Author Topic: Case-ish Study - Unsatisfied with Current Job and Role  (Read 4104 times)

bostonengineer

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Case-ish Study - Unsatisfied with Current Job and Role
« on: June 21, 2017, 07:06:15 PM »
Hey all,

So I've been debating creating a pseudonym account to make this post, and believe it is time to do it.

To put it bluntly, I am not satisfied in my current role/position, although I do not believe it is due to my current company. I just turned 26 y/o, I have a major in mathematics and mechanical engineering, as well as an MBA. I follow the mustachian philosophy to a certain extent, but do have my luxuries (though not extravagant like BMWs etc). I have had promotions since my graduation and increased responsibility at two different companies and now make $85k/year. Since graduation, I max my 401k and roth, and then move funds to wherever else is needed. The problem I have is that I feel like every day is a drag. My life revolves around work, even though I work 40 hours. People always ask how I'm doing and if I love my job and I always act enthusiastic, but deep down I'm counting down the years until I can retire. The problem is, I don't know what is wrong or what to do. I kind of enjoy engineering, but it's not what I "love" doing. I don't wake up and say that I want to go to work and design something. I'd rather stay at home, play with my dogs, and go ride my bike or enjoy the outdoors. I've listed below my current financial standing:

Assets:
   - Savings: $15k
   - 401k: $80k
   - Roth IRA: $30k
   - Additional: $15k

Debts:
    -Car payment: 2% for 2 more years --> $300/month

Any recommendations? I'm hesitant to make a career change, as I think deep down I have my mind on ER, but that obviously isn't realistic. I just can't foresee myself going to work for another 10-15 years to get to the financial point where I can justify telling my company that I won't be coming in after 2 weeks.

ixtap

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Re: Case-ish Study - Unsatisfied with Current Job and Role
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2017, 07:29:22 PM »
How do you spend a typical weekend? What do you do it n the evenings?

bostonengineer

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Re: Case-ish Study - Unsatisfied with Current Job and Role
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2017, 07:36:12 PM »
Typically riding my bike and hiking, as well as spending time with my two dogs.

Vindicated

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Re: Case-ish Study - Unsatisfied with Current Job and Role
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2017, 06:41:42 AM »
I may be projecting a bit, but this is what I'm gathering from your post:

The real issue may be that you just need some passion.  You're on cruise control now, not feeling challenged, and not feeling like you have anything you can accomplish in the near future.

To fix this, you could talk to a therapist (I did it, and it helped me), you could pick up some new hobby and dive into it, you could find a MeetUp group that interests you, you become a mentor at a local school, OR you could find a new job.

If you dial down your spending and accelerate FIRE, what would be the point?  Do you know what you would do with yourself after FIRE?

Good luck!

nobody123

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Re: Case-ish Study - Unsatisfied with Current Job and Role
« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2017, 06:45:13 AM »
I am always perplexed with posts like these.  Of course you'd rather not go to work and goof off instead.  That's why your employer has to pay people to show up and get stuff done.  Since you (apparently) weren't born independently wealthy, you have to work for a living until you save enough to quit.  I'm guessing you work in an office with air conditioning, don't lift heavy objects for a living, get decent benefits, get to use your brain to solve problems, and interact with other similarly intelligent people all day.  Quit your complaining.

Depending on the company, the value of an MBA is pretty low until you have some miles on your tires.  Two decades ago, a lot of MBA programs wouldn't even let you in unless you had at least 5 years of work experience so you had some real-world context of what they were teaching.  If your company is older-school, they aren't going to just plop you into a management / strategic role without some demonstrated success in your current role.  So keep acting enthusiastic, get stuff done on time / under budget, and keep getting promoted.  Find an area of need in your company that interests you, define a role for yourself that addresses that need, then sell the idea to management.  Smart companies let motivated, intelligent employees do things like that.

Broadway2019

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Re: Case-ish Study - Unsatisfied with Current Job and Role
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2017, 06:51:37 AM »
I will share my story (also I want to follow this thread). I am 28 years old, have an MBA, Masters in Engineering,  and have worked at 4 companies moving up to mid-manager at my current company. I get excited about new roles at first until about a year in, then I realize I feel the same as my prior role. The mundane corporate culture at Fortune companies is unreal and also I have always worked in reporting/programming. I sometimes think if I could get a job where I am actually doing something and interacting with people more other than staring at a computer screen, I would be happier. However, I have no idea what else I would do and also, I make really good money ($120k+). Sometimes, I think it must be nice to be in HR or some other non-technical role where your primary job is to talk to people. I am good at my job, however, I dread M-F every week. I get along with people and work at a company most people would kill to get into, I am just not happy deep down.

