Author Topic: Five Years from FIRE. No Opportunity in Current Job  (Read 2171 times)

Eurotexan

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Five Years from FIRE. No Opportunity in Current Job
« on: January 30, 2019, 09:54:30 AM »
Hi MMMers! I have been a member of the forum for many years and don't post much but now I need your sage advice. I have been in the same job for nearly 7 years. I get paid well (total comp is around $200K per year), save about 60% of my income and project to be FIRE and leave the corporate world in about 5 years. I am 45 years old. I love my work, my team, my boss, I have a 10 minute commute, I work from home when I want and can pretty much set my own schedule. I run a niche department (there are 7 of us in the team) and we are very good at what we do.

This is the dilemma.. I am not seeing any upwards mobility whereas many coworkers my level are being promoted and young, inexperienced people are coming into the company at higher levels than me (and their inexperience shows, they don't know what they're doing!). You could ask maybe I'm not as good at my job as I think I am? Fair question. I am (and this can be evidenced by awards, annual review scores, full bonuses and many pats on the back), the problem is a combination of no-one really understands what exactly I do and how good I have to be to get these results because it's so niche (insurance, no one wants to know, they just want coverage at a good price and don't understand the skill I have to get this) and, dare I say it, I am a woman. Out of our executive team of about 20, there is one woman. It's ridiculous. I don't think they are trying to exclude women, it's just a good old boys network so if you're not a man, you don't get invites to golf, or to their house for a BBQ etc etc and therefore you don't have the exposure to the decision makers that is needed to get ahead.

Anyway, I am getting so frustrated. I am competitive by nature so even though I wish I could, I can't just sit back and coast to FIRE. I deserve to be valued for what I bring to the table. I have another offer on the table, very similar work to what I do but with a lot smaller company (and a start up) so there are risks there. Pay would be about $50K more but no guarantees the company would be around to my FIRE date. It would be working from home full time with monthly travel to LA where their head office is based. I am a social person so I'm not sure I could be happy working from home full time. I have a Sophomore in HS so no interest in relocating.

I am risk averse in nature, I am a single parent, I don't get a penny of support from the father (and won't anytime soon so not worth exploring that avenue on here) so this is why FIRE is so important to me, well, really the FI part. I need to know I will always have a roof over our heads and money in the bank for some college, basic living etc. I want to be able to accept that I have a great job where I am and which can get me to my goals, I just get so angry at the lack of opportunity and the unfairness of the situation and I wish I didn't. It is as a secure a job as there is these days (the upside of no-one knowing what you do I suppose).

I welcome your thoughts!

chasesfish

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Re: Five Years from FIRE. No Opportunity in Current Job
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2019, 10:28:05 AM »
Oh @TexasBrit - You posted something I have struggled with so much over the last two years and I'm 2 months away from my FIRE date.  Struggled doesn't begin to describe the emotion.

Highly successful people work hard and are rewarded with money, gold stars of recognition, and eventually promotions for more opportunity.   Successful people also gain mastery in their job after 3, 5, 7 years in the existing role and boredom sets in.  I look back and feel like the last year or two in each of my last positions felt more like playing corporate robot than actually being challenged.   It got worse two years from my FIRE date, because I had to start making moves to *not* be on the promotion list to the next rung of the ladder.   Those conversations hurt.  It also hurt a year later when people my junior got those promotions and not me.  I also care deeply about the direction of the company, but by taking myself out I felt like I wasn't part of the solution anymore.  I used to take the occasional courting from a competitor as it was good to get my ego stroked, we all appreciate the next company willing to offer X amount more or promises of "building something"

Now I feel like I am playing a game of avoidance and charades for 25 more working days until I can give my notice.  Coming to terms with this has not been easy.


