my previous job so Iím downshifting on the savings
- Stash currently around $550k, after no paychecks and lots of travel expenses for 6 mos and everything the ex took

All in all, Iím really happy with my life and decisions and that Iím not grinding away in either an unhappy marriage or unhappy job anymore.
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: McStache on December 10, 2019, 06:32:14 PM
I am in the middle of doing this right now (at least on a small scale).  I'm taking about a $20K pay cut in exchange for a better work life balance, more opportunity for learning, and work that I find more in line with my values.  My net worth is $300K, which I figure to be at about my Coast FI number.  I'll still be able to save quite a bit in this new position, but definitely less than I would have had I stayed where I was.

As I see it (or am continuing to try to convince myself), what's the point of saving all this money if I don't use it to take chances on interesting opportunities when they come my way?

I'm still at the pay cut job and largely loving it.  I'm still able to stash away a healthy chunk each year and my work life balance is so much better.  I'm getting my masters part time on top of work and I still feel like I'm working less overall than my old job... Sometimes I toy around with the idea of dropping to part time or taking a sabbatical - that's probably next, but not for another couple years.

My net worth is now sitting at about $425, though it feels like the markets have more influence than I do these days.
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: RobertFromTX on December 10, 2019, 08:13:57 PM
I left a job as a commercial banker that was paying ~100k but included lots of driving, weekend emails, and just wasn't stimulating anymore. I left to become a work-from-home software developer making $85k. Savings rate dropped from 76% to 70% lol. I was about 90% to FI when I made the change, and being in that financial position made it very very easy to do because I'll be 100% FI soon anyways and don't plan to retire immediately.
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: imolina on December 10, 2019, 08:26:45 PM
I left a job as a commercial banker that was paying ~100k but included lots of driving, weekend emails, and just wasn't stimulating anymore. I left to become a work-from-home software developer making $85k. Savings rate dropped from 76% to 70% lol. I was about 90% to FI when I made the change, and being in that financial position made it very very easy to do because I'll be 100% FI soon anyways and don't plan to retire immediately.

How did you make the switch to software developer?. I did some software developing in my early career but now I work in the oil and gas industry. I am thinking in pursuing a different job and software developer is interesting to me.
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: Freedomin5 on December 11, 2019, 02:05:56 AM
I donít know if I posted in 2018, but I also left my high paying job. Full-time salary would have been $450k per year. First I downshifted to part-time, and when that still didnít help, I found a different job. Pay plus benefits is now worth around $250k. Given that Iím at a lower paying job but not technically at a low paying job, we are still saving a healthy chunk of money, but our work-life balance and quality of life is MUCH better now.
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: TVRodriguez on December 11, 2019, 08:45:37 AM
I didn't reply to the original post in 2018, but I left higher paying jobs for lower paying jobs a couple of times.  The first time was to switch my area of practice (I practice law) b/c I hated litigation.  The second time was to get out of a big regional law firm to start my own practice.  Both times it was the right choice for me, even though the paycut was noticeable (most noticeable in the savings rate).
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: mozar on December 17, 2019, 07:19:53 PM
I was fired from my high paying job in march 2018. I was a federal auditor. I knew it wasn't the career for me though I did it for ten years.

 I hung out at home for a year and a half, while taking care of a lot of medical issues.  I decided to try carpentry so I remodeled my kitchen by myself then used the pictures instead of a resume. I am into my second week as a professional carpenter. it is physically hard, but a bad day at work as a carpenter is still a better day than my best day as an auditor. It's weird going from 93k to 33k a year, but I'm so much happier.  I can't imagine having to sit in front of a computer all day again or deal with office politics. They're already talking about making me a lead and I could get to a 60k salary in a few years. My nest egg is currently 174k. It will be more like a slow walk to FIRE rather than a sprint. But I'm appreciating being happy now rather than later.
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: HBFIRE on December 17, 2019, 10:05:21 PM
I did, to start a business.  It was actually a great high paying/low stress job relatively speaking, I probably put in around 30 min/day of real work there.  Absolutely no regrets, life is better in every way.  In fact I occasionally have nightmares about having to go back to work for someone else again.
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: Jonboyz on December 25, 2019, 03:27:59 PM
I think I maybe should have titled my thread "how many of you actually left a high paying job for a much lower paying job prior to FI?" 

