Don't Check Out Early // Weathering the Home Stretch to Early Retirement -- Set goals, shape your legacy, give yourself something to strive for before you quit your career

Don’t Check Out Early // Staying Engaged in the Home Stretch to Early Retirement

One of the questions we get most frequently by email is: How do you stay patient en route to early retirement?

And the honest answer is: We have no idea! We’re feeling more impatient than ever.

We’ve written about impatience on the road to financial independence, and we have gotten a little better about it over time, but the truth is that it hasn’t gotten much easier. It didn’t even get easier when we reached financial independence technically (but not comfortably). Hitting FI on paper changed literally nothing in our lives — it didn’t make us happier, healthier, nicer or more patient. We expect leaving work to have more positive effects than just reaching financial independence did, but thinking about that only makes us still more antsy to leave.

So we’re as eager as ever to leave our careers, despite having a year-ish left (actual timing TBD at the end of this year). But the impatience itself isn’t what we’re talking about today: it’s what we do with that impatience.

What we do with it is a whole other choice: Whether to stay engaged in what we’re doing at work in the meantime, or whether to check out mentally. Our advice: No matter how impatient you feel, don’t check out early. Let’s talk about why.

 

Don't Check Out Early // Staying Engaged in the Home Stretch to Early Retirement // Staying engaged at work, stay engaged before retirement, don't check out of your work before you quit, engagement and happiness at work

Similar to our recent post on how much we should care about work when we know we aren’t in it for the long haul, how engaged we stay at work can make a big difference about how we feel about that home stretch, regardless of how impatient we are. Because we can be impatient to leave work and still stay engaged, or we can be completely patient and still disengage. And while patient is probably better than impatient in terms of our own sanity (though impatient is probably better for saving faster), it’s the engaged/disengaged question that really makes the biggest difference in our happiness:

The biggest predictor of happiness in the journey to early retirement isn't how patient or impatient we are, it's whether we stay engaged or let ourselves disengage at work.

Engaged Vs. Disengaged

Not a subtle chart, eh? ;-) That’s for a reason: we’ve been researching this stuff pretty heavily, as well as testing out our theories in our own lives, and we have concluded that the biggest predictor of happiness in the journey to early retirement isn’t how patient or impatient we are, it’s whether we stay engaged or let ourselves disengage at work.

While we’re saving for early retirement, we all have to spend the same number of hours at work whether we’re investing ourselves in it or not. If you are spending all of your work time going to your happy place in your mind instead of engaging meaningfully with your work, you won’t get out of it any faster. But more importantly, you are unlikely to be any happier. If you’re twiddling your thumbs and counting down your days, especially for months or years, quite the opposite is true.

The Benefits of Engagement

Research clearly shows that being engaged at work leads to greater satisfaction with all areas of life and makes us much more likely to be happy. So there are a whole bunch of benefits that come from being engaged at work that apply to everyone, not just those on track for early retirement. But these things still apply, even if we only have a few years or even months left to work:

  1. Ownership of success — When good things happen at work, we can feel good knowing we’ve contributed to that success.
  2. Purpose behind the overtime — Fingers crossed you’re not in the large majority of workers who work far beyond 40 hours per week. But if you are, staying engaged will make you feel better about that overtime because you understand why it’s necessary.
  3. Greater sense of meaning — Committing yourself to your work gives you a sense of contributing value to your company, the economy or the world. That provides a greater sense of meaning or purpose, even if it’s not your main purpose in life.
  4. Greater health and happiness in the rest of life — This one is more of an effect of the preceding three. When we feel successful and have meaning in our lives, everything else is better, from our relationships to our well being. But even without all those other benefits, greater work engagement is still strongly linked to better health.

Staying Engaged In Your Home Stretch

Of course knowing that engagement is good is one thing, but actually staying engaged when you have one foot out the door is entirely another. There’s a reason why the customary notice to leave most jobs is only two weeks and not longer — it’s because once we know we’re leaving, we’re not very motivated to stay productive or profitable. So what if we know we’re leaving for months or even years?

