Author Topic: How do you manage the "grass is greener" mentality related to jobs?  (Read 11395 times)

Tulip

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Hello Everyone!

I would love some advice/perspective, specifically regarding jobs, on how to manage the mentality that the grass has GOT to be greener elsewhere.

On paper, I should love my job. It has several of the primary characteristics of a job that are very important to me...flexibility, autonomy, good enough salary to allow me to have a decent savings rate, paid medical insurance, holidays off and good PTO, and others. I've been in my current position for 2.5 years. My goal is to FIRE in 10 years. I wish I didn't dread going to work and that the thought of staying for 10 more years didn't make me feel slightly claustrophobic. I joke that job searching is a hobby. I love to look at other job opportunities and think how awesome it would be to try something different. But, rationally, I know all jobs have their drawbacks and I'm likely glorifying the excitement of the new. It probably doesn't help that 2.5 to 3 years at something is usually when I start to get a little antsy and start thinking about a change. :/

On one hand I tell myself, "You have it really good (as I am analyzing the written list of pros and cons I have re-written for the umpteenth time)! You just need to focus on the positives." On the other hand I tell myself, "Life is short. If you want to try something different, do it! You are the only one who can change your circumstances, so just go for it." My ultimate goal is to FIRE in 10 years (or less) and whether I stay in this job or take another, I will work towards that goal. Argh! Seriously, I have analyzed this to pieces and it's driving me crazy. So, I'm hopeful that you can share some advice or different perspectives that might help me...count my blessings for the job I have and focus on optimizing things to FIRE as soon as I can OR take the leap to something different (even if it might crash and burn my expectations).

Thanks!

Tyler

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Re: How do you manage the "grass is greener" mentality related to jobs?
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2014, 09:56:55 PM »
Personally, I've never stayed at a job more than 3 consecutive years and have worked at eight different companies.  So one can absolutely characterize me as a job-hopper.  I completely appreciate the innate urge to do something new -- some people just don't have the personality to do the same thing day in and day out.  The key to making it work is to have each job build upon the one before so that the variety of work is an asset and not a liability.  I'm at a consultancy now, and my vast variety of experience comes in handy every day.  (BTW, I'd definitely recommend looking at consultancies for personalities like my own, as it allows you to stay at the same employer and let the new work come to you every few months).

Depending on your field, there's absolutely no reason why switching jobs should derail your FIRE plans.  In fact, switching jobs is precisely how I greatly accelerated my income as most of my major raises came with company changes.

My best advice is to always be honest about your motivations (both to yourself and to your employer), and never burn bridges.  I only regretted leaving one place, and they happily took me back a year later.  And as my DW likes to say, keep in mind that there's no such thing as Job Charming out there waiting to sweep you off your feet.  Everything has a tradeoff. 

Eristheunorganized

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Re: How do you manage the "grass is greener" mentality related to jobs?
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2014, 10:03:51 PM »
This is an interesting post to me, I've always found new jobs very tough to get. I can't imagine switching frequently. I know I should, but it's a total soul crusher to get rejected all the time. You guys inspire me to get out there!

sobezen

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Re: How do you manage the "grass is greener" mentality related to jobs?
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2014, 10:14:22 PM »
I think it is normal to consider new opportunities.  But as you commented in your first post, what is motivating you to even consider looking?  Do you feel your career and industry as a whole is unrewarding?  Or is it more essential?  Can you elaborate on what is it that you dread about your job?  Is it the people, stress, lack of acknowledgement, support, leadership, something else entirely? 

I ask because I recently was in a situation where I too dreaded my job.  I loathed coming in daily and even considered changing within the company until I realized what I was experiencing was standard in the industry.  Once I realized my environment would not change, regardless if I was compensated more, I knew I needed to leave and quickly!  So armed with this newfound knowledge I looked at other greener opportunities.  It took me less than three months and I found a great environment that is more suitable for my needs.  Oh and if you are seasoned by moving laterally you often times can significantly bump your earnings too. 

i_am_the_slime

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Re: How do you manage the "grass is greener" mentality related to jobs?
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2014, 05:30:14 AM »
I am in exactly the same boat - on paper my job is great for the job/industry I'm in (mechanical engineering).  My manager is great and I know I won't find a better job but I STILL want another job!  My problem is I am addicted to NEW - I love new cities and new jobs.  But I keep reminding myself how nice it is to just "do my job" - I go to work and do my job and do it well.  We recently hired a few new people and I am training them and it reminds me how much it sucks to have to learn everything for a new job.  Plus there is the added stress/pressure of having to "prove yourself" all over again.  It's kind of nice to have already proven yourself and to just do your job.