So given the above, I am now working to try to retire early. Maybe just work 10 more years if I can save enough money. Or just work enough to where I could take a pay cut. Maybe I will find a job only making $40k, but will almost be ready to retire so will not need as much.


afuera

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Re: Case-ish Study - Unsatisfied with Current Job and Role
« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2017, 08:28:55 AM »
I will share my story (also I want to follow this thread). I am 28 years old, have an MBA, Masters in Engineering,  and have worked at 4 companies moving up to mid-manager at my current company. I get excited about new roles at first until about a year in, then I realize I feel the same as my prior role. The mundane corporate culture at Fortune companies is unreal and also I have always worked in reporting/programming. I sometimes think if I could get a job where I am actually doing something and interacting with people more other than staring at a computer screen, I would be happier. However, I have no idea what else I would do and also, I make really good money ($120k+). Sometimes, I think it must be nice to be in HR or some other non-technical role where your primary job is to talk to people. I am good at my job, however, I dread M-F every week. I get along with people and work at a company most people would kill to get into, I am just not happy deep down.

So given the above, I am now working to try to retire early. Maybe just work 10 more years if I can save enough money. Or just work enough to where I could take a pay cut. Maybe I will find a job only making $40k, but will almost be ready to retire so will not need as much.

I could have posted this.  I've been fortunate enough to have 3 different roles in 3 years at my same company but right around the year mark I start to feel very unfulfilled and unhappy in my role.  I have no reason to because I get fantastic compensation and the people I work with are great but that doesn't change how I feel.  Its hard to when you have no one to talk about it with due the responses like nobody123 saying your job is great, quit complaining.  I haven't found a solution yet so I keep putting as much money as we can into investments so that we can FIRE.

RelaxedGal

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Re: Case-ish Study - Unsatisfied with Current Job and Role
« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2017, 09:19:06 AM »
I agree with the others - you need a hobby.  Based on your username you are in Boston - have you been to the Boston Mustachian meet ups?  They're the second Saturday of the month(?) and usually geared toward a hike or other outdoorsy stuff.  I haven't been to any yet, but meeting like minded people in the flesh might give you some insights or at least commiseration.

slappy

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Re: Case-ish Study - Unsatisfied with Current Job and Role
« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2017, 09:20:50 AM »
I agree with the others - you need a hobby.  Based on your username you are in Boston - have you been to the Boston Mustachian meet ups?  They're the second Saturday of the month(?) and usually geared toward a hike or other outdoorsy stuff.  I haven't been to any yet, but meeting like minded people in the flesh might give you some insights or at least commiseration.

How would one find out about the meetups?

Noodle

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Re: Case-ish Study - Unsatisfied with Current Job and Role
« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2017, 09:58:02 AM »
Most people who are happy with their lives either live to work (love what they do) or work to live (have great lives outside work--I think the best fictional example is the Larry Gergich character in Parks and Rec). It sounds like you don't have either. Of course, a lot of people find their greater purpose in their children, which doesn't apply here. But in your case, I would just try a lot of different things until you find your thing. And stick with something for a little while before you decide it's not "the" thing...a lot of groups and activities take awhile to get into. I once heard a church group leader say that it takes 8-10 hours of a group meeting together to really bond and feel comfortable with each other, which I think is a good rule of thumb for how long to try something out.

At work, don't be afraid to volunteer for things, and it might be worth looking around for a different work environment in your same job...I don't work in the business world, but from people I know who do, I always got the sense that big corporate tended to be the bland, structured middle of the road simply because they have to manage thousands and thousands of people with the same structure; small companies tended to be more at the extremes, either better or worse.

jamesbond007

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Re: Case-ish Study - Unsatisfied with Current Job and Role
« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2017, 10:40:37 AM »
With a Math major + engineering background, have you looked into career in Data Science? MBA is just an icing on an already nice cake. Are willing to move to, let's say, SF BayArea for a higher salary so you could speed up your FIRE process? The only problem I see, obviously without knowing full background, is that you are stuck in a rut. As the poster above me said, you are in cruise control. Maybe you just need a change of jobs? Maybe a bigger salary to motivate you just a little bit so you get that passion back? Maybe a change of location?

