Author Topic: Need to escape demands of work life asap  (Read 4861 times)

swimgriff06

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 12
Need to escape demands of work life asap
« on: May 22, 2015, 04:48:22 PM »
I'm thinking about an escape plan from my job. I work in the very high stress primary care sector of medicine. While the money is good, the stress is really, really negatively affecting my health and I recognize that I can't do my job at this level without burning out within the next few years. I don't need to *never* work again, but I need to go less than part time, like 16 hours a week, and soon. I like my work, but I'm coming to terms with the reality that I can only do this work in small amounts. I picked the wrong career for full time work, I guess. Young and naive. I don't mind working a 16 hour week for many more years. After all, I did pay $125,000 for my education, and my earning potential is high.

Basic stats:
Currently saving about 55% of take home pay.
Maxing out employer match on 403b.
I have one year of living expenses in cash.
My current debts include my mortgage and car loan.
My student loan debt is paid off.
I have a small amount invested in a Vanguard Index fund.
I'm 31. Married. Primary breadwinner. Husband also works full-time. He is in no hurry to quit his job the way I am, but supportive of what I am meeting to do for my sanity and health.

My escape strategy: take the $5000 surplus that I have left over at the end of each month and pay off all my debt, mortgage included while still contributing a small amount to either savings or investment. Continue to Max my employers match on my 403B. My calculations estimate that if I do this, I will be completely debt-free in 2.6 years, and at that point I will go to working 16 hours a week, max.

My projections estimate that I will still be able to save approximately 40% of my income each month at that point. And my quality of life goes back to existing.

Here's my basic question to anyone who is kind enough to reflect on the answer: is this totally crazy? It flies in the face of a lot of "conventional wisdom." Normally, paying off my mortgage extremely early is not something I would consider doing. But I feel desperate and my mind and body are suffering as side effect of full-time employment. I can stick it out if I have an end in sight.

Full on FIRE would otherwise be about 12 to 14 years away for me. I don't need full on FIRE, maybe ever. I do well with a balance of work and play.

This is a quality-of-life issue, and the idea of only having to work two days a week is a glorious thought.

I appreciate your input. Thanks

former player

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8908
  • Location: Avalon
Re: Need to escape demands of work life asap
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2015, 07:57:39 AM »
$5,000 per month for 2.6 years to pay off mortgage and car debt means you are currently in debt to about $150,000?  And your future plan is to work 2 days a week which would produce a savings rate of 40%, plus you have a husband who is working and happy to carry on.

Personally (and I may well be facepunched for being un-mustachian here, but so be it) I'd say you could probably go part-time sooner than in 2.6 years: it sounds as though you would still have enough coming in to pay off your car loan and mortgage at an accelerated rate while maintaining your health and sanity.  A plan to work like a dog for 2.6 years and put your health and sanity at risk just to pay off debts that you can easily cover on a slower schedule doesn't sound to me like a good trade-off: you never know what could happen in that time.

Perhaps you could start by going down to 4 days a week, sooner than in 2.6 years time?  As I understand it, primary care doctors are in enough demand that you should be able to negotiate that quite easily, especially if the alternative for your employers is you going down to 2 days a week.  Start your glide-path to a better life now!

forummm

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7374
  • Senior Mustachian
Re: Need to escape demands of work life asap
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2015, 08:03:24 AM »
If you can still keep saving while only working 16 hours per week, and that option is available to you, then I think that makes total sense. Your quality of life is what matters.

Perhaps you can find more ways to cut back and start your part-time gig earlier. Your health is important (as you should know from your field). Life isn't so valuable without it.

mozar

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3503
Re: Need to escape demands of work life asap
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2015, 08:37:46 AM »
With as much income security as you have I wouldn't pay off the mortgage. Just pay your student loans and you are free.

KungfuRabbit

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 286
Re: Need to escape demands of work life asap
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2015, 08:39:45 AM »
Why is primary care so high stress?  They seem chill to me.

Maybe you just have crappy coworkers. Try a different clinic.

thingamabobs

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 145
Re: Need to escape demands of work life asap
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2015, 10:58:49 AM »
Not crazy at all. I have the same plan. Once the student loans ($220K) are paid off, I will drop to part time and slowly exit from there. Similar situation, we will still be able to save with parttime income and the quality of life will significantly improve.

forummm

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7374
  • Senior Mustachian
Re: Need to escape demands of work life asap
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2015, 11:07:12 AM »
Why is primary care so high stress?  They seem chill to me.

Maybe you just have crappy coworkers. Try a different clinic.

I forgot to mention this too. If you do need to stay full time for a couple years for financial reasons, why not try a different job? Maybe even a different angle on your field. I'm not sure exactly what you do, but there are a lot of options in medicine, and a lot of different firms and environments you can do that in. Since you have the luxury of not needing your full salary, you could even take a pay cut to do something better for your health in the mean time.

frugaldrummer

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 846
Re: Need to escape demands of work life asap
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2015, 11:37:48 AM »
One good thing about primary care, you have many practice options available to you.  Try to figure out what excites you most about medicine, then see if you can find a practice setting that suits you better.

I worked part time urgent care when my kids were young. Now I have a small holistic private practice, don't take insurance. I make about half of what I might make in a salaried position, but have autonomy and can take all the time I need to provide high quality care.

There are many other options in primary care....if you can live on less than you are making now, you can choose whatever you like most. Look around.

Snow White

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 171
  • Location: Texas
Re: Need to escape demands of work life asap
« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2015, 02:02:09 PM »
My cousin is a primary care physician and he felt much as you do and began have cardiac symptoms and suffered other physical comorbities related to stress.  He left primary care medicine and went to work part time in an occupational health clinic and it changed his life 180 degrees.  The job has only a fraction of the stress, he works many fewer hours and he still earns decent money as a practicing physician.  It helps that his wife makes good money as a nurse practitioner and they are frugal folks.

Life is too short to be miserable at a job!

Chesterfield

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 34
Re: Need to escape demands of work life asap
« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2015, 05:44:46 PM »
I am a nurse practitioner working in Family Practice. I was totally burned out in primary care after I  worked full time for 9 years  so I started a doctoral degree in public health to change careers. As soon as I started working part time as an NP I realized I did not hate my job, I hated doing my job full time. Full disclosure, I work in the public sector, at Community Health Centers, so the  money is not excellent, but it is certainly good.
I finished the doctoral degree, but realized I could enough money and be happier as a part time NP.
 
If you can hang in there for 2 1/2 years, do it, if not, go part time. You'll still make a great wage. Currently I work for an organization as a "Locum" ( in medicalese - a substitute) so I get to do primary care without having to own patients and have them be my patients forever. I work when I want, I go to different sites of the same community health center, and I love my job. I get paid for every hour I work ( if I need to stay late to chart, I stay late and put ALL my hours in for pay. They don't give me any benefits, I don't owe them unpaid time).

I would TOTALLy recommend it. I have done this in 2 states (Rhode Island and Washington)
You need to figure out it is about the job that is killing you. Then it will be much easier to find a fit.

As a Locum, I am not expected to have a particular productivity. They may count my numbers but no one has ever counseled me that I need to see more patients. If I have a particularly trying morning, I can ask to have an open appointment blocked. If the schedule is crazy, I work through lunch, but get paid for that hour also. Figure out what you hate. Then find a job that minimizes those parts.
Good luck!