Frustrated with Work and Dealing with Golden Handcuffs

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Random Poster
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Frustrated with Work and Dealing with Golden Handcuffs

Post by Random Poster »

I've come to the conclusion that I do not enjoy my work anymore. I'm not sure that I ever truly enjoyed it, but it has become clear to me that I only show up to work and do my job for the paycheck. I essentially live for the 15th and 30th/31st of each month, for the day when the yearly bonus check arrives, and for the days when the RSUs and stock options hit my brokerage account. In just under 6 months time, I will be fully vested in my 401k and employer-provided retirement accounts. It is, admittedly, a sad existence.

At the same time, I realize that I am incredibly lucky to be where I am today. I'm on a cushy expat package, with, among other things, housing paid for by my employer. I get to walk to work. The quality of life, outside of work, is fantastic. (The quality of life, inside of work, isn't really all that bad either, to be totally honest about it, but I don't feel remotely qualified to be here, am constantly afraid of being seen as a fraud, and I'm growing increasingly tired of dealing with everyone else's problems and being expected to "fix" them. Career advancement seems to be non-existent, inasmuch as not much seems to change from being asked/told to "handle this," "fix that," and "do this.") The money is more than I've ever made in my life and, quite probably, more than I deserve and I'm able to essentially save 90% or so of my paycheck each month. Health insurance costs are very reasonable, and my employer's retirement and 401k matching program is quite generous.

Yet I'm not happy. I should be, but I'm not. I don't look forward to coming into work in the mornings, and I dread dealing with clients. I'd like to find a different career path, but I'm not sure what is really out there for people who have "get me out of here quickly" type undergraduate college degrees and whose post-law school work experience is, well, just law related (both law firm and in-house counsel). So if I leave my current job, not only do I (obviously) lose the expat package, I'm not sure what my alternatives and options are, assuming any even exist.

So my query is this: How does one determine that giving up the paycheck and golden handcuffs may be the best thing to do, and, once that determination has been made, how does one follow through with it?
genjix
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Re: Frustrated with Work and Dealing with Golden Handcuffs

Post by genjix »

do it until everything is vested and its enough years to look reasonable on your resume, then start interviewing elsewhere while you're working.
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Boglenaut
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Re: Frustrated with Work and Dealing with Golden Handcuffs

Post by Boglenaut »

You are not unreasonable -- just honest.

Whatever you decide, just be careful to not end up in a just as unispiring a job but without the great benefits. If you trade off pay/benefits for more interesting work, make sure you are getting the more interesting work. The former can be quantified, but not the latter.

Good luck!
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Re: Frustrated with Work and Dealing with Golden Handcuffs

Post by bertilak »

Will the company give you any education that will help get you past that feeling of being unqualified? Perhaps with all the available money you have you could invest in yourself and fund your own education if the company doesn't do that sort of thing. Maybe an MBA will help get you into a management position. That would likely be very different from your current job.
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Re: Frustrated with Work and Dealing with Golden Handcuffs

Post by hicabob »

perhaps save 33x (I'm assuming you are late 30's - early 40's) what you need to spend yearly and early retire to a more fulfilling existence?
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Re: Frustrated with Work and Dealing with Golden Handcuffs

Post by nisiprius »

I've never been exactly in your situation, but even in a medium-sized company, I've found that it is relatively easy and relatively low-risk to change job roles within a company. You have so many things going for you: you're a known quantity, at least with respect to the basics--your past ten years' work is the best "background check" they could have. The risk for them in letting someone inside the company take on a task, is much smaller than hiring from the outside, so they may be willing to take on the risk of letting you do something without a 100% perfect match between the task and your paper qualifications. There are no headhunters to pay; etc. etc. Find a need and volunteer to fill it. And, provided you're reasonable tactful about how you phrase it, it's generally perceived as a Good Thing: initiative, ambition, ready to take on more responsibility, etc.

