Job Glamour

This is a guest post by Dave, who is also looking to retire no later than 45, but unlike Tim has no kids and doesn’t want any. Dave is from Ontario and is working towards his CGA certification.

I wrote a couple of months ago about a possible job opportunity as a manager. I decided to not go for that job, but in the meantime I was unsuccessful in an additional job I did apply for, not as a manager (I was told I didn’t have enough experience to do it).

I have a friend who just started working for my company a couple of weeks ago, at a position I held three years ago. He (at age 30) had just graduated from school and is starting his second career. Where I’m kind of looking to change jobs or companies, he couldn’t be happier starting a new job. He’s coming from working as a cook where he had erratic hours for a relatively small amount of money. He’s ecstatic to be working a consistent daytime job that has benefits and a pension as well as vacation days.

I think that all I need, and all that most people need is a little bit of perspective. My first job was working in a chicken barn, gathering eggs. It was a dusty, smelly job which I really wouldn’t wish on anyone. I was paid piecemeal, at 3.8 cents per dozen eggs I gathered. For an 11 or 12 year old kid, the few hundred dollars a week was huge cash, I just had to smell like a chicken barn for a couple of days a week and skip around the odd rat at my feet (I really hate rats).

I think it was Nelson who wrote a few months ago (although I may be wrong) about how people get so worked up about their happiness and work. I mean, I’m not going into a coal mine every morning. I sit at a desk and try to solve accounting problems and write letters all day. All I would be trading my current job of solving “number problems” for would be for more of the same.

I’m sure if I continuously changed jobs, I would probably always get over the “honeymoon” stage and think there’s something better somewhere else. I’ve changed jobs three times now in the last 5 years and it really hasn’t increased or decreased my day to day happiness all that much. I just don’t think that I would be overly excited about any place that I had to go to for a certain number of hours per week, whether it was this job or another job.

I think that what draws me the most to early retirement is the realization that I don’t really think I want to work anywhere. I mean it’s laziness to a point, but really it’s about choice. For now, I can choose the job I want to do, but I still need to earn a paycheque.

What do you do when the glamour is over with your job you were previously super excited about? Do you move on to the next one, or stick it out?

6 thoughts on “Job Glamour”

  1. I’m a bit of an odd duck. I am working for the fifth company to occupy this building as a car dealership. I started just out of high school in 1988 as a receptionist, and “worked my way up the ladder”. The only job I haven’t performed here is doing a repair on a car.
    I have held the position of Office Manager / Comptroller / Secretary Treasurer for the last 14 years. I know I might be able to make more money if I went into the city to work, but have always figured most of the wage increase would be offset by commuting costs and having to upgrade my wardrobe, all to look at a different set of numbers in a different setting.
    I do get into a rut sometimes, I’m careful not to fall into “sour grapes” thinking.
    When I do get into a rut, I try to do something to renew liking what I do and where I work. I either look at how much I make in relation to others, or I think about how much I wanted this job (before I got it), and how much others seem to want it. Sometimes all it takes is re-arranging the furniture in my office.

  2. Been at the same company for 18 years… I realized that after a while, all jobs are boring, so there is no point changing all the time (this is my third career job since college graduation). When I get antsy, I remind myself how lucky I am compared to others and what a privilege it is to have the job I do. Things could be a whole lot worse. That said, I would prefer not to have to spend 8+ hours a day here – I very much look forward to retirement.

  3. Well, Maslow might disagree. Nelson’s talking about survival, Maslow talks about self-actualization. Why not aim for both?
    I figured out a number of years ago that I truly love making and implementing systems to save time and resources. On a test of systematizing (here):
    I come in at about double the average score.
    Just like the investing maxim “don’t fight the Fed”, I believe in “don’t fight your brain”. And I’ve worked at about 50+ jobs including temp work when I was younger – building systems in every one. It took about 20 years of working to realize there was a pattern there in what I felt really motivated to go in and do. But if you tend towards wanting to make an efficient system, you can’t stay in one job for years, because the system would get made, and then your job is done. It wouldn’t really surprise me if you, Dave, had some of these tendencies too.

  4. Love this post – I feel the same way and it’s quite validating to see someone else express it.

  5. In my 23 years of work, I measured my enjoyment of my job against the annoyance of the commute to it.

    In the early years, once I stopped moving around a lot and had a more consistent commute, I liked the job a lot and that enjoyment, or glamour, greatly exceeded the annoyance of the commute. As the years wore on, however, the commute took its toll on me to the point that the annoyance had become equal to the job’s enjoyment.

    When my company relocated and made a barely tolerable commute even worse, that was a key tipping point which forced me to do something big about it. That was to switch to working part-time to lessen the commute’s annoyance. That worked for a while but my burnout from the commute snowballed over the next few years while my job’s enjoyment began to decline – not a lot, but enough to further upset this growing imbalance.

    Combine these developments with my growing wealth and this accelerated my ER planning. In those final 18-24 months, I would ask myself several times a day, “Why am I still working here?”

    Once all the pieces of my ER plan fell into place, along with my vastly growing annoyance at the commute, I could no longer answer the aforementioned question. So I retired, ridding myself of the annoying commute while losing nothing on the positive side of working. 🙂

  6. Well I’ve had my ups and downs and unlike the op I now have 3 kids, ah yes the surprise third is awesome when it comes to retirement talk. lol Sounds like you may have the entrepreneurship bug have you considered that course? It may reignite your passion and get you to a semi retired state where your not pulling the 8 hour grind everyday.

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