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Old 10-10-2017, 11:17 PM   #61
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I'm turning 40 next year. I am pausing to reflect on what that means. Does it mean that I really have to stay at this job which has no purpose for twenty or so more years? I know it's good to have a job that pays well, has great benefits and gives me steady paycheck, but for some reason that's not enough to get me up every morning until retirement. I wonder if this is a phase that soon shall pass. Or, if my urge to quit my traditional job and freelance so I can have more time to make memories with my husband in our airstream is pulling at me for a reason. For those of you that went outside the box with your career, do you have any regrets?


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Old 10-11-2017, 02:04 AM   #62
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Quotes from two people about jobs:

From the late science fiction author Robert Heinlein, through the voice of his recurring character Lazarus Long, "The true measure of success is being given the opportunity to work long, hard hours… at something you really enjoy."

From the late New Orleans television and radio personality Frank Davis, when asked the secret of his success, "Three things. First, find something you really enjoy doing. Second, do that thing better than anyone else. And third, find someone who will pay you to do that thing."

To me, the key word in both statements is "enjoy."

I didn't change careers in my 40s, or any time at all until I retired. I worked as an engineer for the Army Corps of Engineers for my entire career. In the New Orleans District for my whole career. And in Operations Division— though not always the same position in Operations Division— for my whole career.

But after I read the first of those two quotes and took it to heart, I reassessed what my job meant to me, and I searched for ways to enjoy the job instead of just enduring the job. And in my case, it worked. I started searching out the unusual assignments, the ones that none of the other engineers wanted to touch, and I got very good at not only thinking outside the box, but also redefining the box itself. Almost every assignment from that point on stretched the limits of what I knew, and forced me to do research before developing a solution, instead of just falling back on what I learned in school. So every assignment, if not every day, was a new learning experience. The job never got old, never got stale. No new task was ever just "more of the same." And I enjoyed the challenge.
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Old 10-11-2017, 02:23 AM   #63
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Thank you all for your thoughtful responses. I am a CPA and currently work in the federal government. I won't bore you all with the details of what makes the job soul crushing. I'll just say that I don't feel like I am making a difference or doing anything meaningful with my job. There are a lot of people just buying their time until retirement. I understand why... the benefits are great. It's never easy to leave a cushy job, but i have an awesome husband who will support me in whatever I want to do. If I go out on my own, I'll be doing accounting work for small businesses which I have done in the past while I worked for somebody else. I'll be starting from ground zero though. Leaving a six figure job to start at nothing is a mental hurdle I have to overcome. On the plus side, the airstream will get out of storage more and we could really see some amazing places next summer. You can't get time back, right? Thank you all again for giving me your perspective.
Both my wife and I eventually left the corporate world to start our own businesses. We each left for different reasons and to different times, and she changed fields entirely. Her business was more typical in that it took three years to break even—up until then we poured money into it. When it became successful, it was very enjoyable for her, but it never yielded more than a fraction of her former career earnings.

With mine we were luckier. I remained in my chosen field, and the contacts I made and resume that I built in the “soul-crushing” part of my career (not because it was boring or unfulfilling, but because of the narcissistic nature of the people for whom I worked) it took only three months before I broke even and it led to a very satisfying and extremely financially rewarding career for 26 years when we both retired.

BUT (1) I rarely worked less than 10-12 hrs per day and averaged 10 full weekends of work per year (2) annual vacations were a maximum of 5 days plus bookended weekends (3) taxes and tax reporting was draconian.

But I LOVED it! Loved the work, loved my staff, loved the challenge, and (mostly) loved my clients. BUT (again!)...there was a 23 month period when I not only had no incomeand we were living off savings, but we had to double dip into savings to support my employees and pay the rent. And there was no way of knowing when or if that was going to change.

I could never have gone out on my own without my wonderful wife’s financial and emotional support throughout. When we hit the tough times, at six months I was ready to stop—we were too close to retirement goals to risk it. But she had faith, so I stuck it out, and my following 8 years were the best ever. You are very lucky to have a husband with similar attributes.

As my brother is fond of saying, “This ain’t no dress rehearsal.” We have only one life. If yours is truly soul-crushing, and you are fortunate enough to have the wherewithal and spousal support, you owe it to both of you to pursue something sole nourishing.

