Repressing the Urge to Run

I’ve noticed something odd in the last year.  Since we have paid off the mortgage on our house and we have a sizable nest egg started I occasional have the urge to say “screw it all” and quit right away.  Why?  Because I’m slowly closing in on the amount saved that I could reasonably downshift my job and work half the time at significantly less pay and still cover all of our expenses.

The obvious downside to doing something that drastic would be locking myself into needing to work part time for the next 30 years at a higher rate than I ever planned.  Yet is a bit more freedom now worth less freedom in the longer time frame?  I really don’t know the answer to that some days.

I suspect this entire mindset is merely a result of having enough saved that I could actually even entertain these thoughts.  I can actually ;ook a scenario in my head and not feel guilty because it isn’t that far off the realm of possibility.  In effect, I’m daydreaming thoughts like this merely because I can.  Unlike the average person my age, I really don’t fear a layoff so what’s the big difference to intentionally downshifting your job?

The other reason to these thoughts is my job has recently been more stressful which makes me a bit unhappy.  I know it is the result of temporary issues of a lot of expectations for getting work done, but not enough staff to really do it all.  The good news is more staff have been approved, so its just sorting out the workloads for next year and hiring someone.  So my daydreaming is also likely the result of my mind looking for a stress relief.  After all, not working half the time right now seems really appealing when you have had a bad day at work.

In the end, usually a good night sleep helps clear my thoughts and gives me a bit more perspective.  I don’t need to do anything drastic and waiting a bit more to see if my day to day workload improves won’t cost me much.  It’s a few months at worst until things get better.  So I play with my daydream and usually put it back in the box.  It’s comforting just to know the option exists…even if I decide to never use it.

So how often do you daydream about saying screw it all and quitting?  Did you find the frequency goes up when your stressed?

8 thoughts on “Repressing the Urge to Run”

  1. I dream about dropping hours/taking a sabbatical all the time. I have that option right now if I want it (though it would mean putting off other financial goals). I find that this happens mostly when I start getting excited about something only tangentially related or completely unrelated to my work. I get so passionate about going to study some phenomenon or making a difference in a really cool way that I have to calm myself down and remember that I am passionate about my current job as well. All the other stuff will be there in 5 years.

  2. I already did it and am blowing through my savings. I thought I would originally get another engineering job but then discovered I could work from home. I then decided to pick up programming. So, now to find some part time jobs programming…

  3. I thought about quitting my stressful full time gig 3 years ago and work part time in some job that I actually could tolerate or even (gasp!) enjoy. But after some thought I new I wanted the ability to ER without ever having to work for money again. With my wife and I both earning high incomes, and with our expenses unusually low, we have been averaging about 7k monthly in savings for the past 3 years – we are now saving 8k. My job situation has been horrendous these past 3 years, but with the finish line in sight I have managed to keep it together. Barely.

    Sometime next year, just after I turn 42, I expect to enter the new phase of my life.

  4. I did sort of do that and definitely felt like that. Not from work pressure of too much work – rarely had a job without a lot of OT, more from a boss situation that I didn’t like. I shifted down to working only part of the year / contract work once I was within maybe 75% of the “FI number”. Definitely stress related. Then once you have that taste of freedom, it’s hard to go back to corporate BS like requesting holidays… having to work stat holidays… missing the Stampede because it’s quarter end… As a contractor, there’s a little more of me saying “this is what I’m going to be doing”, not “mother may I?”

    No regrets on switching to short term work. I enjoy the change back and forth to be honest. Totally wish I could find something where I just worked part time from Oct-Mar every year. That would probably be easy to find, but definitely not making what I make now.

    It’s actually a very weird feeling to have your living expense needs being covered passively every month AND be working pulling in a bunch of money – so sort of one step past where you are now. Weird and awesome.

  5. Many times in the 7 years I worked part-time before I fully retired back in 2008 I wanted to quit before I actually had hit my magic “number” I needed before I felt I could quit. Especially in the last 17 months of working after I had further reduced my weekly hours worked from 20 to 12 I asked myself all the time, “Why I am still working here?” But I knew the ER pieces were falling into place and I was just about at my magic “number” so after I gave my resignation notice I finally stopped asking myself that annoying question, “Why I am I still working here?” [Instead, it became a real countdown!]

  6. When we paid off the mortgage, we continued to sock away the money for the next 7 years into what we call our retirement travel fund. It is separate from our regular investments.

    Now that we have retired (at 55), we have no desire to ever work again. Our pension covers our fixed expenses (hydro, heating, groceries, etc.), our investments provide us with a monthly personal fun money (eating out, entertainment, etc.), and our paid off mortgage provides us with travel funds (camping, Road Scholar, condo rentals in Florida, etc.). When Canada Pension (at 60) and Old Age Security (at 65) kick in, these will supplement the travel funds.

    We have been retired for 16 months now and have made 16 trips – some as short as a week, some as long as 5 weeks. Half of our time has been spent travellin, the other half at home doing the things we enjoy – working out at the gym, going to yoga, cooking classes, going to movies, playing at hobbies (my photo travel blog), walking the dog – things we were too busy to do while working.

    Since the finances are in good shape, the idea of working is as remote as possible.

  7. Why not take a week off to decompress? Use some vacation or sick days of just take some unpaid time.

    I need a vacation right now and I can’t get it. I wouldn’t go anywhere or do anything but I just need a break.

    I tend to make rash decisions and I need to make them when I am well rested and relaxed and not when something stressful makes me snap.

  8. It’s a tempting proposition but I’d continue so I could retire completely. The closer you get to the target the more inclined you are to take it easy, I would say do the reverse and work more to achieve your goals even faster! You’re on the final lap so sprint. Nice Post.

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