Someone recently asked me if so don’t like my job. Their line of questioning seemed to be based on the idea that you’d only quit your job and retire early if it was BAD – instead of the idea that not working would be better.
For me, my planning to retire early is secondary to my hapless at work. Truthfully, my job is very interesting and varied. It’s not the most senior role I have had in my career, but it comes with a lot of responsibility, recognition, and flexibility in terms of what I do.
If you have your retirement nest egg well funded, the ultimate decision to work or not work comes down to how interesting your work is in terms of the time it takes from whatever else you are doing. The opportunity cost.
Being a bit analytical, a few months ago, I went over my office calendar from before Christmas, and marked each day (over 45+ days) into three buckets: 1) days that were fun / work I would miss; 2) days that were “busy work” – not bad, but boring; and, 3) bad days. Days I wished I didn’t have to go to work.
Here was the distribution:
- 4 – Fun Days (9%)
- 34 – Busy Work (74%)
- 8 – Bad Days (17%)
As you can see, most of my days at work (74%) were pretty boring. These days were marked by the bread & butter of corporate life: staff meetings, budget meetings, and planning meetings. In my view, these meetings were purely a trade of my time for MegaCorp’s money. They are the basic building blocks of corporate life and have added very little value to my overall life. I’m sure there were some fun moments on these days – good conversations or sneaking out for lunch – but most of the time was spent in unmemorable meetings.
Four of the days were genuinely fun. The thread between these days was that they involved working with newer employees, getting them excited about their opportunities at MegaCorp, and allowed me to feel I was making a difference. One of the days, we had the stadium suite at a NHL game booked for a recruiting event. I loved that – corporate luxury at its best (although I spent more time talking to job candidates than cheering on the local team).
The Bad Days – all eight of them involved intense discussion & political positioning resources for our 2016 plans/budgets. This can be fun when done for the right purpose, but MegaCorp has been spending a lot of time trying to cut costs, streamline operations, and laid off 1,500 employees in 2015. Nothing I am going to be proud of in my old age. I don’t feel like my pay came close to being a good trade for my time on those days.
This little analysis was insightful in terms how much time I spend doing busy work for MegaCorp. Even with a fancy title and big team to manage, most of my time is pretty boring. I think these 45+ are pretty representative of most weeks at work over the last couple years.
Do I hate my job? No, not at all. That’s not why I have announced my early retirement. Instead, I like to say that it is a great big interesting world, and I am excited to have more of my time to immerse myself in it. To have the time to travel, read, learn & experience it all. I like to think that by retiring early, I am appropriately valuing my time – and I feel it is worth more than what MegaCorp think it is worth to me.
What’s your count of days over the last month?