Author Topic: FI: Job Switching & Valuing Intangibles  (Read 5721 times)

FIfidelis

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 7
FI: Job Switching & Valuing Intangibles
« on: June 04, 2015, 05:56:39 PM »
In the past I've found it unproductive to solicit job advice from financial forums, but I'm at a loss as to how to proceed to FI. I'll preface this by saying that I already know what your advice will likely be... to stay on the present course without deviation, to not leave my current job... but I'm far more interested in alternative responsible suggestions. Here are my stats and predicament:

31 years old, single, male
~$205k networth, fully liquid assets, no debt
$9k Cash
$196k Stock Investments ($75k 401k/IRA)
$65k gross salary, $54k net, $18k to 401k, ~$3k-$3.5k total savings per month

Other Assets
B.A. (though it's humanities)
2 A.A. in foreign languages +proficiency required for contracting work
Security Clearance
Have Post 9/11 GI Bill
~8 years time in service
Paid off car

I hate my job. I'm in the military and am projected for separation in another 5 months. The job is easy, I usually only work ~35 hours a week, but I work a night shift, live 1k+ miles from family and friends, live in a undesirable location, have no job satisfaction or purpose, and hate every minute of this job. All I do is countdown the hours each day.

I didn't make great plans for separating. I have three possibilities: programming boot camp in Fort Collins for 6 months to become a full stack developer ($20k price tag!, can't use GI Bill), moving to Austin to continue online classes to do an accelerated nursing program in fall 2016 that will take 1.5 years to complete, Maritime school to become a maritime engineer (wait listed, find out soon). The problem with these is that I'm obviously not going to be putting away $3.5k a month anymore, and I don't necessarily know if I'll enjoy any of these jobs ten years from now. Mathematically I'll likely be in a much better financial position if I just stay enlisted or commissioned and retired in 12 years--even if I was to get out and save $100k per year! This should tell you something about how miserable I am with my job--I'm willing to leave a ~35 hour work week and, with benefits, essentially a $100k job with 30 paid vacation days a year.

The big question is really how do I begin to value the intangibles: my ability to live and work where I want in a job I may enjoy more as opposed to despising work though likely achieve FI faster?

Also, as a sub question, what other jobs should I be considering aside from government contracting in my language? What other decent paying fields am I qualified for that I may not have considered? I really want to keep my FI momentum going, but not by doing something I absolutely despise and wasting, arguably, the best years of health I have left.

Thanks for reading!

chasesfish

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3302
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Texas
Re: FI: Job Switching & Valuing Intangibles
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2015, 06:09:28 PM »
You didn't say in the three options you listed what you wanted most..

Life is too short to be miserable.  Its not like you're in a job saving $10k/mo and having to stick it out 12-18 months to never work again.  Your numbers still look like 6-10 years depending on market performance.


Insanity

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1026
Re: FI: Job Switching & Valuing Intangibles
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2015, 06:23:15 PM »
20k for a full stack developer over six months?  That combine with a security clearance can put you in high demand.

After that, learn   about software security and you could be making 4-5x easily  within a year or so.

FIfidelis

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 7
Re: FI: Job Switching & Valuing Intangibles
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2015, 06:59:16 PM »
You didn't say in the three options you listed what you wanted most..

Life is too short to be miserable.  Its not like you're in a job saving $10k/mo and having to stick it out 12-18 months to never work again.  Your numbers still look like 6-10 years depending on market performance.



Yes, you're right it is that long minimum, but in 12 years I also get a $50k pension AND free healthcare, so suddenly market performance doesn't matter and I can do whatever I want with the portfolio I've built by that point. I would also escape this place in a few years by cross training or doing a health care commissioning program, which I will likely do.

I'm leaning towards maritime academy or RN at this point, which brings up more complications. I can be an RN in the military and have my education paid for by the military while going to school (don't have to use GI Bill). I would also be making my current salary during that time. But what that means is that I would still be here for 2-4 years longer while trying to get into the program.

So here's what the breakdown looks like for that plan:

RN out of military:
Complete all prereqs end of fall 2015
Ideally start program fall 2016 (have 7 months to fill in the meantime!)