I say all this because I don't want my next comment to come across as insulting:  I wish I had gone to professional counseling/therapy as I grappled with all of this.  So many mid-career professionals deal with this (and I'm calling you mid-career because you *could* work another 20 years if you wanted).   Thoughts like "I realize I'm not the next CEO",  "I mathematically have *enough*, yet I'm not personally satisfied", or "Do I really want to go build something again".    I had some great mentors who helped me through this and I've turned around and helped others.   

Just recently I had a friend go through at 42 and decide to leave.  Wen he turned in his notice, his existing employer turned around and addressed everything.  He said he'd never accept a counteroffer, but did from his existing employer.   It was mentally draining.

Either use some good mentors you can talk to in person or consider professional counseling.  From someone who's been through it, this sh*t ain't easy


teltic

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Re: Five Years from FIRE. No Opportunity in Current Job
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2019, 01:08:35 PM »
May I ask what  your net worth is?

If its low, I'd stay at the $200k job and coast a year or two and focus your energy on cutting expenses.  I'd expect no less than a 80% savings rate.... Imagine the freedom you'll gain in that year or two of sticking it out!

If its high, take the new job.  It'll be fun trying something new... Sometimes a new environement is what you need! Even though it's riskier... I think you'll be glad you did it!


Edit:  Just read the title... Haha.  You seem pretty fair ahead in the game...  I VOTE NEW JOB! :)

mm1970

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Re: Five Years from FIRE. No Opportunity in Current Job
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2019, 03:27:20 PM »
Hi MMMers! I have been a member of the forum for many years and don't post much but now I need your sage advice. I have been in the same job for nearly 7 years. I get paid well (total comp is around $200K per year), save about 60% of my income and project to be FIRE and leave the corporate world in about 5 years. I am 45 years old. I love my work, my team, my boss, I have a 10 minute commute, I work from home when I want and can pretty much set my own schedule. I run a niche department (there are 7 of us in the team) and we are very good at what we do.

This is the dilemma.. I am not seeing any upwards mobility whereas many coworkers my level are being promoted and young, inexperienced people are coming into the company at higher levels than me (and their inexperience shows, they don't know what they're doing!). You could ask maybe I'm not as good at my job as I think I am? Fair question. I am (and this can be evidenced by awards, annual review scores, full bonuses and many pats on the back), the problem is a combination of no-one really understands what exactly I do and how good I have to be to get these results because it's so niche (insurance, no one wants to know, they just want coverage at a good price and don't understand the skill I have to get this) and, dare I say it, I am a woman. Out of our executive team of about 20, there is one woman. It's ridiculous. I don't think they are trying to exclude women, it's just a good old boys network so if you're not a man, you don't get invites to golf, or to their house for a BBQ etc etc and therefore you don't have the exposure to the decision makers that is needed to get ahead.

Anyway, I am getting so frustrated. I am competitive by nature so even though I wish I could, I can't just sit back and coast to FIRE. I deserve to be valued for what I bring to the table. I have another offer on the table, very similar work to what I do but with a lot smaller company (and a start up) so there are risks there. Pay would be about $50K more but no guarantees the company would be around to my FIRE date. It would be working from home full time with monthly travel to LA where their head office is based. I am a social person so I'm not sure I could be happy working from home full time. I have a Sophomore in HS so no interest in relocating.

I am risk averse in nature, I am a single parent, I don't get a penny of support from the father (and won't anytime soon so not worth exploring that avenue on here) so this is why FIRE is so important to me, well, really the FI part. I need to know I will always have a roof over our heads and money in the bank for some college, basic living etc. I want to be able to accept that I have a great job where I am and which can get me to my goals, I just get so angry at the lack of opportunity and the unfairness of the situation and I wish I didn't. It is as a secure a job as there is these days (the upside of no-one knowing what you do I suppose).

I welcome your thoughts!

Oh boy, so much in here that I can relate to!  I just got back from a lunchtime walk, where I was perusing the state of my life and stress.  I am married, two kids (elementary and jr high), and both my husband and I work full time.

