Author Topic: Does early retirement contradict badassity?  (Read 38845 times)

Raay

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Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #100 on: November 03, 2014, 12:44:08 PM »
Ok...I'll play ball.  I'll raise my hand and admit to being a voluntary underachiever.  I know without doubt that I have underachieved my potential in my working career because I am not ambitious.  I also admit that I am really looking forward to ER where I can be even less ambitious and underachieve even more.

Nothing wrong with that!  There's been no proof ever that ambition = happiness.  Hell, I'm happiest when I'm somewhere foreign, on sunny outdoor patio, having a beer and a smoke with friends.  ...Or playing music with my old band.  Or going for a swim in the ocean.  Come to think of it, ambition can kiss my ass.  Especially ambitions I should have as defined by someone else.

I second that, there's nothing wrong with not being particularly badass and having integrity to admit it.

Come to think of it, "badass" as I defined it above, has only a weak, if any, moral component. According to my definition, an "evil badass" would be quite possible. A serial killer who manages to kill the most people with just his bare hands (a difficult task) and evade police for a long time (also difficult) would be a badass in a sense, but certainly not a role model. So would be a tobacco marketer who brilliantly manages to trick consumers and unleash and satisfy society's demand for getting cancer on a shoe string budget while his competitors struggle to achieve the same using vastly bigger resources. There's also plenty of fictional non-mustachian badasses (Rambo etc.) with highly questionable morals.

NoraLenderbee

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Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #101 on: November 03, 2014, 01:44:40 PM »
Achievement--whether financial or otherwise--isn't part of MMM "badassity" as I understand it. It's something you've added to create your own personal definition. You're using the term differently to include a component of productivity--further defined as economic productivity--and add an element of moral judgment.  MMM "badassity" as I see it is about finding ways to do things that produce the results you want with lower cost or less waste. "The results you want" can be = obtaining the product or service you want, or = finding satisfaction some other way. It doesn't have anything to do with achieving something in the eyes of society.

Nothing wrong with having your own definition of badass, or with valuing achievement, but it's not what other people mean by the term. So this argument is bogus.

As for the idea that social value is measured by $$--come on, how much more VALUE is created by investment bankers who get million-dollar bonuses for selling crappy securities to suckers than by doctors or nurses or teachers, or by someone who starts a business that provides a useful service and employs workers?

matchewed

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Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #102 on: November 03, 2014, 02:17:56 PM »
So achievement is only economical. Seems like an awfully narrow definition of achievement designed to justify something... not sure what.
Yeah I guess I should have let all those drowning people die rather then rescue them when I was in the coast guard - I mean they didn't pay me any more to do that, and money is the defining factor of achievement according to the OP, and so it must have not been of any productive value to do that. Oh wait - they were tax payers! Yeah save all the high earning taxpayers and let the others die! Now that's financially worthy "producing".

No no no, take a survey first and if they're paying in the 25% or above tax rate they are saveable because they are the highest achieving people. If that is impractical you get them to take the survey after the rescue and kick them off the helicopter or whatevs if they don't meet the criteria.

Raay

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Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #103 on: November 03, 2014, 02:19:36 PM »
So where are the overachievers + underconsumers + doesn't complain people?   Some of them are the most likely to have FIRE'd at an early age and moved on to do more meaningful badassian things.  Oh and I forgot to throw in - not very well paid too. Damn losers!

Well duh, had you read carefully, you would have noticed that the bullet list is about "cautionary counterexamples". The "missing" category is, of course, what I described first in my definition: the badasses. I just doubt that many ERs fall into this category. MMM with his many talents might actually be a notable exception, and even so one has to wonder what he could achieve by becoming, say, a CEO of a big corporation or politician rather than a thought leader for ER dreamers. But then, he's got most of the future still in front of him, so who knows where he'll end up... It will be sure as hell interesting to watch.

Raay

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Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #104 on: November 03, 2014, 02:21:55 PM »
So achievement is only economical. Seems like an awfully narrow definition of achievement designed to justify something... not sure what.
Yeah I guess I should have let all those drowning people die rather then rescue them when I was in the coast guard - I mean they didn't pay me any more to do that, and money is the defining factor of achievement according to the OP, and so it must have not been of any productive value to do that. Oh wait - they were tax payers! Yeah save all the high earning taxpayers and let the others die! Now that's financially worthy "producing".

