Author Topic: Miserable at my job but so close to FIRE - what to do?  (Read 6539 times)

bekkah

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Miserable at my job but so close to FIRE - what to do?
« on: March 29, 2017, 07:02:49 AM »
Hi Mustachians,

I need your help. I really, really, REALLY hate my job. I came into work this morning and burst into tears. And it seems like all I do lately is cry – cry when I wake up in the morning, cry at work in the supply closet, cry on my way home from work, cry at night. I get filled with a sense of dread and panic every time I think about my job.

The catch is that I make good money – $85k salary plus overtime, when available – and I feel like it would be the worst mistake of my life to quit now. I live with my boyfriend of six years (who makes about $65k). Our spending is $35k per year, which includes every possible expense except taxes. Our net worth is about $450k. We saved $100k last year and we’re on track to save the same this year. By my estimate, we could FIRE sometime in 2020 if we just stay the course.

But damn, I am miserable. I feel like if I quit now, I would be throwing FIRE out the window. I’m certain I could find another job, but there would be a major pay cut (I have no real skills). My boyfriend has told me repeatedly that I can quit my job and we can live off his salary, but I feel like that would (a.) be supremely selfish of me and (b.) ruin all our future plans.

I realize that I am full of self-pity at the moment, but I could really use advice, commiseration, a face punch, or some combination of all three.   

Thank you,
bekkah

BabyShark

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Re: Miserable at my job but so close to FIRE - what to do?
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2017, 07:16:25 AM »
If you're that miserable, no amount of money in the world is going to change that.  Start job searching now.  You won't be throwing FIRE out the window, you may just be delaying it a few years, but it's going to be worth if for your sanity and your health. That amount of stress is not healthy.  You've got skills, clearly, or you wouldn't be in the line of work you are right now, making the money you are.  Find something that you enjoy or at the very least doesn't drive you to tears.  Life is too short!

Case

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Re: Miserable at my job but so close to FIRE - what to do?
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2017, 07:20:09 AM »
Search for another job, you might surprise yourself.

Let's say your salary falls 20k; do the math and see how much that would impact you; can't be that much; maybe a 6 months given that your real loss in take home pay is somewhat less given taxes.

Another approach is that you take the pay cut, and work on reducing living expenses, though yours aren't too high for two people.

Another approach is to try to address the things in your job that make you sad; can't tell if this is possible without more information.

Most people are going to tell you to find a new job; that the benefit of being happy outweighs a slightly earlier retirement... I mostly agree with this.  Ultimately though, you have to make the choice; don't come to a forum looking for other people to choose for you.  It's your life and you will live the consequences of the choice, so add up the pros/cons, and then make an informed choice as best you can.

former player

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Re: Miserable at my job but so close to FIRE - what to do?
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2017, 07:23:46 AM »
There was a period in my working life when I was throwing up into litter bins in the street on the walk to work, just from the stress, so you have all my understanding and commiserations.

Three suggestions -

1.  Anyone earning $85k has skills.  Start listing them as you perform them.  At the end of the week you will have a good long list of things you can do and value you add.  Take it, believe it, and start thinking about what other jobs you could do with those skills. 

2.  Even if they don't pay as much initially, there are lots of jobs where you can work your way up the salary scale: a drop in salary now is not a drop in salary for ever more.

3.  Try to detach your feelings from your job.  The job doesn't have feelings about you, so try not to have feelings about it.  This one is easier said than done, and I have never managed it, but the people who cope best with difficult work situations are often those who can detach, who can say "This is not who I am, this is just me providing my labour in return for money.   I do not own this business, I am not responsible for anything but my very small part of the business, I will do my job during the hours I promised and no more".

Apart from that, if there is something specifically bothering you (are you being harassed? discriminated against? bullied?) there is more specific advice available on the net and elsewhere to help you deal with that specific situation.

Kl285528

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Re: Miserable at my job but so close to FIRE - what to do?
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2017, 07:32:24 AM »
Work on getting another position. You say you have no real skills... WRONG! People don't get paid 85k with no skills. You need to write a resume with help from a friend or your SO to flesh out great stories that highlight various skills you bring to the table. Hell, showing up on time without being intoxicated is a skill in and of itself. You are beat up, frustrated and hurt right now. I've been there. But you have a lot to offer in the job market. Not to be glib, but I always turn to How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie when I get to where you are now.
Also, are there other opportunities where you work? Not sure why you are miserable at work, but if it just your position or boss, you might could move internally and cure your misery.
Whatever is going on, you need to get away from the notion that you have no skills. You may just need to get really clear on your skills, and package them in a way to sell them in the job marketplace.

