Author Topic: Failing at FIRE  (Read 1447 times)

bobble

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Failing at FIRE
« on: February 17, 2020, 04:36:32 AM »
So the moment I declared myself "FIRE" I was offered a short-term gig and took it for some extra cash, and then an extension of that gig which I also took, and now... well I haven't said yes to any more extensions yet but I'm feeling distinctly un-FIREd and subject to all the usual small stresses of working life and fantasies of "really" being FIRE.

How do you avoid this situation? How do you break the instinct that says "sure, that's good money, maybe it will come in handy one day, and I don't have anything else urgent to do."

Maybe this could be "one more month syndrome." I would not be tempted by a year-long project, because that's too long and I know I don't need the money, but if I give in to the temptation of a few months' work too easily and often then the result will be that I'm still workin' for the man out of habit.

I wonder if I need a cold-turkey period of a year or two to break the cycle. Go fishing, watch whole seasons of Star Trek, read some books, get a true feeling for what it means to have a lot of time to dispose of as I will so that I can appreciate what it is that I'm giving up when I decide to go do some work.

SunnyDays

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Re: Failing at FIRE
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2020, 09:17:47 AM »
If you really want to stop the "say yes" cycle, find some other things that you enjoy and make commitments to them.  Then when you're asked to work, you can say you have no time.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Failing at FIRE
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2020, 09:36:24 AM »
First you need to have confidence in your plan and yourself. If youíre getting work like this, you have skills and experience to get future work, if you needed it, which you most likely wonít. So, commit yourself to 6 months off completely, just say no and tell people youíve booked an around the world trip or something so they leave you alone. Then, see how you go and extend as you enjoy your new life. You only get one life, if you donít make it your best one, no one else will.

lhamo

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Re: Failing at FIRE
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2020, 09:39:41 AM »
You are falling back on working because it is familiar/comfortable.  Try doing a hard break for at least 6-8 weeks, preferably longer, and see how it feels.  As suggested above, a commitment to a different non-work-related goal can help.  For me the two things that keep me from following my Inner Bag Lady's urging to get another job are:

1)  Time and freedom to do stuff with and for my kids -- I would never go back to a FT job that would require me to work while they are home evenings, weekends and breaks and

2)  Gardening -- we have a spectacular growing season 8 months of the year (and I actually had stuff growing all winter, too, though it wasn't much fun to be out in the rain), so the thought of a job that would limit my garden time to evenings/weekends (which would also have to be shared with kid time) makes me cringe.

Some minor health issues have kept me from hiking as much as I would like the last two years, but hope to have those dealt with by the time the trails dry out later this spring.

ChpBstrd

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Re: Failing at FIRE
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2020, 02:21:44 PM »
What if you donated everything you earned from now on to the charity of your choice? Like, show up at their office every month with a four-figure check?

You don't need the money, so there's no reason not to.

The experiment will either be the gateway to an extraordinarily meaningful post-FIRE career or it will help you break the work habit.

Either way is a good outcome, because otherwise you could get on the slippery slope of using the money you earn to splurge on luxury items and experiences that become your new spending baseline.

bobble

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Re: Failing at FIRE
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2020, 01:44:48 AM »
Thanks for the tips. I'm going to see this project through, not take on anything new for at least six months, and give away the part of the payment that's surplus to requirements.

Maybe this is a healthy transition into FIRE really. We decided to FIRE quite suddenly, moving and downsizing to make it possible, and I did have some nagging doubts: will our actual spending match our projections? will our transition/moving costs eat up our safety margin? if we buy "one time" stuff that we want to have in our FIRE lives (e.g. furniture, equipment, etc) then will that really fit with our budget or will we keep making "exceptions" leading to lifestyle creep?

I'm feeling much more zen about this now. We've been living our new lifestyle now for long enough that I'm confident we're significantly under-spending our FIRE budget. We have earned some new money that has taken care of the "exceptional" expenses during our transition to FIRE. I actually feel secure enough now that I'd prefer to give money away than to save or spend it, because I seem to have enough savings and "stuff."

So once this current stint of work is out of the way I hope that I'll be able to relax into a more leisurely FIRE relatively free from doubts. I don't think that I will immediately take on more work solely for the purpose of charitable giving but that's a nice option to have if the urge to work comes back and I still don't have any unmet financial needs.

ixtap

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Re: Failing at FIRE
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2020, 10:54:31 AM »
It sounds like you didn't have anything to FIRE to. Make plans to do things, then it won't matter if you fit in this kind of work between things you find more meaningful/fullfilling.

bobble

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Re: Failing at FIRE
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2020, 03:14:38 AM »
I think that I do have plenty to FIRE to really. I have taken quite a few extended "sabbaticals" from working in the past and FIRE should be just a more extreme version of that.

I don't have a strong sense of urgency though. It's easy to talk myself into putting my own interests on hold to earn some money. Especially if the money is already budgeted and all I have to do is show up and do some reasonably pleasant work to have it transferred to my account. Which sounds a lot like having a job again !