mxt0133

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Re: Case-ish Study - Unsatisfied with Current Job and Role
« Reply #11 on: June 22, 2017, 12:05:10 PM »
I get the same feeling as the OP from time to time.  However, whenever I do catch myself feeling this way I go ahead and think about how it was when I growing up and for those that were much less fortunate that we were in a third world country.  I watch these videos from time to time when ever I start to feel like my life has no purpose, meaning, and when I start feeling entitled or ungrateful.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uwo5rjiIEsQ

I never started feeling this way until I was able to get a good job out of college and like you got my Masters, MBA, blah, blah.  Moved jobs, doubled my salary andmoved to a HCOL city.  For me, when I reached a solid middle-class lifestyle was when these intense feeling of loss of purpose and meaning started happening.  I was no longer struggling and then learning that more money did not make me any happier really shattered my inner sense of purpose.  I literally played video games for 6 months straight after quitting my job because I was tired of my current career.  I snapped out of it when my wife told me to get a job because she wanted to start a family.

I still get these episodes of loss of purpose and direction, but for the most part I have learned to really take pleasure and joy in the small day to day things in life.  A nice bike ride, a good book, a funny youtube video, walking in the part, a good conversation.  All these little things bring joy and that's good enough for me.

As others have mentioned you can quit and try and find something you are more  "passionate" about, but I never really put much into finding a "passion".  Some people find their calling in life, I never did.  So i'm just going to enjoy as much of it as I can while i'm alive.

nobody123

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Re: Case-ish Study - Unsatisfied with Current Job and Role
« Reply #12 on: June 22, 2017, 01:29:16 PM »
<snip>
I could have posted this.  I've been fortunate enough to have 3 different roles in 3 years at my same company but right around the year mark I start to feel very unfulfilled and unhappy in my role.  I have no reason to because I get fantastic compensation and the people I work with are great but that doesn't change how I feel.  Its hard to when you have no one to talk about it with due the responses like nobody123 saying your job is great, quit complaining.  I haven't found a solution yet so I keep putting as much money as we can into investments so that we can FIRE.

I never said OP's job was great -- no job is.  I pointed out that it is desirable to the vast majority of people.  I also suggested that they make their own role / path in the company (doing something proactive) given their education level and lack of job satisfaction. 

As one of my mentors told me, the key to surviving your career is having a goal of being content in whatever role you find yourself in.  If you set your goal as being happy all the time, you're doomed to fail because no job is entirely positive.  If a job was pure happiness and satisfaction, you would be paying your employer to hang out there.  You can always strive for better and set goals to advance in your career, but don't fool yourself into thinking that you are some sort of victim because you don't have a warm and fuzzy feeling when you are filling out the cover sheet for your TPS report.

Polaria

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Re: Case-ish Study - Unsatisfied with Current Job and Role
« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2017, 11:53:18 AM »
I agree with the others - you need a hobby.  Based on your username you are in Boston - have you been to the Boston Mustachian meet ups?  They're the second Saturday of the month(?) and usually geared toward a hike or other outdoorsy stuff.  I haven't been to any yet, but meeting like minded people in the flesh might give you some insights or at least commiseration.

How would one find out about the meetups?

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/meetups-and-social-events/boston/

Bicycle_B

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Re: Case-ish Study - Unsatisfied with Current Job and Role
« Reply #14 on: June 26, 2017, 07:13:21 PM »
+1 to talking to a psychologist.  It would be foolish to have your only work problem be emotions, yet not to consult an emotions expert.

+1 also to lowering work expectations, and developing a life outside work.  My happiest aunt and uncle say their happiness came from never expecting work to give them more than a paycheck.

fwiw, think of the people who say your job is great and should make you happy as falling in 2 camps:

A. They're in the same workplace and actually love it, and on a casual level don't want to feel lonely by knowing that you're not feeling the same way.  This is a minority.  For them, focus on filling your project role well and assisting in their joy.  You don't actually have to be happy or even really pretend to be, just be skilled and be pleasant to them, that'll be good enough.

B. They're just saying that.  It might mean "other jobs suck worse", or they're scared of being fired, or they hate conflict and feel everyone should be happy so they know there won't be conflict, or any of several other things.  Just like A, be good at what you do and pleasant to people without lying, and you'll be fine from their view. 

In short, you don't have to be happy just because they say they are, or even because they seem to expect you to be.  Good luck.

PS. It's really common for early stage employees not to be happy.  The emotional part is an unspoken part of the job.  They didn't teach this in school.  Since you're good at everything else, this is your first unteachable challenge.  If you face it and win, you will be stronger for life IMHO.  It will probably happen in some form elsewhere, thus I recommend facing it where you are.