Author Topic: Money vs. Happiness v. work related.  (Read 4523 times)

CheckEngineLight

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Money vs. Happiness v. work related.
« on: August 30, 2013, 02:47:41 PM »
Curious how my fellow mustachians would handle this.

I am 30 y/o in accounting/finance field.  My issue is that Iíve come to realize that what I do is not for me because I am not passionate about the work and I donít necessarily enjoy it.  When I picked this field in university it was for the job stability, abundance of jobs, and high pay.

It has been 7-8 years since then and I make ~$120k, the job is flexible, the hours are reasonable for this position and I have nothing to complain about, except that Iíve mentally checked out.  In the past I thought it was the employer, but I am realizing itís me.

With FI on my mind and a fairly frugal lifestyle my FI is set at 10-15 years from now realistically speaking (knock on wood).  What I keep questioning myself is do I continue to chip away at this and be unsatisfied or do I jump ship to do something Iíd like for less money.

If I continue FI could be sooner and I could double my income in 10 years, but I will be miserable.  On the other hand I can think hard and long and find something that will keep me happy (already have an idea of what I want) but I will probably be making half of what I make now, but will work less.  The potential to make more is there, but then I feel Iíd be falling in the same trap I am in now, except in a different field.

Option 3, which is the least risky, but the most unlikely is to make my current job (doesnít matter what employer) into a part time gig.  If I made 60k for 2 days worth of work then I wouldnít mind doing this indefinitely and I feel I wouldnít be as miserable.

Thoughts?

Mr.Macinstache

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Re: Money vs. Happiness v. work related.
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2013, 02:54:29 PM »
I like option 3. Maybe with a little flexibility you'll make the change easier.

I left a good paying job because I wasn't happy with corporate culture. I transitioned into being my own boss and its been great. I did this by going part time with them, and then finally I quit all together.

Life is too short to be miserable at your job all day.

Lans Holman

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Re: Money vs. Happiness v. work related.
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2013, 03:09:04 PM »
Hard to say about your situation but I personally wouldn't be miserable to acheive FI in 10 years if I could be happy and get there in 15 or 20.  Option 3 sounds promising.  What would it take to make that happen?

iwanttobelive

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Re: Money vs. Happiness v. work related.
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2013, 05:56:48 PM »
Wow at your income. I'm two years younger than you and got a Business Degree and can't find work and owe a bunch of student loans debt. If you downsized everything MMM suggests and work towards FI, which at $120K a year, I would imagine would be quick. You'd be set. But if the job is killing you because you hate it so much, I guess you'd have to weigh that. I think if you can work towards that FI and be able to look at what the money is doing for you and growing, would that help make you happier ?

lhamo

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Re: Money vs. Happiness v. work related.
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2013, 09:03:52 PM »
I'd go with option three, and then use part of the 5 days you have free to start working on developing a second career or small business that you enjoy more.  Once you get that to the income you feel is good for sustaining you/reaching your FI goals (which may be very different once you have a career you enjoy) you can jettison the accounting career for good.

Another alternative would be to cut WAAAAY back on your expenses, ala ERE, and plow into the accounting full steam for 3-5 years, stashing as much as you can and buying yourself several years of freedom to develop the second career.

Nords

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Re: Money vs. Happiness v. work related.
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2013, 10:35:47 PM »
It has been 7-8 years since then and I make ~$120k, the job is flexible, the hours are reasonable for this position and I have nothing to complain about, except that Iíve mentally checked out.  In the past I thought it was the employer, but I am realizing itís me.
With FI on my mind and a fairly frugal lifestyle my FI is set at 10-15 years from now realistically speaking (knock on wood).  What I keep questioning myself is do I continue to chip away at this and be unsatisfied or do I jump ship to do something Iíd like for less money.
If I continue FI could be sooner and I could double my income in 10 years, but I will be miserable. 
I've been in that situation.  The way you feel now means that you could gut it out in your current status for another year or two, but 10-15 is unsustainable.  It's risky to your mental & physical health, as well as your relationships.

I stayed where I was out of fear & ignorance (and supporting the family).  My fun-meter failed at about 12 years and I felt fortunate to make it for eight more.  In retrospect it was the wrong decision, and I was too overworked to take a step back to assess the situation and find a solution.  The saving grace was that the military at least gave me a new duty station and a new group of co-workers every 2-3 years, so the situation changed often enough to avoid Groundhog Day syndrome.