Pros:
Better chance to meet a likeminded SO
Free to live anywhere I choose
Free to find alternative career in the meantime
RN then progress to CRNA, make much more money while also enjoying more freedom

Cons: potentially little to no extra asset accumulation for 3+ years

RN or PA in military:

Pros:
Not as much stress, now have a plan to escape being here in 2-4 years
Complete all prereqs spring 2016, can't apply until spring 2017, leave fall 2017
Financial benefit for 3-4 years still in: $105-$140k saved, so base existence FI fund achieved

Cons:
Still here for 2-4 years
Potentially not get into medical program
Wasted 4 years in terms of alternative career progression
Even if I get into program, may be given assignments to places I hate, may likely never live where I want until FI


FIfidelis

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 7
Re: FI: Job Switching & Valuing Intangibles
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2015, 07:04:26 PM »
20k for a full stack developer over six months?  That combine with a security clearance can put you in high demand.

After that, learn   about software security and you could be making 4-5x easily  within a year or so.

I was quoted anywhere from $60k to $120k starting after taking the course. My concern with that is when I was given a ruby development technical challenge I couldn't solve it. I have no natural apptitude for programming and didn't like learning it. I'm definitely interested in the income, but I don't know if I could actually pick full stack development up and if I'm wasting my time taking the course. What do I look into with software security? What certs?

Briarly

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 34
Re: FI: Job Switching & Valuing Intangibles
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2015, 04:17:26 AM »
I went to nursing school in my late 20s, as a practical choice- I have gotten more from it than I ever expected. I love my job, am paid reasonably well, and find it so rewarding.
I think it's worth it to get satisfaction from your work as well as money.
also, I have plenty of free time to enjoy life- my last job was just 3 twelve hour days.
also, scrubs! so cheap and comfortable.

FIfidelis

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 7
Re: FI: Job Switching & Valuing Intangibles
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2015, 09:47:25 AM »
I went to nursing school in my late 20s, as a practical choice- I have gotten more from it than I ever expected. I love my job, am paid reasonably well, and find it so rewarding.
I think it's worth it to get satisfaction from your work as well as money.
also, I have plenty of free time to enjoy life- my last job was just 3 twelve hour days.
also, scrubs! so cheap and comfortable.

I saw you mentioned that you can make $90k? Do you just have a BSN or something more than that?

TrulyStashin

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1030
  • Location: Mid-Sized Southern City
Re: FI: Job Switching & Valuing Intangibles
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2015, 09:57:07 AM »
What about using your language skills? 

My son was in the Army for 6 years and came out in 2013 fluent in Mandarin and with a BA in Diplomacy and Chinese.  He has used his GI Bill to get a MA in Chinese language and culture (graduating in August).  Corporations (both Chinese and U.S.) are chasing him down to hire him to help them roll out programs in either the U.S. or China.  He's lived in Beijing for the past year, finishing his MA, and hopes to go back.  It looks like that might happen.

Another option he's considering is this, which will further develop his language/ culture skills targeted toward business settings http://www.miis.edu/.  He can use his GI Bill to pay for MIIS.

Just a few more options to consider.

humbleMouse

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 299
  • Location: Minneapolis
Re: FI: Job Switching & Valuing Intangibles
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2015, 10:45:39 AM »
20k for a full stack developer over six months?  That combine with a security clearance can put you in high demand.

After that, learn   about software security and you could be making 4-5x easily  within a year or so.

I was quoted anywhere from $60k to $120k starting after taking the course. My concern with that is when I was given a ruby development technical challenge I couldn't solve it. I have no natural apptitude for programming and didn't like learning it. I'm definitely interested in the income, but I don't know if I could actually pick full stack development up and if I'm wasting my time taking the course. What do I look into with software security? What certs?


I think you may be rushing into development too fast without the basics of web development down.  I wouldn't get down on yourself because you couldn't solve a ruby challenge.  That's like asking somebody to bake a cake when they haven't been told what an oven is... or something.

As far as software security goes, you still need to understand the basics of web development, and actually understand it pretty thoroughly if you want to be of any value in the software security industry.  Based on what you mentioned about knowing another language, I would point out that you can be very valuable in the software security industry if you could learn russian. 

http://krebsonsecurity.com/

Check out that link.  That guy is a well known computer security guy who knows russian and is very valuable.  If you could learn web development, learn russian, and have your security clearance, you could work for a whole bunch of different places that would highly value that skillset. 

