Author Topic: Calling all downshifters!  (Read 126825 times)

FIRE 20/20

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #350 on: May 04, 2024, 11:01:11 AM »
*snip*
Personal Perspective

1. The novelty or honeymoon period is not yet over and I see no end in sight. Every Friday I think to myself, "Woohoo, a three day weekend" and every Monday morning I wake up and think to myself, "Woohoo it's Monday!"

2. The maths is interesting. A four day week is 80% of a full/normal working week. Therefore 20% has been eliminated. Therefore, it should feel like an 80% schedule. However it doesn't. It feels like a 50% schedule. When I added up my Monday's off, weekends and annual leave it comes to roughly half the days of the year. That will explain why it feels like a 50% schedule then!

I think what this is really driving at, is that when working full-time, weekends tend to be life-admin/recovery periods rather than times where we can necessarily thrive. So although a full-time schedule sees work days only accounting for 65% of days of the year, it actually feels like 80-90%.

Therefore dropping down to a four day schedule has given me the feeling I've dropped from 80-90% work to only 50% work. This drop is far more powerful than just losing a single day of work. I'd expect such a feeling if I had dropped to a two or three day working week. The fact that this was achieved by just losing a single day is remarkable, and I still have to pinch myself. That 5:2 working day to weekend split becomes 4:3 instantly. That is a big shift and it feels more substantial in reality, than the logic of looking at those numbers in print.
*snip*

I wish I would have noticed this when you posted it, but I'm not on the forum very much any more.  I just wanted to comment on the points I quoted above.  I'm 5 years into FIRE, and my partner and I still frequently say to each other, "It's <insert weekday here> and we're not at work!"  Some of the shine has worn off, but for us it's not totally gone after 5 years!  I know part-time is different but the feeling of, I don't know, almost getting away with something (?) is still there. 

On the second point, when I went to part time it felt more like increasing my time off by 50% than reducing my work days by 20%.  Subjectively the difference between 5 on and 2 off vs. 4 on 3 off is as you say more substantial than the numbers appear in print. 

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #351 on: May 04, 2024, 11:25:42 AM »
Hi FIRE 20/20 (waves). Iím so glad you still appreciate your FIRE status. I aim to never forget or appreciate the ďIím not at work todayĒ feeling.

Itís wonderful how the 5:2 to 4:3 split make such a difference. Iím glad others have experienced this too.

RyanAtTanagra

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #352 on: May 04, 2024, 11:47:58 AM »
Hi FIRE 20/20 (waves). Iím so glad you still appreciate your FIRE status. I aim to never forget or appreciate the ďIím not at work todayĒ feeling.

Itís wonderful how the 5:2 to 4:3 split make such a difference. Iím glad others have experienced this too.

It took 4 years of having Fridays off, but I've finally hit the new baseline of "tomorrow is Monday already?  i need a longer weekend".

Though to be fair, we welcomed our first child into our home this past year...

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #353 on: May 04, 2024, 12:00:10 PM »
Four years is very good I would have thought. A little one sounds like a perfect reason to go for the four day weekend :-) Congratulations.

obstinate

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #354 on: May 05, 2024, 08:22:51 AM »
I'm currently on a 5/6.5 schedule and considering going to 5/5. With kids in school, hobby interests, and a fairly aggressive exercise regimen, I ended up mostly feeling like I needed a few more hours in each day, not that I needed a whole extra weekend day each week. I've been very much enjoying this approach, although it has only taken a year for me to go from "80%, great!" To "I could use another free hour per day."

Our current financial situation is that in our HCOL area we probably could FIRE on our current investments. We are not sure that we are actually gonna stay here. In an MCOL area we'd be at a 2% withdrawal rate. So I think we don't need to save further, although of course as long as I'm employed in any capacity the stash will keep growing.

And yet I feel some reluctance about going to 60%. Will that be so little that it becomes hard to contribute? Will it remove optionality I may later want? Things I'm puzzling over. 

Retire-Canada

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #355 on: May 05, 2024, 08:33:47 AM »
My experience was that as I reduced working hours my efficiency/productivity increased making the lower hours less of an impact. Obviously that can only go so far, but it makes a notable difference.

Since you'll still be working every day you'll be able to engage well with others and it only comes down to prioritizing your time so you have maximum impact on whatever you are working on.

You don't need the money so now is the time to take a risk with work in a way that will benefit the rest of your life.