The key here is to reframe for ourselves what engagement means.

It doesn’t have to mean staying mentally invested in every bit of office gossip or internal politics (and it shouldn’t mean that). And it doesn’t have to mean staying obsessed with sales figures and bottom lines. It’s possible to free ourselves of some of the unpleasant aspects of a job (like the hardest work that it will take to get promoted, if we know we won’t stick around long enough to get that promotion) while staying fully engaged in the more meaningful aspects.

In our most impatient moments, we’ve started asking ourselves, “What do I want my legacy to be?” And it helps focus us on what’s important. Even better, the answer gives us clear direction on what we need to focus on. We may feel antsy as all get out, but we’re still entirely engaged in our work and expect to be until the end.

If you feel yourself checking out a little more each day, don’t lose hope. You can still re-engage, and some ways to do that could be to:

Pick a legacy project — Think about what you want to be remembered for, and do that thing. Maybe it’s winning some new piece of business that will provide revenue long after you’re gone. Maybe it’s making some new innovation that will pay off for years. Maybe it’s making office birthday parties more fun. Whatever you want on your “office tombstone,” make it happen.

Improve systems — We all see things in our work that could be improved. When we’ve got our noses to the grindstone, it’s much tougher to come up for air to focus on big picture things than it is when we’re on our way out. Use your fortuitous position to improve the systems that need improving — no one needs to know why you’re so focused on that.

Nurture client relationships — If you do client work, there’s no downside to making sure your last batch of clients is extra happy. Maybe you’ll realize one day in retirement that you’re bored and want to do a little work on the side — and then you’ll be glad you have former clients who are willing to hire you. Or you just want to leave your career with an abundance of good karma and gratitude flowing your way — no better way to do that than to leave client work in good shape.

Mentor those coming up behind you — Mentoring is one of the best ways we can each pay it forward, and it also provides benefits to us in terms of boosting our happiness and gratitude. Invest yourself in setting up a few people junior to you to succeed after you’re gone, whether it’s by helping them learn new skills, taking them out to network, teaching them the ropes in senior management, or getting them onto the company softball team.

Your Turn!

I suspect most of us on the early retirement path struggle with impatience, but do you ever struggle with engagement at work? Have you found any great ways to stay engaged and interested even with short-timers syndrome? For those who’ve already retired, how was it for you to stay engaged in the end? Any secrets to share? We always love hearing from you in the comments!

 

 

66 thoughts on “Don’t Check Out Early // Staying Engaged in the Home Stretch to Early Retirement

  1. Impatience is something that I struggle with a lot. FI will be amazing. I know what I need to do to get there, save & invest etc. Can I have that now please?

    It’s important to keep reminding myself to not wish my life away. It’s particularly difficult when the main job I have is not my ‘forever’ job, I don’t love it. It’s nice, but the pay nor prospects aren’t incredible. It’s a stepping stone. I want to step quicker :)

    I just have to tell myself that the next stage (and the stage after that) will all be worth it. I have to work hard now, to get where I want to be in the future. Otherwise I wouldn’t get to that next stage!

    Tristan

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    1. Perfect way to put it — not wishing your life away. I think the good realization for us has been that we can be impatient (it’s not in my nature to be completely patient ever!) but still stay engaged and present in our current lives and work. I think that’s all true for you, too! Some impatience makes sense — and probably helps propel you to reach your goals faster instead of getting complacent! — so long as you stay engaged at work. :-)

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  2. I definitely agree with you and fully disagree with anyone who says that you can/should check out while going down the home stretch. I admit I started going down that path when I knew we were getting close to FI. It was simply a matter of integrity. When I knew in my heart that I was starting to mail it in it made me feel guilty and much less happy and satisfied with life to feel that I was giving my co-workers and clients less than 100% effort and attention that they deserve. We all contribute something and take things from others, but I think we should all try to be net givers as it is the surest path to happiness and fulfillment.