Left

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Re: How do you manage the "grass is greener" mentality related to jobs?
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2014, 07:34:38 AM »
I got the same problem, I've been hopping around in my current city but the next job I'll take up a travel med tech job so I can pick new city/state and keep the "same" job but at the same time work somewhere "new"

can you do this with your job? I've heard that moving somewhere every 4-6 months is hard but I don't see it, but I haven't yet started this either so I'll know a bit more when I do. I'm planning on traveling in 2 years (so I can save some money for when I have time off between locations) but if I get fed up with this current job, I wouldn't mind started a year earlier either

Tulip

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Re: How do you manage the "grass is greener" mentality related to jobs?
« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2014, 07:54:08 AM »
Thanks so much for the replies! I appreciate the advice.

I agree it is very important to be honest about the motivations behind leaving a job. I've been working more and more on just being more honest with myself. (Loved the "there's no Job Charming out there waiting to sweep you off your feet" comment, Tyler. True :).)

Eristheunorganized, I hear what you're saying about rejection; it can be crushing. I have been very blessed with my career path/jobs, but I tend to internalize things (probably way too much) and willingly opening up that possibility of rejection (when I should love the job I have!!) takes a lot of consideration.

Sobezen, you asked great questions. To be a little more specific, I work in academia. So, the example you gave of yourself resonated with me because the environment/job functions are fairly standard (though from experiences I've heard from others, I do really have it good where I am...my primary colleagues are great. My boss is not a horrible micromanager. The overall environment is fairly relaxed.) I will say I've become disillusioned with regards to students and academia, in general. So, if I left, it would be to take an industry job. But, i_am_the_slime has a good point as well about just "do the job" and that's what I tell myself too. Why am I so conflicted about this?!

Brian Fellows

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Re: How do you manage the "grass is greener" mentality related to jobs?
« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2014, 07:56:53 AM »
Just remember if you DO go looking for another job to know exactly what is good ab out your current job, so you can try to minimize loss.

If your vacation is a huge deal to you (it should be), make sure you're getting as much as you get now, if not more, if you switch jobs.  I got less (knew it when I signed on), didn't think to try to negotiate it, and it turns out it's TOTALLY up for negotiation.  It's killing me now.  Add in that I didn't ask them to elaborate on their "very, very good 401k with match" and now I'm getting 3% less matched into my 401k than at the last company.  Just given those two things, I'm already considering looking elsewhere (in one more year after my 401k vests, of course).

Even if I love the job after another year, just those two things that I'm locked into are enough to make me consider looking.  So my advice boils down to knowing exactly what the good things about your current job are, and making damn sure you ask about them and try to negotiate a match or improvement at any new job.  Just because it looks greener doesn't mean it is, but you can ABSOLUTELY figure out whether it's AS green before you make a move.

Jack

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Re: How do you manage the "grass is greener" mentality related to jobs?
« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2014, 09:09:03 AM »
My problem is I am addicted to NEW - I love new cities and new jobs.  But I keep reminding myself how nice it is to just "do my job" - I go to work and do my job and do it well.

Get a hobby or side-gig and satisfy your desire for "new" in something other than your job.

mm1970

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Re: How do you manage the "grass is greener" mentality related to jobs?
« Reply #9 on: July 03, 2014, 09:15:00 AM »
I'm 44 and have worked at 4 places.  Navy, large-ish manufacturing company, startup, startup.  5 years, 2.5 years, 8.5 years, 6 years

There is nothing wrong with looking for new opportunities.  When I look at my  favorite boss, with SO MUCH amazing knowledge about...everything in our field...I realize - the guy has worked at many different places on many different technologies - that and his ability to learn has really turned him into an expert on everything semiconductor.


SpicyMcHaggus

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Re: How do you manage the "grass is greener" mentality related to jobs?
« Reply #10 on: July 03, 2014, 09:26:13 AM »
I sit and bury my head because at the moment, I'm not interested in being labeled a "job hopper".
I remind myself that I have excellent security here, as I'm the only one doing the work I do.
I have flexible work times. I can come in at 7am or 9am. Just keep things working.

I'm also having an internal debate as to wether i should even look. ie, can I get to FI working here 2-3 years? If so, not worth changing jobs.