AlanStache

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Re: Miserable at my job but so close to FIRE - what to do?
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2017, 07:56:07 AM »
As others have said the impact on your FIRE date may not be that large if worst case you were to take a 30k pay cut.  You are probably at the point where compounding interest is the main driver of your networth.

Also could you get new/better skills, study in the evening or even quit and be a full time student for 6 months while you retrain. 

Are your options geographically limited ie you are in a small NE town and the only other options are 70 miles away?  Maybe some online remote work could be better. 

cl_noll

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Re: Miserable at my job but so close to FIRE - what to do?
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2017, 08:40:49 AM »
Deep breath. Accept that you have done fantastically thus far in creating your financial foundation and already have the potential for tremendous freedom. Is half-time an option? In the worst case scenario, I bet you two could trim a bit off the $35k/yr of expenses and downsize a few things to offset the income.  In the best case scenario, you might find a lower paying job or side that you love doing (a la MMM's "Retire first, then get rich" post).

Take care of your mental health. See if you can pinpoint that your work is truly the cause of your misery. It can be a lot harder to get out of depressed ruts than it is to avoid going down that road, especially if it starts seeping into your relationship too.  Good luck, you got this!

radram

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Re: Miserable at my job but so close to FIRE - what to do?
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2017, 08:50:26 AM »
I think you need to relax a little. You have absolutely kicked ass, and as a result you have virtually an unlimited number of options.  In short, if you stay or go, it really only matters a little.

For what it is worth, I left a position to do something I thought I would enjoy more. I took a 40% pay cut, plus an outlay of $40,000. It added some years to my FIRE date, but I did enjoy the ride much more. That new position changed to be something else, so I FIRED in 2015, otherwise I might have still been there.

The only way to "ruin your FIRE plans" is for both of you to quit your jobs and double your spending.... for about 10 years. That would ruin your FIRE plans. Don't do that :)

With your numbers, I would not invest in education for the sole purpose of career advancement. You do not have enough time remaining in the workforce to make it worth it.

One thought I have not seen here:
Have you considered asking to go part time where you are? If they say yes, it might be a completely different feeling to work there. If they say no, they would be on notice that you want a change, and things might get better. If things get worse, then it just made your decision that much easier.


Keep us posted.

Dusty Dog Ranch

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Re: Miserable at my job but so close to FIRE - what to do?
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2017, 09:28:15 AM »
My previous job was a horribly toxic environment that made me cry a lot too! I've never been someone to quit, but it got so bad that I finally did. And you know what? I wound up finding my dream job, in the town where we had bought land several years before, and DH and I are now, literally, living our dream of having built our own home and living out in the country. The only reason this happened is because I quit my evil job and had the time and energy to look for a new one. Now, you can look for a job while still at your current one, but for me, getting out of that horrible place where they made me feel incompetent by constantly undermining my work made a huge difference in my ability to handle the effort of the job search.

YMMV of course, but I thought you might like a story of how doing something super scary like quitting a well-paying job can get you where you ultimately want to be. Life is too short to waste it on toxic workplaces.

frugaldrummer

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Re: Miserable at my job but so close to FIRE - what to do?
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2017, 10:32:45 AM »
I think we need more specifics about what is making you feel so bad at this job.  If it's a terrible boss, can you transfer to another department?   If it's a stress inherent to the job (like being an air traffic controller and being scared of making mistakes) was that stress always a bad fit, or has something happened to change your stress tolerance (menopause, health problems, personal stressors outside of work?).
If it's sexual harassment, can you file a complaint with HR? 

What the right choice is depends, I think, on WHY the job is so uncomfortable now.

If it's a terrible boss and there's no place to transfer and no sign that this boss will be leaving anytime soon - I'd start looking for other work.  No, you might not make as much, but your health is important.  And don't sell yourself short, you obviously have some skills to make that much money, I'm sure you'd be able to find a job at at least half your current salary.

If you're just suffering from burnout or depression get help for that. 


Noodle

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Re: Miserable at my job but so close to FIRE - what to do?
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2017, 10:48:13 AM »
I'm sorry you are having such a hard time at your job, but there may very well be ways to improve the situation! Here are a few more suggestions, along with some good wishes.

