When would you exit a high paying but time and energy-sucking job?

Stay in any available high $ corporate role until FIRE
3 (25%)
Stay for just a little bit more while you bootstrap, or
8 (66.7%)
Just bail, dedicate yourself to an ambition, and go for it!
1 (8.3%)

Total Members Voted: 12

Voting closed: March 28, 2017, 09:24:25 PM

Author Topic: Quit corporate life before FIRE for more freetime and financial upside? Or...  (Read 2997 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Hi Friends, Looking for a little oversight/advice from anyone who wants to offer it here!

We’re a family of four living in Colorado. I’m trying (over time, mixed results) to control costs and save up so that I can retire from regular corporate work life sometime between turning 40 and my kids entering high school age (we are very likely to be homeschooling/CLEPing for early community college entry).

I’m higher range of income, W2 shows $150k last year. I work on an IT sales team so on a good year bonuses could range a lot higher, $190k+, but the markets been a little tight recently. My spouse is a Montessori teacher, which gets our kids discounted school and a salary in the $35k range, $23k after deductions for discounted child care. We also have a couple rental properties with positive cash flow of around $1300/month after financing.

Assets…about $100k liquid in funds, debts paid off, real estate equity around $250k.

But here’s the thing…my job requires a fair amount of sitting alone on planes and in hotels, and I just get sick of it! I like my interactions on the ground with my regional teammates and customers, but the time to get to those places is frustrating (I cover the entire US West). In the past two weeks, not atypical, 9 flights, everything from Seattle to Charlotte to Honolulu. My spouse is also pretty regularly sick of it. I was at a work-from-home job until our youngest turned 2, which is a pretty stark difference. OTOH, I did get tired of working 100% from home with NO in-person teammate/customer interaction.

So because of my work I talk to a lot of Lyft drivers, and am pretty sure about being able to hit $1500+ a week there. I’m also a pretty good expert on real estate transactions, with my spouse and I having done 6 transactions in the past 4 years, with most of the legwork ourselves…closing a couple deals a year, or starting my own investments/flips could also pay the bills, and give a potential for more upside.

Can you help me think though the pros and cons of just cashing in my chips now and taking that jump towards personal freedom (but admittedly not yet FIRE)? the idea of controlling my destiny and daily actions a little more, and being able to capture upside (with a reasonable safety net in place) is exciting…but walking away from the golden handcuffs?

AMA and my best,
« Last Edit: March 25, 2017, 11:56:04 PM by jngreenlee »


  • Walrus Stache
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How much do you spend? And what tax vehicles are your liquid assets in? Taxable vs 401k, for example. How easy would it be to get another high paying job if you need to in a year?

I recommend putting together a case study so you can get better advice: https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/case-studies/how-to-write-a-'case-study'-topic/


  • Pencil Stache
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I am straight up anti corporate life.

My wife was an auditor at a Big Four Accounting firm. Lots of travel, decent pay. But life sucked. We still have those friends we watch from afar and it appears their lives continue to be consumed by their jobs.

I worked for big corporate law firms very briefly. I chaffed at the all consuming nature of the work and not being able to control the work I was involved in.

My wife and I eventually started a business (law firm) using my credentials and her talent (she does all the books, etcetera).  Being in charge of our time is invaluable. On top of being in control of our time, it turns out we make more in our small business than we would have combined at two good corporate jobs.

The great part about a successful small business is that it allows you to control everything, from your work hours and vacation to income.

If I were you, I would by eyeing the real estate area for opportunities and build your own small real estate empire. You already have a great start.

Take your life back.

P.S. Go post the same thing on the "Entrepeneurship" forum. You will get a bunch of people saying "RUN!"
« Last Edit: March 26, 2017, 08:23:02 AM by FIREby35 »


  • Bristles
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Since you are in sales I think you can make a stronger case for getting out.  Sales guys are always in demand so it is much easier to switch industries if you have the skill set.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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My wife and I eventually started a business

Thanks FIREby35, we actually have an opportunity along similar lines here...taking over a small house-style Montessori school that my wife spent part of her first year as a teacher at. With her running the daily ops and me running the books (plus RE, Lyft, etc to fill in), I think we could run it very well, with FCF of up to $10k/month.

At the moment, its more a question of "when"...could take it over starting at the next school year (17-18), or wait just one more year first and see how my bonuses come in, let our kids wrap up at the larger school they're in today.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Sales guys are always in demand so it is much easier to switch industries if you have the skill set.

Thanks frugal_c, because that's another fear...is what if I did need to switch back in. It's hard for me to objectively analyze since I know too much about this type of role (strange but for some reason true).

The one challenge in coming back later to sales-type roles is that you start with nothing, no business. Some firms will put you on a ramp, maybe 30k or 50k, but you have to "earn it back" out of margin split as you build up business. I'd probably be looking for a "better deal", aka moving in to cover an existing set of accounts. I guess it's always a needed element of larger product-based businesses though!


  • Stubble
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Can your wife's job provide health insurance?

You could do this but I'd figure out how to keep the budget as low as possible in case you don't earn as much money.

Also, formulate a specific plan of what you'd do. You have a lot of ideas, but it appears to me that if you pursued them all you'd be working 70 hours a week minimum.


  • Stubble
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You can try to run the calculations backwards. If you walked away today and stopped contributing to your investments (or only contributing your re income) how long would you have to leave it to grow to your fire #?

I'm also trying to get out of a soul sucking gig, so I understand the pull to just walk away on certain days! Sounds like your alternative uses a lot of best case scenario numbers, so make sure to reality check yourself.


  • Magnum Stache
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To me, the fact that both you and your wife are sick of the travel is determinative.  A fat paycheck isn't worth it if it loses the things you are working for (relationship with your wife, family, etc.).

But that doesn't mean quit now -- it means get a firm handle on what you spend now, what you need to make, and what your options are.  I second the notion to do a case study to give you some hard numbers -- if quitting is going to mean major tradeoffs, like selling the house or moving to a cheaper area, you want to know that before you make the decision. 

Once you know how much you need, you can think more clearly about your options to get there.  E.g., personally, I would not feel confident in something like Lyft to cover the load; $1500/week sounds extremely optimistic, and you don't want base your decision on optimistic projections and then find yourself working 14-hr days to make ends meet and not seeing your family anyway.  Running your own school might work, but what's the business plan, what's the basis for the income projections, and how much are you going to need to cover out of pocket before you start making that income (and where is that cash going to come from?)?  OTOH, maybe there are closer-to-home sales positions -- sure, they probably won't pay $150-200K (there's probably a reason you make that much now, a/k/a they are paying you a premium because the travel sucks), but if you only need, say, $30K or $50K, that opens up a whole new universe of jobs that can cover your bills and give you more of your life back.  Heck, once you know how much less you need and have decided you're willing to leave to get it, you could even go back to your current employer and ask about alternatives with less travel, even if it means a paycut.  Who knows, if they appreciate your skills, they might want to find a way to keep you around.

Tl;dr:  you need to know what you need and what you have first.  Then you can figure out how to fill the gap.