Author Topic: How do you decide when to step away?  (Read 1860 times)

RelaxedGal

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How do you decide when to step away?
« on: April 03, 2019, 08:03:45 PM »
I've been toying with the idea of going part time.  A couple of week days to do all the mundane things that get crammed into weekends (mow the lawn, wash the laundry, shop for groceries).   If I did that I would have to let go of being Top Dog. Of being the Go To Guy.  I am slowly coming to terms with that idea, of handing over responsibility.  But my Boss will not like the idea of part-time.

What if I retire?  HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!  I am a woman, it's not called retirement, it's called becoming a housewife, or a stay at home mom.  I know around the forum retirement is a reasonable thing to call it, but out in the wide world I will be another woman who put family before career.  And that's the right choice for a lot of families.  But not me.  I can't come to terms with being a housewife.  Not yet.  Too much of my identity is tied up in work, in feeling important.

So how do you decide when to step away?

Budgie

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Re: How do you decide when to step away?
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2019, 08:49:57 PM »
I think how you decide when to step away depends on lots of things, and you have to weigh your priorities or values. For some people (a la the thread on petty reasons for seeking FIRE) getting away from the workplace is Reason#1 and reason enough. For others, the goal is to free up time to spend doing specific other things that they can't do while working (travel, etc).

It sounds like you might want to clarify your goals--why do you want to reduce or eliminate paid work? Or do you? Maybe you want to both have enough $ to be able to leave the work world AND you want to keep working?

If you like being at work,  what about fiddling around in the gray areas between retiring and what you are doing now--like keep working but pay someone else to cut your grass and deliver groceries--that way you have work and you have free time when you're not working.

There is more than one way to skin a cat. Retirement isn't the only way to enjoy life, but being ABLE to retire from a financial standpoint is ideal whether you want to stop working or not.



Kyle Schuant

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Re: How do you decide when to step away?
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2019, 08:54:41 PM »
I dunno. I'm lazy, so I always wanted to just work part-time. I don't understand why people work hard for 30 years doing 40hr pw so they can then spend 30 years working 0hr pw. Why not just do 20hr pw your whole life?

I do 20hr pw in my home business, and 40hr pw, more or less, as a stay at home father. The older one's in school, the younger one's in childcare two days a week. I'm very relaxed those days, I actually don't get much done, I'd rather get things done around the kids to set an example: when working, work, when resting, rest.

Maenad

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Re: How do you decide when to step away?
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2019, 05:30:34 AM »
If work is truly that much of your identity, start paying for services - yard maintenance, laundry, housecleaning. Get your groceries delivered. If having others see you as a housewife rather than retired really bothers you, then keep working, or you'll just be miserable, which is REALLY not the point of ER.

If you're feeling conflicted, you'll have to decide what's more important. I totally get the anger at being belittled as a woman - I'm approximately your age, and I'm also highly-regarded at work. And my family tradition has been "Of course you'll stay at home and have kids! It's the most fulfilling thing for a woman!" Which is... not me.

Being a powerful, well-regarded woman at work is also setting a good example for your kids. Any parent that makes thoughtful decisions, has clear priorities, etc., is a good role model, so it's not a matter of what you do so much as how you're doing it. Between my friends and our parents, I see a lot of different moms and dads, and what the good role models have in common is that they go into their decisions with their eyes wide open about the costs and benefits. And if their kids ask about them, they can articulate clearly why they do what they do, and adjust when new data presents itself.

There's nothing wrong with staying in a situation where you're respected and treated like a valuable, contributing member of society. How would that change if you retired or went part-time? Is your personal life full of people who don't treat you like that? That maybe something to look into - developing a social circle that won't treat you like you're less for stepping away. Separating yourself from family that belittle you (which is what I did).

former player

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Re: How do you decide when to step away?
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2019, 07:15:10 AM »
My experience is that the desire to be important at work fades pretty quickly after you have left.  After all, if you were switching jobs you wouldn't still want to base your self-importance on your old role, but on your new one.  So perhaps you can think of being retired in a different way that makes you feel important - you are a self-actualised wealth management worker, plus whatever else you want to do.

If I hadn't retired I would have spent the last 3 years trying to manage part of the UK government's legal response to Brexit.  That thought mitigates any notion of loss of status through having retired.  You will find compensations too.

Greystache

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Re: How do you decide when to step away?
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2019, 07:30:22 AM »
It is easier if you hate your job ;-)
I never had my identity wrapped up in my job. It was just something I did in exchange for money. It was pretty easy to quit once I determined I had enough money to do what was important to me. Reading this forum helped me understand what things were important and worthwhile and what was just mindless consumerism that did not really do anything to add to my happiness.

RelaxedGal

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Re: How do you decide when to step away?
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2019, 12:10:05 PM »
Thanks everyone!  Good insights!

Being a powerful, well-regarded woman at work is also setting a good example for your kids. Any parent that makes thoughtful decisions, has clear priorities, etc., is a good role model, so it's not a matter of what you do so much as how you're doing it.

Thank you especially for this!

Several people suggested outsourcing the chores.  That's probably the best solution; a lawn service and grocery delivery and a housekeeper.  And a nanny.  Right now I pay for after-school care and I love that my little one gets a snack and a chance to play with other kids and there's a craft project. But she is so mentally worn out by the time I pick her up at 5pm that she has a meltdown over doing homework.  My biggest motivator to drop my hours is actually guilt that I am a Bad Mom for having her in childcare when she could be home doing homework earlier (and loving it, says my subconscious) and then playing with the neighborhood kids.  Maybe an after school nanny is the bridge, to pick her up from school at 3:15 and make sure she has her homework done by 5pm so I get the "fun" time instead of the "meltdown" time.

