You Worked a Long Time. How Did You Do It?

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SalishSea
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You Worked a Long Time. How Did You Do It?

Post by SalishSea »

There are many threads on this forum that essentially ask, "How did you achieve financial independence at an early age and retire?"

This thread ask a different question, "How can I work for a long time without burning out?"

I'm preparing to finish my medical training and will soon graduate to work as an attending doctor. My goal is to find meaning and balance so that I can do work that benefits other -- and that I find interesting, challenging, and gratifying -- for decades to come.

If you worked a long time, especially if it wasn't just to make more money, I'm curious to hear your story and what helped you along the way.
runner3081
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Re: You Worked a Long Time. How Did You Do It?

Post by runner3081 »

This won't apply for you as much, but I pivoted, big time, throughout my career.

Started in HR, onto Project Management then to Operations, then to Facilities/Space/Capital.

For MD, however, private practice, research/academic based/medical review board/Ins. Co could be changes.
Topic Author
SalishSea
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Re: You Worked a Long Time. How Did You Do It?

Post by SalishSea »

runner3081 wrote: Sun Jan 09, 2022 4:48 pm This won't apply for you as much, but I pivoted, big time, throughout my career.

Started in HR, onto Project Management then to Operations, then to Facilities/Space/Capital.
Thank you! That absolutely does apply. It sounds like pivoting / changing roles throughout your career kept you going.
I've heard many times that it can be nice to periodically change roles and / or to wear different hats.
AnnetteLouisan
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Re: You Worked a Long Time. How Did You Do It?

Post by AnnetteLouisan »

Change jobs when the thrill is gone.
Find the best match or subspecialty for your skillset (not easy unless you try different things).
Work in an area where you have an edge or special talent of some kind - know your strengths and play to them.
Yoga, meditation, tai chi, zen, acupuncture, moxibustion.

Having no choice helps a lot. 😅Many a time on my way to work I’ve thought, “I can’t take this anymore,” and I replied, “oh yes you CAN take it, and you will!” I was right.

And I agree with the below commenter - professional associations help get you out of your narrow world at work and make things more collegial / raise your profile. It’s very good.

Develop a thick skin, have realistic expectations, stay very healthy (easier said than done) and when something isn’t optimal ask yourself, “am I the boss here?” If the answer is no, act accordingly.

Live reasonably close to work. The commute is often the most stressful part of a job.

Have some humility. You aren’t going to know everything and that’s ok. Be willing to ask at an appropriate time and view the learning as a perk of the job.

You may very well get burned out more than once. But you recover as long as you take care of your health. And I mean like your life depends on it… oh wait…
Last edited by AnnetteLouisan on Sun Jan 09, 2022 8:12 pm, edited 7 times in total.
nydoc
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Re: You Worked a Long Time. How Did You Do It?

Post by nydoc »

Single most important thing- colleagues who will back you up, cover you when you are tired or have an emergency, who will come at middle of the night to help you out in a difficult case, who will cover for you in clinic when you have to rush to the floor or or and who will go evaluate a patient with you when you are in doubt.
Capricorn51
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Re: You Worked a Long Time. How Did You Do It?

Post by Capricorn51 »

Not an MD, but a PhD in engineering who has been an academic for (Ahem) 44 years. I changed universities twice in my career (now at my third), did a long stint as a department head, and also have been very active in national and international professional societies.

Along the way, I probably changed the major thrust of my scholarship about three times, and took on some interesting consulting activities.

Presumably if you gravitate towards an academic medical center, some analogous opportunities could arise.
Arabesque
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Re: You Worked a Long Time. How Did You Do It?

Post by Arabesque »

I liked my job, not all aspects all the time, but enough of it consistently that I could keep going. As a professor, I had a lot of hats. Sometimes I would wear one well, and basically step on the others, but mostly I enjoyed what I did. I retired just before 70, because of Covid, and I have days when I regret retiring.

The question is basically what do you enjoy about work. Focus on that.
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SalishSea
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Re: You Worked a Long Time. How Did You Do It?

Post by SalishSea »

AnnetteLouisan wrote: Sun Jan 09, 2022 5:10 pm Change jobs when the thrill is gone.
Find the best match or subspecialty for your skillset (not easy unless you try different things).
Yoga, meditation, tai chi, zen, acupuncture, moxibustion.