1. Take a look at the book "Decisive," by Dan and Chip Heath. It's a really good book on tools for making good decisions about complicated situations. This could be helpful because right now there are a ton of emotions around your work situation, which dials up all of our human cognitive biases up to about 11, which then makes it harder to make good decisions.
2. Make a list of all the things that could happen to change your work situation. It's OK to be silly and include things like "Win the lottery" or "Terrible boss struck by lightning." Ask your SO or sibling or friend (or us, if you're willing to tell us more details) to help. But try to cast the net widely. It could include "Look for a new job" or "Negotiate different schedule" or "Go part-time" or "Develop different emotional skills with a therapist so I don't get so upset" or "Report that twit to HR" or really anything, including "develop a really great vision of what FIRE will look like" or "Start doing some FIRE projects now" so you have distractions from fretting over work. Then cross off the choices that are illegal, immoral, or not under anyone's control.
3. Start investigating some options. And really, it costs nothing to job-search other than a new outfit for interviews, maybe. Right now you're trying to judge your current situation against a total unknown. You'll be able to make a better call once you have something concrete to compare.
4. Try option A and/or B, if those don't work go on to option C. And so on.

Good luck...

nobody123

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Re: Miserable at my job but so close to FIRE - what to do?
« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2017, 12:16:34 PM »
No grown adult should be crying at work unless they are physically injured.  Figure out what is wrong and address it.

Since you made the statement that you have "no real skills" I am going to guess it's some impostor syndrome: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impostor_syndrome

plainjane

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Re: Miserable at my job but so close to FIRE - what to do?
« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2017, 01:53:14 PM »
No grown adult should be crying at work unless they are physically injured.  Figure out what is wrong and address it.

I have cried at work out of frustration & powerlessness.  I know many others who have cried at work because they were having trouble with kids/parents/spouse.  I know people who cried at work because their kid's best friend died suddenly.  I know people who cried at work when they heard about the Paris attacks.

People don't want to cry at work, and everyone I know has tried to avoid doing so. 

PovilasP

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Re: Miserable at my job but so close to FIRE - what to do?
« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2017, 03:03:43 PM »
I'm having a similar debate and had the first panic attack this Saturday. You made me feel less alone. Thank you for sharing.

Actually, the reason I'm in this forum is that I was searching for some relief and extra motivation.

However, your situation sounds worse and also your FIRE date is further away. But everything always looks worse in our heads than it actually is.

What you need, I believe, is a vacation to get some perspective. I would suggest to take us much leave as you can and take some extra as unpaid leave.

That's my plan for the next year, or when I'm totally done (some more panic attacks) and everything feels worse than the worst. If after 2-3 months break I won't be able to get back to work, I will just take a sabbatical from getting to FIRE.

I hope you'll get better soon. Good luck! :)

P.S. as other mentioned, you probably have an imposter syndrome. We are 100% confident that you have skills.

Mother Fussbudget

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Re: Miserable at my job but so close to FIRE - what to do?
« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2017, 03:19:12 PM »
If you're close to FIRE, consider taking a 'trial FIRE' or a gap year.  Your happiness is of primary concern here.  If you don't change your situation, you may make yourself physically ill.  Don't allow your job to do that to you.

Whatever it is you plan to do during FIRE (travel, move to Costa Rica for a month/year, write a novel, learn to tango, whatever), consider doing it NOW.
Quit your job or take some time-off NOW and treat this as your FIRE 'test'.
 
* Spend a month in that geographic-arbitrage country-of-choice (instead of a year).
* Write that novel, or take that on-line creative writing course.
* Move to Argentina for a month and Learn to Tango.   

FIRE doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing pursuit.  Give it a try before you go into it full time.  Who knows... you may decide you have enough in your stash NOW to maintain your 'trial FIRE' for the rest of your life.  Or, you may stumble upon your dream career while visiting the rain-forests of Central America.  Do it while you're young.  And you ARE... hell... *I'M* still young.

Fresh Bread

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Re: Miserable at my job but so close to FIRE - what to do?
« Reply #15 on: March 29, 2017, 05:51:47 PM »
I've been where you are now. I left and now I'm working for myself in a different industry for about half the money, but I'm happy.

I am rushing out but this needs a spreadsheet. If you just left your stache to grow, I reckon you'd both be retiring in 10yrs or less. If you get a stress free low paid job then you bring that forward a couple of years. Run the numbers with a Starbucks job, you might feel a weight off your shoulders.

