Author Topic: Toughing out the 9-5...  (Read 20477 times)

bikerdood

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Toughing out the 9-5...
« on: June 10, 2014, 06:50:52 AM »
Hey all,

Mostly looking for some encouragement or insight you might have.

I've been reading MMM since late 2012.  Luckily had a few mustachian behaviors already built in by my parents(eschewing buying things, riding bikes, living w parents throughout college or cheap group houses).  I graduated in Spring 2011 with no debt.  I got a 65k paying job out of college (software eng) and took several antimustachian steps backward - bought a brand new car, picked up a 1300$ 1 bedroom apartment to rent (I live in DC).  After reading MMM I started to make changes - I got rid of the car, saved as much as possible, dropped the expensive apartment.  Changes in-place in earnest since Summer 2013, I'm up to 45k networth and a savings rate of ~65%.

So far, so good.

The trouble is I truly dislike sedentary office life.  Hate, hate, hate.  Nothing good comes from sitting for 8 hours.  I despise coming into the office.  I stick around because of the (now) ~74k paycheck and 5% 401k match.

A pipe dream work situation would be to be a bike messenger and code part time.  The hustle requisite to make this happen, at this point, scares me. 

Anybody else decide that they dislike their 9-5 so much they would rather ditch it than get to ER earlier?

dude

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Re: Toughing out the 9-5...
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2014, 06:58:12 AM »
Ah yes, the old "golden handcuffs."  I know the feeling.  There are few things I'd rather do than haul my ass to the office to sit/stand here for 8-9 hours, but I take solace in the fact that I have a light at the end of the tunnel in the form of a pension and early retirement.  It's more than enough to keep me coming in every day, though I am counting down the days until I can walk away.  And yeah, I get bored as shit some days and feel really unmotivated at times, but I slog through knowing that light is getting closer and brighter day by day.

bikerdood

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Re: Toughing out the 9-5...
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2014, 07:06:27 AM »
Dude!  Thanks for the reply.  I do get that kick out of knowing that every day I come in I'm closer to freedom... it's just that I go almost obsessive with it and sometimes can't even pay attention to work.  I keep my Mint and Personal Capital open in a tab, half financial-planning, half-fantasizing.

former player

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Re: Toughing out the 9-5...
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2014, 07:25:33 AM »
Three years in and not institutionalised into the office 9 to 5 yet?  The youth of today are mentally tougher than I thought (one of them, at least).

Work part-time, bike messenger part time should be do-able I would have thought.  After 3 years, you have enough experience to be useful in a range of positions, and your current employer must think reasonably well of you to have increased your salary.  Would there be any harm in asking them about the possibility of part-time?

An alternative strategy would be to get out of DC and move somewhere your out of office hours can provide you with more rewarding and physical leisure activities.  Or take the leap into freelancing, in which case you would still be tied to a computer but not to an office, and could be anywhere in or out of the country.

If you go the bike messenger route, you might want to look into disability insurance - it's not the safest of jobs.

soccerluvof4

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Re: Toughing out the 9-5...
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2014, 07:31:32 AM »
^+1. Sounds like your young enough too that you can take some chances though i doubt it would be a major one. Do it know or it just gets tougher the longer you wait. I am not familiar with your job description but maybe if you can correlate it with a sales position you might find alot more of the freedom your looking for.

bikerdood

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Re: Toughing out the 9-5...
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2014, 07:57:00 AM »
@formerplayer
haha thanks man.  I like to think of this as mental toughness but it can be hard to keep the right perspective.  Here in Careerism's Underbelly (DC) the words "early retirement" and "frugal" are met with disbelief at best and suspicion at worst ("what do you mean you want to just selfishly walk away?  you don't want to do something GREAT and CONTRIBUTE to society??")  Shivers and shudders.  Family smiles and nods but ultimately treats it as a flight of fancy (my mom just retired at 60 some and dad is still working at 50 many).  In all honesty I've met perhaps 0 mustachians in DC.

@soccerluv
I dig your tagline - so true.  Maybe I do do that and see what I can negotiate.

smalllife

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Re: Toughing out the 9-5...
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2014, 08:21:29 AM »
Three years in and not institutionalised into the office 9 to 5 yet?  The youth of today are mentally tougher than I thought (one of them, at least).

Give us a little credit ;-)

Here's my strategy, take it as you will.

Save up enough for serious FU money/paid off house/independently poor FI and then go part time or take the risk to self-start the coding you want to do.  More than likely simply being able to take that risk will put you in a position to still save and hit FI.  The reason I don't have a specific option from above is because I'm not quite there yet and you never know what could change.  It's not the most mathematically optimal route to FI, but it's one that has a work-life balance that I want ASAP.

aetherie

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Re: Toughing out the 9-5...
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2014, 08:51:44 AM »
In all honesty I've met perhaps 0 mustachians in DC.

*waves*
I'm not in DC proper, but I live inside the beltway. I'm just starting out (literally, on my second week), also in software eng, and while I don't hate it yet I can see where you're coming from. Good luck figuring out what's best for you, and I'll be following this thread with interest.

bikerdood

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Re: Toughing out the 9-5...
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2014, 08:53:35 AM »
Hey smalllife, I dig it.

One of the rewarding things about the road to FI has been developing the frugality muscle and other associated virtues.  At every step of the way, I look at a cost and might first think there's no way I could ever do without (car, gym, happy hour with friends, etc).  And then once the seed is planted, I wait a little, whatever the expense becomes more and more irksome and then I go without. 

As I save for financial target X, the frugality necessary to get their actually makes it possible for that target X to go down.  So what yesterday felt like poor FI comes to feel like reasonable FI.

