Job Satisfaction vs Maximizing Income

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geerhardusvos
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Re: Job Satisfaction vs Maximizing Income

Post by geerhardusvos »

Job satisfaction to me has more to do with control over my time. I am more happy you had a job where I have autonomy on what I work on and when I do it. I currently have a very flexible job, it still is a lot of work, probably 45 hours a week on average, but I am able to do that work when I want to and I am able to delegate the things I don’t want to do. Flexibility, autonomy, control, interesting work, etc. are all more important to me than money. I could get 20 to 30% more money elsewhere but why sacrifice what I have?
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TheBeanCounter
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Re: Job Satisfaction vs Maximizing Income

Post by TheBeanCounter »

duplicate
Last edited by TheBeanCounter on Wed Apr 07, 2021 9:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
tiburblium
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Re: Job Satisfaction vs Maximizing Income

Post by tiburblium »

Why does everyone higher compensations means less job satisfaction? That hasn’t been my experience at all, as I’ve advanced in my career I’ve improved compensation, work life balance, and job satisfaction
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TheBeanCounter
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Re: Job Satisfaction vs Maximizing Income

Post by TheBeanCounter »

bikechuck wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 9:19 am
From your screen name it sounds like you are an accountant. I earned my CPA shortly after graduation and began working for what was then a BIG 8 public accounting form in 1975. During my first year I knew that I hated public accounting. Was it burn out, probably not, was it a terrible match for me ... YES. Would I have burned out rapidly had I stayed with that profession ... YES.

I went back to school, earned a Masters degree and re-emerged as a financial analyst which I was much better suited for. When I married and we started a family my masters degree allowed me to teach undergrad accounting courses part time, evenings and weekends, which I loved to supplement our income.

I am so happy that I did not stay and grind it out in a profession that I disliked and was not suited for.
Thank you for sharing! I am quite early in my career, but closely relate to your feelings about public accounting.
Keenobserver
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Re: Job Satisfaction vs Maximizing Income

Post by Keenobserver »

shuchong wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 8:25 pm I chose maximizing income: I'm in my last 30s and have spent about eight years now at a large law firm. For most of my years at my firm, I enjoyed the work and the people, and put up with the hours. I'm now definitely burnt out, thinking of getting out, and trying to be patient (not sure how much of the burnout is from the low-level stress and remote work require by COVID).

I am honestly not sure I made the right choice, or even the choice that will maximize my overall lifetime earnings/net worth. I'd like my next job to be low stress and with reasonable hours, and will prioritize that over income. If I had started with lower income and a more reasonable work/life balance, it's possible that my income would have built over the years and I would not have found the need to "downshift" in my late 30s. On the other hand, I now have the ability to downshift -- I can take a job that makes under $60k, cover all my living expenses with that salary, and just let my investments grow until whenever I decide to retire.

And I would surely be a different person if I had not spent so much time at my job, but tough to say if I would be a better one.
Im in a very similiar situation. Late 30s..Worked hard thus far with the plan to tone it down when I hit 40..maybe 30 hrs a week or so with frequent vacations. I can attempt it only because of my.savings/ investments as a result of the grind. I hope to let my investments grow and just make my expenses ( which I can easily do working 20 to 30 hrs a week) while traveling and doing all the other things I held off during the grind. That has always been.my plan, and if I continue to grind after 40, then my sacririces in my 30s are wasted. I hope to work on becoming a better husband, father, beliver in God, and improved overall human being as I shift to a different phase/ age group in my life. I have first hand experience of family.members getting seriously sickd in 40s and dying in late 40s to early 50s.
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TheBeanCounter
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Re: Job Satisfaction vs Maximizing Income

Post by TheBeanCounter »

duplicate :confused
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TheBeanCounter
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Re: Job Satisfaction vs Maximizing Income

Post by TheBeanCounter »

coachd50 wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 7:36 pm
TheBeanCounter wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 6:47 pm
coachd50 wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 6:39 pm
TheBeanCounter wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 6:25 pm Maybe it is too hypothetical or opaque for many to give advice on. More so, just trying to take a poll of prevailing sentiment. In my mind, I think I could put up with pretty much anything for the first 8-10 years of my career if it will set up my family financially. Not sure if that is just because I haven't been in an unsavory work environment yet.
I think that last sentence is probably accurate. Plenty of people think they can ___________ (fill in the blank) until they actually do it.
"Everyone has a plan until they are punched in the face"
Yeah, I fully recognize I am naïve in this case. But if you know you are only doing it for X amount of years, rather than stuck for a full career, should be easier to put up with.... in my mind, at least :confused
Maybe, but having just lost an immediate family member in the last few months, I can assure you that at no time through the tears and laughter, sorrow and memories shared during her last week as she slipped away did anyone (her or the family) ever say "man, If only she would have maximized her income"...

Yes, somewhat of a simplistic sentiment- but its foundational message holds true.
I am sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing. It is definitely easy to lose sight of what is most important to me, so thank you for the reminder.
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TheBeanCounter
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Re: Job Satisfaction vs Maximizing Income

Post by TheBeanCounter »

There are a lot of career decisions one could make with the goal of maximizing their earnings, without working at BigLaw, Big4, or Management Consulting. I guess the path of law, accounting and consulting is a more defined route to high earnings (maybe?) than other fields, but also comes with the crazy hours, as mentioned earlier.