No job is worth your mental health, better to stay sane and retire a couple of years later than be retired but scarred forever. I bet your OH would agree.

bugbaby

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Re: Miserable at my job but so close to FIRE - what to do?
« Reply #16 on: March 29, 2017, 06:32:14 PM »
You're in a position of power and options because of your wise Mustachian lifestyle. 

I was burnt out and miserable, and took a break from work for 2 years...and I'm single - I lived off savings and rental income and pursued a passion which failed, but so glad I tried and took a break.  I returned feeling renewed, and I'm very happy to have a delayed FIRE date but  peaceful low stress work.

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zinnie

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Re: Miserable at my job but so close to FIRE - what to do?
« Reply #17 on: March 29, 2017, 06:51:38 PM »
If you're that miserable, you can leave. You have FU money, and this is what it's for! If someone is paying you $85k now, you have marketable skills. And you are pretty young. You would be fine if you just quit.

But since you are nervous about that, I would suggest putting some serious effort into applying for jobs. It might surprise you, and will at least give you a realistic idea of how marketable you are or what skills you need to gain. I did this for a while and it make me more comfortable that someone else would in fact hire me.

MsPeacock

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Re: Miserable at my job but so close to FIRE - what to do?
« Reply #18 on: March 29, 2017, 07:22:51 PM »
No grown adult should be crying at work unless they are physically injured.  Figure out what is wrong and address it.

I have cried at work out of frustration & powerlessness.  I know many others who have cried at work because they were having trouble with kids/parents/spouse.  I know people who cried at work because their kid's best friend died suddenly.  I know people who cried at work when they heard about the Paris attacks.

People don't want to cry at work, and everyone I know has tried to avoid doing so.

+1, and not helpful to say that no one should cry at work. People don't Want to cry at work, and it sounds like OP is working hard to hold it together and not cry in front of others. It is horrible to feel trapped, powerless, frustrated, and hopeless.

OP start looking for a job. Throw together a resume and get it out there. Ask someone to help you with the resume. Tell your friends and family and network that you are looking. Take a pay cut. iMO being that miserable at work is not worth it.

Hargrove

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Re: Miserable at my job but so close to FIRE - what to do?
« Reply #19 on: March 29, 2017, 07:39:48 PM »
If you just left your stache to grow, I reckon you'd both be retiring in 10yrs or less.

This is really the point here.

You already did it. You made it to FI. Your savings is making almost as much as your husband. You could both be janitors tomorrow and still retire in about 8 years. If you do a job making half the money you're making now, you could still retire in 4 or 5 years. There's no longer a credible threat to your freedom.

Hoglet121

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Re: Miserable at my job but so close to FIRE - what to do?
« Reply #20 on: March 29, 2017, 07:48:27 PM »
You certianly do have skills if you're being paid $85K. As others have said, start job searching, you may well be surprised.

I was really miserable at work too, with the added stress of thinking my employer was about to collapse at any moment (the company and my boss, tbh). I was willing to to take a pay cut if necessary, but not mad about the idea. Started job searching and in May I start a new job paying 50% more than my current salary. I would not have thought it was possible, but it is.

Feeling so miserable right now is affecting how you feel as a marketable employee. Write down all the achievements and challenges you've faced in your job, apply them to your CV and start applying.

AlanStache

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Re: Miserable at my job but so close to FIRE - what to do?
« Reply #21 on: March 29, 2017, 08:00:47 PM »
There's no longer a credible threat to your freedom.

Great line.

ck25

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Re: Miserable at my job but so close to FIRE - what to do?
« Reply #22 on: March 29, 2017, 09:35:17 PM »
Commenting to commiserate and follow. I am in an almost identical situation, down to a salary too good to leave, crying daily (sometimes at work), and similar feelings about my lack of skills. I've been at this level of misery for about 3 months and I've decided to try to stick it out as long as I can. I'm reducing my stress by attempting to have an attitude where I will do what I can and if they fire me for being incompetent, at least the decision will be made for me.

I've also been thinking of trying to get mental health help for all of the depression and anxiety I'm experiencing; you don't give a lot of details about what is making you miserable but maybe this is something you should consider as well. At least in my case, I don't think it's the job as much as my lack of coping skills.