Having no choice helps a lot. 😅Many a time on my way to work I’ve thought, “I can’t take this anymore,” and I replied, “oh yes you CAN take it, and you will!” I was right.
Great advice, thank you!
I'm hoping my chosen field is a good fit for my skillset, although time will tell.
In addition, the job I'll leaning towards taking will allow me to grow / change my responsibilities with time without needing a completely new job.
MathWizard
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Re: You Worked a Long Time. How Did You Do It?

Post by MathWizard »

My way was to go into something where the bulk of my work was something that I would do for free if I had the money to support myself. I worked that way for 25 years.

I then got kicked upstairs into management. I did well under 3 different bosses, getting substantial raises and increased autonomy and awards, but stress increased, and more work that was not as fun.

Now, my latest boss is not as easy to work with. I'll be leaving soon.

Moral: If possible, don't get moved into a job you won't like.

In my case, it was the only way to stay.
Topic Author
SalishSea
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Re: You Worked a Long Time. How Did You Do It?

Post by SalishSea »

nydoc wrote: Sun Jan 09, 2022 5:13 pm Single most important thing- colleagues who will back you up, cover you when you are tired or have an emergency, who will come at middle of the night to help you out in a difficult case, who will cover for you in clinic when you have to rush to the floor or or and who will go evaluate a patient with you when you are in doubt.
This feels like very important advice, thank you!
I've been focusing my job search with mentorship in mind, but it sounds like having people to back you up, support you, and help you with you challenging cases / situations is just as important.
Freefun
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Re: You Worked a Long Time. How Did You Do It?

Post by Freefun »

Being an Expat and working in many different countries definitely helped. Learning to work and lead people in different cultures was very interesting
Remember when you wanted what you currently have?
Topic Author
SalishSea
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Re: You Worked a Long Time. How Did You Do It?

Post by SalishSea »

MathWizard wrote: Sun Jan 09, 2022 5:24 pm My way was to go into something where the bulk of my work was something that I would do for free if I had the money to support myself. I worked that way for 25 years.

I then got kicked upstairs into management. I did well under 3 different bosses, getting substantial raises and increased autonomy and awards, but stress increased, and more work that was not as fun.

Now, my latest boss is not as easy to work with. I'll be leaving soon.

Moral: If possible, don't get moved into a job you won't like.

In my case, it was the only way to stay.
This has actually been on my mind a lot!
The core work of my chosen field is something that I would do for free (at least that's been my experience thus far). However, I worry about being offered a "promotion", which would require me to spend more time on things that would be less enjoyable. Or just taking on too much when offered what sound like good opportunities.
These are two ways that I can envision burning out.
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SalishSea
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Re: You Worked a Long Time. How Did You Do It?

Post by SalishSea »

For anyone who has done it, or thought about:

Have you worked part-time in your career?
How did it work out for you?

I'm considering this as a mechanism to prevent burnout and to allow me to work less per year, but ideally more years in the end.
Last edited by SalishSea on Sun Jan 09, 2022 6:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
musicmom
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Re: You Worked a Long Time. How Did You Do It?

Post by musicmom »

Worked 42 years in the clinical laboratory, retired 2 years ago.

I never was bored a day. I sought out new projects, implemented instrumentation, covered new technical areas experiencing staffing shortage, attended a conference or two yearly.
Spent 20 years teaching interns. One of my most challenging roles and the most satisfying.
Became the IT implementation person for multiple software upgrades.
I never aspired to management. I did get pulled into dept coordination several times but only for "acting" roles. Not my favorite.

Also, I had 4 longtime coworkers (of about 40) that made some of the political stress manageable.
Not sure I could have survived and enjoyed it without their support.

It's great you're thinking about this now!
Best to you
London
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Re: You Worked a Long Time. How Did You Do It?

Post by London »

Duplicate
Last edited by London on Sun Jan 09, 2022 7:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
London
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Re: You Worked a Long Time. How Did You Do It?

Post by London »

I just finished year 20 of my professional career. I’m not counting my part time jobs before that point. It also got me thinking of how to work for the next 20.