One thing is for sure though, the computer industry is not about having certifications.  You just need to cut your teeth on web development the hard way. 

StockBeard

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 638
  • Age: 37
    • How To Retire Early?
Re: FI: Job Switching & Valuing Intangibles
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2015, 12:26:22 PM »
If you hate the job, you won't last the 10 or so years you need to reach FI.
It depends on people I think, but I'd say 2 years is a "maximum of waste of life" I would allow for myself. You'd rather switch to something you like, even if it puts FI a bit further down the road. Time flies when you enjoy it, so you would be better off even if another job increases your time to FI.

Just my 2 cents.

norabird

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8194
  • Location: Brooklyn NY
Re: FI: Job Switching & Valuing Intangibles
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2015, 01:01:38 PM »
Quote
If you hate the job, you won't last the 10 or so years you need to reach FI.
It depends on people I think, but I'd say 2 years is a "maximum of waste of life" I would allow for myself. You'd rather switch to something you like, even if it puts FI a bit further down the road. Time flies when you enjoy it, so you would be better off even if another job increases your time to FI.

+1. Don't let yourself be caught by the golden handcuffs feeling. A change (whichever you choose) would do you good it seems.

Insanity

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1026
Re: FI: Job Switching & Valuing Intangibles
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2015, 02:16:35 PM »

20k for a full stack developer over six months?  That combine with a security clearance can put you in high demand.

After that, learn   about software security and you could be making 4-5x easily  within a year or so.

I was quoted anywhere from $60k to $120k starting after taking the course. My concern with that is when I was given a ruby development technical challenge I couldn't solve it. I have no natural apptitude for programming and didn't like learning it. I'm definitely interested in the income, but I don't know if I could actually pick full stack development up and if I'm wasting my time taking the course. What do I look into with software security? What certs?


I think you may be rushing into development too fast without the basics of web development down.  I wouldn't get down on yourself because you couldn't solve a ruby challenge.  That's like asking somebody to bake a cake when they haven't been told what an oven is... or something.

As far as software security goes, you still need to understand the basics of web development, and actually understand it pretty thoroughly if you want to be of any value in the software security industry.  Based on what you mentioned about knowing another language, I would point out that you can be very valuable in the software security industry if you could learn russian. 

http://krebsonsecurity.com/

Check out that link.  That guy is a well known computer security guy who knows russian and is very valuable.  If you could learn web development, learn russian, and have your security clearance, you could work for a whole bunch of different places that would highly value that skillset. 

One thing is for sure though, the computer industry is not about having certifications.  You just need to cut your teeth on web development the hard way.

Krebs is good.  From a software development follow OWASP as well.

MustacheNY

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 30
Re: FI: Job Switching & Valuing Intangibles
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2015, 02:41:45 PM »
One thing to comment on is the role of a sense of purpose in making time pass more quickly and more enjoyably.  If you stay in for the next year taking prerequisite courses, that very sense of purpose and focus could help you get through that time.  At that point, if you do not get accepted, you will have had prerequisites that would be applicable for a nursing program outside of military.  So it may cost you an extra 2-years of your life, but the very focus on having a clear goal that you are working to obtain may offset some of your dissatisfaction.  At the end of the two years, you can always go to a nursing program outside the military as a backup option and have an extra 70-85K (3K-3.5K*24) in savings with which to pay for nursing school to ensure that you finish completely debt free.

Briarly

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 34
Re: FI: Job Switching & Valuing Intangibles
« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2015, 06:17:15 PM »
re: above- what I earn as a nurse:
I've never tried to maximize my earning potential, actually. I don't enjoy hospitals which is where the money is.  my highest earning year I think I made 70k (with a BSN).
last year, living in a LCOL, no overtime (I was finishing a masters), I made 50k.
depending on what hours you're willing to work you can make a lot more as an RN. I just haven't prioritized that yet.
I'm a nurse practitioner now, have been offered jobs that pay anywhere between 60k and 110k. I was able to work full time through the masters. i now have a teaching job 30 weeks out of the year, 4 days a week during those weeks, that pays me 40k with spectacular year round benefits, leaving me plenty of time to work as an NP. my per diem job pays me between $38 to $63/ hourly and I can always get more work. or, I can take the summer off if I want.
but, really- I love my job and feel so lucky to get to do it. it's interesting, intense, challenging, and has made me a better person. there is endless flexibility, and humans and their bodies and experiences are just amazing.