Thanks man.

galliver

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Re: Toughing out the 9-5...
« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2014, 08:54:28 AM »
Well...don't you want to "do something GREAT and CONTRIBUTE to society"? What would you do if basic sustenance was no object? I can see how right now, while in the grind of the 9-5, your highest aspiration might be to sleep in and ride your bike and maybe finish a couple books, but how long would you keep that up?

MMM retired to do two things: raise his child and pursue his craft (carpentry/woodworking). He's also spreading his message (of frugality, environmentalism,  etc) and donating to alleviate world poverty http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/09/29/weekend-edition-the-life-you-can-save/ The thing I sometimes wonder about his story is whether he even needed that programming job, or if he would have had more satisfaction doing the carpentry the whole time (even if he didn't amass a "stache" and retire in the process). Of course, the flexibility and freedom he gets from not being reliant on an income source is probably important. But it's a question worth asking, I think.

If I suddenly got $1M, I don't think I'd change what I was doing much. I'd be much less worried and stressed about Where My Career Is Going, but I wouldn't quit graduate school because I can't do experimental fluid mechanics in my garage. I can't teach in my garage either (except homeschooling, but that's different than teaching one subject in HS or college). But obviously this doesn't go for every job. My friend left his desk job this spring and became a yoga instructor; it was more in line with his goals of a healthy, active lifestyle. And now he gets to bring that to other people--way cool.

So, I think that rather than thinking about what job will give you high enough compensation to let you retire in X years, you should decide if those X years are even worth losing, or if you're better off doing what you really want now, even if the pay is lower. Your mission for yourself doesn't have to be grand (Nobel Prize, Gov't office, Billionaire Entrepreneur-Philanthropist, etc). If the legacy you want to leave is in parcels delivered (messenger), or children raised/educated (parent/teacher), or people feeling cared for (nurse), then those are perfectly valid goals. But I won't believe anyone can be happy and satisfied by sitting on their butt (figuratively) with no higher aspirations than hedonism for 60 years.

galaxie

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Re: Toughing out the 9-5...
« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2014, 09:16:19 AM »
1. Get a standing desk?
2. Your job is what you make it.  You like software at least a little, right?  Ask for work that is the kind of thing you like about your job, and specialize in that.
3. Become a consultant once you've got enough of a portfolio (you might already) - you can work as much as you want/need to.  You can work from a rock gym if you want to, or from the park, or whatever.
4. Nice job on the low living costs.  Are you stuck in DC?  In some places you can straight-out buy a place for $45k.  In many other places you're halfway to a house.

nighttrain

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Re: Toughing out the 9-5...
« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2014, 09:28:07 AM »
1. Get a standing desk?

Or, even better, go for a walk-station.  I'm a computer programmer and always hated the fact that my career was bound to a chair/desk/machine.  Then I found out about walk stations where you walk really slowly while working.  Look into it.  You might have some work cut out for you to convince your higher-ups to allow you to have one of these space-takers in a shared space.  But if you can, man, problem solved!

There are plenty of youtube videos about offices slowly catering to these types of setups.  HR promoting health, blah blah.

I walk two hours in the morning = 12,500 steps. 

eostache

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Re: Toughing out the 9-5...
« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2014, 09:33:51 AM »
I have, as jobs go, a really really nice job. Good company, great people, easy interesting work, no stress.

But the 40 hour week still kills my soul. The job is not very high paying (and never will be) but I'm concerned that if I looked for a higher paying job that it would be more stressful. Maybe not worth it. I am debt free with a small 'stache and a living expenses under control.

I'd really rather spend all my time riding my bike, hiking and camping. It is easy to get time off at my job (paid or unpaid), especially when workflow is slow. Most of my co-workers take what seems to be a lot of time off and people seemed to be encouraged to enjoy it.

galliver

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Re: Toughing out the 9-5...
« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2014, 09:38:48 AM »
1. Get a standing desk?

Or, even better, go for a walk-station.  I'm a computer programmer and always hated the fact that my career was bound to a chair/desk/machine.  Then I found out about walk stations where you walk really slowly while working.  Look into it.  You might have some work cut out for you to convince your higher-ups to allow you to have one of these space-takers in a shared space.  But if you can, man, problem solved!

There are plenty of youtube videos about offices slowly catering to these types of setups.  HR promoting health, blah blah.

I walk two hours in the morning = 12,500 steps.

My friend recently made her own treadmill desk by placing a cut/sanded board (maybe 12-18" wide?) on the two handrails of her treadmill (they were horizontal prongs sticking out) and attaching with velcro straps to a bar at the front. I was very impressed with the cleverness.

Treadmills on craigslist seem to go for a few hundred, although finding one with the right geometry for this project might be a little tough...

aclarridge

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Re: Toughing out the 9-5...
« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2014, 09:41:55 AM »
I have, as jobs go, a really really nice job. Good company, great people, easy interesting work, no stress.

What do you do?

eostache

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Re: Toughing out the 9-5...
« Reply #15 on: June 10, 2014, 09:45:46 AM »
I have, as jobs go, a really really nice job. Good company, great people, easy interesting work, no stress.

What do you do?

I'm a GIS Specialist at an archaeological consulting company in the Colorado/Utah area. I make maps for the field work and reports for the archaeological surveys. My job does seem to have a high "cool factor" when people ask what I do.

jfer_rose

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Re: Toughing out the 9-5...
« Reply #16 on: June 10, 2014, 09:49:49 AM »
bikerdood,

There are a bunch of us here in DC. Come to a meetup! Just this past weekend about 10 of us met, one meetup had 17. There's a DC Mustachians Google Group, you are welcome to join if you aren't a member already.
https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/dc-mustachians

gdgyva

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Re: Toughing out the 9-5...
« Reply #17 on: June 10, 2014, 09:53:09 AM »
@formerplayer
haha thanks man.  I like to think of this as mental toughness but it can be hard to keep the right perspective.  Here in Careerism's Underbelly (DC) the words "early retirement" and "frugal" are met with disbelief at best and suspicion at worst ("what do you mean you want to just selfishly walk away?  you don't want to do something GREAT and CONTRIBUTE to society??")  Shivers and shudders.  Family smiles and nods but ultimately treats it as a flight of fancy (my mom just retired at 60 some and dad is still working at 50 many).  In all honesty I've met perhaps 0 mustachians in DC.