Still, I suppose you didn't save those people without being paid for it, did you?

And if you decided not to save them, someone else would jump in and save them instead of you - for the pay.

So again, what was your point exactly? Once again you're trying to put something into my mouth to suit your ideology.

MandalayVA

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Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #105 on: November 03, 2014, 02:41:39 PM »
Ok...I'll play ball.  I'll raise my hand and admit to being a voluntary underachiever.  I know without doubt that I have underachieved my potential in my working career because I am not ambitious.  I also admit that I am really looking forward to ER where I can be even less ambitious and underachieve even more.  I am not saying this ironically or sarcastically...I am being totally honest and I'm PROUD!

Once upon a time after a few years with my uber-corporate employer I decided to be ambitious.  I applied for a "team leader" position and since I was good at my job I got it easily.  A raise was involved, everyone was happy. 

It only took about three days for me to realize my folly.  Pointless meetings, getting bitched out by managers over the stupidest shit imaginable.  It didn't help that the company instituted a hiring freeze right after I got the position so I couldn't get out.  It was a LOOOOONG eighteen months, and I did everything but cry and kiss the supervisor of the department that got me out of that hell.  In my current position I'm watching a coworker who just became a team leader going through the same shit I did.  Do I have stress?  Yeah, but not nearly as much, and most days I've forgotten the day before I've left the parking lot.  The idea of FIREing is still very new with me.  I have an idea of what I want to do, but I'm just at the very beginning.  But ambition?  It's wasted where I work, it just increases the amount of shit you have to eat.


Raay

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Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #106 on: November 03, 2014, 02:43:36 PM »
As for the idea that social value is measured by $$--come on, how much more VALUE is created by investment bankers who get million-dollar bonuses for selling crappy securities to suckers than by doctors or nurses or teachers, or by someone who starts a business that provides a useful service and employs workers?

Well, there are a few explanations for why the apparently useless bigwigs get the big bucks while the useful noble "suckers" (as you called them) don't:
 1. The first explanation is that they produce value you don't comprehend because you have never really needed any of their services nor understand much of their jobs. This is certainly something to ponder, as I bet that many "social critics" of the left-leaning variety know jack shit about the professions that they criticize. For example, when an investment banker helps a company go public or if a lawyer helps protect their client from getting sued, yes, he creates some significant value for society in the long term, far exceeding the price he asks for his knowledge and skill.
 2. The second explanation is that they don't produce value, but went to great lengths to appropriate the value for themselves. Convincing significant numbers of (important) people that they should part with their money for your benefit is a difficult and risky task by itself (and also doesn't reflect well on the intellect and business acumen of the "victims" or givers). So then, they rightfully reap the fruits of the con game, which they cleverly designed. They have produced value for themselves, and society let them do it.
 3. The third explanation is that they achieved their status by applying not just trickery, but also brute force, brinksmanship, aggression and conquest, essentially being crooks (and maybe later legitimizing themselves by becoming part of or with help of a supportive government). They have produced value for themselves despite of society's attempts to protect that value.

This third case is a notable exception from the $$ = value rule. But every good rule has some exceptions to consider. Also, there is also a conceptually easy solution to keep that exception occurring: build an enlightened badass society which restricts use of force to defensive purposes only and values individual freedom above any groupthink-based ideologies that segregate people.

(This of course also involves recognizing that the freedom of one individual ends where the freedom of another individual begins, and that mutual gains may be obtained by voluntary restriction of one's own freedom toward reaching a common goal. There is no conundrum, no zero sum game, and no lurking class enemies involved here, which left-leaning commenters tend to obsess about so much.)

Raay

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Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #107 on: November 03, 2014, 02:50:18 PM »
But ambition?  It's wasted where I work, it just increases the amount of shit you have to eat.

You just don't have enough ambition. A true badass in that situation would have enough ambition to rise to top and turn things around completely!...

JK, some places are non-reformable and a waste of your badassity - but maybe you could consider to switch jobs and apply it elsewhere rather than just step back into a previous position...? The latter approach is good enough for a sneaky little early retiree of the non-badass variety.