I found the beginning to be exciting, even though it felt nerve wracking at the time. But the first 7ish years we’re about establishing myself. The next 7 years were about money and the last 7 we’re about ego (title). I wonder what the next blocks of time will be about. I suspect I’m about to move into a period of only trying to work with people I like working with/for.
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Sandtrap
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Re: You Worked a Long Time. How Did You Do It?

Post by Sandtrap »

SalishSea wrote: Sun Jan 09, 2022 4:40 pm There are many threads on this forum that essentially ask, "How did you achieve financial independence at an early age and retire?"

This thread ask a different question, "How can I work for a long time without burning out?"

I'm preparing to finish my medical training and will soon graduate to work as an attending doctor. My goal is to find meaning and balance so that I can do work that benefits other -- and that I find interesting, challenging, and gratifying -- for decades to come.

If you worked a long time, especially if it wasn't just to make more money, I'm curious to hear your story and what helped you along the way.
Life is a series of burnout and stress, aka: growing pains.
When we fail to embrace the challenge and rise above the weaknesses that these stages bring out, then we claim “burnout” which essentially means we don’t want to do it any more.

The cyclical stages are: have to do, got to do, and want to do.

So: Navy Seal or otter or sloth or rabbit. (Humorously)

I once asked a multi millionaire who owned a city block of high rises and apartment buildings how often he thought about quitting. He was in his senior years and seemed always content. He said, “every day since I started”

So…chop wood, carry water.
j🌺
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Ripcord
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Re: You Worked a Long Time. How Did You Do It?

Post by Ripcord »

My "career" was the 22 years I spent in the Air Force. Always something new always change. I got pretty good being comfortable not being comfortable. I never did the same thing twice through those years which seemed to make it interesting and never old. Now I work for myself doing something that while related is not exactly what I did in the Air Force. For me variety and change seem to keep me motivated. I work now because I enjoy it and also to pad the coffers while still young. The key no matter what you do or how long you do is work life balance. You MUST prioritize yourself and your family or you WILL burn out.
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windaar
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Re: You Worked a Long Time. How Did You Do It?

Post by windaar »

Once my Dad talked to me about careers. He told me to choose a career that I would WANT to wake up and go to every day, as he did. Great advice that I followed.
Nobody knows nothing.
AnnetteLouisan
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Re: You Worked a Long Time. How Did You Do It?

Post by AnnetteLouisan »

There’s something admirable in doing work although we may not always want to do it. I became friends with someone once based largely on my impression of how, unaware he was seen, he steeled himself walking to his job early one morning. His back said it all as he squared his shoulders and reconciled himself to another day. I suspected there was a lot more to that story and, very poignantly, there was. A million stories in the naked city, didn’t someone once say.
KlangFool
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Re: You Worked a Long Time. How Did You Do It?

Post by KlangFool »

OP,

Sorry! I have no idea what do you mean by working a long at the same job to be burned out.

Houston Oil Bust, Texas Saving & Loan Crisis, Asian Currency Crisis, Telecom Bust, 2008/2009 GFC, 2020 Covid.

I was unemployed for more than 1 year a few times. I have to change employers, industries, and countries just to stay employed. Normally, I only lasted a few years at each employer.

Unix System Admin, Network Engineer, Sales Manager, Test Engineer, Product Manager, Network Architect, Wireless Architect, Solution Architect.

I do not get do the same thing either.

So, what do you mean by worked for a long time at the same job? This is not true for many of us.

KlangFool
40% VWENX | 12.5% VFWAX/VTIAX | 11.5% VTSAX | 16% VBTLX | 10% VSIAX/VTMSX/VSMAX | 10% VSIGX| 40% Wellington 40% 3-funds 20% Mini-Larry
Dave55
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Re: You Worked a Long Time. How Did You Do It?

Post by Dave55 »

Sandtrap wrote: Sun Jan 09, 2022 7:03 pm
SalishSea wrote: Sun Jan 09, 2022 4:40 pm There are many threads on this forum that essentially ask, "How did you achieve financial independence at an early age and retire?"

This thread ask a different question, "How can I work for a long time without burning out?"