@soccerluv
I dig your tagline - so true.  Maybe I do do that and see what I can negotiate.

i am one....just got started later

dc is brutal...especially if you live in the burbs and have to commute

but at least you have a PLAN....more than most i see around here

wanting the freedom to do the "take this job and shove it" is a dream of many

realized by very few.....

build up a nice mustachian nestegg....be ready to make your move

when the right opportunity comes along, you will know it

until then...bide your time, and save, save, save

Numbers Man

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Re: Toughing out the 9-5...
« Reply #18 on: June 10, 2014, 09:53:52 AM »
bikerdood - It's time to become a weekend warrior to combat your 9-5 Monday-Friday blues. I don't live on the east cost but I bet there are many places to hike, mountain bike trails, play softball, etc. As to your 3 years in and bored, all I can say is "Patience Grasshopper, give it some time". Call us after another 7-10 years. By then, you'll be in the driver's seat. So keep the day job and fill your weekends with activities.

Tetsuya Hondo

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Re: Toughing out the 9-5...
« Reply #19 on: June 10, 2014, 09:55:58 AM »
1. A lot of people would chop their arm off to make the money you're making that soon out of school. A 65% savings rate will add up before you know it.
2. You can change things about your work situation as others have pointed out (e.g., standing desk, walking desk). As I've found, we often have more power to change things - even in cubicle land - than we realize. I've been consistently shocked to hear a "yes" answer to my requests for more flexibility, different assignments, working from home, etc. But, you just have to provide a solid rationale for your employer on how it benefits them too.
3. Your current job can lead to better things, but you'll have to figure out what those things are and then go after them.
4. Related to that, if you build up your work experience and skills, you can eventually consult/contract/sub on your own as galaxie suggested. That was my path, and now I love my work (and the pay and hours are better to boot!). I highly, highly recommend this route, but it will require paying your dues and doing some time in the trenches/cubicle.
5. Being a bike messenger is one of those jobs that those of us who like bikes romanticize, but I suspect that the reality is that it can actually be pretty shitty, and worse, low paying, high-risk shittiness when you have to do it day in and day out.
6. You've only been working since 2012. I'm sure that there's someone that loved their first job out of college, but I haven't met them. You're running a marathon not a sprint, so remember, first job can lead to better jobs that you do enjoy if you work to make it happen.
7. Aside from all that, congrats on making one hell of a start. I wish I had my head screwed on as straight financially as you do when I was your age.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2014, 09:58:09 AM by Tetsuya Hondo »

bikerdood

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Re: Toughing out the 9-5...
« Reply #20 on: June 10, 2014, 09:59:27 AM »
Hey galliver,

Good, important points.  Hedonism is the least of my objects.  If money were of no importance, I would probably be studying Latin, philosophy, and classical guitar - and possibly teaching those.  I've always been a humanities guy at heart and steered away from those avenues professionally for their low marketability.

I agree with you - "you should decide if those X years are even worth losing, or if you're better off doing what you really want now, even if the pay is lower."  Right now what I really want is intellectual dilletantism.  Ain't nobody paying for that, that I can tell.  So the goal is reach FI and have my FU money so that I can devote time to these things that I find to be worthwhile - music, literature, the arts, family.

Also of interest is doing the above while living the active life everyday and being a full time parent.

The million dollar question is how to do these things now so I'm not really sacrificing the present for the future.  The easy answer (where I am now) is to suck it up at the software job, does as much of the rest on the side until FI when it can be full time.  I commend you for being in a position that wouldn't change if a million dollars fell into your lap.  That speaks of already living a life consistent with your values and interests.  I'm not there yet :]

bikerdood

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Re: Toughing out the 9-5...
« Reply #21 on: June 10, 2014, 10:02:46 AM »
Wow so many posts!  I'll try to answer each.  Thank you for the great replies and support from my fellow mustachians :))

Wildflame

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Re: Toughing out the 9-5...
« Reply #22 on: June 10, 2014, 10:31:48 AM »
I'm about to graduate with my Bachelor's degree. I cannot tolerate the 5x 9-5 either, to which I've already had plenty of exposure thanks to doing temping in the past. I was glad at least when temping I had a fixed end date to aspire to (2-6 weeks). The prospect of doing 5x 9-5 for 48+ weeks straight is galling.

I can tolerate 3x 9-5, and am willing to accept the trade-off of slower career progression and a longer journey to FI (though still pushing me to around 60% savings rate from the 50% I'm at now). So I'm angling to get a 3-days-a-week job - leaving me plenty of time to pursue my other interests on my 4-day weekends. It is also a smaller trade-off than you would expect, because I will fall into the 34% tax bracket around the 3.5 day mark. My rough calculations show I'll gain +100% weekend and +17,523% additional sanity for giving up the ability to earn +50% net income. The only risk is of getting a boss who forgets that part-time hours means part-time workload...

If you hate the 5x 9-5 so much, consider trying 4x or 3x. After factoring in tax, you may not be as badly off as it seems. And the additional sanity and freedom may well be worth sacrificing the 'dream' of stupendously early retirement. It may not be entirely 'living the dream', but gives you two more days of dream-living each week. Alternatively, think of it as always starting the working week on a Wednesday. =P

EDIT: Grammar.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2014, 10:39:58 AM by Wildflame »

ak907

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Re: Toughing out the 9-5...
« Reply #23 on: June 10, 2014, 10:36:33 AM »
I am located nearby in MD in much the same situation as you are with the golden handcuffs. I am not sure what the answer is . Many people argue for enjoying your work, but the job I am working now is not my first, and out of my ~5 jobs the only one I really enjoyed was also the worst paying one, by very far. Even at that it wasn't a dream job. It is hard to justify abandoning a decent if unfulfilling job to search for the maybe magic of a fufilling job that pay's a wage you can save on. Let me know if you find any answers and I will do the same :).

