I'm really happy to have readers give comments and I can talk a little about them, cos a lot of times I think about things that are somewhere at the back of my mind but doesn't make it out as a post til someone triggers the memory.
Here's the cut of what RB35 suggested...
... Perhaps one thing you could possibly expand on is the development of courage to quit while the going is well, ala quit when you know you can still farm more in cruise control
And then I went to his blog to check out and found this bunch of questions which is pretty much related to the above question.
- For those Singapore based folks who have obtained FIRE and left their job in pursuit of the unknown, can I kindly enquire about the below?
- * Was there a personal "drop-dead" date and did you execute that according to plan?
- * How did you conceive of your post job plans and how did it turn out in reality?
- * Any particular regrets so far?
Ok so first question, how to execute leaving when it is easier to just remain in cruise and continue farming.
There's a few ways to look at this point.
Firstly, after leaving my job and hanging around and wondering what life is about....
It's really A LOT easier to wonder what life is about when there's nothing to do and nothing really influences your mental state and come to a more fair conclusion. Work and other stress really does affect the conclusion if you think about such topics when burdened by other thoughts.
Especially after I've reached my current state of mind, I've come to conclude that work is overrated.
Duhz? You might think?
BUT... I also conclude that retirement or leaving your job is ALSO overrated.
What I think is underrated, is happiness in life and doing whatever you want. These are never thought to us. Our parents don't talk about it, schools don't teach it.
So on one hand, I encourage people to leave their jobs if they aren't happy with it, I also don't encourage people to leave their jobs if they are contented or happy with it.
(Mr Money Mustache seems to always encourage people to quit if possible.)
Like for my wife, she initially said she wanted to stop by 40, but I look at her and I think... WHY???
She loves her work, there's no reason to stop doing what you like. I might think that a corporate job is pointless, or I might think that her job function is worthless, but who cares? It's her life. She should be doing whatever makes her happy. So I told her, "look, if this makes you happy, work til 55. I would love for you to keep me company and we go and hang around and enjoy ourselves, but if work really makes you happy then by all means go and do it."
I would call this positive happiness.
And even for people who are contented and cruising along and farming the job. I would say, just continue to do it. Cos... leaving the job is overrated, you won't just suddenly become happier. So for someone who is coming home, with a routine, eat, sleep, tomorrow go and work, hang around colleagues, I would think, no real incentive to leave the job. Life goes on about the same with or without the job. IF you are contented.
I would call this neutral happiness.
BUT, for people who are unhappy with their jobs, they drag themselves to work, it eats at their soul.
This is what I call UNHAPPINESS.
I would say, your job isn't everything. Leave your job as long as you are financially secure, blah blah blah, obviously don't be stupid la.
The world will keep on turning, the sun will rise again tomorrow, you wake up tomorrow in your bed and are jobless, and you realize, actually, no one really cares whether you are working or not, the birds don't care, the thousands of Singaporeans don't care and eventually your colleagues will forget you.
Even when I'm not working currently, I'm switching between neutral happiness and positive happiness.
So I reckon that someone working in a contented job and hanging around neutral happiness is in a similar position as me. So might as well farm some money and pass the days as per normal.
I forgot that there are 2 main fears. One fear is when leaving the job. The other fear is AFTER leaving the job which I wrote about previously.
The hesitation when leaving the job sprouts from a couple of places.
1. Fear of financial insecurity
2. Fear of the unknown, what's next?
3. No incentive/trigger to leave
Points 1 and 2 are a but fuzzy.
Cos a lot depends on the person, how much is enough? Is the person frugal? Is the person logical? What is the person's investment pattern like?
Cos even if a person has $10 million, AND even if he is frugal, but he doesn't trust the maths behind retirement, then it's going to be hard to persuade this person to stop working.
Is the person ok with boredom? Is the person naturally curious can make new friends? Can do stuff that doesn't require money?
Cos these are the stuff that's going to happen after the person quits his job. You will lose friends. I can guarantee it. So once again, this MAY trigger unhappiness even AFTER leaving the job, so end up, someone could be just as unhappy about being unemployed as they are working.
Also, some people may be frugal when working, cos... well no time to spend money right?
But after quitting, they may end up unable to find cheap things to do, so end up, spend money playing golf, take up fancy hobbies, etc... this potentially could be another problem...
Once again, it's hard for me to say anything unless I know the person really really well...
HOWEVER, for the third point. It's a little more interesting.
So let's say someone isn't happy with their job.
But they have saved $1 million and they invest and blah blah blah.
They trust the maths, they are ok with living a frugal life and simple entertainment when retired.
But... they have little push to leave. Basically, wake up, wash up, dress up, go and work... life goes on.