MonkeyJenga

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Re: Miserable at my job but so close to FIRE - what to do?
« Reply #23 on: March 29, 2017, 09:45:42 PM »
Staying in a job that is ruining your mental health is NOT WORTH IT. Start looking for other jobs immediately. Take a sabbatical if you need to. Take a pay cut if necessary. Money is not worth being miserable and crying every day. You may be surprised at your ability to get a job that pays the same or more than what you make now.

Padonak

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Re: Miserable at my job but so close to FIRE - what to do?
« Reply #24 on: March 29, 2017, 09:45:59 PM »
Find a new job. Speaking from experience.

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: Miserable at my job but so close to FIRE - what to do?
« Reply #25 on: March 30, 2017, 04:30:24 AM »
No grown adult should be crying at work unless they are physically injured.  Figure out what is wrong and address it.

I have cried at work out of frustration & powerlessness.  I know many others who have cried at work because they were having trouble with kids/parents/spouse.  I know people who cried at work because their kid's best friend died suddenly.  I know people who cried at work when they heard about the Paris attacks.

People don't want to cry at work, and everyone I know has tried to avoid doing so.

+1, and not helpful to say that no one should cry at work. People don't Want to cry at work, and it sounds like OP is working hard to hold it together and not cry in front of others. It is horrible to feel trapped, powerless, frustrated, and hopeless.

OP start looking for a job. Throw together a resume and get it out there. Ask someone to help you with the resume. Tell your friends and family and network that you are looking. Take a pay cut. iMO being that miserable at work is not worth it.

I'm not sure that the original crying comment was taken in the spirit it was intended. I read it as "No adult should be subjected to a work situation which is so awful that they are crying on a regular basis". The judgement isn't on the person who is crying but the situation that is causing the crying.

Regardless of what Nobody meant: I'm saying that if you are regularly crying at or about work you owe it to yourself to make a change. Everyone is worthy of a job that doesn't make them feel awful.

I was also in a situation where I thought I needed to take a pay cut to move away from a toxic boss and horrible work place. I spoke to one recruiter who said that I would need to take a pay cut or move to management but a second recruiter found me an option with a 50% pay rise. I took it and I'm so much happier. I also thought of myself as inadequately skilled.

Good luck.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Miserable at my job but so close to FIRE - what to do?
« Reply #26 on: March 30, 2017, 05:32:15 AM »
Commenting to commiserate and follow. I am in an almost identical situation, down to a salary too good to leave, crying daily (sometimes at work), and similar feelings about my lack of skills. I've been at this level of misery for about 3 months and I've decided to try to stick it out as long as I can. I'm reducing my stress by attempting to have an attitude where I will do what I can and if they fire me for being incompetent, at least the decision will be made for me.

I've also been thinking of trying to get mental health help for all of the depression and anxiety I'm experiencing; you don't give a lot of details about what is making you miserable but maybe this is something you should consider as well. At least in my case, I don't think it's the job as much as my lack of coping skills.

I have no graduation papers from my last education, because I left a year early. I thought that would prohibit me in getting a new job. But when I applied for new jobs, it turned out that my experience is much more worth than this paper. In other words: people will recognize what you have achieved in your jobs. Just make sure you list these things about yourself: your knowledge of systems, languages, roles, project management, whatever. And also think about your soft skills, your personal qualities. And start applying.

Is it possible for you or the OP to get a (partially) paid sick leave? Being so frustrated about your job should apply as a good reason for a sick leave for burnout or something similar. It sounds like a good idea to take such a break for a longer time.

To ck25: Yes, try to get some for of mental help. Maybe your community gives free courses in stress management? I went to such a course last year and it helps changing your perspective on problems. I can also recommend some books that are about the same subject, but with other words:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000FCJYFA/ref=kinw_myk_ro_title
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CYOW6F2/ref=kinw_myk_ro_title

nobody123

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Re: Miserable at my job but so close to FIRE - what to do?
« Reply #27 on: March 30, 2017, 09:14:48 AM »
I'm not sure that the original crying comment was taken in the spirit it was intended. I read it as "No adult should be subjected to a work situation which is so awful that they are crying on a regular basis". The judgement isn't on the person who is crying but the situation that is causing the crying.