I need to think a lot more about my priorities, and whether I need this job to feel like I'm doing enough, or just a job, or if volunteering on my own terms would be making enough of a difference in the world to stroke that part of my ego.

mm1970

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Re: How do you decide when to step away?
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2019, 01:50:10 PM »
Thanks everyone!  Good insights!

Being a powerful, well-regarded woman at work is also setting a good example for your kids. Any parent that makes thoughtful decisions, has clear priorities, etc., is a good role model, so it's not a matter of what you do so much as how you're doing it.

Thank you especially for this!

Several people suggested outsourcing the chores.  That's probably the best solution; a lawn service and grocery delivery and a housekeeper.  And a nanny.  Right now I pay for after-school care and I love that my little one gets a snack and a chance to play with other kids and there's a craft project. But she is so mentally worn out by the time I pick her up at 5pm that she has a meltdown over doing homework.  My biggest motivator to drop my hours is actually guilt that I am a Bad Mom for having her in childcare when she could be home doing homework earlier (and loving it, says my subconscious) and then playing with the neighborhood kids.  Maybe an after school nanny is the bridge, to pick her up from school at 3:15 and make sure she has her homework done by 5pm so I get the "fun" time instead of the "meltdown" time.

I need to think a lot more about my priorities, and whether I need this job to feel like I'm doing enough, or just a job, or if volunteering on my own terms would be making enough of a difference in the world to stroke that part of my ego.

Ah, this is a toughie. I worked PT (30-32 hr/week) for a total of 2.5 years around when my boys were little (in 2 different chunks), and it was GLORIOUS.  Because you are just overall more relaxed.  Yes, I worked for people who felt "lesser" of me at one of those jobs (when really, what it meant was that I offloaded the lower level, repetitive stuff to the two people who worked for me - meanwhile training them to move up!  Win win!)  That was frustrating.  The second time around, I switched back to FT because I had even MORE people working for me, and I just couldn't touch base with the night shift often enough.  Well, I went back FT and then my company fixed that by laying every fucking one of them OFF except one.  Yay.

So, both my kids are / were in after school care.  With kid #1 it was fine.  He happily did his homework at school in the after school program, and then at home we ate, played, and read.  Once a month he negotiated early pickup on a Friday (meaning, no after school care).

Kid #2 is harder.  He's in 1st grade.  Hasn't negotiated that day off.  I can tell he's a bit more needy.  He doesn't do much homework at after school care, leaving it for home.  We don't get home until 5:30 pm (and by "we", I mean, husband and kid and big kid).  That leaves 3 hours for dinner, relaxing, dishes, 2 pages of homework and 20 minutes of reading.  And...he's tired.  He melts down about it.  I think part of it is just his personality, part of it is that he PLAYS in after care instead of doing homework, and part of it is the husband dynamic.  I get home later and pretty much the kids are watching TV.  Well, when you don't even START homework until after 7 pm, and bedtime is at 8:30...

Generally I try and break it up more when spouse is out of town because I go to bed early, often before the kids.  So I'll make him sit down and read for 10 minutes with me BEFORE dinner.

But sometimes, we don't sweat the 20 minutes of reading.  He's 6 for crying out loud, and reading at almost a 3rd grade level.

It's hard when you are comparing yourself to others too.  I've got a friend who has 4 kids, 2 of them are my kids' ages.  She invites me out sometimes, and I literally cannot go because of homework (when husband traveling).  Her kids get home at 3:30 and do homework.  Mine don't. 

For me though, part time work was the best.  I was able to pick and choose what to spend my time on at work, and we weren't so stretched at home.  Nowadays, I'm the "go to" person, but I certainly ain't getting paid for it, so I bug out early when needed and don't sweat it at all!

RelaxedGal

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Re: How do you decide when to step away?
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2019, 11:00:34 AM »
Kid #2 is harder.  He's in 1st grade.  Hasn't negotiated that day off.  I can tell he's a bit more needy.  He doesn't do much homework at after school care, leaving it for home.  We don't get home until 5:30 pm (and by "we", I mean, husband and kid and big kid).  That leaves 3 hours for dinner, relaxing, dishes, 2 pages of homework and 20 minutes of reading.  And...he's tired.  He melts down about it.  I think part of it is just his personality, part of it is that he PLAYS in after care instead of doing homework, and part of it is the husband dynamic.  I get home later and pretty much the kids are watching TV.  Well, when you don't even START homework until after 7 pm, and bedtime is at 8:30...

[...]

For me though, part time work was the best.  I was able to pick and choose what to spend my time on at work, and we weren't so stretched at home.  Nowadays, I'm the "go to" person, but I certainly ain't getting paid for it, so I bug out early when needed and don't sweat it at all!

Your Kid # 2 sounds like my daughter (2nd grade).  I really appreciate the perspective of two different kids.  Having only one I wonder how parents juggle TWO kids like this (if her behavior is normal), or if it's just my parenting that's bad (if she's not normal).  I get caught up in black and white thinking and am my own worst critic, so it is very good to be reminded that there is a whole spectrum of behaviors.

Part time sounds like it is a great fit for you, and as described sounds great to me to.