Would you feel better about your field if you were working in a different sector for a different employer?  Instead of corporate accounting, try a startup or a non-profit?  Forensic accounting for criminal cases or divorces?  Financial advisor?  Tax prep?  Start a blog and write a book?  Teach classes online or at universities?  Teach the review courses for the CFP or CPA exams?  Even just taking a small volunteer gig in addition to your current job, as described in the book "Give and Take" to mitigate burnout?

On the other hand I can think hard and long and find something that will keep me happy (already have an idea of what I want) but I will probably be making half of what I make now, but will work less.  The potential to make more is there, but then I feel Iíd be falling in the same trap I am in now, except in a different field.
Option 3, which is the least risky, but the most unlikely is to make my current job (doesnít matter what employer) into a part time gig.  If I made 60k for 2 days worth of work then I wouldnít mind doing this indefinitely and I feel I wouldnít be as miserable.
Thoughts?
Once you've crafted your escape plan, I think it's fair to share your feelings with your employer and ask for part-time.  You're not a hostage to their paycheck-- their choice would be having you part-time or not at all.

If that fails (whether it never gets started or goes bad after a few months) then your other job (the happy one with half the income) will at least improve your quality of life enough for you to step back, assess the situation, and look at all those other side-hustle ideas.

Of course you could also take the extreme ER approach of cutting your spending to the bone, working harder for a bigger bonus, and grunting it out for another 5-10 years as you accelerate your trajectory to FI.  Then you could ER as a burned-out husk in poor health and have the rest of your life (such as it is) to salvage that situation. 

travelbug

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Re: Money vs. Happiness v. work related.
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2013, 11:02:36 PM »
Is there any way you could cull the 10years to FI to a lessor number?
I also like option 3. Or even approaching your employer to work extra hours, but only four days a week. And even do one of these from home? Three longs days at the office if you streamlined your work load could give you the lifestyle factor you are searching for.
Or maybe branch out on your own in another field, but if you don't know what you would love to do I would be hesitant to throw away a good paying job immediately.
Good luck OP.

SnackDog

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Re: Money vs. Happiness v. work related.
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2013, 02:53:45 AM »
Hey, there is a reason it is called Work and they pay you to do it! Find some fun people to do it with and relax a bit yourself and you may find its not so bad. Soooo many people expect the grass is greener on the other side and end up going from the frying pan into the fire. Ask yourself if the job is really the issue or do you have other issues at the root of it all...

djulian529

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Re: Money vs. Happiness v. work related.
« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2013, 07:29:24 AM »
Personally, I would go with option 3.  I have really come to the feeling that money is not everything. 

After losing my job and being near financial collapse I wish I was even able to have pt gig making that kind of money

sleepyguy

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Re: Money vs. Happiness v. work related.
« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2013, 10:26:07 PM »
Personally I would stick it out and retire as early as possile.  Great income and easy work isn't the eastiest thing to get.  After fire, go do something else for fun or even for free.

skidlystache

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Re: Money vs. Happiness v. work related.
« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2013, 09:01:38 AM »
Although in a different line of work I find myself in a similar situation (especially the part about mentally checking out).  I like option 3.  It sounds like if you put any more than a couple more years in your current job you'll go insane.  It's easy for people to say just stick it out for 5 or 10 more years but you're the one putting in the time.  If you've got the money to scale back work and enjoy life more then do it.  It's not like that has to be the way you live the rest of your life.  If you find you need more cash in a couple years you can go back to working full time or just increase your part time load.  Aren't accountants always in demand?  If MMM has taught me anything it's that we don't have to pigeon-hole our lives.  We can see what works and what doesn't.  Flexibility!

My father recently passed away and as a child of the Depression he amassed quite a sizable stash in his retirement, more than he could ever possibly spend.  He taught me the value of a dollar.  But he also saw "saving" as the end-all / be-all of money.  He never used his money to do things he always talked about (i.e. travel).  When his health started to fail it was too late to spend that stash.  Inadvertently he taught me another life lesson.  Money should be saved but it also needs to be spent before it's too late.  Don't wait too long and best of luck.

pbkmaine

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Re: Money vs. Happiness v. work related.
« Reply #11 on: September 01, 2013, 10:05:37 AM »
Can you find something to do that uses your skills in a different way at another job? I am a CPA and trained as a financial planner, but telling the children of millionaires not a buy a new Mercedes every year when they felt they "deserved" it was excruciating. I now use the same skill set to advise not-for-profits on their defined contribution plan investments, something that I really enjoy. So, what do you enjoy about your job? Is there a way to shift to a job within your company or with a new company to do more of what you like?