Dr. Doom

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Re: Toughing out the 9-5...
« Reply #24 on: June 10, 2014, 10:52:08 AM »
Anybody else decide that they dislike their 9-5 so much they would rather ditch it than get to ER earlier?
The trouble is I truly dislike sedentary office life.  Hate, hate, hate.  Nothing good comes from sitting for 8 hours.  I despise coming into the office.  I stick around because of the (now) ~74k paycheck and 5% 401k match.

If being sedentary is the biggest complaint, work out before you go to the office.  It makes the daily turd-sandwich of office life go down much, much easier.  You'll be loose, relaxed, and optimistic.    The downside of this is that you will need to wake up earlier, and this may cut into your Leno time.  Deal. ;)

At least for me personally I found this was a critical adjustment to make, in order to help adapt to the grind. 

Walking stations can help but they're never going to be a replacement for high intensity exercise.

I completely understand the dislike of the routine and sense of being trapped.  You can try to make changes and give it another year, see if it feels any better.  Every year in January I would tell myself "you can do this one more year" and then I'd re-evaluate after the interval had passed.  Usually it wasn't so bad that I couldn't sign up for another 12-month stint.  But I always gave myself the option to leave if the pain had passed some threshold of daily suck.  Might be easier mentally to chunk it up this way...

blackomen

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Re: Toughing out the 9-5...
« Reply #25 on: June 10, 2014, 11:33:31 AM »
Anybody else decide that they dislike their 9-5 so much they would rather ditch it than get to ER earlier?
The trouble is I truly dislike sedentary office life.  Hate, hate, hate.  Nothing good comes from sitting for 8 hours.  I despise coming into the office.  I stick around because of the (now) ~74k paycheck and 5% 401k match.

If being sedentary is the biggest complaint, work out before you go to the office.  It makes the daily turd-sandwich of office life go down much, much easier.  You'll be loose, relaxed, and optimistic.    The downside of this is that you will need to wake up earlier, and this may cut into your Leno time.  Deal. ;)

At least for me personally I found this was a critical adjustment to make, in order to help adapt to the grind. 

Walking stations can help but they're never going to be a replacement for high intensity exercise.

I completely understand the dislike of the routine and sense of being trapped.  You can try to make changes and give it another year, see if it feels any better.  Every year in January I would tell myself "you can do this one more year" and then I'd re-evaluate after the interval had passed.  Usually it wasn't so bad that I couldn't sign up for another 12-month stint.  But I always gave myself the option to leave if the pain had passed some threshold of daily suck.  Might be easier mentally to chunk it up this way...

My work start time is 6:30am which doesn't leave much time for working out before coming into the office.

I'm currently making about 30% below my market salary and am searching for a new position but the "perk" that makes it a little difficult to let go of this job is the ability to work from home on days my manager will be out of town (he approves of it as long as I come in occasionally like once a week when he's gone)..  and he frequently takes trips to the other overseas corporate offices so he's probably away about 40-60% of the time.

nighttrain

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Re: Toughing out the 9-5...
« Reply #26 on: June 10, 2014, 11:42:11 AM »
Walking stations can help but they're never going to be a replacement for high intensity exercise.

Which may or may not be the issue here.  If the real problem is that 8 hours of non-stop sitting is mentally boring with zero physical stimulation, then I would argue that integrating many movements & interruptions (even lesser forms of exercise like walking 5 miles) would actually be much better than just one 45 minute session of hardcore exercise 7 hours prior.

But if the problem is "hey I really want to get a 45 minute session of extreme physical excursion into my day, but this damn work day is in the way", then yes, go with a 5:30am workout.  Although you still get 8 hours of sitting your butt on a chair (extremely unhealthy over many years).

Added bonus:  You don't have to "find time" to get exercise in.  It's built into your work day.  If time is an issue.

Eric

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Re: Toughing out the 9-5...
« Reply #27 on: June 10, 2014, 11:50:45 AM »
Are you sure you don't just need a new job?  Maybe you wouldn't mind going into work everyday to sit at your desk if your coworkers were interesting and the work was more stimulating.  Just a thought.

Dr. Doom

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Re: Toughing out the 9-5...
« Reply #28 on: June 10, 2014, 11:57:27 AM »


My work start time is 6:30am which doesn't leave much time for working out before coming into the office.



So you're done at 3:30?   Plenty of time to exercise after, in the daylight, doing whatever you please.    Between that and the WFH days (which should give you freedom to do something fun during the day) you appear to have decent amounts of flexibility built in to your days.   And on top of this you have periods away from your manager when he's abroad?

To be honest, your job, as you've presently described it, sounds pretty sweet, as far as office gigs go.  Definitely, I'm not telling you what you should do because that's a personal decision, but if it were me I would make every attempt to adapt to the situation.   The manager thing is quite a perk. 

Look before you leap on the new job, btw.  If you get the sense when you're interviewing that you're about to be under a micromanager or the position seems to require a lot of unpaid OT, it might not be a trade worth making (the trade being:  somewhat more pay for a lot more work and day to day discomfort.)  It's hard to ask these questions during interviews, though -- try using politically correct phrases like "Describe work-life balance" and "How often does the average employee on my team currently work on weekends?"  If they laugh, look you directly in the eyes, and say "NEVER, that's ABSURD" then it's going well.  If they shift their eyes all over the place before finally mumbling "oh, not too often" run for the hills, my friend.


