Author Topic: Working your butt off now or enjoying life now too?  (Read 13914 times)

SpendyMcSpend

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Working your butt off now or enjoying life now too?
« on: May 18, 2012, 03:11:19 PM »
I find myself weekly having a conversation with myself.

It goes something like this:  "Wow it's 6pm.  I really want to get out of the office now and go running or head home and have some dinner."

"Meadow, what are you talking about?  If you stay two hours longer, that is another $120 to put into your retirement fund or pay off your student loans with?"

"Yes, but should I be enjoying life now too?  I'm 29 years old.  I want to have fun and not burn myself out."

"Yes, Meadow, but how are you going to retire early if you aren't willing to work lots of overtime?"


Anyone else struggle with this question?

ShavenLlama

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Re: Working your butt off now or enjoying life now too?
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2012, 03:20:08 PM »
I do sometimes have to struggle with the "why the hell am I still in this office?"

But I'm on salary, so no overtime pay. :(

I do chuckle, though, when I hear the hourly workers complain about overtime. Really, you don't like getting paid time-and-a-half and double-time? As long as it's not a daily thing, I'd say get it while the getting's good. And if it is a daily thing, I guess just be glad you're getting paid for it.

James

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Re: Working your butt off now or enjoying life now too?
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2012, 03:40:50 PM »
This winter I had to decide whether to stay full time for 2012 or drop down to .8 for the year.  We were still working on paying off school loans, and we are still in a house too large and too far from town, so I stayed at 1.0 for the year.  I'm on call every 4th day and every 4th weekend, and put in overtime when on call, so I'd really like to drop down for the sake of my three kids.  They are 7, 9, and 13, and I want to be there for them at this age.  I also spend a couple weeks out of the country every year on medical mission trips, which eats up a lot of my vacation time.


It's definitely a balance, and I think the key is to make a principled decision in advance.  THIS is how much I'm willing to work.  THIS is what I need to do outside of work every day/week to keep sane.  And only you can decide what THIS is.  It all needs to be balanced with your goals and circumstances in life, there obviously isn't one right answer.  But I think it's a great question and topic to bring up.

cdttmm

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Re: Working your butt off now or enjoying life now too?
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2012, 03:44:03 PM »
Is overtime work common in your position?  If so, I would set a limit on the number of hours of overtime you are willing to work in a week.  That way you can have the best of both worlds, work a certain amount of overtime but still have days when you leave the office on time and enjoy your life!  If overtime work isn't common in your position, then I would recommend working as many hours as you can knowing that it is a temporary situation.  When I was trying to pay off my debt I worked two jobs, my full-time salaried gig and another part-time well paying hourly gig.  I took as many hours as I possibly could in the part-time job and threw all my extra cash at my debt.  Once I had everything paid off, I cut back on the part-time job to a point where I did it at a level where it was just fun to do.  I took the money from my full-time job that had been going towards debt repayment and threw it into my retirement accounts and various savings and investment accounts so I was able to happily walk away from all of it when the time came.

SpendyMcSpend

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Re: Working your butt off now or enjoying life now too?
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2012, 03:51:35 PM »
I can work up to about 12 hours of OT a week without getting a bunch of questions about what I'm doing.  We kind of have unlimited amounts of work here.  We are a research center for a law firm and we have a database and working on IT projects.  There is always stuff to do.

AJ

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Re: Working your butt off now or enjoying life now too?
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2012, 04:06:02 PM »
Honestly, for me, if it is only 52 hours a week (assuming full time is 40, plus your max 12 OT) I would work it every week as long as I didn't have kids. 52 hours is par for the course in a lot of places, and I would want to pile up as much cash as possible. My cap would probably be 60 hours, but it is a matter of personal taste. If I had kids, 40 would be my max (if anything).

I'm totally jealous of your OT, though. I'm salaried as well.

SpendyMcSpend

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Re: Working your butt off now or enjoying life now too?
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2012, 04:06:47 PM »
Just to make you a tad more jealous, I make time and a half after 35 hours.

However my hours are a little weird.  I am allowed to work 11-7pm every day if I want, so to get the 12 hours I'd need to either come in early (and I'm not a morning person) or stay late.  I'd have to stay till 9 each night if I came in at 11.

I also have a 1.5 hour commute each way :(

I should really try to get in around 10 each day and just stay till 7:30.

AJ

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Re: Working your butt off now or enjoying life now too?
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2012, 04:08:11 PM »
Just to make you a tad more jealous, I make time and a half after 35 hours.