Yes, it's easier said than done.
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Re: Frustrated with Work and Dealing with Golden Handcuffs

Post by interplanetjanet »

Random Poster wrote:The quality of life, inside of work, isn't really all that bad either, to be totally honest about it, but I don't feel remotely qualified to be here, am constantly afraid of being seen as a fraud, and I'm growing increasingly tired of dealing with everyone else's problems and being expected to "fix" them.
This is less uncommon than you might think, and may be less of an indication of your inability to do a good job and more of an indication that you understand the boundaries of your knowledge better than most. I've found this short page to outline this well:

http://jangosteve.com/post/380926251/no ... eyre-doing

It's a good read and it explains what I've known intuitively about how I prioritize my learning and personal growth.

-janet
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Re: Frustrated with Work and Dealing with Golden Handcuffs

Post by imagardener »

Have you considered getting some therapy? The reason I ask is that some of your comments sound like mild depression, afraid of being seen as a "fraud", tired of fixing everyone else's problems. Of course you might retort that your depression is being caused by your situation but it might be worth talking with a professional to find out if that is truly the case.

It would be a shame to give up a good position, go somewhere else and after a period of time have exactly the same feelings only with less pay and benefits.

Many people have these types of crises, some leave and others work through it by finding other areas of personal satisfaction. I was self-employed my entire career and I still had a period of wanting to do something else, got a real estate license (never used it) then found my way back to happiness.

Perhaps you didn't choose your career or you chose it with your left brain and not your heart and soul. Money couldn't keep me in a job I didn't love for more than a few years but I would use the time to make sure the landing was secure before I jumped.
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Re: Frustrated with Work and Dealing with Golden Handcuffs

Post by TRC »

I've had a lot of friends leave my company out of frustration & seeking a new challenge. For the majority, there's a "honeymoon phase" where they love their new jobs. After 6 months, the honeymoon is over and they have new frustrations. Grass isn't always greener. If you truly dislike you're job, I'd look elsewhere. But as my former Boss always said "make sure you're running TO something and not running AWAY from something".
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Re: Frustrated with Work and Dealing with Golden Handcuffs

Post by englishgirl »

Been there, done that (yes, even with the free housing and cushy ex-pat lifestyle). And yet, I didn't take the time to really think things through, and jumped sideways into a similar job because I didn't want to "throw away" my education and experience. Although the job was similar, it was in a different geographical location and with a different company, so I did have a couple of fun years of learning new things, until it settled into the same old same old. I've never been as well off financially, and after a few years I found myself dreaming (literally) about the old place and wanting to go back. People told me I could find meaning outside work, and yet I never could find anything really fulfilling when most of my time was desk bound boredom and frustration.

I am now changing again - have been back to school to train for a completely different career, and am hoping to start up shortly. I hope this time will be different! I guess the moral of the story is don't jump out of the frying pan into the fire, as you might be back in the same situation in a few years. I'd take the time now to try to really dig deep into yourself, try out new experiences, and see if something floats your boat. While you have the cushy ex-pat thing going on.
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Re: Frustrated with Work and Dealing with Golden Handcuffs

Post by Random Musings »

If you're not happy, perhaps it's time for a change. Is the unhappyness all work related or are there other issues?

That being said, the grass is not always greener on the other side.

RM
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Re: Frustrated with Work and Dealing with Golden Handcuffs

Post by greg24 »

Agree with the other mentions that the grass isn't always greener. Most people don't like their jobs. At least you seem to have the option to save an unbelievable amount of your income and use it to retire or pseudo-retire at some point.
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Re: Frustrated with Work and Dealing with Golden Handcuffs

Post by jeffyscott »

I've got nearly 27 years time in with my golden handcuffs they fit me pretty well being incredibly lazy and all. Early on I thought about trading them in, considered transfers and even had one or two inteviews with other companies. In the end, I decided not to as I didn't really think I would really enjoy any other job anyway. For most jobs there is a reason they have to pay people to do them. I'm was not one to think I would magically find some greater meaning to life by changing jobs.

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Re: Frustrated with Work and Dealing with Golden Handcuffs

Post by tractorguy »

I was also an expat, working for a large company overseas from 1998-2008. For a large part of this time, I had this niggling suspicion that I was grossly overpaid for what I did. I too greatly enjoyed the non-work part of the foreign assignment but was more than a bit depressed by the stuff that went on in the office.

Then, I tried to recruit a person to replace me and found out how hard it is to get qualified people to take a job overseas. I thought it was a great adventure but I was in a small minority with that feeling. Most would rather stay close to friends and family.