But then I imagine there would be much debate over what people consider "a high versus a low paying job" of course.

Going from $300k/yr to $150k/yr is not as hard as going from $80k/yr to $40k/yr I would think, even though in both examples the newer salary is half of the original salary.  Not sure how much others agree.

I quit a six-figure salary as a physician 10yrs ago at the age of 38yo, to start a solo practice as a careers coach earning only about $5000 p.a. This was intentional as I wanted to keep my fees as low as possible to aid similar mid-career changers. I then changed to full-time novelist 2yrs ago.

My wife earns over $350,000 p.a. now. We graduated medical school in the same year and I would be earning her equivalent if Iíd stayed in medicine, so I definitely gave up on a decent salary by leaving medical practice.

TBH, it was far easier to leave knowing that my DW earned more than enough money for us to FIRE by the age of 47yo.
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on December 26, 2019, 03:23:33 PM
My tangentially related response...

I make a lot ($600k+) & was incredibly burned out. I thought of full on quitting, but decided to take a sabbatical this year. I took 4 months off (mostly unpaid). It was glorious. I decided to come back (to a promotion), because the money is so great, and the promotion actually solved a few other issues. It's not perfect, but I'm able to make so much right now, that I'm planning to achieve a few big financial milestones, and then I can do whatever I want in the future. Basically, a few more years at this job is like 6-10 years at another job, so I decided to stay in & see what happens.

Is a sabbatical or extended break an option for you?
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: FIRE Artist on February 11, 2020, 12:30:34 PM
I ended up changing jobs in my organization - same job title, but closer to the front line and no need for travel.  The job is the best job I have ever had for work life, autonomy and overall satisfaction.  The only hitch (there is always a hitch), is that it is a 3 year temporary term based on funding which is expected to run out sometime in Q2 2021. 

I am a mere 16K away from hitting my ďnumberĒ, but now would like to pay off the mortgage before going full FIRE (yes, I understand the math behind not paying off your mortgage, but I would rather be sequence of return risk proof in this political climate).  It makes me sad to think that this job will end, but I am sure everything will be alright.  I told my manager that I would accept a part time position when my job is done if they can scrape together the money for it, could be a win win situation all around.  She seemed excited about that possibility, so I can trust her to at least bring it up for consideration. 
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: Rubyvroom on February 14, 2020, 04:35:49 PM
I quit my high paying job shortly after a promotion and major sweeping changes to the C-Suite took its toll. One night after a very bad work trip plus a full day in the office on very little sleep, I just had a bit of a break down at home and decided it wasn't worth it. I ended up freelancing and I make more hourly but I earn less overall after buying my own health care, losing paid vacation etc. I spent a lot of time thinking about the money I could have made and thinking that I should have stuck it out until we hit our number, but I'm currently coming off a 6 week "break" and I'm actually excited to go back to work for this next client. I don't remember another time in my life that I was actually excited for work... so I think it was worth the $. We are about 2/3 of the way to FI, so definitely not there yet, but comfortable enough to make these kinds of decisions without major repercussions.

Thanks for reviving this thread - it was interesting to read about everyone's different paths.
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: Gray Matter on February 15, 2020, 05:45:38 AM
I left a relatively high paying corporate job about five years ago and took a ~50% pay cut to run a non-profit.  I was feeling so burned out in my corporate job, going to work every day to do work that just didn't make my heart sing, helping the rich get richer.  The non-profit was in a completely different field and that felt amazing, to be doing work that really makes a difference in the world.  It felt like coming home and I had found my peeps.