I'm preparing to finish my medical training and will soon graduate to work as an attending doctor. My goal is to find meaning and balance so that I can do work that benefits other -- and that I find interesting, challenging, and gratifying -- for decades to come.

If you worked a long time, especially if it wasn't just to make more money, I'm curious to hear your story and what helped you along the way.
Life is a series of burnout and stress, aka: growing pains.
When we fail to embrace the challenge and rise above the weaknesses that these stages bring out, then we claim “burnout” which essentially means we don’t want to do it any more.

The cyclical stages are: have to do, got to do, and want to do.

So: Navy Seal or otter or sloth or rabbit. (Humorously)

I once asked a multi millionaire who owned a city block of high rises and apartment buildings how often he thought about quitting. He was in his senior years and seemed always content. He said, “every day since I started”

So…chop wood, carry water.
j🌺
Jim this is priceless: "I once asked a multi millionaire who owned a city block of high rises and apartment buildings how often he thought about quitting. He was in his senior years and seemed always content. He said, “every day since I started”

Thanks for sharing that!

Dave
"Reality always wins, your only job is to get in touch with it." Wilfred Bion
JPM
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Re: You Worked a Long Time. How Did You Do It?

Post by JPM »

In July it'll be 42 years in practice. What has made it enjoyable to the point where I am hoping to keep going for a few more years?

Great mate that never put money pressure on me to keep up with higher earners, put up with the long hours and being the second priority in my life after practice, and stuck out the very hard early years of med school, five years of early postdoc training, then getting established in practice. Don't underestimate the value of a loyal and generous mate. Be loyal and generous to your mate as well. Don't screw it up and get divorced. The pressure of juggling a marriage, a paramour, and a practice rarely ends well. This is #1.

In practice, there is a balance between commercial and professional values and working with colleagues who approximately share your view of what that balance should be. Overemphasis on the commercial aspects makes the mission aspects less satisfying and those guys will feel you are not pulling your weight in the business if you spend too much time and effort on the mission aspects. Insufficient attention to the commercial aspects results in too much money pressure and possibly business failure or dismissal from the group.

In addition to sharing your view of the appropriate balance among mission, commercial, and family obligations working partners (including your physician partners as well as your clinic staff), you need loyal ethical partners.

Avoid taking a job in an economically declining area if you can. A large patient population dependent on Medicaid puts a lot of money pressure on a practice in most cases, even if a special subsidy from the state can be arranged. For example, most large midwestern cities do not look promising to me at the moment. Too much money pressure can make life difficult.

Keeping the pressures in your personal and financial life low gives rise to greater work satisfaction IMHO.
Wrench
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Re: You Worked a Long Time. How Did You Do It?

Post by Wrench »

I'm a technical guy who is still working late in my 60s and still enjoying it. I expect to continue as long as I am mentally sharp enough to do the work. I learned a few things along the way:
1. It's not so much WHAT you do, as WHO you do it with, at least as long as the work is interesting to you. A team of good, smart, fun people can make all the difference.
2. Change can be hard, but often is rewarding and fulfilling in the long run. I started my career as an academic, went to a start-up as an researcher/inventor, moved to a large corporation after the start-up went belly-up, transitioned from research to management, then into an Intellectual Property role, then left MegaCorp and went back to the University as a Tech Transfer associate, then left that to start and run my own business. Every one of these roles was fulfilling and I learned a lot in each one, and each one kept me motivated to keep working because I enjoyed it.
3. There is more to life than your job. For me it was my family, and I made conscious choices to commit time and energy to them to the detriment of my job/career. I don't regret those choices for a minute. You reap what you sow. Would I be wealthier if I had not made those choices? Perhaps in dollars, but not in the things that matter most in life.

I wish you the best in your career, and thank you for your service in caring for the sick and aging among us. It's not an easy job, especially now...

Wrench
MarkRoulo
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Re: You Worked a Long Time. How Did You Do It?

Post by MarkRoulo »

SalishSea wrote: Sun Jan 09, 2022 5:37 pm For anyone who has done it, or thought about:

Have you worked part-time in your career?
How did it work out for you?