:P

I also have a 1.5 hour commute each way :(

Yuk! Any way to come in early AND stay late and switch to 4 days a week?
« Last Edit: May 18, 2012, 04:10:02 PM by AJ »

SpendyMcSpend

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Re: Working your butt off now or enjoying life now too?
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2012, 04:14:29 PM »
No chance. I WISH!

SpendyMcSpend

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Re: Working your butt off now or enjoying life now too?
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2012, 04:16:34 PM »
It would be cool to read about MMM and his wife's work lifestyle before they retired.  Did they work crazy hours?

gooki

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Re: Working your butt off now or enjoying life now too?
« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2012, 04:54:52 PM »
From what I gathered MrMM worked a lot after hours (but on own projects)

WageSlave

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Re: Working your butt off now or enjoying life now too?
« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2012, 05:05:00 PM »
However my hours are a little weird.  I am allowed to work 11-7pm every day if I want, so to get the 12 hours I'd need to either come in early (and I'm not a morning person) or stay late.  I'd have to stay till 9 each night if I came in at 11.

I also have a 1.5 hour commute each way :(

I should really try to get in around 10 each day and just stay till 7:30.

If you've read Your Money Or Your Life (YMYL), you know that one of the first principles of FI is determining your real hourly wage.  For you, three hours of commuting per day is really going to drive your true hourly wage down.  Given that, I would definitely max out your overtime, at least for a while.  This would help to offset the cut you're taking due to the commute (i.e. it would improve your overall wage efficiency).

If it's at all possible, if you can eliminate (or at least dramatically reduce) the commute, you could work that overtime, and still come out ahead in terms of non-work-related hours (i.e. more time for "real life").

If fixing the commute isn't an option, then I'd say you might want to consider a different job.  Unless you're making mega-bucks, as I said before, that three-hour commute is killing your real wage.  If you run the math, you might be able to find a job with a minimal (say 15 minutes or less) commute; even if the "paper" wage is lower, you'll probably still come out ahead in terms of real wages.  Not to mention, if that 1.5 hour commute is driving, you're really cutting into your wages.

I suppose you could be biking or walking 1.5 hours each way---I think that definitely qualifies as bad-ass!  I'm assuming that's not the case.  :)

I'm assuming you're not in love with your job or you wouldn't have made this post.  That makes it much easier to reduce to a purely rational decision, rather than an emotional or gut-feel one.  Do the math: find your real wage.  Take your annual post-tax pay, and subtract out all work-related expenses.  This is any money you wouldn't spend if you didn't have the job, such as gas and maintenance on your car (or your mass transit ticket), any special clothing or uniforms, supplies, etc.  Divide that number by total hours worked plus time spent commuting.  This is your real hourly wage.  Next step, do some research.  How much would it cost you to move to a place where the commute goes away or is minimized?  Also, what other jobs are available near where you live now?  Run the math for those two scenarios as well.  The biggest real wage will be the most efficient situation.  As long as it covers the bills and allows you to save at your target rate, it's almost certainly the best choice (assuming the "soft" factors are good, e.g. no sucky work environement).


SpendyMcSpend

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Re: Working your butt off now or enjoying life now too?
« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2012, 06:05:09 PM »
I'll do a more in-depth analysis of my real wage, but wanted to respond about the cost of living closer to work.  To live about 25 minutes from work, I'd be paying $1300 a month.  Right now I pay $600 a month plus $254 in train costs. 

I make $67,900 base and between 7-12 hours of OT a week at 55.9 per hour OT rate. 

I am changing jobs next year.  (That's in a different post)


Mrs MM

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Re: Working your butt off now or enjoying life now too?
« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2012, 09:30:44 PM »
It would be cool to read about MMM and his wife's work lifestyle before they retired.  Did they work crazy hours?

Nope!  I'd say our working life was pretty casual.  It tended to be a 9:30 to 5:30 every day - plus the time to bike home, which was about 35-40 mins each way.  I think both of us worked very hard while at work and advanced in our careers because of our hard work and dedication.  We'd stay after work when needed, but overall, it was pretty easy going.

But, as someone else mentioned, MMM came home and worked on our house constantly for several years to fix it up and to learn more about the craft.  I helped a little too.  There were always projects on the go, and it still seems to be that way.  He is happy when he is producing something and rarely sits around for very long (unless he's working on a blog post!).  :)

gooki

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Re: Working your butt off now or enjoying life now too?
« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2012, 12:59:34 AM »
The other thing to consider is the effects of overtime on your social life. If your not already in a committed relationship, is working so much restricting friendships and community involvement?