I've always been super type-A, go-getter, goals/plans and competitive by nature too.  And all was going well and good until ... around my early 40s.  I was used to being rewarded - both with promotions and financially for my accomplishments (I'm an engineer).  Now, I'm used to being mostly around men.  But...at that point in my career, we hired a new VP from out of the company.  And he was horrible.  In short (and I could fill volumes) - he was irrational, he made decisions based on no information and data, he was quite rude to people, played favorites - it was an all out toxic environment.  So bad that my immediate boss (who was a very senior former VP himself), said "eff it" and asked for a transfer to a different department (leaving the rest of us with NO BUFFER).

That began a few *very* hard years.  I'd never been in such a situation before, being a senior engineer/ manager and dealing with this kind of boss.  My career was completely derailed.  At the same time, we hired a few newer people that I had to train.  The lowest paid were making $12k more than me, the highest paid, more like $25-30k.  The higher paid engineers were men, the lower were women.  I had to finally face up to that gender pay gap staring me in the face.   And I didn't like it.  I interviewed elsewhere (but I live in a small town), and my younger child was a toddler.

Many years of struggle and soul searching and ... I had to let it go.  Now, I haven't 100% let it go because it still sucks to me making 75-80% of the median salary for your position.  (That boss is long gone from the company.)  But I realized it was NOT good for my mental health.  "Comparison is the thief of joy" and all that - I hate that statement, because it's never made by a woman who is knowingly getting paid less just because she has no penis.  But still.

Where am I going with this?  For me, the short term decision (though it's been 5 years now) was to work on myself, enjoy the flexibility that I have with my current job, and always keep an eye on the future.  I haven't completely given up on a fair wage, but I've decided for now it's ok.  As a result, I am suddenly the "calm one" in our house (my husband has generally been much more laid back than me until the last couple of years).  But now, I'm the one who is chill with the kids. Less tense.  I exercise daily.  I go for walks at lunch time.  I sign up for crazy half marathons.  I sleep 8.5-9 hours a night.  He...does none of this and it shows in his stress levels.

I am also very risk averse (except I'm at a startup!)  I understand you there.  What I'd say is this - only you can decide if the money and the lack of recognition is worth the upheaval of trying a new job that is work from home, etc.  The single parent thing adds a wrench.  Part of the reason that I was able to make the decision that I did is because I've got a husband.  Part of the reason why HE'S so stressed is because he's a man.  So while my career stagnated and derailed, he gets raises and bonuses and promotions galore.  It's easy to say "eff it" when you (me) aren't getting rewarded.

I don't know anyone who has left my company voluntarily who isn't better off that when they were here.  They've all done great.  The company has pretty much just let them go, and the rest of us suffer when they are gone.  I don't think there is a right answer.  It sounds like you have a great gig already BUT I seriously understand you on the lack of recognition.  It SUCKS.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2019, 03:30:28 PM by mm1970 »

chasesfish

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Re: Five Years from FIRE. No Opportunity in Current Job
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2019, 05:17:41 AM »
@mm1970 I'm impressed there was another person lurking around here that could relate.

I should add this to my post, there's one really elementary exercise I do when I'm really, really pissed off at work.

I take a sheet of paper and put a line all the way down the middle of it.  On the left hand side I write everything I do enjoy/like/not hate about the job.  Usually it includes "If you told my 20,25,30 year old self this is where I'd be, would I be happy?".   The right hand side includes everything I dislike about my job/company, ect.

I think make a conscious effort to stop doing everything on the right hand side.  I've also dealt with a number of challenging leadership changes, learning to disengage from some of the "what should we be doing better" discussions has helped.

Eurotexan

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Re: Five Years from FIRE. No Opportunity in Current Job
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2019, 02:34:11 PM »
Thank you all for your thoughtful responses. I am working on shifting my mind set, thinking of the positives instead of focusing on the negatives. I am going to give myself a year, work hard here, particularly on self PR and also do resume building. I like the challenge of upping my savings rate to 80%, that will also give me something to focus on and can only help me.