I'm considering this as a mechanism to prevent burnout and to allow me to work less per year, but ideally more years in the end.
I went part-time about six months before covid hit.

It is awesome. And working out fine.
MarkRoulo
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Re: You Worked a Long Time. How Did You Do It?

Post by MarkRoulo »

SalishSea wrote: Sun Jan 09, 2022 5:32 pm
MathWizard wrote: Sun Jan 09, 2022 5:24 pm My way was to go into something where the bulk of my work was something that I would do for free if I had the money to support myself. I worked that way for 25 years.

I then got kicked upstairs into management. I did well under 3 different bosses, getting substantial raises and increased autonomy and awards, but stress increased, and more work that was not as fun.

Now, my latest boss is not as easy to work with. I'll be leaving soon.

Moral: If possible, don't get moved into a job you won't like.

In my case, it was the only way to stay.
This has actually been on my mind a lot!
The core work of my chosen field is something that I would do for free (at least that's been my experience thus far). However, I worry about being offered a "promotion", which would require me to spend more time on things that would be less enjoyable. Or just taking on too much when offered what sound like good opportunities.
These are two ways that I can envision burning out.
You can turn down promotions.

Understand that this might result in less money than if you accept the promotion, but you can refuse the promotion.

I spent two years telling my long time boss (who I really like and *still* report to ...) "no" when he wanted me to move into management. This was over a decade ago.

Taking on too much can also be corrected.
AlohaJoe
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Re: You Worked a Long Time. How Did You Do It?

Post by AlohaJoe »

AnnetteLouisan wrote: Sun Jan 09, 2022 5:10 pm Change jobs when the thrill is gone.
This would be my #1 advice. Every single person I've seen who was burned out had stayed at the same job for years and had a long list of excuses for why it was impossible for them to find another job. Yes, it becomes harder when you get older. You might have to take a pay cut or demotion. It might takes months of searching. You might have to move to a new city. Your kids might have to move to a new school. You might have to sell the house you've been in for 5 or 10 or 15 years. Your spouse might have to find a new job, too.

But that's the price you have to pay to avoid burnout. Not everyone is willing to pay that price. Which is fine. That's a decision people can make.
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Re: You Worked a Long Time. How Did You Do It?

Post by capran »

I'm doubtful my path applies at all, as I view medicine as a whole different commitment.

After 4 years in the Military (1974), I got out and worked in law enforcement while earning my Bachelors. Once I got my Bachelors I embarked on a lifetime career in human services. Worked as a therapist in a group home while earning my Masters, and then went to work at a Community Mental Health Center. First year worked on a project for maintaining chronically mentally ill in the community, then 6 more years doing emergency psychiatric evaluations, which was a part of the states Involuntary Treatment Act. Spouse had started work in the school system, so I quit, and after going sailing for 6 months went back to school for a school certificate. After 3 years as an elementary counselor, switched to middle school, and spent the next 24 years in my niche. Retired in 2013. Was lucky to experience many opportunities to change jobs within a general field, which kept it fresh. If you count the military, I worked 43 years. Probably could have done more but a change in administrative climate moved me to early retirement.
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Re: You Worked a Long Time. How Did You Do It?

Post by Ron Ronnerson »

I have a business degree and was moving up the corporate ladder in my 20s. I was doing interesting work but didn’t find it fulfilling. So I went back to school and became a public school teacher. I’ve been teaching elementary school for the last couple of decades. I do experience stress sometimes but genuinely look forward to working on most days. I think having a job that is both enjoyable and meaningful along with decent hours (lots of days off per year) has greatly helped in terms of not experiencing burnout. I’m planning to work until my 60s and am in no hurry for the time to pass.
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Re: You Worked a Long Time. How Did You Do It?

Post by Ron Ronnerson »

Duplicate
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tetractys
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Re: You Worked a Long Time. How Did You Do It?

Post by tetractys »

SalishSea wrote: Sun Jan 09, 2022 4:40 pm If you worked a long time, especially if it wasn't just to make more money, I'm curious to hear your story and what helped you along the way.
My goals were seldom about the job itself rather more as a means to my goals. And so for a large part the job(s) were a one day at a time thing. And of course as the saying goes, “wherever you go there you are.” So you try and stick with what’s important and enjoy it all.
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Bogle101
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Re: You Worked a Long Time. How Did You Do It?