Whether that’s going out on your own as a CPA (if you like the work but don’t like your environment) or something entirely different (if you don’t like the work itself) that, of course, is for you to decide.

Along with everyone else here, I hope that you find fulfillment and have fun with your life.

Hope to see you on the road!
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Old 10-11-2017, 05:43 AM   #64
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Almost every job has its "dirty 30" (30% of everything you have to do, you'd rather not). When the "dirty 30" becomes the "dirty 50) then it's time to rethink if this is the right job for me.
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Old 10-11-2017, 06:50 AM   #65
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I'm still raising a family so I have a different perspective - You have a six figure job with benefits..... - you could horse whip me everyday and I would eagerly come back for more!
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Old 10-11-2017, 08:05 AM   #66
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I'm still raising a family so I have a different perspective - You have a six figure job with benefits..... - you could horse whip me everyday and I would eagerly come back for more!
Work may consist of "doing what you've got to do so you can afford to do what you want to do" for a lot of people in your position. But that's exactly why it's important to find the stuff in your job that you want to do, to keep from having your soul crushed. Because just like a tiny little cog in a whacking great machine, you may be essential for the machine to run, but that importance doesn't keep you from getting worn away a little bit at a time until there's nothing left.
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Old 10-11-2017, 08:32 AM   #67
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- you could horse whip me everyday and I would eagerly come back for more!
LOL! amazing how that changes one's perspective.

Here's a fun factor that no one has mentioned: health issues (i.e. the need to keep the employer-sponsored health insurance.)
Soul-crushing is better than having "everything else" crushed.

In a perfect world, I'd go by what I call the lottery test: Would I keep doing this job even if I won one of those ridiculously large lotteries, and no longer "had" to do anything if I didn't want?
My job does not pass this test, but it does pass the other one. I wouldn't say I'm being "soul-crushed", either...but I was in my previous role (in the same company). Its not a good feeling. I would just try to keep reminding myself about how much better off I was (still am! ) than the vast majority of the other 7-billion humans.
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Old 10-11-2017, 09:33 AM   #68
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I know a lot of people working into their 70’s, and saying they will have to work for the rest of their lives, just to pay for health care...it’s certainly something to consider.

All the variables in any one persons situation have to be taken into consideration, before making a decision to quit the rat race to live a dream.

I’m all for dreams, seriously, but jumping ship prior to retirement age to follow them is not always practical.

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Old 10-11-2017, 10:13 AM   #69
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My wife and I started our 1st business in 1996 when I was laid off. I was in IT so finding work was pretty easy, but I thought I wanted to try to go out on my own and she supported me 100%. Here are some tips that we used back then and still use today:

1) Simplify your life: Sell, downsize, get rid of anything that you have payments on or don't need and you'll be more relaxed in your day to day life. The old saying "Cash is King!" works marvelously and reduces your stress levels immensely. If we haven't used it or touched it in the last year we sell or donate it!

2) Take time off: When we started our business in 1996 we worked harder than ever, 12-16 hr days are not uncommon. We had three kids, 6,4 & 1, we never missed any of their functions but the 1st year or so we didn't go on any vacations, it eventually wore us down. Take the time to spend with family & friends and visit new places.

3) Live on less: A good friend once told me "Retiring is just learning to live on less" - and we have followed that mantra since starting our businesses years ago.

In the end it is a decision you have to make, it is not for everyone, it can be the most rewarding and frustrating decision you'll make. But we now have a business where we work 1 weekend a month and love every minute of it. Are we getting rich off of it? H*ll no! But we love the freedom it affords us and we enjoy the work.
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Old 10-11-2017, 10:16 AM   #70
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It is easier to live on less once the kids are grown, gone, married- no more school expense.
It is easier to live on less when the house is paid for.
We all gotta get from here to there.
It will happen.
When the kids were small and we had car notes we didn't have an Airstream or travel trailer at all. We had a tent and some sleeping bags.
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Old 10-11-2017, 11:59 AM   #71
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During the Great Recession I was laid off and had to take a job far from home to pay the bills. In about 2009-2010 I posted here about my trying to live in the trailer through a Denver winter. The job was horrible due to nasty abusive bosses. It was beyond soul crushing. After nearly 2 years I quit, drove home to MN, and struggled to keep the family afloat. My field is IT, but was unable to find work. I published a book and trained pilots, which barely kept us solvent. Eventually I found an IT job, which I have held for 5 years now. Looking back, it worked out. I'm glad that I left the Denver job. My current job is pretty good, but I'm not saving the world or anything.