This was an eye opener. I really thought that the position I was in required somebody who had spent enough time at the home office to fully understand the systems and to network with the decision makers there. The job was easy with those connections but would have been very difficult or impossible without them. I realized that the company was going to have to pay someone a premium to transport those connections 1/2 a world away and that someone might as well be me. Bottom line, I wasn't being paid the premium for my technical skills, I was being paid it because I knew the "company way" of getting things done or knew who to call to find out. Once I realized that my pay was for this "soft" skill, my attitude and feelings of self worth improved a lot
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Re: Frustrated with Work and Dealing with Golden Handcuffs

Post by Fallible »

Random Poster wrote:I've come to the conclusion that I do not enjoy my work anymore. I'm not sure that I ever truly enjoyed it, but it has become clear to me that I only show up to work and do my job for the paycheck. I essentially live for the 15th and 30th/31st of each month, for the day when the yearly bonus check arrives, and for the days when the RSUs and stock options hit my brokerage account. In just under 6 months time, I will be fully vested in my 401k and employer-provided retirement accounts. It is, admittedly, a sad existence.

At the same time, I realize that I am incredibly lucky to be where I am today. I'm on a cushy expat package, with, among other things, housing paid for by my employer. I get to walk to work. The quality of life, outside of work, is fantastic. (The quality of life, inside of work, isn't really all that bad either, to be totally honest about it, but I don't feel remotely qualified to be here, am constantly afraid of being seen as a fraud, and I'm growing increasingly tired of dealing with everyone else's problems and being expected to "fix" them. Career advancement seems to be non-existent, inasmuch as not much seems to change from being asked/told to "handle this," "fix that," and "do this.") The money is more than I've ever made in my life and, quite probably, more than I deserve and I'm able to essentially save 90% or so of my paycheck each month. Health insurance costs are very reasonable, and my employer's retirement and 401k matching program is quite generous.

Yet I'm not happy. I should be, but I'm not. I don't look forward to coming into work in the mornings, and I dread dealing with clients. I'd like to find a different career path, but I'm not sure what is really out there for people who have "get me out of here quickly" type undergraduate college degrees and whose post-law school work experience is, well, just law related (both law firm and in-house counsel). So if I leave my current job, not only do I (obviously) lose the expat package, I'm not sure what my alternatives and options are, assuming any even exist.

So my query is this: How does one determine that giving up the paycheck and golden handcuffs may be the best thing to do, and, once that determination has been made, how does one follow through with it?
IMO, you've already answered your first question. When you talk about living for the next paychecks, living a "sad existence," being unhappy, and dreading dealing with clients, IMO, those are red flags, signs that it's time to make a move NOW to preserve your mental and physical health. You're getting some excellent advice here and I hope it will help you make a good move ASAP.
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Re: Frustrated with Work and Dealing with Golden Handcuffs

Post by Watty »

I'm growing increasingly tired of dealing with everyone else's problems and being expected to "fix" them.
A large part of my job IS fixing other people's problems.

There is a lot of time in between critical problems that I have to fix and I also do a lot of routine stuff, including preventing problems, but being the "go to" person for certain types of problems is a large part of how I earn my income and why they keep me around even though that is probably less than 5% of my time.

Instead of avoiding other people's problems and spending 100% of your time doing the work you are so bored with, maybe you should try embracing the problem solving and see where that leads career wise. You mentioned the lack of career advancement, if you really want that then this could be a way to get to the next level.
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Re: Frustrated with Work and Dealing with Golden Handcuffs

Post by investnoob »

bertilak wrote:Will the company give you any education that will help get you past that feeling of being unqualified? Perhaps with all the available money you have you could invest in yourself and fund your own education if the company doesn't do that sort of thing. Maybe an MBA will help get you into a management position. That would likely be very different from your current job.
I don't think that is what he means, necessarily. Reading between the lines, it sounds like he has become the office trouble shooter. The go-to-guy when a problem needs to be solved. Instead of saying "sorry, that is not my job" when approached with a problem he says "Gee, lets think about this, maybe you can do this, or you consult this guy or do that etc..."

I interpreted his problem as more "there are plenty of people here with more corporate memory/knowledge that could easily knock these problems out of the park but they don't, so people come to me." His problem is not that he is unqualified. Instead, his problem is that he is helpful and can apply logic and common sense.