Simpli-Fi

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #356 on: May 05, 2024, 09:30:41 PM »
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/share-your-badassity/twisted-downshift/


You don't need the money so now is the time to take a risk with work in a way that will benefit the rest of your life.

I recently took a big risk to learn new skills recentlyÖthis was an enlightening view on downshift

micahc

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #357 on: May 06, 2024, 04:40:36 PM »
- why you did it?
Reached lean FI 18 years ago and wanted to start a family.   Which required more free time.

- what your downshift looks like?
1998-2002 Network Analyst, Shift Work, 21x12hour revolving day or night shifts with 4 days off.  80+ hour workweeks, little job satisfaction.
2003-2005 Changed Departments, downshifted to 5x8hour days with being on call afterhours for 5-10hours per week.  50+ hour workweeks.  ~25% pay increase due to overtime, manageable work week.
2006-2012 Hit Lean Fi, Changed employers, downshifted to 4x8hour days (negotiated 5wk vacation), sales role, pay -20%, Found love of my life had 3 kids.  SO quit job.
2013-2019 Changed employers, upshifted to 5x8hour days (negotiated 4wk vacation).  Project teams back to 60+ hour workweeks, high job satisfaction. 30% pay increase.
2019-2024 Changed Departments, downshifted to Fly-in-Fly-out, 7x10hour on w/ 7 days off, (negotiated 5wk vacation).  $15K/Travel Allowance, +16% salary, high job satisfaction. Reduced COL by $16K/year.

- what do you like about it?
Cost of living decreased, Able to move from VHCOL to MCOL area, sold my car, no more office clothes, company feeds/houses me ~50% of the year, also travel allowance pays for return flights.

Essentially work for half the year and have 5 weeks vacation, so I have a lot of time off.  I've succeeded in increasing my happiness.

- what isn't so awesome about it?
Nothing. My wife FIRED 12 years ago, get to spend lots of time with kids and wife.   Realizing my fun will decrease when oldest son left for college.

- what are your plans going forward around downshifting and FIRE?
Only want to do - what I am presently doing.  Probably continue to work for another 6 years until all kids are finished school.  Our FIRE number will be more FatFire.

« Last Edit: May 06, 2024, 04:45:25 PM by micahc »

obstinate

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #358 on: May 06, 2024, 09:02:03 PM »
My experience was that as I reduced working hours my efficiency/productivity increased making the lower hours less of an impact. Obviously that can only go so far, but it makes a notable difference.

Since you'll still be working every day you'll be able to engage well with others and it only comes down to prioritizing your time so you have maximum impact on whatever you are working on.

You don't need the money so now is the time to take a risk with work in a way that will benefit the rest of your life.
Thanks for sharing this motivation. I'm thinking about it hard.

StarBright

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #359 on: May 07, 2024, 08:14:13 AM »
I pulled the downshift trigger in February!

Why you did it?
I've hit text book burn out in the last year, health issues are compounding, and I donn't always have time for life/parenting/community/home owner responsibilities.

What your downshift looks like?
I work at a company that seems made to create burnout - We have an "always at your desk, always respond quickly" policy during the workday that led to most of my 40 hours being taken up by simply responding to coworkers or customers all of the time. It also meant that I was working a lot on evenings or weekends to get my actually responsibilities finished. As a salaried employee my work week has been 50-60 hours a week for years.

While we technically offer a flexible schedule the flexibility is tracked obsessively leading to a culture that doesn't embrace flexibility in practice.

My downshift was negotiating 1.5 days a week where I am not expected to respond to anyone and am officially not online - basically actual flex time. A lot of the time I am still at my desk working, but getting a lot more done because I'm not constantly interrupted. But I can also run to the doctor or take a walk without having to notify folks that I'm stepping away from my desk.

What do you like about it?
It has given me back time to do things like health appointments, run an occasional errand, exercise a couple of days a week. Coworkers are learning to not just hit me up with questions all day. I did not take a pay cut. I am probably working 8-10 fewer hours a week on a good week.

What isn't so awesome about it?
I was hoping to feel more relaxed/get some down time. But the more I think about it, I think that is just the season of life I'm in? We have two full time working parents, two children in different schools and one is neurodiverse and has a ton of appointments and we don't have family nearby. It all falls on us all of the time.

