As I’ve said on this blog before, I’m planning to quit my job in April of 2011. Although I hadn’t previously read the 4-Hour Work Week until this morning, it appears I independently came up with the same life philosophy. As I read it, I’ll be making a series of notes to document how I feel today, 4 months before I quit this unrewarding job for a better life.
Q: Define your nightmare, the absolute worst that could happen if you did what you are considering.
A: I would fail miserably with my many businesses and business ideas. I would lose the $30K-$40K I plan to put in reserve to live off for the first year, my wife would be angry with me that we made these sacrifices for nothing. I would panic, get a job that is equally unfulfilling, but be forced to work more hours for less money and live the next 40 years miserably. (OK, I get what Tim F. is getting at, this feels silly thinking like this even though we do it unconsciously all the time). My kids will have less because of the selfish decision I made, and wil have to settle for a subpar college 15 years from now, and live the same monotonous life I am living (although I didn’t go to a subpar school).
Q: What steps could you take to repair the damage, or get things back on the upswing, even if temporarily?
A: I could suck it up and return to an electrical engineering job. Easily at the same company (assuming I don’t burn bridges), but probably anywhere in the country (or world). Just yesterday I had a friend try to get me to take a job at Google, which I won’t do considering my current plans, so I imagine I could do something like that.
Q: What are the outcome or benefits, both temporary or permanent, of more probable scenarios?
A: I would get healthy again, both physically and mentally. I would be around more to be a better father (I consider myself a great dad when I’m around, but I’m not around enough currently). 3 years ago I was running 100 mile races, and at the peak of my health. Now, I run only 20 miles a week, mostly on a treadmill to save time. Mentally, I’m exhausted and depressed with the work I’m doing, and I believe the time away will be refreshing and rewarding. I believe, at minimum, I would be fulfilled in knowing I tried and live with no regrets. More likely, I will succeed at getting my time back and my hobbies and family back. From there, I can then use my additional time to explore the many business ideas I have circling around in my head.
Q: If you were fire today, what would you do to get things under financial control?
A: Nothing. I have what I believe is over 10 years of savings to live a bare-minimum above-poverty lifestyle. Basically, I would simply be forced to jump into the shark tank 4 months before my plan.
Q: What are you putting off out of fear?
A: Nothing, I hope. My biggest fear is stepping out of the life mold, and I’m only putting it off now out of strategy. I have 2 more weeks of vacation remaining this year (meaning I only work 3 more days all year) and I have 4 weeks of paid vacation to take next year between January and April. Combining that with the knowledge that I’m leaving (read: lame duck), I simply want to cash out all the hard work I put in. In April I get a bonus, about 20% of my salary in a single paycheck. So basically I can work 4 months, with 4 weeks of vacation, for about 50% of a years salary. I have many other fears that cause me to delay things, but that has been my biggest and the one I’m attacking now.
Q: What is it costing you – financially, emotionally, physically – to postpose action.
A: Financially, nothing. I make great money, a lot more than I expect to make for awhile. Emotionally, everything. I’m a zombie of a person. I’m not proud of it, or me, and I want myself back. I used to live so passionately. Physically, a lot. I was healthy before, I was vibrant and healthy all through college, and an ultra-marathoner at the top of my game just a few years back. But I see no way back to that without a major life change. There’s no getting back there with incremental improvements.
Q: What are you waiting for?
A: As mentioned above, just my bonus in April. Then I’m gone! I have (almost) no mental resistance left preventing this, although it creeps back up once or twice a day for a short while.
There you have it, this is my mind set on 12/15/2010. It will be interesting to revisit this a year from now. I hope I’m laughing at my ignorance!