@nighttrain, you're completely correct in your comments.  It really depends on what the OP is looking for.  Constant mild stimulation during the day?  Or body-busting insanity for an hour or so.

For the record I found at many of my jobs I could use the lunch hour to sneak in heavy exercise or at the very least go for a walk outside.








fallstoclimb

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Re: Toughing out the 9-5...
« Reply #29 on: June 10, 2014, 02:42:31 PM »
7 years into the workforce, I totally feel you, OP.  8 hours in a cube is not how humans were meant to live.

However:  There are things you can do to improve this.

Take your Meyers Briggs, read Do What You Are, then read So Good They Can't Ignore You.  I'm actually not super impressed with either of these books but I think they can start the ball rolling in considering how you really should be approaching work.

You've been working there 2 years, yes?  So you should have some career capital?  Ask to work from home once a week.  Set up a walking station, work next to an open window, go ride your bike at lunch.  Most jobs can be improved in some ways.

Or just bite the bullet, sell your things, quit your job, and live like a nomad.  You'll be poor your whole life, but it might be worth it.  Or not.

That sounds dismissive and I don't mean to be, because I am right where you are, except further along in my career and doing a poorer job of saving.  Work's not fun.  Think about the parts that can be improved.  You might, indeed, need a new job, although you will lose career capital that way. 

BTW, congrats on not running off to grad school like I did when I had the same feelings -- 70K in student loans later, I discovered MMM.

myDogIsFI

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Re: Toughing out the 9-5...
« Reply #30 on: June 10, 2014, 02:56:45 PM »
I suggest that you check out "The Four Hour Work Week" by Tim Ferriss.  MMM has a post up about it here: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/02/20/mr-money-mustache-vs-tim-ferris/

There's a lot of stuff in the book you can skim over, but you might find it helpful in thinking about how to survive the 9-5.  It has a section for people who want to remain employees, too.  Just don't forget to check it out from library.

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Re: Toughing out the 9-5...
« Reply #31 on: June 10, 2014, 04:43:16 PM »


My work start time is 6:30am which doesn't leave much time for working out before coming into the office.



So you're done at 3:30?   Plenty of time to exercise after, in the daylight, doing whatever you please.    Between that and the WFH days (which should give you freedom to do something fun during the day) you appear to have decent amounts of flexibility built in to your days.   And on top of this you have periods away from your manager when he's abroad?

To be honest, your job, as you've presently described it, sounds pretty sweet, as far as office gigs go.  Definitely, I'm not telling you what you should do because that's a personal decision, but if it were me I would make every attempt to adapt to the situation.   The manager thing is quite a perk. 

Look before you leap on the new job, btw.  If you get the sense when you're interviewing that you're about to be under a micromanager or the position seems to require a lot of unpaid OT, it might not be a trade worth making (the trade being:  somewhat more pay for a lot more work and day to day discomfort.)  It's hard to ask these questions during interviews, though -- try using politically correct phrases like "Describe work-life balance" and "How often does the average employee on my team currently work on weekends?"  If they laugh, look you directly in the eyes, and say "NEVER, that's ABSURD" then it's going well.  If they shift their eyes all over the place before finally mumbling "oh, not too often" run for the hills, my friend.


@nighttrain, you're completely correct in your comments.  It really depends on what the OP is looking for.  Constant mild stimulation during the day?  Or body-busting insanity for an hour or so.

For the record I found at many of my jobs I could use the lunch hour to sneak in heavy exercise or at the very least go for a walk outside.

My job hasn't always been so pleasant and the company was in the Red from 2011 to the first half of 2013 which meant no raises during that entire period and the possibility of being terminated at any time.  The work environment started out very harsh but I managed to negotiate (actually manipulate) my manager into accepting that I'll be working from home from time to time, especially when he's away.  I see that The 4 Hour Work Week is mentioned in this thread and I actually followed the suggestion from that book in negotiating a remote work arrangement by making yourself indispensable to the company and demonstrating increased productivity while working remotely.

As for betting using your downtime at work, I highly suggest learning something.  Read a book to learn a new skill rather than sit around idle, mindlessly surfing websites, or sneaking off onto social media.

Dr. Doom

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Re: Toughing out the 9-5...
« Reply #32 on: June 10, 2014, 07:33:22 PM »
My job hasn't always been so pleasant ...

First, big apologies, I momentarily confused you, blackomen, with the OP, bikerd00d, when creating the last post.

I remember reading your FU money story a week or so again.  It's very moving for me -- both of the stories we shared in that thread were related to working in the financial industry.  I've come to believe that finance either breeds or attracts folks that are more ambitious and aggressive (i.e. bigger assholes)  than normal.  Maybe both.

I get the stress, too.  I supported trading systems and when they were down, even for a couple of minutes, the company was losing millions.  Not good.  I took my job seriously and took pride in doing whatever I could to resolve outstanding issues and prevent future ones.  But it was a heavy burden which required a lot of hours and energy.

At any rate, I take back everything I said in the other post.  I would do whatever I could to move away from your Horrible Boss.  50% of time away from him (while he's traveling) is not enough -- you need 100%.  Especially if moving jobs comes with a pay raise, that makes it pretty much a no-brainer.

But that's enough, I don't mean to hijack this thread from the OP.   Good luck with everything.




jpo

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Re: Toughing out the 9-5...
« Reply #33 on: June 10, 2014, 07:50:57 PM »
It is also a smaller trade-off than you would expect, because I will fall into the 34% tax bracket around the 3.5 day mark.
What is your degree in and what position are you looking at that you'd be making this much? Just curious.

Daisy

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Re: Toughing out the 9-5...
« Reply #34 on: June 10, 2014, 08:08:24 PM »
The trouble is I truly dislike sedentary office life.  Hate, hate, hate.  Nothing good comes from sitting for 8 hours.  I despise coming into the office.  I stick around because of the (now) ~74k paycheck and 5% 401k match.