Nords

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3217
  • Age: 59
  • Location: Oahu
    • Military Retirement & Financial Independence blog
Re: FI: Job Switching & Valuing Intangibles
« Reply #14 on: June 06, 2015, 07:54:51 PM »
You didn't say in the three options you listed what you wanted most..

Life is too short to be miserable.  Its not like you're in a job saving $10k/mo and having to stick it out 12-18 months to never work again.  Your numbers still look like 6-10 years depending on market performance.



Yes, you're right it is that long minimum, but in 12 years I also get a $50k pension AND free healthcare, so suddenly market performance doesn't matter and I can do whatever I want with the portfolio I've built by that point. I would also escape this place in a few years by cross training or doing a health care commissioning program, which I will likely do.

I'm leaning towards maritime academy or RN at this point, which brings up more complications. I can be an RN in the military and have my education paid for by the military while going to school (don't have to use GI Bill). I would also be making my current salary during that time. But what that means is that I would still be here for 2-4 years longer while trying to get into the program.
If you're not happy then it doesn't matter how long or valuable the "pros" part of the list may be... the "cons" will kill your mental, emotional, and possibly even physical health.

It sounds as if RN (out of the military) offers a reboot with greater career and lifestyle opportunities.  You won't be earning a steady paycheck, but you'll have a huge ROI when you're hired and working your way toward CRNA.

If you haven't already done so, attend your service's transition program now-- TAP or GPS or whatever it may be called.  Use their discovery and self-assessment software to determine whether there's another career field that interests you.

See if any of those interests includes software engineering, including security and systems management.  Don't worry about your full-stack development skills, and don't even worry about not enjoying programming.  I have a master's degree in it and I dislike programming in any language, but I'm very good at using existing code to assemble separate things together into systems.  You could also get into many different aspects of programming that require you to understand the code yet won't necessitate your blowing it for eight hours per day-- and one of those areas is contracting.  Someone has to look at the contractor's code and see whether it makes sense.

If you're willing to relocate to Texas then look into the state's VetFIT program.  USAA is a big promoter of it for hiring employees to develop their new mobile apps, and other large corporations are jumping on to the bandwagon too:  http://www.glassdoor.com/Interview/USAA-VetFIT-Java-Developer-Trainee-Interview-Questions-EI_IE3033.0,4_KO5,34.htm  As a military veteran, you're the ideal candidate for both VetFIT and for USAA (or any other large military-friendly corporation).  But you'd also have plenty of opportunities in Houston or SA with the Texas Medical Center or other corporate/university hospitals.

I'll throw out two other alternatives to completely leaving the military:
1.  Join the Reserves or National Guard, consistent with your ability to complete your RN degree or your programming certification.  You can find a unit where you can continue your military skills to reach 20 "good years" and a pension which starts at age 60... and it's adjusted for the growth of the military pay tables to be worth about the same inflation-adjusted value at age 60 as it would be when you finish your 20 good years. 

2.  Take a RN (or programming) career with a federal or state civil-service department that would enable you to buy back your military time in their pension program.  That way you'll still have some value from your military service without having to do drills or annual training.

If after all of this you still don't have a freakin' clue what you want to do (which is perfectly normal), then consider selecting a position at USAA and interviewing for it.  You'll probably be working somewhere in Texas, you'll be opening doors to many more branches of the corporation, and you'll have a steady paycheck while you save up for a career you really care about.  In the meantime USAA understands veterans and will use their employee-development program to help you figure out how you can fit in-- and they'll do a much better job than the military's TAP seminar.

mozar

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3065
Re: FI: Job Switching & Valuing Intangibles
« Reply #15 on: June 07, 2015, 03:41:24 PM »
I agree that a night shift isn't worth it. But I think I would hate any job, so I'm sticking with mine for as long as I can. Just another point of view.

okits

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9105
  • Location: Canada
Re: FI: Job Switching & Valuing Intangibles
« Reply #16 on: June 07, 2015, 07:23:58 PM »
Can we back it up a little and figure out what your goals in life are?  I ask because you mentioned finding a like-minded SO.  Are having a life partner (and/or children) "nice to haves" or "must haves"? 