RyanAtTanagra

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Re: How do you manage the "grass is greener" mentality related to jobs?
« Reply #11 on: July 03, 2014, 09:59:07 AM »
I read this book a while back called The Paradox of Choice.  It was mostly about consumption and how having so many choices nowadays reduces our happiness, but it's effected for the better how I look at a lot of other areas of my life.  The main crux was that with a high number of options, we have a harder time choosing, and when we do choose we tend to second guess ourselves (with so many choices there has to be a better option out there).  Basically, the perfect is the enemy of the good, and the way to avoid the never ending battle of choosing is to define what you want, find something that meets those demands, take it, and be confident and happy that you made a good decision for yourself.

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Ryan,  that sounds like a totally worthwhile read.  That same dilemma keeps me and many people I know second guessing themselves, never knowing if they have reached the limit of the potential.

Rika Non

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Re: How do you manage the "grass is greener" mentality related to jobs?
« Reply #13 on: July 03, 2014, 12:50:05 PM »
Tulip:

After 12 years in a service company I left for a major energy producer.  Luckily I did everything I could to leave under good circumstances since within 9 months of the new company I realized it was a mistake.

For some careers it helps to have experience from one side of field to another.  If you go to industry for a while for the experience just make sure you have left with very good will so if it doesn't pan out you can go back.  I went back to my old company 1.5 years after leaving.  I got good experience from "the other side"; but I realized it wasn't for me.

Typically you should plan for at least 2-3 years with the new position, I was asked back by a previous manager which is why my fence jumping was so short.  From someone who has gone after the grass on the other side, it really is all the same.  But if you jump the fence at least you know it and it stops the "what-ifs".

Going back to a previous position / company has a little bit of awkward, but in my case was very easy.  I still have to work with the company that I went to & left, which has a little weirdness, but in my experience as long as professional people stay professional and you stay very positive in your public presentation of all groups, there is no harm is crossing a few fences.

Tulip

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Re: How do you manage the "grass is greener" mentality related to jobs?
« Reply #14 on: July 03, 2014, 05:29:30 PM »
Such great advice. Thank you!

It's nice to know I'm not alone and I appreciate the insight and advice several of you shared based on your own experiences. Your responses have been helpful!

Ryan, thanks for the book mention. I agree with Less, it sounds like a worthwhile read. Second (and third, and fourth) guessing myself is not uncommon and I can certainly see how the number of options exacerbates that problem. Maybe I need to check that book out.

Thanks again everyone for the replies. :)

Daisy

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Re: How do you manage the "grass is greener" mentality related to jobs?
« Reply #15 on: July 03, 2014, 08:41:37 PM »
On paper, I should love my job. It has several of the primary characteristics of a job that are very important to me...flexibility, autonomy, good enough salary to allow me to have a decent savings rate, paid medical insurance, holidays off and good PTO, and others.

I understand the frustration since I like variety in life. But it sounds like you have a pretty good work environment. My biggest benefit by far is PTO, so the longer you stay at one place the more days you get off. At this point, I would not leave to go anywhere unless they matched my PTO.

I worked at Company #1 for 15 years and decided to leave. It's really a great place and everyone felt like family. Company #2 was good for about a year and then I was looking for the exits as they had a lot of ridiculous policies and boring work. So I tried to go back to Company #1 and was having a hard time as they just wanted freshouts from college then. Eventually I got laid off from Company #2. As luck would have it, a few months later Company #1 called me to come back.

After coming back, I would hear people complain about certain small things and I would just laugh them off. I told my tales of ridiculousness from Company #2 so people would see that the grass was actually green on Company #1's lawn. So I am happy to be back but maybe I wouldn't have appreciated it as much if I hadn't left. It's truly a nice bunch of people that feel like family to me.

There were actual financial benefits to leaving and then coming back. I was able to take my pension and 401k accrued over 15 years and roll it into an IRA so I could self-manage it. After I left, they froze any new contributions to pensions and new hires don't get it. They honored my service time when I got back so I was able to accrue the max PTO.

So only you can tell if moving would be right. You are young enough that you may want to try different things out. But realize that a good work environment is hard to find so if you have it now, make sure to cherish it.

darkadams00

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Re: How do you manage the "grass is greener" mentality related to jobs?
« Reply #16 on: July 04, 2014, 01:35:28 AM »
I was raised conservatively and have followed that path my entire life. My grandfather was my best man--my choice, definitely not a family expectation. Because of this background, I think of work historically--farmers, migrant workers, day laborers, soldiers, teachers, mill workers, fishermen, small business owners, milk men, taxi/bus drivers...and the list goes on and on and gets more diverse as the decades pass. But the positives that I notice--(1) access to college has increased steadily, even if requiring modest student loans, (2) access to white-collar jobs that exceed union pay has increased, (3) job flexibility/efficiency has increased--employee-selected PTO/vacation days, health benefits, maternity/paternity/funeral leave, telecommuting, flex/compressed schedules, direct deposit paychecks, electronic W-4/W-2/tax filing, laptop computers, Internet, color printers, email, etc. and (4) the work environment has improved--5-day work weeks for most folks on this forum, air conditioning in Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Miami, Phoenix, and other hot, summer climates. Understandably this might not be or seem true to everyone, but I can list a string of generation-over-generation net positives for almost every job I have ever heard of any of my friends working--blue collar or white collar.