Post by Bogle101 »

Easy, find meaning outside of work.

For me that means my wife and kids and extended family give me happiness.

So do my hobbies: video games and learning to cook and screenwriting.
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sambb
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Re: You Worked a Long Time. How Did You Do It?

Post by sambb »

Resiliency and believing In the mission of the entity.
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Re: You Worked a Long Time. How Did You Do It?

Post by rich126 »

This varies a lot. A previous manager is retiring after 38+ years working at the same company and probably doing the same management job for a good 15-20 years. He doesn't seem overly excited at leaving but I think he is slowing down and his wife retired a couple of years ago and money is no concern. He just enjoyed the people and enjoys helping people.

In my case sadly I am nearing 37 years and have changed jobs at least 7 times. My interest wasn't money but job enjoyment. Most people have no real choice but to work. One guy I knew quit but found out at that younger age all of his friends were working during the week and he got bored so took up a new career.

While in my younger years I did a lot of social things with people at work, I never viewed work as my most important thing in life. Instead it just helped me to do the things I wanted. The older I have gotten the more I realized there are tons of things more important in life. Of course I have never been a status person or felt the need to show my success via cars, jewelry, clothes, etc.
----------------------------- | If you think something is important and it doesn't involve the health of someone, think again. Life goes too fast, enjoy it and be nice.
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Re: You Worked a Long Time. How Did You Do It?

Post by rob »

sambb wrote: Sun Jan 09, 2022 8:41 pm Resiliency and believing In the mission of the entity.
Funny because I find it easier to have resilience when I explicitly do NOT "believe in the mission" (I don't really know what that means in a business setting). Only once have I bought that line and it was a train-wreck but didn't make that mistake twice....
| Rob | Its a dangerous business going out your front door. - J.R.R.Tolkien
DarkMatter731
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Re: You Worked a Long Time. How Did You Do It?

Post by DarkMatter731 »

From my perspective as a young guy in his early 20s, 40 years seems like such a long time when you write it down on paper.

But I've noticed my hair is beginning to thin in places and 40 years then seems so short. I'm just going to see my body decay as I get older which is the more scary thought.

I'd rather work forever if I could stay youthful forever.
Normchad
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Re: You Worked a Long Time. How Did You Do It?

Post by Normchad »

DarkMatter731 wrote: Sun Jan 09, 2022 9:18 pm From my perspective as a young guy in his early 20s, 40 years seems like such a long time when you write it down on paper.

But I've noticed my hair is beginning to thin in places and 40 years then seems so short. I'm just going to see my body decay as I get older which is the more scary thought.

I'd rather work forever if I could stay youthful forever.
Don’t worry about your hair. For all the hair you lose up top, you’ll replace it two fold on your ears, back, shoulders, etc.

You won’t be doing the sane thing for forty years. The workplace today is completely different than it was forty years ago, and it will be just as different forty years from now.

It’s perspective. Embrace and seek out change constantly. Don’t conflate your personal being with your job either. Change jobs in pursuit if better or more interesting opportunities.

Don’t let your job destroy your life. Find ways to love your life outside of work. It makes life better, and makes any job more bearable.
retire2022
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Re: You Worked a Long Time. How Did You Do It?

Post by retire2022 »

Op

I took a government job city and then state.

I didn't like my profession, but there was nothing a slacker could do. :mrgreen:

The way I figure it, as long as I did the bear minimum written duties and assignments how hard could it be?

My mouth believed in free speech, so every two years or so, I would get be forcibly transferred to another unit.

I didn't like the city agency I worked for coming from private sector, they had computers, working for the city agency was like working for a dysfunctional third world country.

I left to the state, they paid better, but old geezers were hostile to me, I had computer skills, ie DOS and Dbase 3 plus.

When I worked for the state, it was a little better, until they thought I was opinionated, I would get a new desk and new phone number every two years.

They tried to terminate me, it was easier to transfer me to another unit, civil service, they could not fire me, and I did nothing wrong.