A pipe dream work situation would be to be a bike messenger and code part time.  The hustle requisite to make this happen, at this point, scares me. 

Anybody else decide that they dislike their 9-5 so much they would rather ditch it than get to ER earlier?

The 9-5 cubicle cell didn't bother me too much at the beginning of my career. I worked at a fun place that had a great social life attached to it - company sports leagues, an on-site gym, friendly/quirky/funny co-workers, happy hours, parties, frequent interaction with co-workers, training classes provided to keep learning new stuff, etc.

It wasn't until I went to another company with a mind-numbing routine workload that I started to feel trapped by the cube.

I am back at the great workplace, but being able to visualize and taste my very near-approaching FIRE has caused the cube-suffocating feelings to creep back up. I walk around a lot at the office. I volunteer to help out in organizing events. I go to a different department on the other side of the building and use their awesome coffee machine. I have my cube decorated with pictures of nature where I'd rather be. One guy came into my cube recently and remarked that he could tell where I'd rather be by looking at my pictures.

Sigh...it's a great job but I can't wait for FIRE.

If I had felt this way at the beginning of my career, I'm not sure how long I would have lasted. I'd advise those starting out to find ways to cope and just think of FIRE as your second career/life. Don't obsess too much over it or else you will miss out on the fun in your 20s and 30s.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2014, 08:11:08 PM by Daisy »

bikerdood

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Re: Toughing out the 9-5...
« Reply #35 on: June 11, 2014, 08:55:20 AM »
Great replies all over.  Too many to get back to each and everyone while at the 9-5.

Most of all, thank you all for taking the time to reply and share your insight and motivation.

I can say that just one day later I'm feeling a lot better about all of this.  Reasons...
1) hearing your experiences and realizing (duh) that enduring the 9-5 for FIRE (or for any reason) isn't always easy - terrible bosses and drudgery being the biggest factors.
2) Said factors in 1) are w/in my control.  A new job may just be n-application-tosses to the wind away.
3) Related to 1) and 2).  The notion of savings rate really hit me yesterday.  I look at my current salary and realize that one option I have w/in my control to get to FIRE earlier - presuming the worst job/boss circumstance - is just ( just haha - but it IS my choice!) to up my savings rate.  I actually took action on this by cutting out a number of monthly expenses totaling somewhere around 300$/month.**
4) The notion of FU money.  Realizing that every day that goes by I gain a little more FU-money super powers is great.  That means every day my ability to change my circumstances to live the life I want to live NOW becomes easier and easier.

So right now I'm sitting at my desk, perhaps not eager to be doing what I'm doing but at least at peace with it.  Thanks to everyone for the great anecdotes, insights, and replies.

Side note: An example.  The notion of freedom to be with family and do things I love trumps just about anything I *could* spend money on.  Case in point: I've been racing bikes for 7 years (road bikes).  This is a paragon of expensive hobbies - the equipment, race fees, gas costs to/fro races, team uniform prices... easily several g's per year and I'm at the frugal end of the spectrum (some get a new bike FOR EACH SEASON).  For the time being, I'm choosing to let go of racing.  Races cost $20-60 a pop and, at typical summer campaigns of ~20 races (or more), that's $400-1200+.  I'll be training at the same level, doing the same training rides (of which in DC there are a TON which are practically unsactioned races) so I still get to participate and perform in the sport at the same level without the formality of sanctioned races.  In some ways, it saddens me to think I'm letting go of this.  But the peace I gain from needing/wanting one less thing is huge.

blackomen

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Re: Toughing out the 9-5...
« Reply #36 on: June 11, 2014, 09:51:39 AM »
Great replies all over.  Too many to get back to each and everyone while at the 9-5.

Most of all, thank you all for taking the time to reply and share your insight and motivation.

I can say that just one day later I'm feeling a lot better about all of this.  Reasons...
1) hearing your experiences and realizing (duh) that enduring the 9-5 for FIRE (or for any reason) isn't always easy - terrible bosses and drudgery being the biggest factors.
2) Said factors in 1) are w/in my control.  A new job may just be n-application-tosses to the wind away.
3) Related to 1) and 2).  The notion of savings rate really hit me yesterday.  I look at my current salary and realize that one option I have w/in my control to get to FIRE earlier - presuming the worst job/boss circumstance - is just ( just haha - but it IS my choice!) to up my savings rate.  I actually took action on this by cutting out a number of monthly expenses totaling somewhere around 300$/month.**
4) The notion of FU money.  Realizing that every day that goes by I gain a little more FU-money super powers is great.  That means every day my ability to change my circumstances to live the life I want to live NOW becomes easier and easier.

So right now I'm sitting at my desk, perhaps not eager to be doing what I'm doing but at least at peace with it.  Thanks to everyone for the great anecdotes, insights, and replies.

Side note: An example.  The notion of freedom to be with family and do things I love trumps just about anything I *could* spend money on.  Case in point: I've been racing bikes for 7 years (road bikes).  This is a paragon of expensive hobbies - the equipment, race fees, gas costs to/fro races, team uniform prices... easily several g's per year and I'm at the frugal end of the spectrum (some get a new bike FOR EACH SEASON).  For the time being, I'm choosing to let go of racing.  Races cost $20-60 a pop and, at typical summer campaigns of ~20 races (or more), that's $400-1200+.  I'll be training at the same level, doing the same training rides (of which in DC there are a TON which are practically unsactioned races) so I still get to participate and perform in the sport at the same level without the formality of sanctioned races.  In some ways, it saddens me to think I'm letting go of this.  But the peace I gain from needing/wanting one less thing is huge.