Instead of focusing on the overall successes that have been achieved for us and by us--successes that our silver-haired grandparents applauded but might never have enjoyed--we focus on the negatives. I don't like my cube, I don't like my boss, I don't like my job description/expectations/tasks, I don't like my 401(k) option, I don't like my recent health plan change, I don't like ______________ . The worst vacation/PTO offering I have had in my life (two career paths) beats what my grandfather had for more than 20 years in one of his jobs--1 week during July 4th week, no option. Every 401(k) plan that I've seen beats my grandfather's pension. My grandfather can't operate a computer, so he couldn't telecommute. He only knew two people in his high school graduating class that went to college. His office (textile mill supervisor) was never cooler than the low 80's in July/August, and he felt somewhat privileged because he understood the working conditions of a department full of mostly women who worked his floor---dirty, hot, standing all day, physical labor. And he is the most pleasant and cheerful man I have ever met. He always has a smile, gives his last $ in his wallet to his great-grandchildren when we're not looking (I've bought him a week's groceries once because he wouldn't privately take the money back--a great and fun experience).

I hurt my shoulder last month and have had to do a hybrid bike/bus commute instead of a full bike commute for the last several weeks. When I'm riding in the early morning, my salary probably exceeds the combined salary of the 5-6 people on the express bus. I pass similar people in the transit station. This gives perspective. I worked hard to get here. I will not ruin my opportunity by playing the condescending jerk, by wasting the excess of resources that I have at my disposal, or by wishing for/pursuing greener pastures that are highly likely to be a new verse to the same career song. I have no desire to completely jump to a new career path again. If I did, it would be researched to the nth degree, vetted by several people whose opinion I hold in high regard, and hedged against the possibility of a mistake. I did that one time already. It worked out well, and that's the last for me. Anyone should be able to reevaluate and retool. But how many times in a never-ending search?

I live a full life with more activities at hand than I choose or want to do. I do not live for my job and will not be bored a minute when it's gone. But until I hit FI, it's time to get busy earning, saving, AND living. I just wish more of the FIRE crowd enjoyed the working years of their lives as much as they expect to enjoy the retired years. They're all years, and at last account, we have precious few of them. Please hang the complainy pants back on the rack and keep your money in your own pocket. I promise you they don't fit well, and they make your butt look big.

CarDude

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Re: How do you manage the "grass is greener" mentality related to jobs?
« Reply #17 on: July 04, 2014, 01:55:16 AM »
I read this book a while back called The Paradox of Choice.  It was mostly about consumption and how having so many choices nowadays reduces our happiness, but it's effected for the better how I look at a lot of other areas of my life.  The main crux was that with a high number of options, we have a harder time choosing, and when we do choose we tend to second guess ourselves (with so many choices there has to be a better option out there).  Basically, the perfect is the enemy of the good, and the way to avoid the never ending battle of choosing is to define what you want, find something that meets those demands, take it, and be confident and happy that you made a good decision for yourself.

This is a good, good point...

CarDude

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Re: How do you manage the "grass is greener" mentality related to jobs?
« Reply #18 on: July 04, 2014, 01:56:41 AM »
I was raised conservatively and have followed that path my entire life. My grandfather was my best man--my choice, definitely not a family expectation. Because of this background, I think of work historically--farmers, migrant workers, day laborers, soldiers, teachers, mill workers, fishermen, small business owners, milk men, taxi/bus drivers...and the list goes on and on and gets more diverse as the decades pass. But the positives that I notice--(1) access to college has increased steadily, even if requiring modest student loans, (2) access to white-collar jobs that exceed union pay has increased, (3) job flexibility/efficiency has increased--employee-selected PTO/vacation days, health benefits, maternity/paternity/funeral leave, telecommuting, flex/compressed schedules, direct deposit paychecks, electronic W-4/W-2/tax filing, laptop computers, Internet, color printers, email, etc. and (4) the work environment has improved--5-day work weeks for most folks on this forum, air conditioning in Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Miami, Phoenix, and other hot, summer climates. Understandably this might not be or seem true to everyone, but I can list a string of generation-over-generation net positives for almost every job I have ever heard of any of my friends working--blue collar or white collar.