Maybe I'm projecting, a little? Anyway, sorry about the rambling Random Poster.
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Re: Frustrated with Work and Dealing with Golden Handcuffs

Post by Qtman »

Look for fulfillment and significance in the other parts of your life. Work is just that, work. You do it, they pay you. I work to live, not live to work.
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Re: Frustrated with Work and Dealing with Golden Handcuffs

Post by bungalow10 »

Honestly, this sounds like something you can fix without changing jobs. Unless there is another career path you are just dying to take, I would stay where you are and work on other ways to be happy. It doesn't sound like the job is making you miserable - you are miserable and the job is the only thing you have.

Get a hobby. Take up running, art, music, cooking, wine, etc. Something.
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Re: Frustrated with Work and Dealing with Golden Handcuffs

Post by Random Poster »

Thanks to all who have replied. You all have given me much to think about and I appreciate everyone's perspective.
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Re: Frustrated with Work and Dealing with Golden Handcuffs

Post by VictoriaF »

How many hours do you work and how many hours do you sleep? Too much of the former or too little of the latter could be at the root of your problem.

If you have free time at work, bring a book and read. If you cannot read at work, find on-line courses related to your profession and develop a self-study program that you could justify to your HR department. Or write work related white papers.

Dealing with the clients could be the key your unhappiness. If that is the case, develop a mental preparatory ritual, e.g., deep breathing, a mantra, or just tell yourself "I am going to meet with the client in a few minutes. I don't like it but I have to do it, and once I am done I will get back with the things I enjoy."

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Re: Frustrated with Work and Dealing with Golden Handcuffs

Post by filmtheory »

I've come to the conclusion that I do not enjoy my work anymore. I'm not sure that I ever truly enjoyed it, but it has become clear to me that I only show up to work and do my job for the paycheck. I essentially live for the 15th and 30th/31st of each month, for the day when the yearly bonus check arrives, and for the days when the RSUs and stock options hit my brokerage account. In just under 6 months time, I will be fully vested in my 401k and employer-provided retirement accounts. It is, admittedly, a sad existence.
Time to watch the following films:

You Can't Take it With You
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Office Space

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Re: Frustrated with Work and Dealing with Golden Handcuffs

Post by Easy Rhino »

would "feeling qualified" make you happier in your job? My guess is no, since you'd still have to fix problems and deal with customers.

so... try to imagine a line of work that would make you happier.
Figure out what you need to do to enter that.
Make it happen.
*then* quit your job.
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Re: Frustrated with Work and Dealing with Golden Handcuffs

Post by retcaveman »

You've already received many good suggestions. I'd just like to add that the notion of a job providing satisfaction, fulfillment and other psychic rewards is a fairly new phenomenon in the history of Man. When I would express such feelings to my Dad, he would usually say, "what are you complaining about? You make good money, you work indoors in a clean environment. If I were you, I'd shut up and do my job."

There are a lot of people who don't like their jobs, but go to work every day to provide for their families and put food on the table. I am sure there are many people who look at your work situation and would love to trade places.

I acknowledge that doesn't help you, but it is something to think about.
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Re: Frustrated with Work and Dealing with Golden Handcuffs

Post by dgm »

So I have had golden handcuffs before. My company got acquired and I had a vesting schedule for a bunch of rsu/options over 4 years.

In my situation, I knew what I wanted to do (start another company) and I also knew (or brashly presumed) that I had the skills to make this 'jump' not very risky.

However, I didn't just bounce right away. I learned as much as I can on the job the first two years and then the last year I began looking for suitable cofounders to do another company with (outside the company of course).

Then, I left a year early when I found the right cofounders.

I did give up a good chunk of change but the timing was right and it worked out.

Looking back at that time, I was eager as all heck to get out of there but let me tell you, in retrospect I do appreciate the cushy, care-free life w/ plenty of amenities. In a startup you are grinding it out and wondering if you can make payroll next month. I do not regret leaving early, but just some perspective that the grass looks much greener from the other side.