Ok, so I have a few comments about this.
I believe that the person MAY be procrastinating. They have little incentive to throw a letter. Life goes on. It's like insurance, no one suddenly wakes up tomorrow thinking, "WOW I need to buy insurance". Most people need a little bit of encouragement. I believe this is somewhat similar.
AND psychologically, I think... THINK only...
I think many people may have the money to leave, but they don't have any push to leave, or are hesitant, or are procrastinating. But they don't want to face this.
So instead they re-frame the problem. They tell themselves that it's a money problem, that they need more buffer, then they set the next benchmark. Cos... money is quantifiable. And they tell themselves, yes, I need to account for inflation, medical bills, kids, etc etc etc. And set a nice big number so that they don't need to face the real problem for years to come, then couple years later... they reached the next number... and same cycle may happen again.
Anyway... there's one really quirky thing which I did previously that I feel would help a lot of people.
If you want to quit your job but have no incentive to quit, cos you're just cruising along.
OR if you're someone who's really unhappy with your job and thinking to quit but don't have the courage to do so.
What I did last time was... I typed out a resignation letter, dated it, and signed it for tomorrow. Then brought it to work tomorrow. And everyday, I re-date it, reprint it and sign it and bring it to work for the day.
WOAH!!! You'd be surprised how empowered you feel when you carry that letter. Just the very ownership of that letter in your pocket makes you feel like you are in control. Doesn't mean you have to give it to your boss. It's just the idea that you have control.
What you do with the letter on a daily basis is then up to you.
Really, just trust me on this. Just type it out, print it and sign it, just keep it securely when you carry it to work.
Let's move on to the next few questions and see how this all adds up...
* Was there a personal "drop-dead" date and did you execute that according to plan?
Nope. I think this question links with my point above.
Today is the same as yesterday, which is about the same as the day before. But day after day, it adds up.
5 years later, it's not the same anymore. So it's really like many droplets make a puddle or an ocean.
Similarly, many days make many years.
I don't think it's right to look at anything with a cut off date. Today is as good as yesterday.
I liken it to what people say about having kids, you are never ready, you just have kids. Then make things up as it goes along. No one can really say, I'm going to have kids and conceive immediately. They make a rough plan and want to have kids, then they try, but once they conceive, it's easy, cos someone made the decision for them. The kid pops out at whatever date and the parents just live with it.
Unfortunately, quitting your job or retiring is not like that. It's a proactive step, unless the job fires you.
I think a better way to look at it is just quit and tell yourself that you're taking a sabbatical.
Sometimes the mind is not ready to take such a big leap. So taking unpaid leave or sabbatical for 1 year may be a better alternative.
For me, I was a lot more confident the 2nd time I left my job, I was more prepared for the challenges, of course having more money helped, but mentally as well to be more at ease with myself and my decisions.
Preparedness and experience gives confidence. When I left the 2nd time, I knew what was going to happen after I stopped working. So I was like. "Oh well, yea, I know exactly what's going to happen after my last day... absolutely nothing!"
* How did you conceive of your post job plans and how did it turn out in reality?
I think this differs between person to person.
For me, I'm a free spirited person. When I told closer friends about dumpster diving or freeganism, they said they aren't surprised I do such things.
So I quit without much plans and wing-ed it.
There's a few ways to go about this. My mum started making friends at golf clubs, and she slowly eased into retirement and already had stuff to do when she retired.
For me, I didn't have anything planned but I did this twice so I'm ok with just hanging around and chilling by myself.
But I think things will change as the years go by, like now, my mum doesn't play golf anymore, she takes care of her grand kids. My dad used to be involved in bringing up the kids, which is me and my sis, but now he sleeps all day and doesn't do much.
Personally, I think it doesn't matter. Cos there's always time to explore. IF you want to explore. Plans or no plans, it's really up to the individual.
If you have no plans like me, but I enjoy my time alone doing whatever stuff, then I'm not wasting my 80 years.
But for someone else, and they don't plan and they don't like time alone and they hang around at home all day and do nothing, then they will feel that they are wasting their time on Earth, so they should go and find something to entertain them, or interests them.
I do think that it's overthinking to want to plan and try to execute a well laid out plan for retirement.
I mean... the point of retirement or living your own life is to chill or relax and do other stuff. And most importantly, you have time to slowly relax and explore and plan when you have nothing to do. What's the rush? Why need to plan before quitting? Do we/you really need constant stimulation?
Back to my previous post about playing a perfect game. You don't need to plan, you can, if you want, but what's another 3 months of planning after quitting? No difference.