Outside of work I have found purpose in helping others. I donate time and money to help people. For example I am paying for braces for a teen with messed up teeth. Also I adopted twin teen girls from an orphanage in Colombia - see macdonaldadoption.blogspot.com

I wish you the best in your search!
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Old 10-11-2017, 12:50 PM   #72
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Sounds similar to my experience...IT, lost the gig in the Great Recession, took a long time to find work. I actually tried to see if I could leverage the airstream to live in at a remote job, but that never panned out either. Nearly lost my house...and would have, had I lived in any other state. The experience will certainly permanently alter your perspective.
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Old 10-11-2017, 03:41 PM   #73
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"That kid gets it. As cliche as it may sound - it's the artful blend of having what you want, and wanting what you have, that determines the level of soul crushing you're bound to experience. "

I think SteveSueMac boils down the decision to fulltime to this very equation. Most of the time we are in equilibrium and when we're not, it's not very far off or doesn't take much time to get it back.

As others have said, it depends on many different elements unique to yourself. If you can say your job is soul sucking, then clearly right now the job is defining you...and you are slowly becoming a shell of yourself. I used those same, exact words for years prior to having the opportunity to jump. I had been using my college education to support myself and family but now I've cleaned motel rooms, refurbished decks at an Airstream RV resort, trimmed trees, painted a house, and currently I am a convenience store clerk...with no job stress. Full disclosure: we have a passive income that allows us to fulltime on about $27k to $30k a year. It sounds like you and your husband do very well financially, and so if I could assume you can live off your savings or make your property work for you, then I would make the jump. If you use your property rather than sell it, then the jump is not so one-way. If you try and decide it's not for you, that's okay - you will never nag yourself for not having tried.

So assuming the financials make a jump possible, then you have to look at yourself. Are you a romantic? Adventurous? Meticulous or spontaneous? Do you seek routine or the unknown? Every one of us fulltimers is different and the successful ones adhere to their own desires. But I like to think a lot of us have left the paradigm that was The American Dream; that is, go to college or get trained, find a job and then a career, buy a house, spend 30 years paying off the bank, punch in and punch out and hang onto two to three weeks of vacation each year, and hope to get to retirement. I said this just after leaving: somehow the American Dream morphed into having more possessions, when early on, our ancestors sought out a better life and jumped at the chance for a life of unknown tomorrows, and accumulation of experiences. For so many life was an adventure - some big, most small...but still having some kind of meaning in each day. I've been closing up the store four nights a week this past Summer and Fall...but with a purpose and the knowledge it won't be forever. I don't mind because every time I take out the garbage, it's under blue skies and the horizon is unblocked by buildings. I don't deal with deadlines, traffic, car pool lanes, shopping malls, stoplights, trash, and crowds. I have what I want - the ability to go take a hike from right outside my Airstream door.

It's not glamorous...but I'm not glamorous. My trailer is always parked outside...and I like being outside. That's my soul. My job doesn't suck it away anymore.

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” - Socrates
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Old 10-11-2017, 05:34 PM   #74
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If you define your job as soul crushing it is killing you, slowly but surely the stress will ruin your life, leave ASAP, take some time to plan and prepare and get out.

If there is something you like and are passionate about you will be successful.

My wife and I are in our 30’s quit our jobs to be full time in our airstream and love it. It helps that she is a nurse and is traveling, I had to get creative to find something I could do on the road which involved some serious concessions on pay, benefits, and stability.

We love it and wouldn’t go back.
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Old 10-12-2017, 10:33 AM   #75
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I find life gets better as you get older - prefer 50’s to 40’s. I enjoy my job. You might be stuck in a rut. Look for projects in your company that excite you, speak with other managers about your enthusiasm, setup a development dialogue about your career goals. Is there an option to work remotely, from an AS? Always best to surround yourself with people that have positive energy - it’s infectious. Best of luck.
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Old 10-12-2017, 11:24 AM   #76
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Oh, I guess that I'll add my two cents worth, 'just because'.
Over the years, I've had a variety of jobs;
-Worked in a Machine shop as a teenager, [lost a finger there at age 15]
-R.C.A.F. as an Airframe Tech.,
-C.P.R., (as a yardman),
-Pitney Bowes as a serviceman,
-Ten Years of commission selling a number of items,
-Back to school to finish my education. (College),
-Years in the field as an A.M.E.,
-Twenty -five years at DeHavilland/Bombardier, as a 'Flt. Serv. Eng.
-Retired a age 62, with a small pension, and great benefits.