Philociraptor

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Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #108 on: November 03, 2014, 03:19:29 PM »
Achievement--whether financial or otherwise--isn't part of MMM "badassity" as I understand it. It's something you've added to create your own personal definition. You're using the term differently to include a component of productivity--further defined as economic productivity--and add an element of moral judgment.  MMM "badassity" as I see it is about finding ways to do things that produce the results you want with lower cost or less waste. "The results you want" can be = obtaining the product or service you want, or = finding satisfaction some other way. It doesn't have anything to do with achieving something in the eyes of society.

Nothing wrong with having your own definition of badass, or with valuing achievement, but it's not what other people mean by the term. So this argument is bogus.

This. OP is using his own definition of a badass, not MMM badassity. No matter what arguments are made, you lose because you're talking about two different things.

Lian

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Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #109 on: November 03, 2014, 04:46:22 PM »
My goal is freedom and a strong desire to be the master of my own destiny, not badassity.  Iím an average woman making a median-level income in a job that exists only to provide profit to my employer and adds no value to the world; and provides no particular satisfaction to me other than a regular paycheck. It is a job, not a career. So for me, early retirement does not contradict badassity - it just has nothing to do with badassity.

NoraLenderbee

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Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #110 on: November 03, 2014, 05:15:02 PM »
In the original post, badassity involved doing "challenging, thankless work." Now it involves being highly rewarded for work. I guess it's time to go walk the dog, or maybe get back to my remunerative six-figure job.

bugbaby

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Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #111 on: November 03, 2014, 05:46:18 PM »
Dear Raay,
MMM has started a movement with a sizeable following, using his particular definition of "badassity", a term which incidentally, he himself coined ...

Perhaps, you too could start your counter-MMM movement of your own philosophy, using your own self defined term of the greatest ideal to aspire to in life?

Lyssa

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Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #112 on: November 04, 2014, 01:19:21 AM »
This is one of my biggest fears about ER and I have second hand experience to back it up...

My father "ERed" due to his bad health in his early forties. My mother was a SAHM who also had three old ladies (maternal grandmother and her two childless sisters) to take care of. Due to the comfortable German social system and financial contributions by the three old ladies money was somewhat tight but not a big problem (and we grew up having no difficulty distinguishing wants and needs).

Today I notice one big weakness in my parents: their low resilience in the face of stress and deadlines imposed by external factors.

They have by no means spend the last two decades in front of the TV. They have however become totally used to to get everything done on their terms and speed. And when a situation today demands something different they panic.

I have been thinking how one could train and maintain that particular resilience. But how could self imposed discomfort ever convincingly mimic real external stress factors?

I love your posts!

So what you are saying is: how does one in FIRE avoid living in a self-centered bubble?

For one thing, working in organizations (volunteering) keeps one interacting with other people. When you work with others you (the generic you)  are forced to negotiate, compromise, work on someone else's timetable, accept and act on leadership decisions you may not like, etc. These facts of working with other humans are the same, whether in the paid-work world or in the no-pay work world. It keeps us flexible.

I think that yours is a very interesting, and valid, concern.

I work with several organizations in a volunteer capacity where we are all volunteers, and believe me, it's often easier to work in a paid-work situation where chain of command lines are more clear.

That sounds indeed like a possible solution. One that would not be easy for me since as an introvert I sure love building my "bubbles" but I suppose other people outside your immediate circle are indeed the one factor that would challenge you in the  way that is necessary in order not to loose your coping skills.

Momentarily I don't volunteer at all since my workdays completely use up my "interactions with human beings other than SO" budget (have I mentioned I'm kind of introverted?). I need to push myself to meet friends now and then, more organizational stuff and meetings are completely out of the question. But once FI it would probably make a lot of sense not to completely dial back interactions to my comfort level but to stay more "out there" than I naturally would like to.

MandalayVA

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Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #113 on: November 04, 2014, 04:43:04 AM »
But ambition?  It's wasted where I work, it just increases the amount of shit you have to eat.

You just don't have enough ambition. A true badass in that situation would have enough ambition to rise to top and turn things around completely!...

JK, some places are non-reformable and a waste of your badassity - but maybe you could consider to switch jobs and apply it elsewhere rather than just step back into a previous position...? The latter approach is good enough for a sneaky little early retiree of the non-badass variety.

Actually that may be happening in the next couple of months.  It would be a lateral move within my current department but it plays better to my strengths.