If you are going to make a career switch, put aside all your idealism about how awesome the new career would be and try to think about how crappy it possibly could be. If you still feel that you would not regret making the jump even if thats how your new career turns out to be, then I think you should think about switching. I know way too many people who have ideals about a job switch, make the switch and discover that things aren't really that different.

If you still want to switch, I would make careful and methodical preparations of making that switch as successful as possible while you are still at your current job. Then go for it.
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Re: Frustrated with Work and Dealing with Golden Handcuffs

Post by White Coat Investor »

Saving 90% of your income should get you to FIRE status very quickly. Think about it. Say you make $100K a year and live on $10K a year. Using a 4% SWR (adjust as you feel necessary), that means you need $250K in retirement savings. Let's double it, just in case, so $500K. Saving $90K a year at say, 5% real, gets you to retirement in just 5 years.

Suck it up for 5 and do whatever you want for the rest of your life. It sounds like you've already been there for a few years and have some kind of portfolio. How much longer do you have to stay?

Also, what will you do when you leave? Why not start doing some of that on the side?

Write a book. Start a website. Get into real estate investing. Whatever. You could also look into options that allow you to work less. Go part-time, actually use your vacation days etc.

But I wouldn't leave this job without a plan for what you're going to do when you're gone.
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Post by Curlyq »

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Re: Frustrated with Work and Dealing with Golden Handcuffs

Post by Midpack »

I was in the exact same situation, an excellent job with high pay that I could do in my sleep and no risk of losing the position. Where I once enjoyed it and it was the job I'd worked my whole career toward, after 18 years I was still very effective but brain dead at work. I chose to keep at it until I was FI (net worth of 40X my annual expenses, not income), and then retired at 57. My coworkers at all levels were stunned, but they really never had a plan like we did.

If retiring is too far off in time to tolerate, like others have said I'd work until everything is vested that you care about, and then start looking for that job that will 'make you want to jump out of bed every morning.' We should all be so lucky, few are, but it won't happen unless you make it happen...best of luck.
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Re: Frustrated with Work and Dealing with Golden Handcuffs

Post by Lauren Vignec »

Hello Random Poster,

An earlier response to your post mentioned depression. I am not a psychologist of any kind, and I have no idea if you are depressed or not. But I am someone who has battled depression for so long that I do not remember if there was ever a time that I didn't fight these battles. And the terrible thing is that, for most of my life, I had no idea I was depressed.

See, "feeling" depressed isn't the issue. Here is the most helpful explanation I have ever found of depression:

http://neuroskeptic.blogspot.com/2011/08/confused.html

"In my experience of depression, feeling depressed is a sign that I'm only slightly depressed. When I'm really depressed, I don't think I'm depressed at all.

This is one of the most insidious things about depression: it 'creeps up on you'. Over a period of time - usually several days, in my case, but it can be much longer or shorter - your mind changes.

You stop noticing opportunities, and become obsessed with risks. Your ability to take decisions and come up with ideas withers and your imagination fails you. Your thoughts get stuck in loops. You feel weary doing the things you used to enjoy and angry around people you used to like.

In other words, your mind changes. Your memory, thinking and perceptions are all altered - but you don't notice that. You notice the effects, of course, but you think they're outside: you think the world has suddenly become less friendly."

Before taking any action: is your job depressing, or are you simply depressed? It is not a trivial question, and not strictly either/or.

Best wishes,

Lauren
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Re: Frustrated with Work and Dealing with Golden Handcuffs

Post by Cloud »

If you're not depressed (medically) then suck it up. Millions of us don't enjoy our jobs. Welcome to the club. It's called work for a reason.
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Re: Frustrated with Work and Dealing with Golden Handcuffs

Post by Midpack »

Cloud wrote:If you're not depressed (medically) then suck it up. Millions of us don't enjoy our jobs. Welcome to the club. It's called work for a reason.
Lighten up. If you don't enjoy your job, it's your own fault like millions of others. Do something about it, life is too short...
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Re: Frustrated with Work and Dealing with Golden Handcuffs

Post by Cloud »

Midpack wrote:
Cloud wrote:If you're not depressed (medically) then suck it up. Millions of us don't enjoy our jobs. Welcome to the club. It's called work for a reason.
Lighten up. If you don't enjoy your job, it's your own fault like millions of others. Do something about it, life is too short...
Imagine a world where everyone loved their jobs. Impossible. I don't need to lighted up. I'm just a realist. Life could be even shorter without a job. The OP posted a paradise story in my option. I would be happy with just about any job where life was as good as what the OP described. Expat, walking to work, paid housing, no worries, etc.