Instead of focusing on the overall successes that have been achieved for us and by us--successes that our silver-haired grandparents applauded but might never have enjoyed--we focus on the negatives. I don't like my cube, I don't like my boss, I don't like my job description/expectations/tasks, I don't like my 401(k) option, I don't like my recent health plan change, I don't like ______________ . The worst vacation/PTO offering I have had in my life (two career paths) beats what my grandfather had for more than 20 years in one of his jobs--1 week during July 4th week, no option. Every 401(k) plan that I've seen beats my grandfather's pension. My grandfather can't operate a computer, so he couldn't telecommute. He only knew two people in his high school graduating class that went to college. His office (textile mill supervisor) was never cooler than the low 80's in July/August, and he felt somewhat privileged because he understood the working conditions of a department full of mostly women who worked his floor---dirty, hot, standing all day, physical labor. And he is the most pleasant and cheerful man I have ever met. He always has a smile, gives his last $ in his wallet to his great-grandchildren when we're not looking (I've bought him a week's groceries once because he wouldn't privately take the money back--a great and fun experience).

I hurt my shoulder last month and have had to do a hybrid bike/bus commute instead of a full bike commute for the last several weeks. When I'm riding in the early morning, my salary probably exceeds the combined salary of the 5-6 people on the express bus. I pass similar people in the transit station. This gives perspective. I worked hard to get here. I will not ruin my opportunity by playing the condescending jerk, by wasting the excess of resources that I have at my disposal, or by wishing for/pursuing greener pastures that are highly likely to be a new verse to the same career song. I have no desire to completely jump to a new career path again. If I did, it would be researched to the nth degree, vetted by several people whose opinion I hold in high regard, and hedged against the possibility of a mistake. I did that one time already. It worked out well, and that's the last for me. Anyone should be able to reevaluate and retool. But how many times in a never-ending search?

I live a full life with more activities at hand than I choose or want to do. I do not live for my job and will not be bored a minute when it's gone. But until I hit FI, it's time to get busy earning, saving, AND living. I just wish more of the FIRE crowd enjoyed the working years of their lives as much as they expect to enjoy the retired years. They're all years, and at last account, we have precious few of them. Please hang the complainy pants back on the rack and keep your money in your own pocket. I promise you they don't fit well, and they make your butt look big.

...and this is one of the most insightful posts I've read in a while in this subforum.

CarDude

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Re: How do you manage the "grass is greener" mentality related to jobs?
« Reply #19 on: July 04, 2014, 02:07:16 AM »
OP, lots of good advice already. Read it and take it to heart. And now, a brief story...

A friend  of mine has a friend who got her master's degree when he did. She's dating a fellow who, by any reasonable account, is a poor fit for her; he's emotionally a teenager despite being in his 30s. At any rate, this boyfriend makes more than 50k/yr in a pensioned job with a high school degree, yet he's constantly complaining about how much he hates the job and wants to open up an art business. At the same time, he doesn't save any of his money so he's been forced to move in with his girlfriend's parents. I'm not saying you're that guy, but I am saying that this country is filled with people who don't know how good they have it, like the guy with a high school degree who makes more than what 50% of families in the country do, yet doesn't save any of it and wants to quit to open up an art business. Don't be that guy.

BFGirl

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Re: How do you manage the "grass is greener" mentality related to jobs?
« Reply #20 on: July 04, 2014, 05:39:42 AM »
I have lots of days that I feel whiny about my job because I want to be pursuing my craft business.  Part of my job is mind numbingly boring and it deals with social issues, some which can't be fixed and sucks your soul away.  However, whenever I start feeling sorry for myself I remind myself of these things:  As long as the job is done, I can come and go as I please.  I get paid fairly well.  I get 4 weeks of paid vacation, 12 paid personal days and 12 paid holidays each year.  I can telecommute usually 1 day a week.  I can take the train to work.  I will have a pension when I retire.  I have health insurance for me and my children.

When I put it in perspective, I start feeling quite fortunate.

Tulip

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Re: How do you manage the "grass is greener" mentality related to jobs?
« Reply #21 on: July 04, 2014, 08:39:09 AM »
I'm so glad I asked for advice here.

darkadams00-- thanks for taking the time to type all that out. It was insightful and helped put things in perspective. You are right on many fronts.

