Life is good. You finally did it! You pulled the plug on your day job after reaching financial independence. You never have to work for money ever again. But, you’re bored. You need something to do… You need a project! You grab a piece of paper and a pen and start thinking. Now that you’re financially free, what projects do you want to complete? However ambitious, however small, you now have the time to pursue anything that you like, what will you accomplish?
– Saving Ninja
This is the #5 of Saving Ninja’s thought experiments.
I wasn’t initially going to have a go. But having read his and a few other responses, I thought I should. You’ll see why. He asks for a stream of consciousness. Here it goes.
Retiring from retiring
I’ve already pulled the plug on my day job. It’s been a few years since I became Financial Independent (FI) and stopped working the 9 to 5. I’ve learnt a lot over that time. But I have been reflecting on things.
The conclusion I’ve come to is that I should retire from retiring.*
Before you think I’ve got a few screws loose here’s why: being FI or retired has meant I have to deal with a lot less shit.
Since quitting the day job, there are far fewer dickheads in my life. My interactions with them favourably short.
This is a bad thing.
It’s a bad thing because I’ve come to realise it’s important to put up with shit in your life. I’ll explain with an analogy: it’s like vaccinations. A manageable level of disease is injected into you. This means that if the full-blown illness comes along, your body can deal with it.
It’s the same with nonsense. A continuous level of nonsense is good for you as it means you are more readily able to deal with full-blown arsehattery.
Similarly, an absence of nonsense is bad because it makes very minor nonsense seem worse. Your partner does something annoying, people on the street are obnoxious, the trains are cancelled. Minor things that feel worse because you’ve lost your resistance to idiots. A common joke in the financial services industry is that when a partner retires they soon get a divorce – actually spending time with their other half drives them over the edge.
It’s also possible to see this every day with ‘grumpy old men’ (it’s a stereotype for a reason). You see it in the FI-space with the creep of the holy-than-thou attitude of some bloggers – unwilling to comprehend anybody else’s point of view but their own.
Rethinking my reasons for leaving work
Way back I explained my three reasons for leaving work:
- Admin – I was sick and tired of doing compliance, form filling and appraisals all day.
- Clients – I disliked working for often bad dudes or companies.
- Health – My mental and physical health was suffering.
Let’s revisit these.
The chores of work aren’t going anywhere. But I feel I’ve matured as a person. I’m more patient and can see that most box ticking doesn’t matter. It’s part of playing the game. I’d like to think I’ve learned how to play it better.
Working for bad dudes or mega-corporations is arguably not ideal. But in a way perhaps that’s a good thing. Working for an arsehat of a client puts into perspective that most people are good. It gives you something to vent about. Rather than something abstract or imaginary to rail against.
I feel much healthier. I sleep better. I exercise more. I’m emotionally happier. Whether I could keep these up in a 9 to 5 is a test. But I think it’s worth a shot.
None of this is to say I’m going back to work full-time. That’s very unlikely. At the moment I’m taking tentative steps looking at potential part-time jobs. As it stands, I ‘work’ maybe one or two days a week. I think there’s a healthier balance for me at a few more regular days a week of work.
The reality is, I’m a very odd chap. I love corporate finance, accounting, pensions, tax. I write about this stuff for fun(!) This isn’t like a panel beater calling time. Getting to do the things you enjoy doing on a regular basis (and being paid for them) seems quite sensible.
I’ll leave it there for now.
All the best,
*Fine – technically I’ve never really retired. I’ve always done some work since quitting the day job.