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    1. Everything you said here applies to us as well — we’ve felt ourselves pulling away at times, and realized that that feels crappy for a million reasons. That’s not how we want to go out, either, not to mention that it just makes the day-to-day experience of working that much more of a slog, which helps no one. And I love thinking of it in terms of net giving — amen to that! We absolutely always want to be people contributing more in the world than we take from it! :-)

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  3. This reminds me of your post about over-caring. It seems like disengaging could be a pendulum swing reaction to over-caring, but engaging is the real healthy balance point. My husband’s last job was un-engaging by nature, and he was not happy there. His new work is highly engaging by nature, and he loves it. Some jobs demand more engagement than others, I think. Or maybe I just don’t know how to disengage :)

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    1. This is completely related to caring, but not totally the same thing. We can care and still disengage from our work, or we can not care too deeply but still engage out of integrity or a desire to derive some meaning from our work. I’m so glad that Neil found a more engaging job — not every job will provide that, but the ones that do are worth hanging onto!

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  4. This really came at the right time. I was actually thinking about this last night and realized that I’m starting to be that impatient guy. I still put in my all at work, but I’m losing interest very quickly.

    After thinking about it more, I ended up writing almost a whole post of my own about how I need to make a deliberate change since I still have a handful of years until I’m out. I want to make sure that I leave on a high note and am able to maintain friendships with my co-workers even after I leave.

    — Jim

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    1. I think the biggest aha for me in researching this was that patience vs impatience isn’t the important question. So being impatient is fine, so long as you stay engaged in the meantime. :-) Of course, being impatient over a number of years comes with its own pitfalls, so learning to enjoy the journey has plenty of its own benefits!

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  5. While I can’t speak to the early retirement bit, I do think I can speak to the engagement piece of this and your fantastic chart. I am deeply engaged in my work, sometimes to a fault. I believe that’s partly to blame for the high rates of teacher burnout. What strikes me as most important (in a very important post altogether!) is the idea of finding your legacy. Whether you’re highly engaged or totally disengaged, finding something to work for helps with both ends of the spectrum and everything in between. Save all the kids! Teach everybody everything! That’s how you get burned out. Of course, those are my ultimate goals. But finding little actionable things that I can work towards each week keeps me from feeling totally overwhelmed and just saying, “I’m done!”

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    1. Haha, yes, it’s my most technical chart ever! I’m going to rate things in terms of smiley faces and frowny faces from now on. ;-) The burnout threat is real in a lot of careers, though I’m sure teachers feel it especially acutely because you’re so underresourced but in such an important role! I totally agree — thinking about your legacy in terms of small, actionable steps makes it a lot less overwhelming.

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  6. I’ve been having a tough time engaging with my work for a while now. I used to throw myself into improving processes and systems but as we’ve been acquired, I have had to let go as I see my old work being picked apart and largely tossed aside. Right now I am trying to tide myself over learning a new skill set while waiting for some better projects to come down the pipeline. It’s helped a bit.

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    1. I think it’s so hard to stay engaged through an acquisition! I assume you’ve considered switching jobs? Certainly some jobs make it easier than others to stay engaged, and if you’re in one of the bad ones, a switch might be the best answer. Though it sounds impressive that you’re working on new skills while your work is in transition.

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  7. I’ll be honest – I’m actively disengaged. I do my work to the very best of my ability (because my company is paying me to do so), but my heart definitely isn’t in it. But then again, it never really was, so this is no different than any other point in my career. The only difference is, now, I can see a light at the end of the tunnel, which churns up my impatience that much more. :)

    But like you’re saying, one of my top priorities is to go out on a good note – with everybody happy. I don’t want to blaze a trail of bridge-burning dialog because I want to leave myself a fall back in case things go seriously wrong after calling it quits. Though I’ll do almost *anything* to avoid going back to a full-time career in IT, it would be unwise to limit my options.

    I have an impatient smile on my face. I know the end is coming, and I just want it to get here so I can officially move on with my life. But until that happens, I’m trying my level-headed best to muddle through my daily work and doing the best job that I can so long as I’m getting paid. After all, that’s what they are paying me for!

