Coming off of many years in startups, where you must drink the company kool-aid and believe you are simultaneously changing the world and building something that will one day make you rich (spoiler alert: it won’t), I have to say I’ve enjoyed the move into a public company where people still work hard, but also have lives. Well, at least some of them do.
I’ve been reading a lot on the FIRE concept (financial independence retire early) movement, which has unofficially been my own movement since I earned my first paycheck. Well, I more took the route that catastrophe can hit at any second, so you better have a lot of money saved up just in case. With that mindset, I just started spending less than I earned, and as I earned more, I kept my spending proportionately low, for the most part.
There are some people out there who are happy making $200k+ a year and living in RVs in their work parking lots, but that’s not my style. I’m not on the full-on FIRE bandwagon. I also don’t want to live a life in “retirement” where I can only take 4% of our my savings per year. And, heck, I like contributing to society and earning a living–I’d like just a bit more flexibility.
Hiring a CFP this year was definitely a wake up call. I thought having $1M+ saved now we’d be in a good place–but with our current spending and plans to purchase a house in a HCOL area (and my husband who will only commit to making $60k-$90k a year), there is no “early retirement” in my life. Either we leave this area–which isn’t happening, I win the stock market lotto, or I have to work for the next 30 years making $150,000 a year.
Can you blame me for still hoping to win the stock market lotto?
I don’t think it’s worth it to go back to a private company, unless I found my own–and who has the time/confidence/social skills for that? So, public companies it is. I’m thinking I can increase my happiness at work by switching from my current department to one that works together more as a team and where success is based on how happy you make someone else (ie customer service) — though I’m sure there’s plenty bad in other fields and plenty good in my current career I’m not seeing because I’m just burnt out.
I hired a career counselor I’m seeing next month to help me sort it out. I’m paying her $300 and then $400 a month subsequently to try to understand if there’s a place I can make money and not be miserable all the time, or if being miserable is so ingrained in my DNA that I might as well just stick with this career that enables me to save and maybe retire “early”–like at 64.