What are your plans going forward around downshifting and FIRE?
As the larger income in our family I'm going to keep the full time salary coming as long as I can. But we are definitely at a place where I can more than CoastFIRE and my husband is not interested in early retirement, so I have that in my back pocket all the time now. If my health stuff doesn't start sorting itself out, I will look at actually cutting back to a three or four day work week.

I am also interested in shifting career paths to one that I enjoy - but that will depend more on my kiddos and their schedules and needs.


Much Fishing to Do

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #360 on: May 09, 2024, 05:19:31 AM »
I retired from my last full-time position in Feb 2023 and a month later started the new downshift position.

Why you did it?
I fully intended to FIRE, but when I left the full time job a former associate reached out with a new opportunity.  I said I wasn't interested in full time work and a lot of other things I had been dealing with.  They asked me to describe the perfect job and they said they would offer me that and offered me the job.  When you describe your perfect job and its handed to you it seems like you have to give it a shot....


What your downshift looks like?

3 days a week x 6 hours/day from home, but can take weeks off for trips.  I try to be available when things are busy for the team I'm on but generally its up to me.   I report to a person I've known for a long time and no one reports to me, and do not have work email on my phone.



What do you like about it?

All those things above.  Not having reports to supervise, and not having work email on my phone has made it truly the timeframe I set.  My boss can and does call me when necessary but thats few and far between and I'd rather know about anything that in the need than walking into it later.

I'm actually making just enough to cover all of our expenses, which is quite amazing that I can let the stache grow still.


What isn't so awesome about it?

I've had to let go of control over how things get done sometimes....but I quickly got used to that....

What are your plans going forward around downshifting and FIRE?
I'm 52 and think of things like maybe until I'm 55 which is a more normal retirement age and will get a couple of kids grown and off the dole....but the real plan for now is I'm just gonna keep working the job I asked for and as long as they'll have me and I continue to like it will probably continue.  I think the use of that side of my brain is needed and this is about the right amount of hours to not get in the way of other things. 

RyanAtTanagra

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #361 on: May 09, 2024, 09:28:54 AM »
3 days a week x 6 hours/day from home, but can take weeks off for trips.  I try to be available when things are busy for the team I'm on but generally its up to me.   I report to a person I've known for a long time and no one reports to me, and do not have work email on my phone.

That sounds so perfect.  When I downshifted to 4 days/32 hours, it was such a big positive change, I started to think maybe full retirement wasn't the next goal after all (and I do like what I do), and if I could get down to 3 days, I could maintain that for a loooong time.

Metalcat

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #362 on: May 09, 2024, 09:56:43 AM »
3 days a week x 6 hours/day from home, but can take weeks off for trips.  I try to be available when things are busy for the team I'm on but generally its up to me.   I report to a person I've known for a long time and no one reports to me, and do not have work email on my phone.

That sounds so perfect.  When I downshifted to 4 days/32 hours, it was such a big positive change, I started to think maybe full retirement wasn't the next goal after all (and I do like what I do), and if I could get down to 3 days, I could maintain that for a loooong time.

I've just unretired to about this kind of schedule and it's pretty nice

Much Fishing to Do

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #363 on: May 13, 2024, 05:06:09 AM »
3 days a week x 6 hours/day from home, but can take weeks off for trips.  I try to be available when things are busy for the team I'm on but generally its up to me.   I report to a person I've known for a long time and no one reports to me, and do not have work email on my phone.

That sounds so perfect.  When I downshifted to 4 days/32 hours, it was such a big positive change, I started to think maybe full retirement wasn't the next goal after all (and I do like what I do), and if I could get down to 3 days, I could maintain that for a loooong time.

Yeah. my first "downshift" was when i sold the business and became a 40 hr/wk employee as opposed to ALWAYS on....but I found as long as email was on my phone, and I had direct reports I was responsible for, it felt like I was still always on, so getting rid of those two things was really key to making part time actually part time. 

life_travel

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #364 on: May 16, 2024, 07:52:00 AM »


3 days a week x 6 hours/day from home, but can take weeks off for trips.

I downshifted a year ago to 4 days a week and I am still loving it but just started to wish I can do 3 days!!
My team hates it already that I do 4 so 3 is not really an option currently and I love my team so not ready to change yet.
But yeah, 3 days with shorter hours plus weeks off for trips would be my IDEAL life.

 

Wow, a phone plan for fifteen bucks!