34 years later and I retired last August, laughing it all the way to bank, 2.6+ million portfolio. :moneybag

I did a great job, but had crazy bosses.
Stumptowngal
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Re: You Worked a Long Time. How Did You Do It?

Post by Stumptowngal »

I will answer for my DH who semi-reluctantly retired after 40 years as a primary care physician. Year after year he loved going to work every morning. The biggest draw to him were the relationships he formed with his patients over time. He found great satisfaction in helping them through medical problems and to maintain the best health possible . He believed he made a real difference in their lives.

During his last decade of work, bureaucracy, paperwork and the pressure to see more patients with less time took some of the joy out of his work. But the pluses still outweighed the minuses in his mind. Had he not been in primary care, he may have retired earlier. With the changed landscape of how medicine is practiced today, I see the need of making a better work / life balance a priority. Who you work with and where you work, in any profession, is always key.
RudyS
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Re: You Worked a Long Time. How Did You Do It?

Post by RudyS »

I worked for over 35 years as an engineer/scientist at a megacorp. I tell people that I had 6 jobs in my career but they were all at the same company. Various aspects of my technical field, and a couple of management and administrative-type roles. I enjoyed all of the assignments, although there was a boss or two whom I did not like/respect, but I outlasted them. Over the final ten years or so, when asked when I planned to retire, my answer was "when I'm not having fun anymore, or if I find something I'd rather do, or when the company doesn't want me anymore." I finally retired when offered a package that "I couldn't refuse" although I still enjoyed working.

Goods luck, OP.
Last edited by RudyS on Sun Jan 09, 2022 10:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
DarkMatter731
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Re: You Worked a Long Time. How Did You Do It?

Post by DarkMatter731 »

Normchad wrote: Sun Jan 09, 2022 9:23 pm
DarkMatter731 wrote: Sun Jan 09, 2022 9:18 pm From my perspective as a young guy in his early 20s, 40 years seems like such a long time when you write it down on paper.

But I've noticed my hair is beginning to thin in places and 40 years then seems so short. I'm just going to see my body decay as I get older which is the more scary thought.

I'd rather work forever if I could stay youthful forever.
Don’t worry about your hair. For all the hair you lose up top, you’ll replace it two fold on your ears, back, shoulders, etc.

You won’t be doing the sane thing for forty years. The workplace today is completely different than it was forty years ago, and it will be just as different forty years from now.

It’s perspective. Embrace and seek out change constantly. Don’t conflate your personal being with your job either. Change jobs in pursuit if better or more interesting opportunities.

Don’t let your job destroy your life. Find ways to love your life outside of work. It makes life better, and makes any job more bearable.

Are you trying to scare me? I'm already hairy as it is. :?

That's a good point about not letting my job define me. I think I've been fairly career-focused so far so it's hard not to define myself by my education + job + net worth.
toomanysidehustles
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Re: You Worked a Long Time. How Did You Do It?

Post by toomanysidehustles »

SalishSea wrote: Sun Jan 09, 2022 4:40 pm

If you worked a long time, especially if it wasn't just to make more money, I'm curious to hear your story and what helped you along the way.
I worked for someone else for almost 17 years before I started my own business. At 35 I was completely burned out and was tired of making someone else filthy rich.
punkinhead
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Re: You Worked a Long Time. How Did You Do It?

Post by punkinhead »

As an engineer I changed my area of specialty about every 5-7 years. I started out writing software, gave manufacturing a shot, moved to R&D, then did machine design & robotics. The last was my longest (and funnest) at about 10 years. When I got bored of that I retired rather than find another specialty. Now I find new things to learn at home.
HeavyChevy
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Re: You Worked a Long Time. How Did You Do It?

Post by HeavyChevy »

PhD in engineering worked 35+ years at a single industrial R&D center, 17 years as an individual contributor, 18+ as a manager.

I had good projects, bad projects, great bosses, horrendous bosses, fantastic employees, weak employees. Ultimately, via contnued conversations w many peers in academia, national labs, and industrial settings I rationalized that I ultimately had it as good as anyone else. I probably enjoyed my final decade the most, because I could walk away if need be, but never felt the inclination until we were working from home a year into Covid.