Daisy, CarSafetyGuy, BFGirl-- thanks for sharing your experiences and advice! I appreciate it.

Much food for thought, which is exactly what I was hoping for.

Hope you all have a happy 4th of July!

mm1970

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Re: How do you manage the "grass is greener" mentality related to jobs?
« Reply #22 on: July 04, 2014, 08:53:16 AM »
"The perfect is the enemy of the good" is a good quote that my old boss used to say.

That said, sometimes companies can take advantage, and it happens so slowly that you don't realize it.

SpicyMcHaggus

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Re: How do you manage the "grass is greener" mentality related to jobs?
« Reply #23 on: July 08, 2014, 12:32:00 PM »
I do not live for my job and will not be bored a minute when it's gone...
I just wish more of the FIRE crowd enjoyed the working years of their lives as much as they expect to enjoy the retired years. They're all years, and at last account, we have precious few of them.

This x1000. I concentrate on work and money too much. And I know it.

Cpa Cat

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Re: How do you manage the "grass is greener" mentality related to jobs?
« Reply #24 on: July 08, 2014, 12:55:50 PM »
I don't see the problem with job hopping - especially in an early retirement trajectory. Your career is condensed compared to most people, so why shouldn't your job changes also be condensed?

The worst that happens is that the grass turns out to be brown. As long as you're leaving for more money, there's always a little bit of green to speed up your FIRE plans.

People tend to stagnate in their jobs. Moving freshens you up - in your own eyes, and the eyes of your peers.

At my firm, the partners just hired a woman who graduated university in the same class as an associate who already works here. The new hire will be making more money and is being hired at a higher level than the old associate. Why? Because the mentality is that new is better. Old is stale. The new hire's experience has almost nothing to do with what we do in our firm. Hiring managers also have a "grass is greener" viewpoint.

JoyBlogette

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Re: How do you manage the "grass is greener" mentality related to jobs?
« Reply #25 on: July 08, 2014, 01:26:34 PM »
I have the same attitude towards my job as you.  Everything about it on paper seems great, but I just don't "like"
 doing it.  I took the opposite approach and searched out a new position that I think will be a better fit for my skills (more people interaction, less number crunching) and I hope I get it (going for my 3rd interview tomorrow).

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Re: How do you manage the "grass is greener" mentality related to jobs?
« Reply #26 on: July 08, 2014, 01:42:44 PM »
I read this book a while back called The Paradox of Choice.  It was mostly about consumption and how having so many choices nowadays reduces our happiness, but it's effected for the better how I look at a lot of other areas of my life.  The main crux was that with a high number of options, we have a harder time choosing, and when we do choose we tend to second guess ourselves (with so many choices there has to be a better option out there).  Basically, the perfect is the enemy of the good, and the way to avoid the never ending battle of choosing is to define what you want, find something that meets those demands, take it, and be confident and happy that you made a good decision for yourself.

This is a very interesting thought and one that I've had on my own.  Never heard of the book but I might have to check it out...

It's particularly interesting to me because I struggle with making decisions, second guessing myself, and regretting certain things.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2014, 01:44:30 PM by shotgunwilly »

mak1277

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Re: How do you manage the "grass is greener" mentality related to jobs?
« Reply #27 on: July 08, 2014, 02:02:45 PM »
Good advice here, for sure.  I'd put one twist onto the idea that you need to carefully analyze the "why" of your disliking your current job.  I think you need to critically analyze whether or not there is any work that you would enjoy for a long period of time.

I read what you wrote about becoming bored/antsy after 2-3 years of doing something.  I completely understand this feeling.  I also have (after 15+ years of corporate work) come to realize and accept that I just don't enjoy working.  I'm lazy and would prefer to be doing what I want instead of what someone else wants.  This is the primary reason for my desire to FIRE.  And yes, you CAN be lazy and still FIRE, I promise.

If you think this might be the case, then no amount of job hopping is going to make your ennui go away.

madgeylou

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Re: How do you manage the "grass is greener" mentality related to jobs?
« Reply #28 on: July 08, 2014, 02:17:05 PM »
Really great discussion here.

I always tell my friends to punch me in the face when I start complaining about my job because it's comfortable there, there's filtered water and coffee, lots of nice people work there with me, we have a lot of autonomy on how we get things done, and I get paid a lot of money and get sent to a lot of nice places.

And yet, some days I truly do feel like the guy from Office Space,who says that because his job gets worse every day, you are always seeing him on the worst day of his life. It's funny, but sometimes it also feels true.