But if you DIE DIE want something to do but have nothing to do or nothing planned yet, well here's a suggestion... the vege rescue group is looking for some regular volunteers to expand their operations. Cos they want to try to rescue veges on a regular basis and hand them out to beneficiaries more often since there's so much wastage on a daily basis. Don't expect it to be mentally challenging work, it's probably some admin and manual work, but it's something to pass time and entertain yourself whilst doing some environmentally friendly thing.
* Any particular regrets so far?
Hmm, my biggest regret, I'm not entirely FI, I would say I'm financially comfortable or secure.
Freeganism has allowed me to get more confidence and make my money last longer. So it would have probably been a better idea to work another 4 years or so to be really safe for myself. A lot of my money bleed is cos I give money to my parents... heck I give them more than I spend personally every month.
But besides that, no regrets whatsoever, after getting over all the mental issues and loss of friends and all that stuff. It takes sometime to unwind and re-program all the rubbish that society has imprinted on me.
(This above phase is a long drawn out process, its not as simple as just just 2 sentences.)
But I think it's likely up to the individual as well. Cos I'm really comfortable in my own skin, I really don't care about a lot of things.
I know my wife would go crazy if she retired early, cos she really likes doing stuff, she needs constant mental stimulation, so she turns on the TV, uses her phone, checks emails.
After I got over all the nonsense and getting into the grove of things.
And I have come to terms with myself that I am here to enjoy my 80 years.
I liken my mental state to be constantly..... in this state...
... You know, sometimes, you're on an extended holiday, then you lie on a recliner chair by the pool or beach, with a cool drink beside you and the sun on your face, and you think... "ahhhhhhh this is life"
Yea... that's how I feel on a regular basis. To just exist without much care in the world.
I wake up send my wife to work, come back clean up the place, make my coffee and start typing, then I prep for dinner, sometimes I go out meet friends, or collect vegetables, etc.
But I do think that setting all this in stone isn't the right way... once again back to my previous post about playing a perfect game. All these are just labels, unemployed, sabbatical, retired, semi-retired... whatever...
I absolutely don't like such labels, it just distracts us all...
Literally, it's just being without a job. That's all the same.
But... if retirement doesn't suit you then go back and work lor. It's not the end. It's not like after quitting you will never be able to find work again. Which is why I hate these labels, it just mentally blocks people.
Like there's a certain expectation for an unemployed person... means he is looking for work.
Or sabbatical, means this person will eventually go back to work.
Or retired means he needs to be chill and playing golf.
Semi retired maybe means part time work.
But who cares... only yourself!!!
Which is why I absolutely hate answering this question. Cos... I don't know. Maybe I'm retired now, but things may change in future. Maybe I want to find work again, maybe maybe maybe...
Life is always changing. The situation will change, maybe I'll be happy for a long time, or maybe I'll change and become bored.
And I embrace all these. So it's not a hard and fast ending which I'm expecting.
“You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.”
-- Bruce Lee
When the time comes, you will know what to do.
I'm assuming you have fairly enough savings, live a frugal life and am unhappy with your job.
It's absolutely not the end of the world to leave, chill a bit, re-calibrate your life. Maybe go back to work somewhere else, or take up a part time job. Learn a new skill and try out a new career...
We can't always be counting the value of our time in dollars. Else we'll be working til the day before we die. So even if you go back to a lower paying job... so? Life goes on. How much can you spend? How much do you need to eat?
Ok so bringing this all together...
Courage, timing, planning, regrets...
It's all in the mind.
If you tell yourself that you are taking a 1 year sabbatical, does it make you feel better?
If you can take a 2 week leave and leave the office for 2 weeks, well, that's the kind of planning required for a 1 year sabbatical.
Planning... in the long run, it doesn't matter, you aren't really rushing for time, it's not like Pri school immediately go Sec school, then JC, then NS, then Uni, then work... it's really not about just stacking things one after another. So what if there's some empty time in between?
Regrets? After reading this post and the previous post. I think readers should know the answer to this...
Life goes on. You adjust and go on, or you can go back to work, the options are all the same.
It's just mentally, how have you framed yourself? Did you lock yourself up with some form of expectations that certain things must happen in a certain way?
Life isn't a one way street, it's more like in the middle of the scary ocean, you can swim anyway... sometimes you swim towards danger, sometimes you're against the current, you can swim backwards, forwards, you can even stay still, float and enjoy the sun. It's really all up to you.
So don't take things too seriously... hahahaha...
Ok easy for me to say... cos I'm already on the other side...
Eh it's not like I wasn't in your shoes once. It may sound all so easy when I say it, but I've had all these troubles before as well.
<<PREVIOUS POST // NEXT POST>>
Did you like this post? If so, could you "blanjah" me 1/4 cup of my morning coffee pls.
Many thanks for continuing to come to this blog to read my posts.