Some folks will never enjoy working, while others would love any work. So is it really about the job?
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Re: Frustrated with Work and Dealing with Golden Handcuffs

Post by Gray »

It's hard to imagine you worked yourself into a career that you despise. Notice that I used the word "career" because your post seems to indicate that you just don't like the line of work you're in. At some level, you made the sustained series of choices that got you where you are.

However, if it's the job, by all means, go do something in your field somewhere else. We all work in spaces where we have enough skills to do something slightly and sometimes significantly different, leveraging your experience.

If you do decide to work in a completely different field, or not work at all, be prepared for major lifestyle changes if your income stream is considerably less.

I was working somewhere in 2009 that I didn't like (because of a tyrannical second level supervisor), and I made a move to another job with less money, but I'm now at parity (finally) with what I was making and a good relationship with my management. As a side note, the tyrannical supervisor at my previous job was fired.

Another question is whether you're suffering from burnout or depression which colors your view of your job.
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Re: Frustrated with Work and Dealing with Golden Handcuffs

Post by LH »

golden handcuffs. I have just been using that phrase myself.

Its good to put it all in perspective, to realize that we are lucky, and that we have jobs and such.

You only have one life to live, you may not be any more happy doing something else either though.

If you are unhappy at work, that may just be because things are less than ideal in the world.

I like the 33x idea if achievable.
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Midpack
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Re: Frustrated with Work and Dealing with Golden Handcuffs

Post by Midpack »

Cloud wrote:
Midpack wrote:
Cloud wrote:If you're not depressed (medically) then suck it up. Millions of us don't enjoy our jobs. Welcome to the club. It's called work for a reason.
Lighten up. If you don't enjoy your job, it's your own fault like millions of others. Do something about it, life is too short...
The OP posted a paradise story in my option. I would be happy with just about any job where life was as good as what the OP described. Expat, walking to work, paid housing...
Are you taking steps toward a job like the OP describes? Your job does not have to suck, or are you one of those "folks [who] will never enjoy working."
You only live once...
swaption
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Re: Frustrated with Work and Dealing with Golden Handcuffs

Post by swaption »

filmtheory wrote:
I've come to the conclusion that I do not enjoy my work anymore. I'm not sure that I ever truly enjoyed it, but it has become clear to me that I only show up to work and do my job for the paycheck. I essentially live for the 15th and 30th/31st of each month, for the day when the yearly bonus check arrives, and for the days when the RSUs and stock options hit my brokerage account. In just under 6 months time, I will be fully vested in my 401k and employer-provided retirement accounts. It is, admittedly, a sad existence.
Time to watch the following films:

You Can't Take it With You
American Beauty
Office Space

You live once. Shed the job. Live your life.
I go another direction. How about City Slickers? May sound corny, but probably the best analogy for how I make it work. Always have perspective and bring it every day. My job sucks and I have been doing it for a very long time. Having said that, I have advanced further than I ever expected, and I challenge myself every day. My family relies on me and I don't take that responsibility lightly. I want my clients to come to me with problems, that way I can do something for them. It wasn't always this way. Everything once felt like a burden, always reacting. No matter where you go or what you do, you have to be the positive force. If I were you, I would be quite reticent to shoot yourself in the foot if you are not completely convinced this is not some misguided search for the meaning of life. Just because you don't find it in the office, doesn't mean the job is the problem. Start with some level of ambition. Not necessarily talking about advancement, just doing whatever you are doing now, but doing it better. No time like the present to try on a different mode so you are ready for the next gig.
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ascenzm
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Re: Frustrated with Work and Dealing with Golden Handcuffs

Post by ascenzm »

jeffyscott wrote:
For most jobs there is a reason they have to pay people to do them.
Yep, as my manager once stated, work is spelled "w o r k", not "p l a y" :)

Mike, who is using a Boglehead investing approach to pursue FIRE status.
Avatar is a Japanese Cherry tree in Washington, DC during the peak cherry blossom time.
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cheese_breath
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Re: Frustrated with Work and Dealing with Golden Handcuffs

