Mid Life Crisis help!

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Mid Life Crisis help!

Postby elcheapo » Mon Jul 01, 2013 4:43 pm

Dear Boglehead community:

Longtime reader, first time poster, wonderful advice on this site, I am very grateful.

My advice is more on the psychological than anything else and I would appreciate any input you can give me. Overall I am a pretty happy guy, financially I have a supportive wife and we are in our late 40’s with a decent nest age which will allow us to retire at 60 with a nice income. Very little debt, almost none actually. So financially we are in pretty good shape.

My challenge is I find myself dissatisfied with my career and spend the bulk of my day wondering how I can spend another 12 year until retirement in an occupation that is less than inspiring. I am a mid level operations/sales person and find myself making 6 figures, but considerably less than a few years ago when I was laid off from the auto business (many had it worse).

Call it a mid life crisis, I just wonder if this is normal? I feel like professionally at my age people will pass on me for a younger option. Has anyone gone through this? If so, what advice do you have, what got you through it?

I have a great spouse and children, but I feel time is slipping by and my career goals are getting away from me.

Help!

:confused
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Re: Mid Life Crisis help!

Postby Call_Me_Op » Mon Jul 01, 2013 5:29 pm

I hear that nobody from their death-bed ever expresses that they wish they had worked more hours. Something to ponder.
Best regards, -Op | | "In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." Einstein
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Re: Mid Life Crisis help!

Postby livesoft » Mon Jul 01, 2013 5:39 pm

Not everybody makes it to the top. Lots of folks start moving sideways at age 35.

You may wish to read the Gail Sheehy book(s) Passages which has sort of turned into a franchise on mid-life crises.

After reading one of those books, you will find yourself hanging out at Bogleheads and posting alot.
It's all about short-term opportunistic rebalancing due to a short-term change in one's asset allocation, uh, I mean opportunistic rebalancing, uh I mean rebalancing, uh I mean market timing.
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Re: Mid Life Crisis help!

Postby Barefootgirl » Mon Jul 01, 2013 5:45 pm

there have been several threads on this very topic on this forum over the past few months and they contain gems of advice.... might be worth your time to sift through them.

Good luck, BFG
"The best you can do is set up like a baseball team does against an unknown hitter. That is spread the defense and wait for the ball to come to you." - pkcrafter
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Re: Mid Life Crisis help!

Postby TT » Tue Jul 02, 2013 9:07 am

elcheapo wrote:Dear Boglehead community:

Longtime reader, first time poster, wonderful advice on this site, I am very grateful.

My advice is more on the psychological than anything else and I would appreciate any input you can give me. Overall I am a pretty happy guy, financially I have a supportive wife and we are in our late 40’s with a decent nest age which will allow us to retire at 60 with a nice income. Very little debt, almost none actually. So financially we are in pretty good shape.

My challenge is I find myself dissatisfied with my career and spend the bulk of my day wondering how I can spend another 12 year until retirement in an occupation that is less than inspiring. I am a mid level operations/sales person and find myself making 6 figures, but considerably less than a few years ago when I was laid off from the auto business (many had it worse).

Call it a mid life crisis, I just wonder if this is normal? I feel like professionally at my age people will pass on me for a younger option. Has anyone gone through this? If so, what advice do you have, what got you through it?

I have a great spouse and children, but I feel time is slipping by and my career goals are getting away from me.

Help!

:confused


I decided to retire last year and worked many years of 50 -55 hour work weeks. A hospice nurse once advised me that no one on their death bed ever spoke of work, money or any material objects. The topic of conversation was always family and time they spent with their loved ones

"The most valuable commodity is time"- Gordon Gekko
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Re: Mid Life Crisis help!

Postby Barefootgirl » Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:41 am

I'm a couple years older than you and received here, the opposite of the advice on this thread...that's why I encourage you to seek various points of view - to take a balanced look at your own situation.

Again, best to you - it is a challenging decision and I can relate.


BFG
"The best you can do is set up like a baseball team does against an unknown hitter. That is spread the defense and wait for the ball to come to you." - pkcrafter
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Re: Mid Life Crisis help!