Osprey

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Re: Working your butt off now or enjoying life now too?
« Reply #15 on: May 19, 2012, 03:59:49 AM »
It's easier to "work while you're young" if you like the work. If you hate it, rather put that energy into something more worthwhile. I am 27 and quit doing calls (1/3 salary cut, ouch) but I now have time to develop the social and creative skills that I missed out on during med school. My colleagues are building big houses and investment portfolios though, so I do second guess my decision sometimes.

Osprey

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Re: Working your butt off now or enjoying life now too?
« Reply #16 on: May 19, 2012, 04:04:04 AM »
P.S. I developed burnout and believe me it is not cheap to have to take unpaid burnout leave...

arebelspy

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Re: Working your butt off now or enjoying life now too?
« Reply #17 on: May 19, 2012, 08:34:15 AM »
I take all the extra work I can get, and when it seems like a lot I just power through and tell myself it's not that much, others have to work harder, think about the situation for some in other countries, etc.

My work isn't hauling buckets of water for hours so I have something to cook in, so I can stand a little more "office" work.

I do get plenty of down time though, so it's easy to tell myself this.  I just try to look at it positive.
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dancedancekj

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Re: Working your butt off now or enjoying life now too?
« Reply #18 on: May 19, 2012, 11:56:32 AM »
It's easier to "work while you're young" if you like the work. If you hate it, rather put that energy into something more worthwhile. I am 27 and quit doing calls (1/3 salary cut, ouch) but I now have time to develop the social and creative skills that I missed out on during med school. My colleagues are building big houses and investment portfolios though, so I do second guess my decision sometimes.

Especially after grad school, I allowed myself a little time to take a breather regarding work and money. In my case, dental school was hell, and I needed to recuperate mentally, emotionally, and physically before I decide to throw myself back into the ring. I'm about a year out, and I'm looking at picking up a few more hours now, but I definitely needed the time off to do things (hang out with friends, plant flowers, work out without feeling guilty) I just knew I could start working more when I started getting too bored.

2handband

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Re: Working your butt off now or enjoying life now too?
« Reply #19 on: May 21, 2012, 06:11:11 PM »
I find myself weekly having a conversation with myself.

It goes something like this:  "Wow it's 6pm.  I really want to get out of the office now and go running or head home and have some dinner."

"Meadow, what are you talking about?  If you stay two hours longer, that is another $120 to put into your retirement fund or pay off your student loans with?"

"Yes, but should I be enjoying life now too?  I'm 29 years old.  I want to have fun and not burn myself out."

"Yes, Meadow, but how are you going to retire early if you aren't willing to work lots of overtime?"


Anyone else struggle with this question?

Regarding the bolded question above. Retiring early does not require lots of overtime. Retiring early requires super-cheap living. Look, you're 29. How long do you want to keep busting your ass? Granted you might have a fancier house or nicer stuff that way, but is it worth it? You want to put yourself in a position to enjoy life NOW. I mean, seriously... you could be dead in five years. Do you want to slip away from this earth thinking that you spent your entire time here busting ass for a retirement that you now will never get? Or do you want to think that you derived maximum enjoyment out of every moment that you had?

Of course, you have to determine for yourself what it takes to enjoy life. For me it's one thing and one thing only: free time. Seriously, nothing else will do. Working a job makes me want to kill myself. So for me, if I'm going to enjoy my life right here and now I obviously cannot hold down a job... and not doing everything you can to enjoy yourself right now is just plain nuts. Who knows if there'll be a tomorrow?

Judging by your post, it sounds like you are NOT enjoying life if you're pulling all that overtime. So my advice is don't do it. Don't ruin your present for a future you may never get.

rjk86

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Re: Working your butt off now or enjoying life now too?
« Reply #20 on: May 21, 2012, 08:03:20 PM »
Here are my thoughts:
It goes something like this:  "Wow it's 6pm.  I really want to get out of the office now and go running or head home and have some dinner."
I think running and taking care of your body should come before working overtime.  That's nothing at all to feel guilty about.  You only have one body, make sure it's built to last.  Your body also needs food.  But having a $20 steak every night isn't doing any good for both your budget and your health.  So I guess that part depends.