Post by cheese_breath »

How close are you to retirement age? If it's less than 10 years I suggest you tough it out like I did and like many others do. If it's more then start exploring other opportunities.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.
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Re: Frustrated with Work and Dealing with Golden Handcuffs

Post by Scorpion »

I suggest you ask yourself this- are there some days that you enjoy work? Do you get a feeling of accomplishment? I'm guessing the answer is yes. I think the smarter you are and the better you are, the more likely you are to feel like a fraud. I believe it is called "impostor syndrome" - the idea that one day you will be exposed for knowing nothing. However, it is all in your head - if you tell your friends, family, etc, about your feelings, do they all say "no, no, you are really smart and good?" if so, you are likely feeling impostor syndrome.

I think no career with the kind of pay and benefits you describe is going to be different in the long-term. I strongly think you should stick it out and FIRE.
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3CT_Paddler
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Re: Frustrated with Work and Dealing with Golden Handcuffs

Post by 3CT_Paddler »

In the words of the always relevent Red Forman...
Work is work. It it wasn't work they wouldn't call it work! They would call it super wonderful crazy fun time!... or skippedy doo!
:D

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXrwjLahUdw

Sometimes I have to remind myself of that at my own work. Work reminds me of basketball practice in high school. The fun is not in running the drills or being pushed to your limit physically... the fun is in the achievement/sense of accomplishment.

Maybe your bigger question is what are you running towards or working for? All that to say, I can identify with feeling discouraged with work at times for various reasons. My only suggestion is to find a new challenge or fresh perspective.
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cheese_breath
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Re: Frustrated with Work and Dealing with Golden Handcuffs

Post by cheese_breath »

cheese_breath wrote:How close are you to retirement age? If it's less than 10 years I suggest you tough it out like I did and like many others do. If it's more then start exploring other opportunities.
I don't know what I was thinking when I wrote this. Maybe I needed to finish my coffee first, or maybe it's just senility setting in. :shock: But to compare OPs situation to mine was wrong. I was in a defined benefit plan where the benefits accrue most during the last years of employment. So for me it made more sense to tough it out for a few years. Not so with a 401K. All OP needs to do is tough it out until the 401K vests. Then he should feel free to explore other options. But don't burn any bridges. You might discover what you have is better than any of the alternatives.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.
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Re: Frustrated with Work and Dealing with Golden Handcuffs

Post by jodydavis »

Been there, done that. Had a high-paying law job and slipped off the golden handcuffs in exchange for an alternative that is, at least to me, 10x more rewarding (though far less well-compensating). Never looked back.

My advice: instead of worrying in the abstract re: whether you could be doing something better, make a plan. Some things to think about:

1. Save enough and keep your expenses low enough to give you some degree of freedom to move. Sounds like you are saving lots, but losing the cushy expat life might be difficult. Note that you may not need these cushy aspects if you enjoy your work life more, but this is a personal question you'll have to answer. You need to create some space so that you feel you have the freedom to move.

2. Concretely explore alternatives. Not just in an abstract way (which will almost always seem more attractive than your current job), but in a really concrete way. What concrete steps would you need to take to get there? How much would you be paid? What are the realistic chances of success? What is your fallback position, if it doesn't work out? Talk to people in those jobs and ask, what is the worst part of the job? In other words, do your due diligence.

3. Give yourself a deadline to shoot for. Make some kind of a decision within 1, 3, or 5 years. That will give you a concrete goal in terms of savings target, info gathering, etc. This might also make the current situation more tolerable, if you think of it in these terms.

After doing all of the above, you may conclude that your current job isn't so bad. Or, alternatively, that there really are other things that you would rather be doing. I don't mean to suggest that any of the above is easy - it's not, as there is always a lot of uncertainty, and you can never be sure that things will work out. But it does sound like you are currently unhappy enough that you should start exploring alternatives.