For me, giving finding a life partner my best try was a must-do.  Part of my "best try" was working a job/career that made the search and relationship development/maintenance possible. A job in an isolated field (or with a non-diverse workforce), a job that doesn't allow some kind of stability or room for non-work activities, or a job that makes you miserable are long-term incompatible with finding and being with a mate.   

Clearly being FI is an important goal for you.  But is it your #1 goal? 

One more thought is that if you're going to leave your detested job, you need to make sure you're going to something that you have an aptitude for and that you like. No point to leaving, otherwise.

Edit: fixed punctuation and messed up sentence.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2015, 07:43:31 PM by okits »

FIfidelis

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 7
Re: FI: Job Switching & Valuing Intangibles
« Reply #17 on: June 08, 2015, 07:28:28 PM »
One thing to comment on is the role of a sense of purpose in making time pass more quickly and more enjoyably.  If you stay in for the next year taking prerequisite courses, that very sense of purpose and focus could help you get through that time.  At that point, if you do not get accepted, you will have had prerequisites that would be applicable for a nursing program outside of military.  So it may cost you an extra 2-years of your life, but the very focus on having a clear goal that you are working to obtain may offset some of your dissatisfaction.  At the end of the two years, you can always go to a nursing program outside the military as a backup option and have an extra 70-85K (3K-3.5K*24) in savings with which to pay for nursing school to ensure that you finish completely debt free.

This is an excellent point, and I have noticed how it's much easier to cope with work now that I have this new direction in life and am taking classes to get there. The problem is that I have to reenlist for a minimum of four years, and it is very unlikely that they will let me go unless I get selected for the commissioning program. It has been more selective to get into the nursing program every year. Three years ago it was like 70%, then 50%, and last year was 30%.

FIfidelis

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 7
Re: FI: Job Switching & Valuing Intangibles
« Reply #18 on: June 08, 2015, 07:42:26 PM »
Nords, thank you for the wealth of information. You've given me a lot of options to think about. It does look like ANG or reserves would be a good idea while I do school. I know embarrassingly little about the programs, but intend to find out more and see how flexible it is with moving from state to state as my career progresses.

I haven't been able to find too much info about the USAA program, but I'll definitely look into it. I tried to contact a rep from a reddit post I found about it, but no luck so far. I should call corporate. All the jobs listed there seem to be for people with actual experience in IT.

VetFIT sounds great too, and I have a lot of friends in Houston so that could potentially work out very well.

FIfidelis

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 7
Re: FI: Job Switching & Valuing Intangibles
« Reply #19 on: June 08, 2015, 07:54:34 PM »
Can we back it up a little and figure out what your goals in life are?  I ask because you mentioned finding a like-minded SO.  Are having a life partner (and/or children) "nice to haves" or "must haves"? 

For me, giving finding a life partner my best try was a must-do?  Part of my "best try" was working job/career that made the search and relationship development/maintenance possible. A job in an isolated field (or with a non-diverse workforce), a job that doesn't allow some kind of stability or room for non-work activities, or a job that makes you miserable are long-term incompatible with finding and being with a mate.   

Clearly being FI is an important goal for you.  But is it your #1 goal? 

One more thought is that if you're going to leave your detested job, you need to make sure you're going to something that you have an aptitude for and that you like. No point to leaving, otherwise.

I always use to feel that I'd be fine alone, but after my last relationship ended I realized just how important it was to have someone great around, and this geographical area and job really dont afford me many opportunities to meet someone with whom I'm compatible.

Your other points are great and honestly these are the problems that keep me up at night. I have a job that affords a decent amount of time off and that is easy to do. Would I hate other jobs with longer hours, the constant job search for a higher paying position, dealing with health insurance, and would I even be good at one of those other jobs? It is difficult to say just from what I've looked into. Almost all I know professionally is just what I've experienced in the military.