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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: lifejoy on January 23, 2016, 11:57:32 PM

Title: Take the safe path, or pursue a dream? Share your stories!
Post by: lifejoy on January 23, 2016, 11:57:32 PM
I'm currently working two jobs: middle management at a retail store, and selling diamonds and creating jewellery (I work as a consultant, and set my own appointments).

The management job is teaching me valuable skills, and pays ok. It relates to my degrees. I don't love it but I don't hate it. The hours and the contagious nature of my boss's stress are my biggest complaints.

The jewellery store job is great. My passions is selling jewellery: it often marks a meaningful time in someone's life, and I adore being involved in this process. I am also learning how to use software to create jewellery designs. I am in heaven.

Here's the rub: I am often so exhausted from the retail job, that I don't have much time or energy to devote to the jewellery job. I'm also eating out more because I'm working 7 days a week, double shifts, and cooking is sometimes just not what I have energy for.

So.... I'm tempted to take a risk. Quit the safe job, focus on the gamble, see how it pans out. Risky, but this is the right time in my life for a risky move. No kids yet, and a supportive husband who makes enough money for the two of us. The last time I worked full-time in jewellery sales, I came home with a smile on my face... Every day. Perhaps that's worth it. Or perhaps life is about doing hard things, and finding ways to get through it. The retail management job could open doors. I'm not sure what I should do.

But I don't think I can do two jobs much longer.

Please, tell me your stories of perseverance, or of risky adventures where you followed your passion!

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Title: Re: Take the safe path, or pursue a dream? Share your stories!
Post by: Noodle on January 24, 2016, 07:06:12 AM
The first question people will ask is, what are your (and your husband's) eventual goals for the family? If you want to save enough to have one or both parents home with kids, the answers will be different from those if you want to have sufficient FU money for disaster insulation, but don't care about early retirement.

That said, my answer sort of depends on where you are financially. I am not a "hard-core to the finish line Mustachian;" personally my answers vary with circumstances. For me...

If you are accumulating consumer debt rather than paying it (or are so tight monthly that you're in danger of it), have debt in collections, or are unemployed without a good-size stash--hard-core mustachianism and no whining--beans and rice, free library DVDs, the cheapest cell phone you can find (and, oh yeah, put that extra time you have into bringing in income, whether it's a side hustle or a better job). My recollection is that's not your situation.

If you are paying down consumer debt or a car loan, and building your emergency/FU fund (some people would also include paying student loans in this category)--still fairly hard-core Mustachianism. Maybe you have Netflix, or go out for the occasional coffee, or browse thrift stores for cute sweaters, but you may also continue to work one afternoon a week at the second retail job, etc. You stick with the job that brings in a solid income even if something else looks tempting (although of course you can always look around to see if there's something better with commensurate or increased pay).

If you are paying down the mortgage or accumulating to retire, and have a solid FU fund, it really just depends on your long-term goals and we can't really answer that for you. How much do you want retirement versus job satisfaction versus consumer goods and experiences? (There's not a right answer to this...this board is going to have a natural tilt toward people who want out of the workforce, but there are plenty of people who have a vocation and feel the best use of their life is to work at it, especially when the FU fund takes economics out of the equation.)

Of course some people will choose to stick with hard-core Mustachianism throughout the process and hit their goals much quicker.

Good luck with the decision!

Oh right, and personally I tend to be a "mitigated risk" person. I do take risks (multiple cross-country moves, once without a job) but I try to make sure I have a safety net in place first. For instance, the time I moved without a job, I had free housing with family while I was looking, and lived super cheap in the meantime.
Title: Re: Take the safe path, or pursue a dream? Share your stories!
Post by: BlueMR2 on January 24, 2016, 07:09:41 AM
I worked really hard pursuing the dream.  Multiple jobs, working hard to advance everywhere I worked, pushing myself to the edge (and beyond) of burnout constantly.  Then I found MMM and realized that if I quit being so spendy, and played it safe, that I was basically able to retire.