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    1. There’s always an exception that proves the rule, right? ;-) The research is pretty clear that people who are engaged by their work are happier, but no one is a statistic, and if you find you’re happier another way, then good for you! Plus, you’re SO CLOSE — I definitely think we’ll struggle more with the engagement question as we get within a few months of the end. Or, who knows, maybe we’ll be MORE engaged as our end date looms bigger and bigger, and we fight harder to secure our legacies. Stay tuned. :-)

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        1. I don’t think you’re alone in that! Research also suggests that fewer than half of people feel engaged by their work — so there is clearly something wrong with a lot of jobs, and it makes sense that you’d especially want to retire early if you’ve found yourself in a career path that makes it especially hard to engage. Fortunately you only have to deal with this problem for a few more months!

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  8. We could have technically “afforded” my retirement a year and a half before I did so. The giant tether at that time was medical insurance; Mr. AR had excellent coverage through his employer that continued through his disability, but I had no coverage at all through my employer. We knew we would be forced to COBRA out when Mr. AR retired, and there was a clear timeline: 18 months at 100% of the regular premiums, then another 11 months at 150% of the premiums. At that point, he would be eligible for Medicare and I’d be on my own. The ACA had just been implemented (otherwise I’d still be working, and I’d be forced to take whatever crap policy my employer offered at whatever cost), and our plan was I would work straight through the COBRA period to offset the huge premiums ($1800 the first 18 months, then $2700 the next 11 months). I almost made it, we did end up coughing up medical insurance premiums and mortgage payments for a few months after I retired, but it could have been so much worse! And that’s what kept me motivated to keep working: offsetting medical insurance premiums and mortgage payments with my income rather than our savings. It was difficult; the job had become thankless and overwhelming and I constantly felt the tug of just not wanting to be there anymore, but I didn’t allow short timer syndrome to kick in for fear of losing out on bonuses, salary increases and the like when we were already stretched so thin after Mr. AR’s disability and subsequent retirement. I wouldn’t say I was engaged, but I was certainly aware of the necessity to keep working, not disclose any retirement plans and not rock the boat. I did begin the process, mentally, of disengaging from employment and no longer having to answer to anyone for my time, but I was very reluctant to show any of our cards. At the end, when we’d finally decided I would go no further than February of 2015 and we actually purchased this house, I realized I had somewhere else to go (without the $4700 monthly PITI), and I lasted less than a week before I emailed my resignation, left my keys on the desk and walked out the door forever. In retrospect, I imagine having this house to come home to, without a mortgage, was the nail in the coffin for me. I had been overworked, taken for granted and disillusioned for a long, long time before that, but I lacked a clear path to resolving those issues. Finding this home gave me an exit plan, and suddenly every additional moment I spent working felt like wasted time. The decision was costly; we dipped into savings to float the Bay Area house and COBRA premiums for a few months until the house sold and closed and Mr. AR went on Medicare, but even at $10,000 per month for a few months, I’d do it exactly the same way if I had it to do over again. No regrets at all.

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    1. Given everything you’ve shared here in the past, it’s clear that you stayed engaged to the end — engaged doesn’t have to mean happy or thrilled to be doing the work, as you well know! But it does mean caring about the result and not phoning it in. It’s great to know that, even with hindsight, you don’t regret a thing! I’m so happy for you guys that you’ve found such a great place physically and metaphorically!

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  9. I work for myself so it is a little different. Basically I always keep an eye out for when I am not engaged or productive – there is no value in me simply putting in time at my computer, I either produce results or might as well be doing something else. So when I notice I’m not giving 100% effort, I step away for a short break and come back fresh.

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    1. I think working for yourself is a totally different ballgame. By definition you’re engaged because you’re doing what you have built for yourself. But it’s great that you have good habits of stepping away when you’re not being productive — we both struggle with that!

