Author Topic: Career--Lean Back or Lean In?  (Read 7590 times)

oldtoyota

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Career--Lean Back or Lean In?
« on: September 21, 2014, 05:02:15 PM »


I removed some of the details....
« Last Edit: November 08, 2014, 08:47:11 AM by oldtoyota »

Sarita

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Re: Career--Lean Back or Lean In?
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2014, 06:35:16 PM »
I'm really sorry to hear about your dad.  I can only begin to imagine how difficult that is.  Do your parents live nearby?

If your management is reasonable, I would encourage you to consider telling them about your parents.  You could give it to them as a heads up that you may need to take off time suddenly (which they would need to give you, under the Family Medical Leave Act). 

If you don't want to take on the extra work, you could also consider telling them that you appreciate their confidence in you but you would prefer to not take on extra duties at this time as your parents are elderly and not in the best of health and so you would like to keep your job at the current responsibility level, if at all possible.      This has some risk of course--- if you sense your position or the company isn't stable, they may hold it against you.  However, if you are valued and they are decent people, they may look for other options to get the work done.  I've seen organizations make a lot of concessions for valued individuals with tough personal situations, because they wanted to support the employee and they understood it was a difficult situation.  Essentially that person's career plateaued for awhile until they were ready to pick up the reigns again.    Whether you are at this type of company, only you can tell of course.

oldtoyota

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Re: Career--Lean Back or Lean In?
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2014, 06:51:35 PM »
I'm really sorry to hear about your dad.  I can only begin to imagine how difficult that is.  Do your parents live nearby?

If your management is reasonable, I would encourage you to consider telling them about your parents.  You could give it to them as a heads up that you may need to take off time suddenly (which they would need to give you, under the Family Medical Leave Act). 

If you don't want to take on the extra work, you could also consider telling them that you appreciate their confidence in you but you would prefer to not take on extra duties at this time as your parents are elderly and not in the best of health and so you would like to keep your job at the current responsibility level, if at all possible.      This has some risk of course--- if you sense your position or the company isn't stable, they may hold it against you.  However, if you are valued and they are decent people, they may look for other options to get the work done.  I've seen organizations make a lot of concessions for valued individuals with tough personal situations, because they wanted to support the employee and they understood it was a difficult situation.  Essentially that person's career plateaued for awhile until they were ready to pick up the reigns again.    Whether you are at this type of company, only you can tell of course.

Thank you. I think this is great advice.

Exflyboy

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Re: Career--Lean Back or Lean In?
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2014, 07:00:59 PM »
I guess I have two rather simplistic thoughts

1) you say your plan is to become FI in 2019.. So if your like me, I have a yearly burn rate of about $30k per year.. but waited till I had $1.4M ($56k a year at 4%) plus a couple of pensions in the next 7 to 9 years amounting to about $42k annually.. I mean on paper this is way more than I really need, but that is what I felt comfortable with.. So I guess the question is.. How close are you really to FI?

2) Once your Dad is dead, there is no going back. If you feel you need more time with him then make it happen. The worse they can do is fire you. I'd rather be unemployed personally speaking.

If your not close to FI yet then I would make use of the job flexibility and work from his place as much as poss.. screw the work opportunity.. its just a crock to get more work out of you on the cheap.. Its rarely worth it in my experience.. certainly not in your position.

All the best to you..

Frank

oldtoyota

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Re: Career--Lean Back or Lean In?
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2014, 07:09:02 PM »
I guess I have two rather simplistic thoughts

1) you say your plan is to become FI in 2019.. So if your like me, I have a yearly burn rate of about $30k per year.. but waited till I had $1.4M ($56k a year at 4%) plus a couple of pensions in the next 7 to 9 years amounting to about $42k annually.. I mean on paper this is way more than I really need, but that is what I felt comfortable with.. So I guess the question is.. How close are you really to FI?

2) Once your Dad is dead, there is no going back. If you feel you need more time with him then make it happen. The worse they can do is fire you. I'd rather be unemployed personally speaking.

If your not close to FI yet then I would make use of the job flexibility and work from his place as much as poss.. screw the work opportunity.. its just a crock to get more work out of you on the cheap.. Its rarely worth it in my experience.. certainly not in your position.

All the best to you..

Frank

Thanks for your reply.

I understand your first question yet don't understand why you are asking it. Could you help me understand? June 2019 is the time I'd reach FIRE. The number I reach at that point is also more than I will need. Like you, I like to have padding.