Postby afan » Tue Jul 02, 2013 8:15 pm

I have a great spouse and children


And a job that pays the bills. As you point out, things could be much worse. You need not love your job. You need not even like it . You just need it to get paid enough to meet your economic needs and aspirations. It certainly makes sense to look for better work, more rewarding, more lucrative, more whatever. But you are being paid, which is the most important thing you need from a job.

Do your work, enjoy your family, and lose the idea that your job should be more than that.
"We don't know how to beat the market on a risk-adjusted basis, and we don't know anyone that does know either." | | --Larry Swedroe
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Re: Mid Life Crisis help!

Postby harrychan » Tue Jul 02, 2013 8:37 pm

I'm in my early 30's and I am already quite content with what I do. I have the ultimate work - life balance where I telecommute 100% from my home. This gives me back 2 hours of my day and instead of being stuck in traffic. I get to pick up my kids from school and spend time with them. Career is not where my passion is, my family and helping others is. I am debating about starting a workshop at a nearby library to help guide people back on track in their careers. If I were your age, I would probably be very blessed to have a stable income over 6 sigs. I know a lot of people who quit or got laid off and end up being unemployed and not able to score even an interview. It's a harsh world out there.
This is not legal or certified financial advice but you know that already.
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Re: Mid Life Crisis help!

Postby DaleMaley » Tue Jul 02, 2013 8:54 pm

I figured out many years ago that I like to work on different and new things....with new technical challenges. I got myself into a job within the same company where I get to do these things. I have the freedom to also choose which areas to focus on to improve the quality of our products.

I am also nearing the end of my career as an engineer (now at 35 years), so I also get satisfaction from training the next generation of engineers.

I have passed up 3 promotions because I enjoy my current job and the people I work with.

If you know what you like, can you manuever around in the same company to do a job you like more?
Most investors, both institutional and individual, will find that the best way to own common stocks is through an index fund that charges minimal fees. – Warren Buffett
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Re: Mid Life Crisis help!

Postby pennstater2005 » Tue Jul 02, 2013 9:25 pm

If you don't like your job it's gonna be a long 12 years. Are there any different opportunities within your company that may interest you? If not you may want to consider freshening up the resume. Sometimes when I've needed a boost because work was less than stimulating, just getting my resume prepped again with no intention of looking helped me see what I've been accomplishing over the past few years.
To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities. - Bruce Lee
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Re: Mid Life Crisis help!

Postby am » Tue Jul 02, 2013 11:49 pm

Yes agree with afan about a job being a job. You are being paid to do what no one would do for free and therefore should not really be stimulating, enjoyable, etc. You get paid well and that allows you to do the things you want to do and support a family. Anything above that is truly a gift.
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Re: Mid Life Crisis help!

Postby reisner » Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:02 am

Would you consider cutting your expenses drastically in order to save more to retire a lot sooner. Check out this for encouragement:

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/

On the other hand, would you consider trying to mine the human connections you have at work for some more job satisfaction the job itself cannot provide?
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Re: Mid Life Crisis help!

Postby bayview » Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:30 am

One thing that I learned a while back is that with time, I needed to dial back the expectations, especially emotional rewards, from my career. The reality is that we're all cogs in the machine, with varying sizes of cog-ness, and while we'd like to think that we're all terribly important to our employers and workplace, they would in fact miss us for a while and then keep on going.

So I've come to a point (mostly) where I accept that I'm valued for what I do, but my job is not how I define myself, and the salary and bennies are usually enough to make me get my rear end out of bed and head on out the door.

It's sort of like having teenagers, where dealing with the angst of adolescent emotions makes you look forward to them being gone. In this case, these meh feelings about out careers are making us more than ready to accept retirement when it comes.
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Re: Mid Life Crisis help!

Postby shmidds » Wed Jul 03, 2013 4:52 am

Years ago I read an article that recommended completely changing careers every 15 years. The author called it "Lobstering."
I followed that advice, learned how to manage change, and have no regrets.
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Re: Mid Life Crisis help!

Postby IlliniDave » Wed Jul 03, 2013 6:30 am

elcheapo wrote:Dear Boglehead community:

Longtime reader, first time poster, wonderful advice on this site, I am very grateful.