That's sort of what I meant.  OP said "I realize that I am full of self-pity at the moment, but I could really use advice, commiseration, a face punch, or some combination of all three."  My point is that it was not normal for an adult to be crying at work, so do something proactive about it, as opposed to the prior advice posted which was mostly to think about FIRE implications and tough it out or quit based on financial reasons, as if a spreadsheet has to give you permission to improve your situation.  If you're reached the point of crying when you wake up and having to hide in a closet at work, I don't think your projected FIRE date should have any impact on your next steps.  OP said they'd be financially OK if they quit, so if they need to do something job-risky like confronting a hostile boss, they should do so.  If they can't figure it out themselves, see a therapist.  Continuing to cry / feeling miserable is not OK.  If OP said they have a spending problem but it's too hard to change their behavior, there would be dozens of face-punch posts telling them to suck it up and do something.  This is no different.

Since the OP didn't mention harrassment, an asshole boss / coworker, crappy assignments, physical strain, etc., we are all left to guess as to why they feel the way they do.  The comment about not having skills and there is no way they could earn that level of salary elsewhere leads me to guess some impostor syndrome is at work.

Tetsuya Hondo

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Re: Miserable at my job but so close to FIRE - what to do?
« Reply #28 on: March 30, 2017, 11:36:49 AM »
Yeah, you need to get out. You never know what's behind Door #3.

I had a job of suck that involved long hours, nights, weekends, holidays, and my vacations. I would get on a plane on Sunday night and come home late Friday night.

Finally, I decided that I was willing to take a pay cut to do something else. I was able to work as an independent consultant. My work hours went down, my time away dropped to nearly zero, and my stress went way, way down. To my surprise, my income went up.

You never know.

Cookie78

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Re: Miserable at my job but so close to FIRE - what to do?
« Reply #29 on: March 30, 2017, 12:00:32 PM »
3 more years is a damn long time to be miserable.

Start looking for a new job. You'll be fine.

MrMoneySaver

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Re: Miserable at my job but so close to FIRE - what to do?
« Reply #30 on: March 30, 2017, 12:02:47 PM »
Yeah, you need to get out. You never know what's behind Door #3.

I had a job of suck that involved long hours, nights, weekends, holidays, and my vacations. I would get on a plane on Sunday night and come home late Friday night.

Finally, I decided that I was willing to take a pay cut to do something else. I was able to work as an independent consultant. My work hours went down, my time away dropped to nearly zero, and my stress went way, way down. To my surprise, my income went up.

You never know.
How long did you do the suck job? How did you make the transition from the job into the independent consulting -- I mean did you get some clients in advance, or just quit one day?

MishMash

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Re: Miserable at my job but so close to FIRE - what to do?
« Reply #31 on: March 30, 2017, 12:24:26 PM »
Hey, we could be twins!  That was me on Tuesday combined with my first ever full on panic attack that landed me in the ER. 

My job has always sucked, it's dead end as it gets, I for a loooooong time endured "old southern boy" sexual harassment and meathead "me man you woman, you do as I say" on a daily basis, and pretty much my entire job is to get bitched at by people and then tell them to fuck off in the nicest way possible. 

Things had gotten better for a while with the removal of our entire management team and "most" of the meatheads but I'm feeling that pain again after a year, although now it's more me just tired of plugging holes and constantly working in a reactionary environment vs flat out illegal shit.  Companies going under, probably fast, because of poor management decisions by the new team but I feel like I've atrophied mentally in this job and that no one will pay me what I'm making or afford me the flexible schedule.

I've got the money, we're close to our FIRE number, DH is still working for the next 4 years and I STILL can't just pull the trigger and walk away.  The most appropriate comment on here described it as "Stockholm Syndrome" when I posted about it originally.  That one has stuck with me the past 2 years because it is 100% true.  Like I think I'm to the point where I need to quit, THEN find a job, just to try and force myself to jump out the window.

MishMash

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Re: Miserable at my job but so close to FIRE - what to do?
« Reply #32 on: March 30, 2017, 12:25:53 PM »
Commenting to commiserate and follow. I am in an almost identical situation, down to a salary too good to leave, crying daily (sometimes at work), and similar feelings about my lack of skills. I've been at this level of misery for about 3 months and I've decided to try to stick it out as long as I can. I'm reducing my stress by attempting to have an attitude where I will do what I can and if they fire me for being incompetent, at least the decision will be made for me.

I've also been thinking of trying to get mental health help for all of the depression and anxiety I'm experiencing; you don't give a lot of details about what is making you miserable but maybe this is something you should consider as well. At least in my case, I don't think it's the job as much as my lack of coping skills.