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  10. I recall in the last 3 months of work (post RE announcement) a number of people told me I was going out at my peak and that was so much better than those folks going out “thank God, finally, it too so long”. The ones who coasted on other people for so long, sometime years, were not positive folks to be around anymore. People noticed and they don’t like it. I, on the other hand, left with a lot of positive energy, which helped in the early transition. And yes, I’ve continued mentoring a number of folks, which has also helped with the transition. So I agree with you… don’t check out early!

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    1. What a great testament to you that your colleagues saw you going out at the peak — that’s what we aspire to as well. And what a great point that the positive energy helped you transition into retirement! That’s something I hadn’t thought about.

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  11. I am guilty , I think I have totally checked out and want nothing more to focus on my photography and my writing. It’s not like I’m putting in overtime or having to travel for work, I get to work from home and do a few tasks daily. It’s just that my mind and my passion is elsewhere. I’ve gotten a hint of FI work and want to pursue it further with the freedom that goes with it. But then I’m not totally FI am I , I would still be working to allow my investments to grow. This right here sounds all over the map and well thats because it is LOL ~ the problem with impatience.

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    1. We feel your pain! We’d rather be spending all our time outside and blogging, instead of having to earn this pesky income. ;-) But the research makes clear that staying engaged pays its own dividends. I think it’s fine to be impatient if you can just stay engaged!

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  12. Like Brian above, I’ve always worked for myself. So my challenge is often the opposite – check OUT more often.

    But no matter what stage I’ve been in moving towards FI, I find a lot of joy in the engagement you wrote about here. I know I get caught peeking at the peak of the mountain, but once I return to watching my footsteps and concentrating on my breathing, the uphill climb becomes its own sort of meditative enjoyment. Wishing I were at the top makes me lose this.

    And the contribution and legacy you mentioned are so big. I have young kids, and they always watch what I do and how I do it. So, it’s made me very aware of my own intentions and actions. If I’m gone tomorrow, do I want them to remember me disengaged, unhappy, & impatient? And how do I hope they choose to live their lives if they emulate me in some way?

    This is an awesome topic. Thanks!

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    1. I think it comes through loud and clear that you are fully engaged in your life and work, Chad! And I can only imagine that your kids are learning wonderful lessons from you every day. It’s human and normal to want to look ahead — I don’t think that’s inherently bad, it’s only bad if we also stop caring about today.

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  13. I’m nowhere near enough to FI to be disengaged for that reason but your point still stands. I’ve been feeling disengaged and disaffected for over a year and only reminding myself that the practical benefits of having an income whether or not my heart was in it kept my brain in the game. Recently a major reason for my disaffection changed totally unexpectedly and while it’s made my work life even more complicated in the short term, it has also reopened the possibility of being engaged again and it’s made a huge difference in how I approach my days. That said, these pretty normal influences on work-life happiness are a good reminder that one of my goals in FI is to reduce reasons for mentally checking out.

    I don’t want to wish my life away and that’s what is essentially happening when you actively stop caring about a significant portion of how we spend our days.

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    1. Well said — we shouldn’t wish our lives away. Plus the research was pretty compelling to me — it suggests that even a not awesome job can set us up for happiness if we engage with it fully (or even partially — that’s better than disengaging). I’m glad that you have the possibility of being engaged again at work, even if it comes with complications!

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  14. As you’ve said before, it’s all about the boundaries. The people you’ll be 10 years from now will want to look back on your cubicle exits and know that you took care of business (and your people) without sacrificing your personal quality of life. I met that goal, and it still makes me happy.

    But the main reason I’m commenting on this post is because I’m glad you got a sunset picture of the baby ducks at the Sheraton Marina in San Diego! We saw those guys almost every day (and chased them like paparazzi) but could never get a good shot.

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    1. Oh yeah, I loved those baby ducks! And I totally lucked into this photo — the sun was setting as I left the Schwab happy hour, and it was just a moment of serendipity! :-)

      And yeah, we definitely care about leaving things on a good note — glad to know you look back on that balance at the end of your career fondly! :-)

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  15. Wasn’t it the Eagles who said in the classic Hotel California “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave”. Although I think they were commenting on some other social problem in that song…..