My advice is more on the psychological than anything else and I would appreciate any input you can give me. Overall I am a pretty happy guy, financially I have a supportive wife and we are in our late 40’s with a decent nest age which will allow us to retire at 60 with a nice income. Very little debt, almost none actually. So financially we are in pretty good shape.

My challenge is I find myself dissatisfied with my career and spend the bulk of my day wondering how I can spend another 12 year until retirement in an occupation that is less than inspiring. I am a mid level operations/sales person and find myself making 6 figures, but considerably less than a few years ago when I was laid off from the auto business (many had it worse).

Call it a mid life crisis, I just wonder if this is normal? I feel like professionally at my age people will pass on me for a younger option. Has anyone gone through this? If so, what advice do you have, what got you through it?

I have a great spouse and children, but I feel time is slipping by and my career goals are getting away from me.

Help!

:confused


Similar things, although to me my "career" is only a means to an end, and it's really alwyas been that way. Through a complicated series of events I won't bore everyone with I realized once the nest was empty that I basically get no personal satisfaction out of my job. It pays the bills and then some, it's an honorable profession, etc., but there's other things I'd like to do with what time I have left. Since then I've been on a mission to "retire" (semi-retire, technically) as early as I can. I think it's fairly normal to hit a certain point in mid-life and reevaluate things. I'm just shy of 50 myself.

Many people receive great personal satisfaction from their jobs/careers. Many do not (at least directly). Once I had a goal and a plan to step away, realizing that the job contributes to achieving that goal made it a lot better. So maybe the trick is to forget about the job for a time and think about what you want for yourself in the future and make a plan to get there. Chances are your job will support that effort for a time, and it will be more satisfying as a means to an end than it is as an end in itself.
Don't do something. Just stand there!
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Re: Mid Life Crisis help!

Postby lwfitzge » Wed Jul 03, 2013 8:07 am

Your situation is not unusual. If you are in a more financially secure postion, you have options. Depending on your financial flexibility and the emotional value/meaning you assign to your career/job you can : hold on for the check and ride it out, Cut way back on expenses like MMM and semi-retire, find another career passion. At 48 yrs-old, I reached a nest egg sufficient to call the shots, not have to ride it out. At the time, I semi-retired, spend more time with family, children and self, volunteered, and consulted part-time. Full retirement was not something I wanted to do at that age. I did however choose to never work for a corporation again and be self-employed and self-directed. I recently found another passion and started another company which will demand much more of my time and energy but it's run on my terms. I have a neighbor (late 40's-early 50's) in the same line of work as me, left megacorp and started a part-time consulting business. He spends the rest of his time volunteering in areas he's passionate about. He's an unpaid Scout leader, soccer club coach, and high school assistant coach. People making these and other choices everyday..and not content with the status quo.
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Re: Mid Life Crisis help!

Postby EternalOptimist » Wed Jul 03, 2013 9:06 pm

I'm 63 and retired for 2 years. I had a mid-life at 40......left my corporate job to open a business and went back to corporate as I didn't like the business. I went back with a different attitude, being thankful for all in my life...job, wife, daughter, house, vacations, etc. Guess what you are experiencing is common. Only you can decide what you want at this stage of your life, remember there are no wrong decisions only different experiences. This is your life to do with what you want. Good luck :!:
"When nothing goes right....go left"
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Re: Mid Life Crisis help!

Postby or_investing » Wed Jul 03, 2013 10:01 pm

elcheapo wrote:Dear Boglehead community:

Longtime reader, first time poster, wonderful advice on this site, I am very grateful.

My advice is more on the psychological than anything else and I would appreciate any input you can give me. Overall I am a pretty happy guy, financially I have a supportive wife and we are in our late 40’s with a decent nest age which will allow us to retire at 60 with a nice income. Very little debt, almost none actually. So financially we are in pretty good shape.

My challenge is I find myself dissatisfied with my career and spend the bulk of my day wondering how I can spend another 12 year until retirement in an occupation that is less than inspiring. I am a mid level operations/sales person and find myself making 6 figures, but considerably less than a few years ago when I was laid off from the auto business (many had it worse).

Call it a mid life crisis, I just wonder if this is normal? I feel like professionally at my age people will pass on me for a younger option. Has anyone gone through this? If so, what advice do you have, what got you through it?