I went the mental health route, did therapy...you know what they told me?  To quit the job and take a month off.  THEN come back and see them if I still was feeling down and like I needed meds.

bigalsmith101

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Re: Miserable at my job but so close to FIRE - what to do?
« Reply #33 on: March 30, 2017, 12:26:44 PM »
Get out now.

Grab the compound interest calculator and do the math. (http://www.moneychimp.com/calculator/compound_interest_calculator.htm) It's SIMPLE! At your current pace you'll hit 1.1mm in Net worth by the end of 2020 if you invest 100k/year with your current 450k net worth.

Likewise, you'll hit very close numbers (1.05mm) in 2021 if you only invest $60k! Holy shit! You'll have less stress and it'll only take an extra year to reach it? A year isn't SHIT when you are as young as we are.

The math is ridiculous, and keeps going. It would only take 6 years at a 40k savings rate to hit $1.05m. You see what I'm doing here? I'm allowing you to witness the time value of money! (I'm being facetious).

You say, "My boyfriend has told me repeatedly that I can quit my job and we can live off his salary, but I feel like that would (a.) be supremely selfish of me and (b.) ruin all our future plans."

I say, "Oh really!? Ruin all your future plans? You have plans that CAN'T POSSIBLY be pushed back a year? You feel selfish!? Selfish because you want to preserve your sanity!?!?"
 
I've been with my wife for 10 years. I'm nearly the same age as you. I 100% agree with your boyfriend. If my wife/partner/gf came home crying every day and told me she hated her job, and I knew that quitting would add 2 years to our FIRE date, I would immediately recommend that she quit.

The stress of your job has made you unable to create a positive atmosphere in your current lifestyle. As soon as you quit, you will recognize the freedom you were lacking, and that the proper decision was to walk away.

You are already suffering from "One More Year" syndrome and the cure is staring you right in the face.

« Last Edit: March 30, 2017, 12:30:25 PM by bigalsmith101 »

Tetsuya Hondo

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Re: Miserable at my job but so close to FIRE - what to do?
« Reply #34 on: March 30, 2017, 01:46:40 PM »
Yeah, you need to get out. You never know what's behind Door #3.

I had a job of suck that involved long hours, nights, weekends, holidays, and my vacations. I would get on a plane on Sunday night and come home late Friday night.

Finally, I decided that I was willing to take a pay cut to do something else. I was able to work as an independent consultant. My work hours went down, my time away dropped to nearly zero, and my stress went way, way down. To my surprise, my income went up.

You never know.
How long did you do the suck job? How did you make the transition from the job into the independent consulting -- I mean did you get some clients in advance, or just quit one day?

It's hard to say how long because the job grew in suckedness. The worst of the suck came in the last couple years and then became intolerable for about six months.

I had lined up some short term contract work at a former employer before jumping. Six years later, I'm still doing it and gradually picked up work with a few other places. 

Linea_Norway

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Re: Miserable at my job but so close to FIRE - what to do?
« Reply #35 on: March 31, 2017, 12:59:07 AM »

The stress of your job has made you unable to create a positive atmosphere in your current lifestyle.

Indeed. This will be noticeable at home, too. Therefore your partner will probably be happy if you quit.

Fresh Bread

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Re: Miserable at my job but so close to FIRE - what to do?
« Reply #36 on: March 31, 2017, 02:21:28 AM »
Bekkah, can you check in and let us know you're ok?

bekkah

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Re: Miserable at my job but so close to FIRE - what to do?
« Reply #37 on: March 31, 2017, 12:56:33 PM »
Hi all -

Sorry for the delay in replying - it's been a crazy few days. But I am pleased to report that (a.) I am at work and (b.) I am not crying. ;)

All kidding aside, I want to thank everyone who took the time to reply to my post. I was in a bad place that morning, but your replies changed that – everyone was so thoughtful, helpful, and encouraging, with just the right amount of toughness, too. I actually printed out the thread to refer to in the future. Please know how thankful I am to all of you who replied and shared your stories and suggestions. You are amazing people!

Frugaldrummer, you asked about specifics that were making me feel so bad at this job. I administer a federal welfare benefit (among other things) and the trifecta of poorly-written policy, crappy computer systems/programs, and the general unpleasantness that is the general public have taken its toll. I deal with really difficult people all day – both the public I serve and, sadly, many of my co-workers. The work itself is draining – handling disability claims, non-medical reviews, medical reviews, overpayments, fraud cases, child welfare cases, etc. I often work ten hours per day, eat lunch at my desk, and then come in on Saturday, too. In addition my official job duties, my office is also supporting a failing office in our district, and that workload has fallen almost entirely on my shoulders. I come home most days with headaches, and I sleep terribly. I’ve gained (a lot of) weight. I stress eat. And you all know about the crying. This job has never been a good fit for my personality (sensitive introvert), but I think it’s bothering me more now because I see the toll it’s taken on me.