    Over the last year, I feel like I am constantly searching for the clutch to get the car into top gear. Even the old “double-clutch” is failing. New oil, new gasoline, new engine needed…..I don’t know. Maybe just a different highway is required.

    I am in a role that is new to me, although uses my 20+ years of experience at its core. It is funny feeling to be learning new tricks, new ways of working and that is all going to be left behind. Still, we never stop learning – now and in FIRE. It’s all gotta be good, doesn’t it?

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    1. What an apt quote for this post! Yep, you can’t leave any earlier, so don’t check out early! ;-) I can understand that it feels weird to be learning new tricks, but I think that’s pretty wonderful! I’m positive it will feel more satisfying to leave your career having continued to learn until the end than it would to be in total coasting mode.

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  16. Oy. I wish I were looking at only one more year before ER but alas we have many more left to slog through. I will treat ER just like any other job I have left. I want to leave on a good note. Leave my files organized so the next person can find things. Wrap up as many loose ends as possible. All so when I turn in my badge on the last day, I can feel truly free. It helps that Mr. Need2Save and I plan to embark on a solid one-year travel excursion as soon as we retire. Truth is, we’ll be hard to track down if anyone has a question for me after I’m gone. And think about it. We all think we are irreplaceable but we are in fact very replaceable. Maybe the next person has a fresh idea to do something more efficient or improve on my ideas. Until then, I’m going to do my best to keep honestly earning my paycheck.

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    1. You clearly have a lot of integrity, which is a wonderful quality. Your post-ER trip sounds amazing! The thoughts of the office will certainly be out of your head in no time. You’re so right that we’re all replaceable — I think it’s actually freeing to realize that. But as you said, that’s no reason not to do our best!

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  17. I was fairly disengaged the last 6-9 months I was working and it wasn’t a good thing. I just wanted time to pass so I could get the hell out of there. The result: I was miserable, isolated myself, and didn’t produce my best work. This is not something I’m proud of, but it is what it is.

    Like you said, I would definitely recommend anyone hitting that final stretch to find something they’re passionate about and take ownership of it, no matter how trivial it may seem. It’ll make your remaining time much more enjoyable for both you and your coworkers.

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    1. Thanks for sharing this so honestly! I’m sure that others will read this and learn from your experience — I think it’s a really powerful statement. To your point about finding something small that you’re passionate about, I’m currently plotting my final set of “legacy” projects, so fingers crossed I can make some headway in the final yearish.

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  18. Nice smiley face analysis!
    I’m a proponent of choosing to disengage to some extent when it makes your life better. Looking back to pre-kids I worked many hours and was very engaged. Work, and its success was very important to me. Fast forward to post-kids and I quickly realize that there really is no such thing as ‘work life balance’, and that it covers many more non-work parts of life than having kids.
    Instead of work life balance, I believe that we have to choose what is important and fit everything else around that. For me, family is first and work has to fit in around it.
    Actively choosing less hours, a lower percentage of brain time and worry about work means more time, brain power and energy for family.
    For me, FIRE is the natural extension of that. Even MORE time for the things that really matter!
    Oh, and I’m as impatient as hell! πŸ˜‰

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    1. Yes, I’ve decided to get more technical over here, so you can expect more smiley face charts in the future. Hahaha. I think kids make for a very different set of circumstances, and in fact you might need to disengage a bit more from work to spend time with your kids. That seems right and healthy. But I also suspect that you wouldn’t go into total slacker mode at work when you get close, even if you’re as impatient as we are. ;-)

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  19. I was contractually required to give 3 MONTHS’ notice at one job. They were surprised and offended that I wanted to leave and did their best to make it a miserable experience. There’s a good reason that most industries only require 2 weeks.
    I did my best to be nice anyway, and now it has been almost three years since I left. They just called again last week and begged me to come back. Um, no thanks.

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  20. The early retirement math is NONLINEAR in the home stretch. That’s the biggest motivation for a FIRE aspirant. For eg, the last 2 years of your working career will contribute disproportionately to your FIRE success than the earlier years. That’s because of net worth compounding, higher income & savings and also, 2 less years to fund your retirement. The home stretch is very important from a ER math point of view.