I have a great spouse and children, but I feel time is slipping by and my career goals are getting away from me.

Help!

:confused


I know!!!
You need to develop a new hobby/passion/thing.
Maybe it costs a litle bit per year, but the work years will fly by, 'cause you'll be working to live.

Just start trying stuff for 3 or 6 months at a time until one sticks. Maybe tag along with a co-worker who's got a thing.

Some random things i see in my colleagues:
Rocketry
Running/Fitness/Tri
Biking
Fly Fishing
Ocean fishing
Golfing
Licensed pyrotechnics
Hiking
Photography
Climbing
tennis
Habitat for humanity

If it takes spendy gear, buy it used on craigslist, and if you drop it then you only lose a bit on resale.

Financially... Don't worry. If you are happy it all works out.
Ideally, it's physically good for you as well as fun.
Triple bonus if the family can do it too.
Just make sure to tell your wife this behavior change isn't because you are having an affair
This space reserved for the yet-unwritten ultimate investing and personal finance truism.
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Re: Mid Life Crisis help!

Postby mathwhiz » Thu Jul 04, 2013 1:05 pm

Even if you are a homebody, there's little excuse to be bored.

Get a netflix subscription for $8 a month. There's a lifetime's worth of movies, documentaries, and old television series available to watch.

Get a Kindle and a library card. You have thousands of books available to read for free.
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Re: Mid Life Crisis help! T

Postby Leemiller » Thu Jul 04, 2013 1:23 pm

I have a completely different view. I recommend reading the millionaire in the mirror - terrible title, great book. We spend most of our day at work, no reason to settle, especially at your age.
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Re: Mid Life Crisis help!

Postby caroljm36 » Thu Jul 04, 2013 3:36 pm

It sure sounds familiar to me. When I was around 50 I realized I wasn't going any further on my job, and moreover didn't want the pressure of promotion and more duties anyway. I took up fitness sports, got real healthy, got into politics and volunteer work, and pretty much got through my 50s that way.

Also after my father died in 2001, I found his diary and learned that his good paying executive job with the phone company had been a living hell for him, all that time I was growing up, and he was just barely hanging on day to day. I think the nightly cocktail ritual was bringing him down mentally too, but that was what most those guys did back then.

So I'd think of him hanging on all those years until 65 (he'd started late) and what I had to go through didn't seem so bad. Now I'm 64 and feel I can keep going until 70 if I can, because it doesn't seem like such a long stretch anymore.
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Re: Mid Life Crisis help!

Postby Christine_NM » Thu Jul 04, 2013 4:23 pm

Your description of your career path sounds completely normal to me.

Sometime in your 40's, whether you change careers or not, you are no longer "showing potential". It turns into a matter of "what you see is what you get". You may tweak your skills some, but you have found where you fit in the business world. You just have to give the childhood dream of being master of the universe and learn to be happy with what you have.

Along with family, saving is a big part of having something to be happy about, of feeling you have accomplished something. Hope this helps.
Savor the moment.
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Re: Mid Life Crisis help!

Postby Levett » Thu Jul 04, 2013 5:05 pm

What you wrote: "My advice is more on the psychological than anything else."

How you concluded: "help."

What seems obvious to me (I don't respond in the abstract):

Use professional counseling. It's out there. There is no shame. Invite your spouse into the conversation.

Help is out there, but the first smart step is yours--and it's not on the internet.

All the best.

Lev
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Re: Mid Life Crisis help!

Postby johnep » Fri Jul 05, 2013 7:50 am

Christine and Levett provided excellent advice. It sounds like you need to do a serious assessment of your situation. It sounds like you may have plateaued in your work. If so, is that something you can find peace with. Most 6 figure jobs will have good and bad aspects to them. You just have to deal with the bad and not let it get you down. In the end, you may find it necessary to find a new job, but chances are, with a new focus and attitude, you will find your current job much more tolerable after having done a self evaluation.

I had some serious work/career issues at about your age. I had several conversations with a psychologist that were really helpful. I had pretty much figured my situation out but her affirmation of that was reassuring. Also, she had a few suggestions that were really helpful in coping and refocusing myself. We are all guilty of bad thinking at times which can lead to all sorts of problems. Counselors/psychologists are really good at helping one to correct their bad thinking. Best wishes.
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Re: Mid Life Crisis help!