Given that my job duties are not changing any time soon, I went through all your responses and made a list of steps to take to remedy the situation:

(1)   Take a deep breath – Done!
(2)   Try to detach my feelings from my job – I love this advice. I’m definitely in a rut of thinking/worrying/ruminating about work. I need to detach from the job and not let it control every part of me.
(3)   Work on my resume – Going to the library this Saturday (tomorrow) to work on it.
(4)   Start job hunting – Will look internally in the government at other openings and externally at new jobs all together.
(5)   Run the numbers – Will make a spreadsheet this weekend going over our options (quitting, part-time, pay cut, etc.).
(6)   Research imposter syndrome – I think I might be guilty of this.
(7)   Make appointment with my PCP – I definitely need to seek out mental health treatment, too.
(8)   Be grateful – You guys made me realize that things are in no way as dire as I felt on Wednesday. THANK YOU.

bekkah

p.s. To ProvilasP, ck25, and MishMash - hang in there! I’m with you all the way.

MrsStubble

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Re: Miserable at my job but so close to FIRE - what to do?
« Reply #38 on: March 31, 2017, 05:23:06 PM »
TAKE A LEAVE OF ABSENCE! 

Most companies have FMLA or something similar that guarantees your job/insurance but allows you to take a break for health (or mental health) reasons.  Take it, if you are crying at work (and i've been there) you are stressed out to the point of having a breakdown.  A dr will help you get documentation together to get one if you have to prove medical need.    Trust me it's worse then having a breakdown and having to take a forced year out. 

And if you decide during your LOA that you can't go back, you can make that decision to either find new job elsewhere or quit and FIRE. 

Mezzie

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Re: Miserable at my job but so close to FIRE - what to do?
« Reply #39 on: March 31, 2017, 05:54:15 PM »
I'm glad to read you're feeling better and taking steps in the right direction.

For what it's worth: a while back my husband HATED his job. He was miserable. I told him if he quit, we would be fine (but he'd have to do all the yard work :p). I meant it. I'm sure your boyfriend is equally serious that he'd rather see you happy than see your paycheck.

MrMoneySaver

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Re: Miserable at my job but so close to FIRE - what to do?
« Reply #40 on: March 31, 2017, 07:57:26 PM »
For what it's worth: a while back my husband HATED his job. He was miserable. I told him if he quit, we would be fine (but he'd have to do all the yard work :p). I meant it. I'm sure your boyfriend is equally serious that he'd rather see you happy than see your paycheck.
Did he quit?

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: Miserable at my job but so close to FIRE - what to do?
« Reply #41 on: April 01, 2017, 01:11:49 AM »
Thanks for the update Bekkah!

Mezzie

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Re: Miserable at my job but so close to FIRE - what to do?
« Reply #42 on: April 01, 2017, 02:45:59 AM »
For what it's worth: a while back my husband HATED his job. He was miserable. I told him if he quit, we would be fine (but he'd have to do all the yard work :p). I meant it. I'm sure your boyfriend is equally serious that he'd rather see you happy than see your paycheck.
Did he quit?

He ended up making a big move in the company and is now quite happy. :)

meghan88

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Re: Miserable at my job but so close to FIRE - what to do?
« Reply #43 on: April 03, 2017, 11:19:49 AM »
OP, glad you're feeling better.  You might want to add one more thing to your to-do list: Getting some exercise as a stress-buster and preventative measure.  It will help you feel better about EVERYTHING.

There are 168 hours in each week.  Please find yourself three hours total per week, spread out over two to four days a week.  It is the kindest thing you can do for yourself.  Any kind of exercise will do, as long as you raise your heart rate and challenge yourself a bit.  You don't even need equipment, or much space, to do body-weight exercises such as squats, push-ups, plank, crunches, burpees etc. ... combine 30 minutes of that with 30 minutes of cardio and you will start to feel like a million bucks within weeks.  The key is to be disciplined.  Make an appointment with yourself, and keep it.  That's the hardest part.