For me it has a lot to do with the abstract nature of my work (I'm a software product manager). It's just always like pulling teeth to get everyone to have the same understanding of any concept or task. It's inherently frustrating and slippery and rife with miscommunication and misinformation. Lots and lots of friction, and it is literally my job to resolve it all, and it wears me down emotionally after a while.

I've had enough other jobs to know that it's not really about where I work -- my company could do things better for sure, but in the grand scheme of things it's a nice place to work. It's just that what we do is like trying to sculpt a moving cloud while also wearing a blindfold.

So ... I have my grass is greener moments. But then I remember that it's not (at least not in my particular case) and honestly the best thing I can do is save my money, take 10 deep breaths, and focus on other things.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2014, 02:19:21 PM by madgeylou »

kite

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Re: How do you manage the "grass is greener" mentality related to jobs?
« Reply #29 on: July 08, 2014, 05:03:19 PM »
Can you take a sabbatical from academia to do a consulting gig in a related industry?   My major professor did that, then recruted me to fill the industry position he held when he went back to teaching.   That's how I switched from government to finance.  In the government job I had,  it was normal to retire with 25 to 45 years of service.   In finance, almost nobody is in the exact same seat or role for years and years.  A move every 3 years or so is typical. 

Anatidae V

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Re: How do you manage the "grass is greener" mentality related to jobs?
« Reply #30 on: July 08, 2014, 09:56:28 PM »
This thread is really interesting. I have been at my job 3.5 years, it is my first since leaving university and it has taken that long to decide I want to try something new. People fresh out of uni at my company now have to move every year for the first 3 years to try out different groups within the company. While I have been unsure my current group is a good fit or if I'm being complainy for the past 2 years, it's only been the last 6 months where I've felt that I need to try a new kind of work. I know a lot more about myself by being in my line of work, seeing where the work conflicts with me and what I really like doing. By staying and reflecting, I've gotten experience I wouldn't get in the new group, and I have a firm background to come back to. I was thinking of searching for a job elsewhere, which I'll still keep an eye on, but I realised all the jobs I liked the sound of I don't have the specific background in. Plus, the new group is looking for people, and I've talked to others who've been in the group and prefer my current group. I assumed everyone wanted to do what I want, because I think it sounds way more fun! Turns out, nope, things I like others don't...

sobezen

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Re: How do you manage the "grass is greener" mentality related to jobs?
« Reply #31 on: July 09, 2014, 12:31:51 AM »
I think it is normal to consider new opportunities.  But as you commented in your first post, what is motivating you to even consider looking?  Do you feel your career and industry as a whole is unrewarding?  Or is it more essential?  Can you elaborate on what is it that you dread about your job?  Is it the people, stress, lack of acknowledgement, support, leadership, something else entirely? 

I ask because I recently was in a situation where I too dreaded my job.  I loathed coming in daily and even considered changing within the company until I realized what I was experiencing was standard in the industry.  Once I realized my environment would not change, regardless if I was compensated more, I knew I needed to leave and quickly!  So armed with this newfound knowledge I looked at other greener opportunities.  It took me less than three months and I found a great environment that is more suitable for my needs.  Oh and if you are seasoned by moving laterally you often times can significantly bump your earnings too.

If you're willing to share, I would love to hear a story on this.  What kind of industry did you leave? What did you come to?  What did you think your needs were?  And which ones were suited better?

I worked in Wall Street before and the lack of work-life balance finally got to me.  I realize as I am growing up, I want to simplify my life; I am not willing to sacrifice everything for money.  Also the environment was toxic due to senior level partners with egos who loved to degrade their teammates.  I routinely stayed late pulling 16 hour days or all nighters, with no meals.  Sure you are compensated reasonably well and you learn tons, but at the end of the day, your health takes a huge toll and your sacrifices are not even appreciated, it is only natual that you begin to question if your time is better spent elsewhere. 

I went to Silicon Valley and there is generally far greater work-life balance.  What I mean by work-life balance is within reason, you can set your own hours.  You are not required to be ass in seat at the office every business day.  You have flexibility to work remotely and/or to step away for hours on end, provided you complete your projects accurately and on-time.  No one needs to micro-manage you and if you need support, people are happy to teach without degrading you.  I sought all of these qualities plus a real environment where your work is appreciated and you are challenged/encouraged to grow with teammates whose success partly depends on your own.  Furthermore, I am looking five to ten years out and the life I want to create.  Even if I do not marry and have a child, I want to be able to dedicate time to other projects and working 10+ per day is frankly counterproductive. 