Re #2, you are right. I think I am still in a bit of shock.





arebelspy

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Re: Career--Lean Back or Lean In?
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2014, 07:13:35 PM »
Think about each option, and each outcome.

Which ones might you regret?

Sorry to hear about your troubles.  =/
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Exflyboy

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Re: Career--Lean Back or Lean In?
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2014, 07:22:43 PM »
I guess I have two rather simplistic thoughts

1) you say your plan is to become FI in 2019.. So if your like me, I have a yearly burn rate of about $30k per year.. but waited till I had $1.4M ($56k a year at 4%) plus a couple of pensions in the next 7 to 9 years amounting to about $42k annually.. I mean on paper this is way more than I really need, but that is what I felt comfortable with.. So I guess the question is.. How close are you really to FI?

2) Once your Dad is dead, there is no going back. If you feel you need more time with him then make it happen. The worse they can do is fire you. I'd rather be unemployed personally speaking.

If your not close to FI yet then I would make use of the job flexibility and work from his place as much as poss.. screw the work opportunity.. its just a crock to get more work out of you on the cheap.. Its rarely worth it in my experience.. certainly not in your position.

All the best to you..

Frank

Thanks for your reply.

I understand your first question yet don't understand why you are asking it. Could you help me understand? June 2019 is the time I'd reach FIRE. The number I reach at that point is also more than I will need. Like you, I like to have padding.

Re #2, you are right. I think I am still in a bit of shock.

Only that you may really need less than your planning on and perhaps you can make FI in two years rather than 5 maybe?

Frank

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Re: Career--Lean Back or Lean In?
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2014, 07:23:08 PM »
My family is in the same boat, although neither of my parents is likely to get to even two more years. My brother is the senior person in his position and thus gets first choice of schedule, vacation, etc. He was offered a promotion recently. It would have made him low man on the seniority totem pole. He told his boss up front that he was not going to go for the position specifically because of our parent's health. He said the response was surprisingly supportive. Just one person's experience, YMMV.

You will never be able to get this potential time with your parents back once they're gone. I doubt that you will regret giving them the gift of yourself. If you have to work a year or two longer, Meh? You won't be sorry.

oldtoyota

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Re: Career--Lean Back or Lean In?
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2014, 07:41:01 PM »
Think about each option, and each outcome.

Which ones might you regret?

Sorry to hear about your troubles.  =/

Thank you. This post makes me think I should list everything out to help me decide next steps. I appreciate it!

Exhale

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Re: Career--Lean Back or Lean In?
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2014, 07:43:08 PM »
Have you watched "The Last Lecture" video by Randy Pausch? (It's easy to find on the Internet.) He offers wisdom about ways to be effective at work while also keeping work from overtaking life as well as thoughts on his own terminal condition and what he decided to do with the time he had left. I've also gleaned helpful job management tips from the book titled The Four-Hour Workweek. These two resources have helped me to navigate a workplace that rewards good work with more work. (Not in a mean way. It's just that they know I'll get it done on time and right.)

Final thought: we lost my sister-in-law to cancer at age 34. I cherish every moment I got to spend with her as well as the "extra" trips I made after she died to help support my brother and their young child. Did my career take the back seat? Yes. Did it slow down my savings rate? Yes. Do I regret it? Never.

With sympathy and best wishes...

oldtoyota

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Re: Career--Lean Back or Lean In?
« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2014, 07:52:22 PM »
I guess I have two rather simplistic thoughts

1) you say your plan is to become FI in 2019.. So if your like me, I have a yearly burn rate of about $30k per year.. but waited till I had $1.4M ($56k a year at 4%) plus a couple of pensions in the next 7 to 9 years amounting to about $42k annually.. I mean on paper this is way more than I really need, but that is what I felt comfortable with.. So I guess the question is.. How close are you really to FI?

2) Once your Dad is dead, there is no going back. If you feel you need more time with him then make it happen. The worse they can do is fire you. I'd rather be unemployed personally speaking.

If your not close to FI yet then I would make use of the job flexibility and work from his place as much as poss.. screw the work opportunity.. its just a crock to get more work out of you on the cheap.. Its rarely worth it in my experience.. certainly not in your position.

All the best to you..

Frank

Thanks for your reply.

I understand your first question yet don't understand why you are asking it. Could you help me understand? June 2019 is the time I'd reach FIRE. The number I reach at that point is also more than I will need. Like you, I like to have padding.

Re #2, you are right. I think I am still in a bit of shock.

Only that you may really need less than your planning on and perhaps you can make FI in two years rather than 5 maybe?