Now I've backed off and play it safe.  I don't have the wild highs, but neither do I have the crushing lows.  I'm pretty much content all the time...  Works for me now, but if I hadn't done the crazy early on, I wouldn't be at this point today...
Title: Re: Take the safe path, or pursue a dream? Share your stories!
Post by: thedayisbrave on January 24, 2016, 07:39:25 AM
I say take the risk.  But I also just recently wrote a blog post on quitting your 9-5 (if you want to read it, google "10 tips for leaving your 9-5 BiggerPockets".  Maybe it'll help.

You say your husband is supportive about it... so I see no reason not to! If you find that it's not what you thought, you could always get another retail job (or maybe the one you have would take you back).

No time like the present, I say :)
Title: Re: Take the safe path, or pursue a dream? Share your stories!
Post by: FIREby35 on January 24, 2016, 07:56:33 AM
It's hard to give advice just based on the internet post. I can say, in my life I have chosen the "riskier" path repeatedly and been richly rewarded. I am a lawyer. I turned down big salary jobs to start my own practice. In the end, I make more money, have more freedom and feel satisfied with my job. Not many lawyers can say the same.

If you have the chance, I say to go for it :)
Title: Re: Take the safe path, or pursue a dream? Share your stories!
Post by: KMMK on January 24, 2016, 09:11:16 AM
What do you see as the downsides to quitting your retail job? How much do these bother you and are there ways to compensate for them? With a supportive spouse who has a high salary, I'd quit the retail job (or try to switch to part time - would they let you step down from management?) and go for your dream. But with a timeline and back-up plan in mind.

But that's my opinion after spending the last year taking big risks and having them pay off substantially and in completely unpredictable ways. If my risks had turned out differently I might be giving more conservative advice.

Also, I don't know how you or your husband can handle you working that much. I'm having trouble with just my one full-time job. I can't wait to get back down to 20-30 hours a week so I can have a life again.
Title: Re: Take the safe path, or pursue a dream? Share your stories!
Post by: spokey doke on January 24, 2016, 09:28:06 AM
I have a very secure job that has OK compensation, good benefits, tons of flexibliity, but it is no longer satisfying at all, and it makes me angry on a regular basis.  Meanwhile, there is a passion I have, but to pursue it would mean quitting the current job (which I spent ages in school to qualify for), radically changing my professional identity, starting my own business at some expense, and signing up for a ton of work for very little money, all while being on the cusp of FIRE (if I were to stick it out a couple more years).

The plan?  Find an apprenticeship in the passion and if that goes well over the summer, give notice and not return to the ivory tower basement in the fall.  If it doesn't go well and I am not all-in in purusing the passion at that point, I can do OMY if I really need to, and consider other alternatives, but I'm basically done with the current job (but I find myself constantly rehearsing my rationale because the cord I'm cutting is rather substantial).

I'm rather excited and a bit nervous...
Title: Re: Take the safe path, or pursue a dream? Share your stories!
Post by: The Beacon on January 24, 2016, 11:36:16 AM
If the risk and reward ratio is there, do it while you are young.
Title: Re: Take the safe path, or pursue a dream? Share your stories!
Post by: lifejoy on January 24, 2016, 03:06:40 PM
Great, great points of insight. Our student loans are down to $7k and on track to be paid off in 3 months.

I think maybe now is the time for me to risk burnout, as I have no kids and my husband's job keeps him super busy. Normally, I prefer proceeding with a safety net. But lately I've been so tired an down about my manager job that I've lost energy needed to sustain it all. Maybe I can plan life better to make it all happen... And then 6-12 months from now when we actively start planning for a family, I can look at scaling back on hours.

Thinking about it.

Doors closed: jewellery management, librarian jobs. The book store management gig could lead to other opportunities.

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Title: Re: Take the safe path, or pursue a dream? Share your stories!
Post by: arebelspy on January 25, 2016, 12:56:46 AM
Having read your stuff for a long time, I say go for it.

The happiness you got from working the jewelry gig was enormous.