BFGirl

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Re: How do you manage the "grass is greener" mentality related to jobs?
« Reply #32 on: July 09, 2014, 05:30:00 AM »
Good advice here, for sure.  I'd put one twist onto the idea that you need to carefully analyze the "why" of your disliking your current job.  I think you need to critically analyze whether or not there is any work that you would enjoy for a long period of time.

I read what you wrote about becoming bored/antsy after 2-3 years of doing something.  I completely understand this feeling.  I also have (after 15+ years of corporate work) come to realize and accept that I just don't enjoy working.  I'm lazy and would prefer to be doing what I want instead of what someone else wants.  This is the primary reason for my desire to FIRE.  And yes, you CAN be lazy and still FIRE, I promise.

If you think this might be the case, then no amount of job hopping is going to make your ennui go away.

Ugh...this is probably me.

Chloe358

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Re: How do you manage the "grass is greener" mentality related to jobs?
« Reply #33 on: July 09, 2014, 07:48:20 AM »
I am so in this boat right now.  I started at my current company when I was 20.  I am now 40 so I just hit my 20 year mark here (omg).  If I stay until I'm 55, that will be 35 years at the same place which I cannot make myself do.  I make really great money, great benefits, great vacation time and quite a bit of flexibility.  My boss is fine, I have great friends here, my co workers are fine, nothing is terrible.
But oh my word do I feel like I'm having a mid life crisis here.  It's all so boring--safe and stable but boring.  I don't dread coming in because it's awful, just because it is not fulfilling.  I'll be in a meeting and people are talking and I have this sort of surreal moment where I realize, everyone here has said all of these things before and everyone here thinks what we are doing is so very important......and it's not.
I'm not ready for FIRE yet so I have to almost daily remind myself to stay the course.  I'm estimating I need 4 more years before I can RE with my current salary so I know this is the shortest way to get there but staying the course certainly gets tougher and tougher.

Meinurgill

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Re: How do you manage the "grass is greener" mentality related to jobs?
« Reply #34 on: July 09, 2014, 09:11:14 AM »
I'm at a consultancy now, and my vast variety of experience comes in handy every day. 

Can you talk a little bit about how you got started as a consultant? I have looked into this locally and have not had much luck.

DJP1

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Re: How do you manage the "grass is greener" mentality related to jobs?
« Reply #35 on: July 13, 2014, 09:54:47 AM »
There has been a lot of great advice posted already but I wanted to add a few points from my experience.

The "grass is always greener" mentality can easily creep up on you if you're not alert to it. Despite what we may think, life is great and the possibilities are endless.

If you decide you would like to try something new then go for it. Commit and do your best. Realize though that there will be good and bad with the new job as well. So be aware of this if you start to get the urge to move again because of this or that reason.

I would read what MMM has posted about a Stoic attitude and realize that we create our own happiness. Put yourself in the position where you believe you'll be happy (learning a lot on the job, a great community, close proximity to friends/family) and then do your best. Understand not everything will be perfect but life will still be great as you work towards early retirement all the while becoming more educated and useful in your field.

sobezen

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Re: How do you manage the "grass is greener" mentality related to jobs?
« Reply #36 on: July 16, 2014, 02:14:40 PM »
I am so in this boat right now.  I started at my current company when I was 20.  I am now 40 so I just hit my 20 year mark here (omg).  If I stay until I'm 55, that will be 35 years at the same place which I cannot make myself do.  I make really great money, great benefits, great vacation time and quite a bit of flexibility.  My boss is fine, I have great friends here, my co workers are fine, nothing is terrible.
But oh my word do I feel like I'm having a mid life crisis here.  It's all so boring--safe and stable but boring.  I don't dread coming in because it's awful, just because it is not fulfilling.  I'll be in a meeting and people are talking and I have this sort of surreal moment where I realize, everyone here has said all of these things before and everyone here thinks what we are doing is so very important......and it's not.
I'm not ready for FIRE yet so I have to almost daily remind myself to stay the course.  I'm estimating I need 4 more years before I can RE with my current salary so I know this is the shortest way to get there but staying the course certainly gets tougher and tougher.

Can you engage in outside business activities?  If so, why not do the best of both worlds?  Keep your stable income and work on external opportunities. I find the key is balancing my time and expectations helps greatly.  I no longer feel that my career needs to fulfill all of my needs just some of the core ones and if I become a parent in the future, as I see it, work life balance is key, moreso than work satisfaction or wage increases.  Just my 50 cents.