Frank

Great point. I will look into that.


arebelspy

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Re: Career--Lean Back or Lean In?
« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2014, 07:57:00 PM »
Think about each option, and each outcome.

Which ones might you regret?

Sorry to hear about your troubles.  =/

Thank you. This post makes me think I should list everything out to help me decide next steps. I appreciate it!

You're welcome.

I originally typed up two long paragraphs, but then deleted it.  I can't know what's going on with you exactly, but my heart goes out to you.

Ultimately, the above is the best I can offer. Take some time to think about the branches of your future possibilities under the various scenarios, and which will maximize your life's flourishing long term.

Good luck!  :)
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

oldtoyota

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Re: Career--Lean Back or Lean In?
« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2014, 07:57:53 PM »
Have you watched "The Last Lecture" video by Randy Pausch? (It's easy to find on the Internet.) He offers wisdom about ways to be effective at work while also keeping work from overtaking life as well as thoughts on his own terminal condition and what he decided to do with the time he had left. I've also gleaned helpful job management tips from the book titled The Four-Hour Workweek. These two resources have helped me to navigate a workplace that rewards good work with more work. (Not in a mean way. It's just that they know I'll get it done on time and right.)

Final thought: we lost my sister-in-law to cancer at age 34. I cherish every moment I got to spend with her as well as the "extra" trips I made after she died to help support my brother and their young child. Did my career take the back seat? Yes. Did it slow down my savings rate? Yes. Do I regret it? Never.

With sympathy and best wishes...

Thank you. I watched the first few minutes of the video you mentioned, and it sounds excellent. What a brave man. I will go back and watch the rest later. I am looking forward to it.


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Re: Career--Lean Back or Lean In?
« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2014, 08:02:00 PM »
Lean back; I would not hesitate to turn down new responsibilities in your situation.  I see no problem with telling them your parents are both dying and you need to be available to support them in the final stages of their illnesses. 

They cannot force you to take on new work.  They can fail to promote you, but as I'm sure you've realized by now, once you are so close to FIRE additional promotions begin to mean less and less.

mozar

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Re: Career--Lean Back or Lean In?
« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2014, 08:06:58 PM »
Since 2019 will be more than you need, you are already FI. So you don't need paid work already. So there's no reason to take on extra work. Even if you want to take a sabbatical most employers understand that people have family. You could take off a couple years and come back, FIRE doesn't have to be permanent. On their deathbeds most people regret putting work ahead of their family.

Also, what's more important to you? Spending more time with your parents while they are here, or some extra money?

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Re: Career--Lean Back or Lean In?
« Reply #15 on: September 21, 2014, 10:03:00 PM »
Sorry you are going through this -- I'm in a similar boat so I definitely sympathize.

If you have a humane manager, I would definitely let them know about the parents.  My boss was really supportive when I told him about MIL's possible cancer diagnosis and while my workload hasn't really decreased I know that he understands why I am not able to give 150% like I was doing before my vacation. 

Are there aspects of the new role that you would be interested in, and is there any room for reconfiguring your position so that you are doing more of what you like/excel at and less of the stuff you don't?  I'm in the middle of that kind of negotiation myself, actually.  Still not sure how things will turn out, but seems to be going in the right direction.  I have made it clear that while I can do the admin work that has been pushed on me by necessity, it is not my strong point and it is a waste to the organization to have me burning up all my time/energy on that while the programming is taking a back seat.  Programming is where I excel and where I can best bring in new business.  They need to turn the monthly finances, compliance reporting, admin policy development, etc. etc. over to someone better suited for that.  I just make commit hari kiri at my desk if they don't -- one can only take so many excel spreadsheets piled on their head before despair sets in, I reckon!

Good luck working through it and definitely put family first. 

oldtoyota

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Re: Career--Lean Back or Lean In?
« Reply #16 on: September 22, 2014, 07:53:17 AM »
Lean back; I would not hesitate to turn down new responsibilities in your situation.  I see no problem with telling them your parents are both dying and you need to be available to support them in the final stages of their illnesses. 

They cannot force you to take on new work.  They can fail to promote you, but as I'm sure you've realized by now, once you are so close to FIRE additional promotions begin to mean less and less.

That is so true. I used to want to reach the C-level. Oh, how that goal has changed. =-)

oldtoyota

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Re: Career--Lean Back or Lean In?
« Reply #17 on: September 22, 2014, 08:03:55 AM »
Since 2019 will be more than you need, you are already FI. So you don't need paid work already. So there's no reason to take on extra work. Even if you want to take a sabbatical most employers understand that people have family. You could take off a couple years and come back, FIRE doesn't have to be permanent. On their deathbeds most people regret putting work ahead of their family.