Aside from having another job lined up, FU money is probably the best hedge against having a horrible boss.  I would never have had the balls to pull off getting him to agree to let me work from home if I didn't have FU money, considering the experience I had in the FU $ thread.  Also, if possible, try to get out of work as early as possible..  especially if you're salaried as opposed to hourly.  Get as efficient as possible..  you may need to frontload some of the work by being organized, writing Excel scripts or other programs to automate certain tedious tasks, etc.  Do the most important work well so it's less noticeable when you flake out on the tedious busywork that doesn't contribute much to the bottom line and doesn't advance your career while taking up a disproportionate amount of time/effort.

Lifestyle Deflation

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Re: Toughing out the 9-5...
« Reply #37 on: June 11, 2014, 10:19:20 AM »
Great thread all! I am one who also just started on the early retirement path and have ~10 years to go. I have had success achieving big goals in the past, and by far the best way is to break them into small chunks. The big picture will come together naturally when you add up the puzzle pieces of the small stuff.

I would go nuts if I had to think about 10 more years of working. I've only been working for 8 years in my entire career! But I don't think about that at all. I think about what I have to do today, and strategize big-picture only to direct my day-to-day thoughts.

Construct your lifestyle as a system to achieve your goals. But only think day-to-day about what you have to do in the short term. I also recommend picking up cheap hobbies or learning things in your spare time. You're still living the system but have some good mind-occupying goals to motivate you through the grind. You're also improving yourself in the process.

That time will fly by, and as long as you stay with your system, you will get there faster than you can believe.

fallstoclimb

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Re: Toughing out the 9-5...
« Reply #38 on: June 11, 2014, 11:45:57 AM »
For the time being, I'm choosing to let go of racing.

Your collarbone will thank you.

Schaefer Light

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Re: Toughing out the 9-5...
« Reply #39 on: June 13, 2014, 02:25:35 PM »
Sitting in an office all day every day flat out sucks.  Why should workers have to stay in the office until 5 o'clock every day?  How does this encourage people to be more efficient in their work?  If I get my shit done by noon on Friday, why can't I go play golf?

Dr. Doom

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Re: Toughing out the 9-5...
« Reply #40 on: June 13, 2014, 02:39:50 PM »
Sitting in an office all day every day flat out sucks.  Why should workers have to stay in the office until 5 o'clock every day?  How does this encourage people to be more efficient in their work?  If I get my shit done by noon on Friday, why can't I go play golf?

Because although there is unpaid overtime, there is never paid undertime.

So let it be written.

Schaefer Light

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Re: Toughing out the 9-5...
« Reply #41 on: June 13, 2014, 02:42:04 PM »
Sitting in an office all day every day flat out sucks.  Why should workers have to stay in the office until 5 o'clock every day?  How does this encourage people to be more efficient in their work?  If I get my shit done by noon on Friday, why can't I go play golf?

Because although there is unpaid overtime, there is never paid undertime.

So let it be written.
Which is why I want to work from home.

Zoot Allures

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Re: Toughing out the 9-5...
« Reply #42 on: June 13, 2014, 03:33:25 PM »
I agree with many here that office life can be soul-sucking and unhealthy. At the same time, I am eternally grateful for my golden handcuffs, without which I would not be able to even entertain the idea of early retirement.

There are a few important things that make my job tolerable:

1. I exercise during the day, usually over my lunch hour.
2. The people I work with are, for the most part, nice to me.
3. While I don't have a passion for my work, I don't hate it and I appreciate the challenges it sometimes offers.

Based on these things, I can last another 6 years as planned. I think people can actively cultivate these advantages for themselves at work, but I know I'm lucky and that some people just have shitty job situations. If I were being belittled or otherwise abused by my boss, for example, there's no way I could stay in it for the long haul.

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Re: Toughing out the 9-5...
« Reply #43 on: June 13, 2014, 03:42:36 PM »
I agree with many here that office life can be soul-sucking and unhealthy. At the same time, I am eternally grateful for my golden handcuffs, without which I would not be able to even entertain the idea of early retirement.

There are a few important things that make my job tolerable:

1. I exercise during the day, usually over my lunch hour.
2. The people I work with are, for the most part, nice to me.
3. While I don't have a passion for my work, I don't hate it and I appreciate the challenges it sometimes offers.

Based on these things, I can last another 6 years as planned. I think people can actively cultivate these advantages for themselves at work, but I know I'm lucky and that some people just have shitty job situations. If I were being belittled or otherwise abused by my boss, for example, there's no way I could stay in it for the long haul.

+1. Almost exactly my situation.

Dr. Doom

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Re: Toughing out the 9-5...
« Reply #44 on: June 13, 2014, 04:33:22 PM »
I agree with many here that office life can be soul-sucking and unhealthy. At the same time, I am eternally grateful for my golden handcuffs, without which I would not be able to even entertain the idea of early retirement.

There are a few important things that make my job tolerable:

1. I exercise during the day, usually over my lunch hour.
2. The people I work with are, for the most part, nice to me.
3. While I don't have a passion for my work, I don't hate it and I appreciate the challenges it sometimes offers.

Based on these things, I can last another 6 years as planned. I think people can actively cultivate these advantages for themselves at work, but I know I'm lucky and that some people just have shitty job situations. If I were being belittled or otherwise abused by my boss, for example, there's no way I could stay in it for the long haul.

+1. Almost exactly my situation.
Very much agree with this.  You must take steps to consciously adapt yourself to the situation.  Staying positive, being grateful for the things that your job DOES provide, both material and other, plus and building some activities into your workday that you enjoy really help smooth out the ride.

It takes time to make the adjustment.

frugalecon

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Re: Toughing out the 9-5...
« Reply #45 on: June 13, 2014, 05:16:16 PM »
I agree with many here that office life can be soul-sucking and unhealthy. At the same time, I am eternally grateful for my golden handcuffs, without which I would not be able to even entertain the idea of early retirement.