Life satisfaction came from a balance of work and family, with kid's athletics through high school and college a significant diversion, and outside interests in music and boating that provided challenge and enjoyment during the (relatively few) lean times in my career.
hudson
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Re: You Worked a Long Time. How Did You Do It?

Post by hudson »

AnnetteLouisan wrote: Sun Jan 09, 2022 5:10 pm Change jobs when the thrill is gone.
Find the best match or subspecialty for your skillset (not easy unless you try different things).
Work in an area where you have an edge or special talent of some kind - know your strengths and play to them.
Yoga, meditation, tai chi, zen, acupuncture, moxibustion.

Having no choice helps a lot. 😅Many a time on my way to work I’ve thought, “I can’t take this anymore,” and I replied, “oh yes you CAN take it, and you will!” I was right.

And I agree with the below commenter - professional associations help get you out of your narrow world at work and make things more collegial / raise your profile. It’s very good.

Develop a thick skin, have realistic expectations, stay very healthy (easier said than done) and when something isn’t optimal ask yourself, “am I the boss here?” If the answer is no, act accordingly.

Live reasonably close to work. The commute is often the most stressful part of a job.

Have some humility. You aren’t going to know everything and that’s ok. Be willing to ask at an appropriate time and view the learning as a perk of the job.

You may very well get burned out more than once. But you recover as long as you take care of your health. And I mean like your life depends on it… oh wait…
Agree with bolded above.
Maybe throw in a little false enthusiasm? WETSU!
1moreyr
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Re: You Worked a Long Time. How Did You Do It?

Post by 1moreyr »

30 years in the same Megacorp company. Luckily, I had some exciting jobs, lots of international travel and promotional growth. I was the one that took on jobs no one wanted. I would deliver , get rewarded and be given a harder role next time. It was enjoyable but stressful. At one point about 10 years in, I faced burnout and wanted to quit and go run a deli in the mountains. (no joke, I found one for sale).

At that point, I reminded myself that the worse thing Megacorp could do was fire me. They couldn't take my family, my house or stop me from getting another job..... That took the pressure off and I worked there another 20 years.

After 30 years, i retired and went to a smaller firm for "one more year". It has been re-energizing , rewarding and very profitable.

I am done now and 3 weeks from true retirement.

Good Luck
Ed 2
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Re: You Worked a Long Time. How Did You Do It?

Post by Ed 2 »

As you young everything is interesting and challenging, in your 30s you already know a lot and many job opportunities anytime, mid and late 40s you are on top. When 50 hit you find out that more young specialists waiting for you to go, your boss is a jerk and you stop liking work you do anymore and it is hard to even think to change carrier and waking up couple of time at night is a routine.
That was my story, I’ve been preparing for this and going to say “adios” in 2-3 years or anytime at this point
"The fund industry doesn't have a lot of heroes, but he (Bogle) is one of them," Russ Kinnel
coalcracker
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Re: You Worked a Long Time. How Did You Do It?

Post by coalcracker »

Save like crazy to become financially independent at a relatively young age, then go part-time. Part time work is a great way to extend you career as a doctor. Many of my partners work half time for several years before fully retiring. I'm in a position to do the same in about 5 years (I'm 42).
AnnetteLouisan wrote: Sun Jan 09, 2022 5:10 pm Change jobs when the thrill is gone.
With all due respect, I think this is questionable advice. Work will not be "thrilling" for the vast majority of us. I think a better bar to aim for is "I never dread going to work in the morning." :D
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SquawkIdent
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Re: You Worked a Long Time. How Did You Do It?

Post by SquawkIdent »

For 35 years the job was a challenge everyday to do right and to the best of my ability. The desire to learn more (even stuff not required) was always there. I never understood people not having that desire to continually learn.

It never felt like a job per say, it felt like a challenging puzzle that needed to be done correctly.

I took the responsibility to get your spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends, parents, kids, etc. home safely very seriously.
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ClevrChico
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Re: You Worked a Long Time. How Did You Do It?

Post by ClevrChico »

For me in tech, it was job hopping to a public Megacorp. Having standardized processes and a general "no jerk" policy makes a huge difference. With flexible work arrangements, I may never retire. :-D
Last edited by ClevrChico on Mon Jan 10, 2022 9:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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