Also, what's more important to you? Spending more time with your parents while they are here, or some extra money?

I am not FI yet. I am looking to see what other expenses we could cut back on and have asked the spouse to sit down with me to review them. We're at a hard point with expenses because the big easy stuff has been cut. As of now, the expenses are spread out--a little here and a little there--in many categories. For some, we can't change them (internet, for example). We'll have to sit down and figure out if there's more we can cut.

Last night, I sat down and compared our expenses to MMM's 2013 expenses just to get an idea of where I should be looking to cut back. He pays a lot less for internet, which I can't change. I have no idea how he has so many parties with such a low food budget. Ours seems high and just gets higher if we entertain. He's pretty badass.



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Re: Career--Lean Back or Lean In?
« Reply #18 on: September 22, 2014, 08:16:44 AM »
I only got as far as seeing your father is in ill-health before thinking, no way to the extra work. Lean back, and don't feel bad about it for a second.

If you will reach FI in 2019, you have nothing to worry about. You could even stop now for a couple of years and then go back later on.

Seriously, you will not regret spending time with your parents. You will regret working long hours to bring forward FI just a little bit whilst missing out on that.

I would tell your boss about your father's health. In my experience, if you are a good and hardworking member of staff, managers tend to be supportive in this situation. But you know your boss best. Do you think they would be understanding?

Elderwood17

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Re: Career--Lean Back or Lean In?
« Reply #19 on: September 22, 2014, 08:59:33 AM »
I am in a very similar situation.  Several months ago I explained it to my boss who was very understanding, and came up with some creative ways to take things off my plate while allowing me to pursue some growth opportunities and have some time to focus on my father.

Good luck and best wishes to you and your parents!

oldtoyota

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Re: Career--Lean Back or Lean In?
« Reply #20 on: September 22, 2014, 03:34:35 PM »
I only got as far as seeing your father is in ill-health before thinking, no way to the extra work. Lean back, and don't feel bad about it for a second.

If you will reach FI in 2019, you have nothing to worry about. You could even stop now for a couple of years and then go back later on.


I could…Hm. It is scary not to have any income though. I wish I could find a middle ground--a cool PT job that would keep me from having zero income, especially since they don't need me 24-7 yet.


oldtoyota

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Re: Career--Lean Back or Lean In?
« Reply #21 on: September 22, 2014, 03:45:15 PM »
Wow. You guys are giving me ideas I never would have thought of before.

I could let them know I plan to resign and give them two months of notice. I think they would be open to this as they are not the kind to "walk the person to the door." I have at least a year of living expenses saved up--maybe two if I can radically cut back on costs.

Meanwhile, I could work my network--some of which is at work--to see if I can find freelance work or part-time work somewhere.

It struck me that they allowed one person who had a small baby at home to go PT. It's not common, but it happens. There's no way they would let me do my job now as a PT worker. I am pretty sure the answer would be no.

There's another person who was going to move due to her daughter and then they let her work from another city…so possibilities may exist.


« Last Edit: September 22, 2014, 08:55:47 PM by oldtoyota »

Life in Balance

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Re: Career--Lean Back or Lean In?
« Reply #22 on: September 22, 2014, 06:18:23 PM »
I was in this situation with my mom several years ago and am currently wading through it with my dad.  I've leaned back, way back.  It was just what I needed to do to keep my sanity.  That said, everyone is different, some need to keep busy in order to make it through. 

If you feel like you can trust your boss, then I wouldn't worry.  I let my boss and key people in my department know why I was stepping back and was overwhelmed in the best way by how supportive they were.  To this day, it's made me more loyal to them and to my job, and I will never forget their kindness.  I do have to say that after leaning back for so long, I don't think I care anymore about leaning in.  I'm happy being less ambitious.  :) 

My best to you during a difficult time.

brizna

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Re: Career--Lean Back or Lean In?
« Reply #23 on: September 22, 2014, 07:22:38 PM »
Part of leaning in is standing up for yourself and learning how to say no (independent from your personal life)

That being said, you've got some big personal concerns you've got to deal with, so I don't know.

oldtoyota

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Re: Career--Lean Back or Lean In?
« Reply #24 on: September 22, 2014, 08:57:12 PM »
Part of leaning in is standing up for yourself and learning how to say no (independent from your personal life)

That being said, you've got some big personal concerns you've got to deal with, so I don't know.

I do need to get better about standing up for myself overall. I will need to bring up some issues this week.