There are a few important things that make my job tolerable:

1. I exercise during the day, usually over my lunch hour.
2. The people I work with are, for the most part, nice to me.
3. While I don't have a passion for my work, I don't hate it and I appreciate the challenges it sometimes offers.

Based on these things, I can last another 6 years as planned. I think people can actively cultivate these advantages for themselves at work, but I know I'm lucky and that some people just have shitty job situations. If I were being belittled or otherwise abused by my boss, for example, there's no way I could stay in it for the long haul.

+1. Almost exactly my situation.

+1 for me too. My earliest ripcord date is 6 years and 11 months. I yearn for the freedom. The 9-5 grind makes me feel like a square peg in a round hole. I am generally not actively miserable...but just not feeling "lit up" like when I do things that speak to me.

BZB

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Re: Toughing out the 9-5...
« Reply #46 on: June 13, 2014, 06:59:48 PM »
One way I am trying to make my 9-5 windowless cubicle job more tolerable is to take advantage of all the workplace benefits I have access to. I'm lucky in that I have access to: employee gym and exercise classes, and occasional employee appreciation events that give out a lunch and company swag. I am located near a large park, a jogging trail, and a short train ride from a museum. If I would be more efficient at my work I could make time to enjoy one of these every day, either on my lunch break or sometimes I have the flexibility to work through my lunch and leave early. The lack of sunlight or windows and the constant chatter and ringing phones of people in the other cubes gets to me, so I get distracted, sleepy and less motivated throughout the day. Also there is a work culture of watching everyone else's coming and going because many in the department have to punch the clock. I am salary, not hourly, but sometimes I feel like I have to sneak out.

brewer12345

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Re: Toughing out the 9-5...
« Reply #47 on: June 13, 2014, 07:26:49 PM »
Hey all,

Mostly looking for some encouragement or insight you might have.

I've been reading MMM since late 2012.  Luckily had a few mustachian behaviors already built in by my parents(eschewing buying things, riding bikes, living w parents throughout college or cheap group houses).  I graduated in Spring 2011 with no debt.  I got a 65k paying job out of college (software eng) and took several antimustachian steps backward - bought a brand new car, picked up a 1300$ 1 bedroom apartment to rent (I live in DC).  After reading MMM I started to make changes - I got rid of the car, saved as much as possible, dropped the expensive apartment.  Changes in-place in earnest since Summer 2013, I'm up to 45k networth and a savings rate of ~65%.

So far, so good.

The trouble is I truly dislike sedentary office life.  Hate, hate, hate.  Nothing good comes from sitting for 8 hours.  I despise coming into the office.  I stick around because of the (now) ~74k paycheck and 5% 401k match.

A pipe dream work situation would be to be a bike messenger and code part time.  The hustle requisite to make this happen, at this point, scares me. 

Anybody else decide that they dislike their 9-5 so much they would rather ditch it than get to ER earlier?

Please take this in the spirit of "tough love":

So you have only stuck around a cube for 3 years and you don't like it?  Tough darts.  Time to nut up or shut up.  You have two realistic choices:

1) Suck it up, develop some calluses, grit your teeth and endure it for as long as it takes to become FI, or

2) Find another career that hopefully uses what you already know and have trained for (good luck with that), pays well, and does not involve sitting in a cube.  If you find such a thing, be sure to write us and let us know where to ride our unicorns to.

This is life in the 21st century in the US.  Get used to it, or make the trade-offs that come with dumping your career and becoming a bike messenger: shitty pay, physical ailments, and possibly an intimate connection with a taxi at speed.

Seriously, d00d, this is the shit-shoveling all but the very lucky few have to do for a decade or two to build FI.  Yes, it sucks, but we all get to eat shit sandwiches sometimes.  Use your hatred of the cube to ensure that your savings rate stays high and you reach escape velocity as soon as possible.

stripey

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Re: Toughing out the 9-5...
« Reply #48 on: June 13, 2014, 07:41:17 PM »
A pipe dream work situation would be to be a bike messenger and code part time.  The hustle requisite to make this happen, at this point, scares me. 

Anybody else decide that they dislike their 9-5 so much they would rather ditch it than get to ER earlier?

A: Yes. Neither me or SO are really doing a 9-5. I don't have an office job- I have too much fidgetty energy to burn so I don't sit still very well even on the odd day I need to do 'office work'. So I have gone down a career path that doesn't really involve much desk work (I actually do a 40 hour week in 4 days instead, which suits me just fine). My SO is freelancing and doing just enough code to pursue other projects, including going back for further study, and then just a little bit more to sock away. Both of us (separate finances) are on track to retire earlier than typical but it won't be radically early. Both of us would get to FI/RE much earlier if we slogged at 9-5 office jobs but in particular the SO wouldn't hack it very well (and I would have to put up with that)

DoubleDown

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Re: Toughing out the 9-5...
« Reply #49 on: June 14, 2014, 08:26:10 AM »
Not all desk jobs are created equal. It depends on so many factors, including the boss, peers, working conditions, the organization's mission, etc. Some jobs can be soul-sucking, while others can be so rewarding you can't wait to arrive each day -- and everything in-between. I'd encourage the OP and anyone else who is unhappy with their job to explore other options*. There are tons of jobs out there, look around and see what's interesting and rewarding. Having choices gives you so much freedom.

* Taking any job with a significant pay cut should be LAST choice, imo. Strive to find another job that keeps your pay comparable or higher. Also, better be careful not to glorify working in blue collar professions or outdoors. Many of those jobs are very physically punishing, and working outdoors when it's 95 degrees or 15 degrees or pouring rain is not my idea of fun. So much better to be behind that desk in those conditions. I considered myself damn lucky to have a cushy desk job for a good part of my career.