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  21. A clear userguide for 2029, my FIRE year!

    In fact, this is thΓ© approach I used each time when I started to look for a new job. Heck, it is even what I did till the last day in the job.

    You did a great job in making bringing it with words.

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  22. Great post – I too struggle with impatience on my road to FI…I’m beginning to think everyone does! But as you wrote in one of the comments, it is in my nature to be impatient. I love having freedom to do what I want when I want to…unfortunately, my money doesn’t work that way. Though I want to “retire” from work, I want my money to keep working!! Waiting for it to grow is excruciating at times but all part of the process.

    As for checking out early, that part I’ve been managing pretty well. I love my job (once I’m there) but on bad days I do what my mom used to do when she was annoyed with us…smile through grit teeth. It seems to work! She had 3 whiny kids to contend with – I have 143 whiny passengers…kinda the same thing? ;) The grin and bare it approach is necessary for those finals years when you know your goal is right around the corner. Only 6 more years to go!!

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    1. I have definitely talked to enough people to think all of us on the FIRE path are impatient about it. I think if we were the patient types, we’d be okay with following the conventional career path wisdom, and wouldn’t be pursuing FI in the first place! ;-) I think the grin and bear it approach is a good way to go! We also find that focusing on gratitude helps us a lot, too. :-D

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  23. Impatience is definitely difficult at my temp job. It is mindless work, but it keeps me afloat while I build my business. If the work required more of my mind, it would likely be impossible for me to grow the business. I try to remember to be grateful for this. It does not always help. On days I try harder, I get through it “faster.”

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    1. I do think gratitude helps a lot! And choosing to see things through the gratitude lens helps us see that, in fact, this time is flying by. It’s only when we get caught up in the frustrations that time seems to crawl. But I can see why it would be tough to stay patient and engaged in a temp role, because you can’t invest yourself the same way.

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  24. Oh man if I were you all I would feel like I was in high school with senioritis. I would be chomping at the bit ready to move on to the next stage of my life. Good for you for staying focused and disciplined until the end. I know that you’ll be rewarded for this and will be an incredible example to those around you.

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  25. Oh My Gosh I am also so impatient!!! In a good way (very excited and motivated to save, invest etc) and a not so good way (it’s so hard to not tell everyone that you are not going to last longer than a few years just because you can…). Otherwise I love my job at its core (my profession), so that kind of engagement comes naturally; however, I have trouble with engaging with the way bosses/managers/owners lack the vision of what I can bring to them and their business. They love to see that I am hardworking but can’t see past that and I feel completely trapped. I know I may sound very proud of myself here, but it’s more the fact that although I can bring good ideas and proposals – that are being used, and help the boat progress, I seem to never be on the list as “promoteable” part of the staff, with or without interviews. So I do not feel valued, hence disengaged with the administrative and business side of my job. Your post came at a very timely moment as I have been talking about feeling disengaged and down with my husband, and he is helping me seeing the positive (as mentioned above, being simply grateful to have a job; using this job to get a visa for our family – big project on top of FIRE; and of course as a means to FIRE). I really need that gratefulness side of things to keep polite with the “environment” :) So thanks for this great timing, let’s all be impatient adn try to be engaged “as able” ;)

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    1. You raise an important point here! While it’s good to be engaged even while we’re plotting our exit strategies, that doesn’t mean that every job is the right fit. It’s always good to be grateful for what we have, but if your current employer doesn’t appreciate you, it might make sense to look around (and maybe you’re already doing this). There very well might be another position out there that would be easier to engage with… or maybe where you are is the right place to be for your remaining career time, and the key is to figure out how to make the best of it. ;-)

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      1. Very true. I have to wait to get my visa though, then I’ll see what I’ll do… Fortunately I love the work itself. Also fortunately, that impatience and excitement work well to carry me through the difficult times. Again, this post was perfectly timed :)

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