Business Casual vs Living Casual

I’ve never been directly accused of being a show off by anyone, but I also don’t hide the fact that I’m a successful early retiree. This past week I had lunch with a MegaCorp friend and he commented on my cool, casual appearance – and what a relaxed existence I seemed to be enjoying.

Sure, everyone is more casual these days as they work from home, but there is a marked difference between ‘business casual’ and ‘living casual’.

In this case, I had gotten to the restaurant patio early and already had a beer in hand. It wasn’t quite noon yet, but why not? I was wearing shorts, a t-shirt, and flip flops as it was a nice warm day. I had investigated a waterfall in a park earlier that morning, so I hadn’t yet bothered to shower or shave.

I had my ‘Duff Beer” ball cap on – from Homer’s favorite beer from The Simpson’s. I like to wear that one when I meet folks who are still working because it seems to capture my lifestyle now. A goof off … sitting on my duff drinking beer without a care.

We had a nice chat & lunch, but I could tell he was monitoring his time. He confessed he was cutting it close and hustled away from the patio just before 1pm for a Zoom call. I then saw him sitting in his SUV in the parking lot on his phone – as I was cruising away in my convertible.

He texted me later that he was sorry he had to run abruptly, but thanked me for meeting up, adding “you sure are a great advertisement for early retirement!”

Related: Funniest FIRE Reactions


6 thoughts on “Business Casual vs Living Casual

  1. Life is good! Right? I’ve had that same lunch experience and conversation on quite a few occasions.

    But I admit feeling really bad for a close colleague after we had lunch a few weeks back. You see, I sat in his office 12 years ago explaining my early retirement plan. (Note: he is 8 years older.) I went into detail on his white board about purchasing rental property, and how it would replace my salary in a few years. I shared my stock strategy, short term and long term retirement withdrawal plans. We probably had 5-6 sit-down discussions back then about my strategy and how he could implement a similar exit plan. He listened…but he didn’t.

    Fast forward 12 years…He is still working superb hard at the same company. (I’m 3.25 years early retired now.) He is now facing a shut-down of the production facility where we both worked, and looking at a forced exit by year-end. He’s still driving very expensive vehicles (on lease) and living in a 7000 sq ft McMansion. He’s a phenomenal guy and wicked smart about most things. He just didn’t act.

    I left our latest lunch with a knot in my stomach. (You’ve worked in corporate America, so you know the knot!) It’s the first one I’ve had in almost four years. I felt horrible for him. I can only imagine what was going through. As I walked over and got into my vehicle, in my tee-shirt, shorts and flip-flops, I couldn’t help but think… Choices…we all make choices…


    1. It sounds like he is a smart guy, who isn’t really thinking. I’m not an overtly evangelical early retiree, but since many people know I’m MrFireStation, I do get into conversations about where people are at on their retirement journey pretty often. I’m surprised by what % of people in their 50s have no specific plans. Even, as you say, people that are very smart & successful in their careers.


      1. It always amazed me. I worked in a high paying and highly technical industry for nearly 30 years. The people I worked with were the best and brightest, most had multiple degrees (often PHD’s), but I came across very few who were well prepared for retirement. I guess many were so focused on their careers, that they overlooked the important goal of taking care of themselves (and their family) longer term. During that time, I mentored a ton of folks. A few actually listened, but most never took any initiative. I could never quite reconcile it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I guess that’s the Great American Paradox – live to work vs work to live 🇺🇸


  2. I spent the weekend with my older brother who retired from full time work at 59 last year, me at 57 six months after he did. We both do some consulting but we also know the phrase, “it’s beer o’clock”

    Liked by 1 person

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