Give it a shot.  I think it's tough to make any commission job work, financially, so if your end goals with the job is to make decent money, you may have to bail on it awhile.  If your goal is to enjoy your life/job, and just make a little to help supplement your husband's (and you get past any hangups around that, and be okay being a partnership where you don't have to worry about what dollar figure you're each bringing in), you may keep at it.

Either way, it's worth a shot to see, IMO.

My only hangup is this:
The book store management gig could lead to other opportunities.

The above is what I was intending to post while reading the OP and through the thread.  Then I hit that line.  I don't know what those opportunities entail, or how much you'll enjoy them, or whatever, but it's worth considering what you're giving up, and maybe pursuing those opportunities instead, if you'll enjoy them.

I still think this is worth the shot though.

You're in a very enviable position of multiple safety nets.  If you take a risk, and it doesn't work out, big * deal.  Now is the time to try.

Crossing my fingers for you!
Title: Re: Take the safe path, or pursue a dream? Share your stories!
Post by: Anatidae V on February 16, 2016, 02:54:06 AM
I completely missed this!

If you were my wife? I'd ask that we paid off the last $7k, while trying to help you cut back your hours, because 7 days a week is nuts to me.

Can you work 5 days instead? Are there any other middle managers? Also, I'd take the time now to use this to practice setting boundaries around myself and my stress and refuse any stress from the upper manager. So, i guess: see about transitioning from one to the other instead of sharply quitting one an starting the other. I was burnt out for a long while before I realised it, it really affected my work for at least a year (I wasn't able to meet the standard I would have been able to had I not had burn out), and it's going to take me a while to recover.
Title: Re: Take the safe path, or pursue a dream? Share your stories!
Post by: faramund on February 16, 2016, 03:10:25 AM
I can give you two perspectives, one is almost the same as yours, my wife wanted to start a business, and I have a good, stable job, so she took the chance and its worked out, so its all good.

On the other hand, I have a friend, who started his own business, but after a year or so, it didn't turn out, and he had to close it down and return to employee work.

I think if you have a dream to have your own business/work, and you don't do it, it will be a what-if that will play on your mind, maybe for the rest of your life. If with your husband's work you can try it - I'd say go for it - even if it doesn't turn out, it won't be the end of the world - I'm sure you'll be able to get work again - just as my friend unsuccessfully tried his dream, and has returned to being a well paid employee.

The only caution, I'd add, is that many businesses fail because of cash-flow - think about what you intend to sell, what price will you charge, and how often you can do that each which, that can work out your estimated gross profit, then you have to take out whatever expenses you have to pay - now you have to think about how realistic you are about this.

Both my wife and my friend got this wrong - but my wife had enough slack in her plans that things still worked out well - good luck!!
Title: Re: Take the safe path, or pursue a dream? Share your stories!
Post by: little_brown_dog on February 16, 2016, 08:42:28 AM
We chose to do the dangerous thing and become a one income family. No regrets whatsoever. Extra money is just not worth being miserable or giving up what is important to you. If you dont need the income (read: no/low debt, expenses covered, saving a bit) then go for it.
Title: Re: Take the safe path, or pursue a dream? Share your stories!
Post by: ooeei on February 16, 2016, 09:13:45 AM
My live-in girlfriend just took a pay cut about 6 months ago to go from a job that she disliked, to one she LOVES and gives her time for her side job she's passionate about.  She went from making 55k to 25k/year (maybe 35k since she can do the side job now due to less hours), but it's been well worth it to both of us.  I've been paying for most of our expenses since the change as she's had some expensive doctor stuff going on, but it's so worth it to me to see her happy every day instead of burned out.  She can't wait to tell me about whatever ridiculous thing happened at her work, and is always excited to do her side job. 

We're not in debt, and are currently saving up for FIRE.  Right now I'd say we're ~10 years out, as opposed to maybe 7-8 if she had stayed at the other job.  Would make the same decision again 100% if given the choice.  The other thing is, she could easily find another $55k job if she really wanted/needed to.