And...running a non-profit is incredibly stressful.  Your work is never done.  In my corporate job, that was true, too, but there were so many more resources, and I could tell myself that they'd gotten their money's worth out of me and draw the line there.  But in the non-profit, because I cared so deeply about the mission, I wanted to do more and more and more.  And, as an executive director, a lot of what you're doing parallels corporate work--strategic planning, board management, fundraising.  So, while I found the work very meaningful, I also found it stressful.  It was a very hard decision, but ultimately after three years I decided I didn't want to run an organization, I wanted to do "front-line" work.

In this line of work, front line work requires retraining, so I went back to school and am working on a doctorate.  I will be 52 when I graduate.  My career trajectory has clearly not been fueled by smart financial decisions over the past five years, because after being out of the labor market for 5 years to get this doctorate, and spending 100K on it, I will make less money even than I made running the non-profit.  But I made the decision five years ago that my career, and my life, was not about the money and that it never would be again. 

And I couldn't be happier.  That is true despite the fact that doctoral programs sometimes feel like one long hazing designed to break you.  Despite that, I still love it.
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: Bloop Bloop on February 15, 2020, 06:16:27 AM
I consciously reduced my hours by about 15% these past few months, which reduced my gross pay by about 10%, and my net pay by 5%. It was well worth it.

(Gross pay didn't reduce by the same amount as my hours reduced, since allocating fewer work hours allowed me to be pickier about the work I was choosing to do.)
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: LateToTheParty on February 15, 2020, 12:23:26 PM
My downshift to direct contributor role 2 years ago has been glorious. And I have not felt any pay reduction at all, as there were some pay bumps that happened the same time as my downshift due to union-bargained raises.
The run-up in equities has also been amazing during this time.
We have nearly reached our FIRE number, and are contemplating pulling the lever next year.
My dilemma now:  do I stay 7 additional years for the full retirement benefits OR do say ďscrew itĒ and be done already?  I may have the opportunity to downshift to 36 hrs/wk soon, which would be nice.

DH will FIRE next year, regardless. I am the one with the primo benefits and golden handcuffs.
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: ItsALongStory on February 16, 2020, 04:20:58 PM
I am somewhat in a similar situation, I work in entry level management in tech. My wife has a generous government pension that is cost of living adjusted with a pre-determined ~3% raise annually. This retirement income covers 110-120% of projected expenses in our target location of Portugal or Spain. The liquid stash we have currently is right around $500k, money that in theory we would never need to touch.

As I don't qualify for survivor benefits from my wife's pension, I want to ensure that the liquid stash can keep me afloat should she pass (she is significantly older than me) or we separate. It's a bit morbid but something that needs to be considered in these long term plans.

I am currently seeking an internal transfer from the US to our target location in a similar role, but understand that in all likelihood I will be taking a 40-50% pay cut due to lower pay scales and differences in tax rates. Provided I can put away 100% of that net income (pension covers 100% of living expenses anyway) I feel comfortable pulling the plug in 2.5 to 3.5 years. At that point we will be slow traveling through Europe but realistically end back up in the US at some point due to family.

As we have talked about this plan with friends and family, I'm looking at it more as a career break vs true 'RE' as I am expecting to 'work' again later in life or even continue to work part time come 2022-2023.

We shall see, I suppose.
Title: Re: How many of you have actually left a high paying job prior to FI?
Post by: wildatheart on February 17, 2020, 12:22:08 PM
I haven't done it yet, but I'm about to next month. my FIRE is 3/19.
Early 50s and make >$300k but I have HAD IT!
We'll struggle in the beginning to get our costs down to a Mustachian standard of spending, but all great lessons involve a little struggle. It will be WAY less than the sh!tshow of my current work.
I'm going to spend the summer getting a vacation rental ready for occupancy and relaxing, spending time with my kids and continuing my path to better fitness.

The cost to my soul to listen to a bunch of OWG chatter about EBITDA and forecasts for every hour until FIRE is enormous.

Folks have told me to "Stay until they fire me <you>". But I just can't do that - not in my makeup. I know the OWG don't care, but I do. Besides, it will be more fun to just walk away from it all on my terms.

Thanks for all the inspiration all you Moustachians!