"Yes, but should I be enjoying life now too?  I'm 29 years old.  I want to have fun and not burn myself out."
Have you considered switching jobs to something that you actually enjoy doing?

"Yes, Meadow, but how are you going to retire early if you aren't willing to work lots of overtime?"
If you enjoy what you're doing, working lots of overtime isn't really an issue.  And if you enjoy what you're doing, you can excel at it.  If you can excel at it, you will be recognized for your hard work.  And if that happens, you won't have to work that much overtime to retire early.

Lars

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Re: Working your butt off now or enjoying life now too?
« Reply #21 on: May 21, 2012, 08:07:26 PM »
Well said jawisco.

When I find myself asking similar questions to the original question, I've often discovered that I've become overly focused on the future and its numbers, dates, and percentages at the expense of the present. I find that a challenge of ER - it is easy for me to become overly focused on the future from time to time.  I can't offer any great insight - I'm still developing my coping strategies - but anything that pulls me back to my preferred balance between the present and future helps -  thinking about activities in the present, reframing ideas like If I work an extra hour at my side job I'll be able to retire 4 hours sooner, etc.

Bakari

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Re: Working your butt off now or enjoying life now too?
« Reply #22 on: May 22, 2012, 12:57:29 PM »
I'll slightly modify my example in another thread


option one: work 40 hours a week, make $67,900 per year, and live on half.
Work for 20 years to save the $680,000 you need to reliably earn your salary in passive income
Total hours of your life spent working: 40,000

option two: work 62 hours a week, make $101,400 per year, live on one third (same expenses)
Work for 10 years to save the $680,000 you need to reliably earn your salary in passive income
Total hours of your life spent working: 31,000

So there is a 25% penalty in time for putting it off.
Not to mention the extra 10 years of not working at all.

Taking time off of work so that you can enjoy life means that in the long run you actually have to work MORE overall than you would have had to otherwise.  It is counter-productive.   The only way living for the moment pays off over living for the future is if you die early. 

That said, 12 hours of overtime a week is only 2.4 a day, on top of the standard 8.  If you sleep 8 hours a night, that leaves 60 hours of free time a week to spend on whatever you want.
The real problem is almost all of us wastes most of that time.  (Look at me, sitting at this computer right this second when I could be out either working on my bike or enjoying the sunny day!)  There is plenty of time for running and taking care of yourself even with a little overtime.  Back before the labor unions came along it was normal to work 80-100 hour weeks.


Obviously this is all on top of, not instead of, all the ways to spend less, reduce commuting time and costs, and have a job you enjoy.  Just pointing out that the only way to come out ahead by "living life in the moment" is if you die before the future arrives.

SpendyMcSpend

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Re: Working your butt off now or enjoying life now too?
« Reply #23 on: May 22, 2012, 01:46:45 PM »
I agree with you bakari, but I also commute right now (15 hours a week).  I was in graduate school as well but graduating THANKFULLY May 30th.  Hopefully I will have some renewed energy for that extra 12 hours a week soon.

James

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Re: Working your butt off now or enjoying life now too?
« Reply #24 on: May 22, 2012, 02:16:29 PM »
Taking time off of work so that you can enjoy life means that in the long run you actually have to work MORE overall than you would have had to otherwise.  It is counter-productive.   The only way living for the moment pays off over living for the future is if you die early. 

I think you'll agree that it isn't that clear cut outside of hypotheticals?

What if you enjoy life at 40 hours per week, but hate life at 62 hours per week?  I'd rather work an extra 10 years enjoying life than work 10 years up front hating life.  Especially if the 10 years spent hating life may very well decrease life expectancy and enjoyment of the rest of life.  Then you start adding in things like kids, a significant other, what you actually get paid and what you actually do.  How much more you have to work to create what amount of benefit, etc.

I think in the end there is a continuum, and you have to find the balance based on your life situation and your goals.  Some may work 80 hours and others might work 30.  I think the hypothetical is excellent for pointing out the reason working more up front has a very real payoff, but doesn't in and off itself answer the question.

igthebold

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Re: Working your butt off now or enjoying life now too?
« Reply #25 on: May 22, 2012, 03:15:54 PM »
What if you enjoy life at 40 hours per week, but hate life at 62 hours per week?  I'd rather work an extra 10 years enjoying life than work 10 years up front hating life.  Especially if the 10 years spent hating life may very well decrease life expectancy and enjoyment of the rest of life.  Then you start adding in things like kids, a significant other, what you actually get paid and what you actually do.  How much more you have to work to create what amount of benefit, etc.