Good luck!
J.D.
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cheese_breath
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Re: Frustrated with Work and Dealing with Golden Handcuffs

Post by cheese_breath »

imagardener wrote:Have you considered getting some therapy? The reason I ask is that some of your comments sound like mild depression, afraid of being seen as a "fraud", tired of fixing everyone else's problems. Of course you might retort that your depression is being caused by your situation but it might be worth talking with a professional to find out if that is truly the case.
Great advice. Just a few counseling sessions helped me. They didn't change the job; it was stil the pits. But they helped me realize I was putting unnecessary pressure and unrealistic expectations on myself.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.
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Re: Frustrated with Work and Dealing with Golden Handcuffs

Post by cheese_breath »

Gray wrote:It's hard to imagine you worked yourself into a career that you despise. Notice that I used the word "career" because your post seems to indicate that you just don't like the line of work you're in. At some level, you made the sustained series of choices that got you where you are.
Not hard to imagine at all. Over the course of many years people change, and the job they signed up for changes as well. What was once a great match is no more.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.
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Re: Frustrated with Work and Dealing with Golden Handcuffs

Post by jeffyscott »

The two greatest enemies of the equity fund investor are expenses and emotions. ― John C. Bogle
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Midpack
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Re: Frustrated with Work and Dealing with Golden Handcuffs

Post by Midpack »

cheese_breath wrote:
Gray wrote:It's hard to imagine you worked yourself into a career that you despise. Notice that I used the word "career" because your post seems to indicate that you just don't like the line of work you're in. At some level, you made the sustained series of choices that got you where you are.
Not hard to imagine at all. Over the course of many years people change, and the job they signed up for changes as well. What was once a great match is no more.
+1. I had a great job with mostly great people, but after 18+ years I had met every goal I had set for myself, most many times over. When there are few challenges left, a good job can become drudgery. It was still a great job, just not for me anymore, time to move on.

I don't have a lot of sympathy for complainers, do something, even if it's going to take years to accomplish. Life is too short. And complainers often make their co-workers miserable unnecessarily too...
You only live once...
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Re: Frustrated with Work and Dealing with Golden Handcuffs

Post by VictoriaF »

Midpack wrote:I don't have a lot of sympathy for complainers, do something, even if it's going to take years to accomplish. Life is too short. And complainers often make their co-workers miserable unnecessarily too...
The OP has asked:
Random Poster wrote:So my query is this: How does one determine that giving up the paycheck and golden handcuffs may be the best thing to do, and, once that determination has been made, how does one follow through with it?
His question does not imply that he is a complainer. His question indicates that he wants to make a change and is interested in the experiences of others. Using labels such as "complainer" is not a friendly or a useful response.

Victoria
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Midpack
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Re: Frustrated with Work and Dealing with Golden Handcuffs

Post by Midpack »

VictoriaF wrote:
Midpack wrote:I don't have a lot of sympathy for complainers, do something, even if it's going to take years to accomplish. Life is too short. And complainers often make their co-workers miserable unnecessarily too...
His question does not imply that he is a complainer. His question indicates that he wants to make a change and is interested in the experiences of others. Using labels such as "complainer" is not a friendly or a useful response.

Victoria
Thanks for the opportunity to clear this up. My comment was not directed at the OP at all, it was meant for those who responded with "suck it up", 'I wish I had it so good' and/or 'that's why they call if work' - how does that help the OP or anyone else who's ready for a change? My response to the OP was supportive...
You only live once...
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Random Poster
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Re: Frustrated with Work and Dealing with Golden Handcuffs

Post by Random Poster »

Again, thanks to all who have replied. Everyone has given me much to think about and I appreciate everyone's perspective. All comments have been beneficial to me, and I hope to any others who are in similar circumstances or environments.
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Re: Frustrated with Work and Dealing with Golden Handcuffs

Post by retcaveman »

Another thought for your consideration.

After about 20 years with the same employer (different jobs), I felt mentally and emotionally exhausted and began to think about getting out. I held on for another handful of years and then took early retirement - age 51.

A year or two after I left, I began to think if I just could have had some time off, maybe a 6-12 month sabbatical, I would have continued to work. Not sure if this (leave-of-absence, job rotation, sabbatical, etc.) is an option for you or if it would help, but I thought I would at least mention it.

Everyone's situation is different, but I encourage you to take some time to think about the options available to you. You may want to talk with a career counselor for help in evaluating your situation and identifying options.

Whatever you decide, I wish you well.
Good Luck.
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