-At age 77, still living a decent life, keeping busy doing a lot of everything and nothing.

-Selling my A.S. 'cause the wife has 'drawn the line', after ten years+ of RVing. (And a few years hiking/backpacking.) and said 'Enough'. (She's older than I am)

All these years, I have mostly always been employed, (except two years of schooling); drawing a pay cheque to live on, and now have a small decent pension, as well as drawing on investments from over the years.
[Learned a lot about a lot of things.]

Is life good?? Yah! But health problems are slowing me down now. "BUGGER"!!

Would I have done things differently over the years? Absolutely!
But looking back over the years; I've led a challenging and interesting life; that others less fortunate might be jealous of.
And like many of YOU on this Forum; I can face my God, and say: "Here I am, I've done my Best, and done O.K."
Reading what I wrote before;
YES. Like you, I did have some "Soul-Crushing-Moments"; Wasn't fun!
But I "kept the 'green side up', and plowed through it. And today? Life is good!
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Old 10-12-2017, 12:29 PM   #77
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Keep in mind that the only difference between a rut and a grave are the width and depth.

To manage this situation, change needs to occur, and change starts with you being willing to change something about your situation.
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Old 10-12-2017, 08:09 PM   #78
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Thank you all for your thoughtful responses. I am a CPA and currently work in the federal government. I won't bore you all with the details of what makes the job soul crushing. I'll just say that I don't feel like I am making a difference or doing anything meaningful with my job. There are a lot of people just buying their time until retirement. I understand why... the benefits are great. It's never easy to leave a cushy job, but i have an awesome husband who will support me in whatever I want to do. If I go out on my own, I'll be doing accounting work for small businesses which I have done in the past while I worked for somebody else. I'll be starting from ground zero though. Leaving a six figure job to start at nothing is a mental hurdle I have to overcome. On the plus side, the airstream will get out of storage more and we could really see some amazing places next summer. You can't get time back, right? Thank you all again for giving me your perspective.
A six figure, 40 hour, government job? That's half my hours. Sounds like a vacation.
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Old 10-12-2017, 08:27 PM   #79
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I look around the world and feel blessed. I would not have picked my job out of school, it's not something I love but my life is so good regardless. I get a month in the summer to travel in the Airstream out west with my family. I make the money I need to take care of them, put them through college, help the ones I love. I go climbing with a friend every Friday morning, I get to drop the kids off at the bus stop and they run to me when I pick them up. Life is about balance. Find the good in what you have because we are so fortunate here in the US.
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Old 10-12-2017, 08:32 PM   #80
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A six figure, 40 hour, government job? That's half my hours. Sounds like a vacation.
Unless you're an elected official, you don't get into a six-figure Government job without paying your dues in entry- to mid-level five-figure jobs for half of your career or more. Across the board, civil service Federal jobs pay about 32% less than comparable private industry jobs requiring the same skill and responsibility. Yes, we work fewer hours, and have slightly more job security (though less job security now than in previous decades). But we give up a lot to get that. Including upward mobility. Only about 1 in 8 Federal employees will ever move up to a mid-level management position, and only about 1 in 12 of those will ever move up to higher-level management. And we will always work for people who are less qualified than us who got their positions through political favors.

I had a career with the Federal Government that lasted 34 years. I didn't start seeing 6 figures until year 27 or so. My particular Federal job had two saving graces: (1) variety. Each new task was different than the one before. That's the difference between having 34 years of experience and having one year of experience 34 times; and (2) building a visible end product that I could point to and say, "I helped build that."

But even at my agency, there were a lot of employees, from clerks to accountants to auditors to managers, whose whole job seemed to be moving paper from one side of the desk to the other, and who produced no apparent end product other than a pile of dead trees in a box in a holding area deep in a cavern called Iron Mountain that resembles the end scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Those are the folks who got one year of experience thirty-something times, where the only break from the boredom was a dose of tedium.

I can sympathize with them, but at the same time I will always be thankful that I wasn't one of them.
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