Postby Jazztonight » Fri Jul 05, 2013 9:24 pm

Your work is what you do--it's not necessarily what you are.

The feeling of being trapped or "in prison" because of your work is something many have felt.

It's not easy to walk away from what everyone thinks is a great life, a terrific setup, a good deal, etc. But you only go through life once, and if you become more and more unhappy and/or depressed, what good does "6 figures" do for your mental health and your soul?

You've gotten some good suggestions, and I'm sure you'll get more. Different ideas and solutions to this problem work for different people. But to me, it comes down to a couple of big decisions:

1. Do you stick with the work/job you now have and develop the "rest" of your life by taking up and utilizing hobbies, activities, volunteer work, reading & study, the arts, physical fitness, religion/spirituality, etc., or

2. Change gears, make some big changes in your career and perhaps your lifestyle and way of life, and take all the risks that a move such as this would entail. If you don't have your spouse 100% behind you, it probably wouldn't work.

The year my youngest child graduated from college, I semi-retired (to 2 days a week) and went back to college to get a degree in a field in which I'd been active my whole life (music). I graduated, worked in both my profession and in music for the next 13 years, and I'm retiring in a few weeks to do whatever the hell I want to do. But this sort of thing does not work for everyone.

What I would suggest, however, is that if you think the inclusion of something new and different in your life might allow you to continue to work FT, that would be a wonderful thing. Don't be afraid of being a beginner at something. It's humbling, but rewarding. Good luck!
"What does not destroy me, makes me stronger." Nietzsche
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Re: Mid Life Crisis help!

Postby RadAudit » Sat Jul 06, 2013 7:00 pm

elcheapo wrote:My challenge is I find myself dissatisfied with my career


Only the moderately well to do think they have careers. Most of the rest of the 47% think we have jobs.

Speaking as one who retired from a corporation that had more mid-life crisis per square foot of office space than you'd like to calculate, I can only urge you to follow some - all - of the excellent suggestions in this thread. 12 years is a long time.
"Everything will be all right in the end. If everything is not all right, then it is not the end." - The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
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Re: Mid Life Crisis help!

Postby burt » Sun Jul 07, 2013 5:30 pm

To OP,

Don't feel bad, you are not alone.

Not sure of the remedy: maybe get politically involved or .... save like a son of a gun and get the hell out asap.

"Hang in there, we're all in this together" - Red Green

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Re: Mid Life Crisis help!

Postby jlawrence01 » Mon Jul 08, 2013 9:52 pm

OP-

The last five years of my career were very profitable but were very Draining. The stress started to affect my health.

When things got tough, I would remember all the hard physical labor my father had to do to keep us in clothing and school. Tossing around 100# bags was a lot worse than working in the office
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Re: Mid Life Crisis help!

Postby siamond » Tue Jul 09, 2013 12:00 am

I can certainly relate. I worked wicked hard until I was in my 40s, being real passionate about my work, then it all started to deflate, too many things I worked on didn't pan out, too many frustrations, etc.

Ten years ago, I refocused a good deal of my energy and passion towards a hobby (fishing and organizing fishing activities) which I had neglected since I was a teenager. Felt real good to rediscover the joys of it and pull off some wild dreams of my youth (yup, I caught a few really big ones!).

In the mean time, I kept working (needed to anyway), but with a lighter heart. And started to actively plan for an early retirement. Made many mistakes, and now I think that I am -finally- on a solid path. My passion for the fishing hobby waned a little bit, but is still there. And I know I could develop a couple of other hobbies and get passionate about it. My boredom with work goes up & down depending on the fact that I can pull off something (or hope to) or miserably fail at it... I know I need a big change, or I'll get overly cynical about life. Back to early retirement planning...

I'm telling you all this just to say a couple of basic things:
1. your angst is perfectly normal and probably shared by many people
2. don't let it all gnaw at you, do plan for changes, worst outcome is to 'retire from life'
3. if you can keep passion in what you do (or develop a new passion for something, either new job or new hobby or family activities or whatever), you'll do good
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