That's exactly where I am. Adding things at this point just saps my will to do anything well, and that will backfire sooner or later.

JJ

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Re: Working your butt off now or enjoying life now too?
« Reply #26 on: May 22, 2012, 03:58:05 PM »
Taking time off of work so that you can enjoy life means that in the long run you actually have to work MORE overall than you would have had to otherwise.  It is counter-productive.   The only way living for the moment pays off over living for the future is if you die early. 

I think you'll agree that it isn't that clear cut outside of hypotheticals?

What if you enjoy life at 40 hours per week, but hate life at 62 hours per week?  I'd rather work an extra 10 years enjoying life than work 10 years up front hating life.  Especially if the 10 years spent hating life may very well decrease life expectancy and enjoyment of the rest of life.  Then you start adding in things like kids, a significant other, what you actually get paid and what you actually do.  How much more you have to work to create what amount of benefit, etc.

I think in the end there is a continuum, and you have to find the balance based on your life situation and your goals.  Some may work 80 hours and others might work 30.  I think the hypothetical is excellent for pointing out the reason working more up front has a very real payoff, but doesn't in and off itself answer the question.

Yes, and it would be a total bummer to die early after hating your life for 10 years.  It's all about finding a balance that you can live with.

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Re: Working your butt off now or enjoying life now too?
« Reply #27 on: May 22, 2012, 04:08:16 PM »
Taking time off of work so that you can enjoy life means that in the long run you actually have to work MORE overall than you would have had to otherwise.  It is counter-productive.   The only way living for the moment pays off over living for the future is if you die early. 

I think you'll agree that it isn't that clear cut outside of hypotheticals?

What if you enjoy life at 40 hours per week, but hate life at 62 hours per week?  I'd rather work an extra 10 years enjoying life than work 10 years up front hating life.  Especially if the 10 years spent hating life may very well decrease life expectancy and enjoyment of the rest of life.  Then you start adding in things like kids, a significant other, what you actually get paid and what you actually do.  How much more you have to work to create what amount of benefit, etc.

I think in the end there is a continuum, and you have to find the balance based on your life situation and your goals.  Some may work 80 hours and others might work 30.  I think the hypothetical is excellent for pointing out the reason working more up front has a very real payoff, but doesn't in and off itself answer the question.

:)
yeah.
I usually work anywhere from 5-30 hours a week myself.  I don't think I could ever work 60 a week for more than a couple weeks straight, not for any amount of money. 
I just used those numbers because the OP is working full time as it is, and as an example.

On the plus side, more often than not, 40 or 62, for 20 years, is usually not the only option.

I was more illustrating the math of an extreme to answer the question in the OPs first post, about considering an extra 2 hours on a given night.  That 2 hours now is basically worth 3 hours later, and thinking of it that way makes in easier (for me at least) to take the work and not feel like I'm "wasting time I could be enjoying life".

arebelspy

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Re: Working your butt off now or enjoying life now too?
« Reply #28 on: May 22, 2012, 05:27:09 PM »
Yes, and it would be a total bummer to die early after hating your life for 10 years.  It's all about finding a balance that you can live with.

I just don't think I could hate life, even if I was working 100 hours a week. I would burn out, of course, but I wouldn't hate life.

Then again, I wouldn't do something I hated.  It's hard to imagine something like that though.
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JJ

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Re: Working your butt off now or enjoying life now too?
« Reply #29 on: May 23, 2012, 06:15:15 AM »
Yes, and it would be a total bummer to die early after hating your life for 10 years.  It's all about finding a balance that you can live with.

I just don't think I could hate life, even if I was working 100 hours a week. I would burn out, of course, but I wouldn't hate life.

Then again, I wouldn't do something I hated.  It's hard to imagine something like that though.

Me neither - just pointing out the extreme case of working so hard to retire early that you forget to enjoy the here and now. People do die young so it's not a great idea, in my opinion, to be so fixated on a future which may never arrive.

trammatic

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Re: Working your butt off now or enjoying life now too?
« Reply #30 on: May 23, 2012, 07:52:25 AM »
Have you thought about a conversion van or something like that?  I know you take the train to work, but perhaps, drive in once per week, spend one night in the parking lot, and commute home the next day.  In those two days, put in your 12 hours of OT, and then you have less work the other 3 days and free weekends.