Some of the decisions that play into maximizing earnings, that I can think of, are:
1. Where you work/live
2. Size of employer
3. Scalability of role
4. Credentialing/education
5. Amount of hours worked

I wonder if there is a divergence in the worthiness of "chasing the money", dependent on if an individual is in a role where they have billable hours (accountant or lawyer) vs. someone who is in those who are not measured in billable hours?
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TheBeanCounter
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Re: Job Satisfaction vs Maximizing Income

Post by TheBeanCounter »

hi_there wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 9:54 pm Capacity to work is also related to your age. Working 80 hours a week in your 20s is a big sacrifice, but not as much as it would be in your 40s and 50s, when you have less energy and possibly other concerns, particularly family. Working harder earlier in life also gives you longer time to invest and could also set you up for more career flexibility later. So for these reasons, in terms of efficiency, I think it is a good idea to front load your work life. If you can build a decent nest egg by your early 30s through personal effort, then 10 years or so might not be an irrational cost, especially in years when your tolerance for work and stress is high, and therefore your perceivable suffering is lower.
Good point. Being in my 20s, I fully recognize that my life is only going to get busier, and I know for a fact I will not want to be working 60+ hours a week when I have kids at home.
Keenobserver
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Re: Job Satisfaction vs Maximizing Income

Post by Keenobserver »

TheBeanCounter wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 9:50 am
hi_there wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 9:54 pm Capacity to work is also related to your age. Working 80 hours a week in your 20s is a big sacrifice, but not as much as it would be in your 40s and 50s, when you have less energy and possibly other concerns, particularly family. Working harder earlier in life also gives you longer time to invest and could also set you up for more career flexibility later. So for these reasons, in terms of efficiency, I think it is a good idea to front load your work life. If you can build a decent nest egg by your early 30s through personal effort, then 10 years or so might not be an irrational cost, especially in years when your tolerance for work and stress is high, and therefore your perceivable suffering is lower.
Good point. Being in my 20s, I fully recognize that my life is only going to get busier, and I know for a fact I will not want to be working 60+ hours a week when I have kids at home.
In that case, grind it out now. Hustle, save. invest and hope for more freedom later.
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TheBeanCounter
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Re: Job Satisfaction vs Maximizing Income

Post by TheBeanCounter »

Keenobserver wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 9:35 am
shuchong wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 8:25 pm I chose maximizing income: I'm in my last 30s and have spent about eight years now at a large law firm. For most of my years at my firm, I enjoyed the work and the people, and put up with the hours. I'm now definitely burnt out, thinking of getting out, and trying to be patient (not sure how much of the burnout is from the low-level stress and remote work require by COVID).

I am honestly not sure I made the right choice, or even the choice that will maximize my overall lifetime earnings/net worth. I'd like my next job to be low stress and with reasonable hours, and will prioritize that over income. If I had started with lower income and a more reasonable work/life balance, it's possible that my income would have built over the years and I would not have found the need to "downshift" in my late 30s. On the other hand, I now have the ability to downshift -- I can take a job that makes under $60k, cover all my living expenses with that salary, and just let my investments grow until whenever I decide to retire.

And I would surely be a different person if I had not spent so much time at my job, but tough to say if I would be a better one.
Im in a very similiar situation. Late 30s..Worked hard thus far with the plan to tone it down when I hit 40..maybe 30 hrs a week or so with frequent vacations. I can attempt it only because of my.savings/ investments as a result of the grind. I hope to let my investments grow and just make my expenses ( which I can easily do working 20 to 30 hrs a week) while traveling and doing all the other things I held off during the grind. That has always been.my plan, and if I continue to grind after 40, then my sacririces in my 30s are wasted. I hope to work on becoming a better husband, father, beliver in God, and improved overall human being as I shift to a different phase/ age group in my life. I have first hand experience of family.members getting seriously sickd in 40s and dying in late 40s to early 50s.
This is kind of the trajectory I envision, when thinking about my career. Do you think the timing of this was good for you, personally? Or do you wish you worked less and did more with your spouse, when younger?
Sic Vis Pacem
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Re: Job Satisfaction vs Maximizing Income

Post by Sic Vis Pacem »

shuchong wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 8:25 pm I chose maximizing income: I'm in my last 30s and have spent about eight years now at a large law firm. For most of my years at my firm, I enjoyed the work and the people, and put up with the hours. I'm now definitely burnt out, thinking of getting out, and trying to be patient (not sure how much of the burnout is from the low-level stress and remote work require by COVID).

I am honestly not sure I made the right choice, or even the choice that will maximize my overall lifetime earnings/net worth. I'd like my next job to be low stress and with reasonable hours, and will prioritize that over income. If I had started with lower income and a more reasonable work/life balance, it's possible that my income would have built over the years and I would not have found the need to "downshift" in my late 30s. On the other hand, I now have the ability to downshift -- I can take a job that makes under $60k, cover all my living expenses with that salary, and just let my investments grow until whenever I decide to retire.

And I would surely be a different person if I had not spent so much time at my job, but tough to say if I would be a better one.
+1. I know a lot of lawyers in this boat, minus the financial discipline. So they are now a decade in, young kids, 6 figure student loans, feeling burnt out, with no where to go. If you're going to make these kinds of sacrifices in your 20s and 30s, do it with an exit plan. Most of the partners in my group have said that their happiness went way up a few years after making partner, as the work changes and you get to do more of what you like and less of what you don't. I'm willing to stick around and see if that's true, but if not, I'll be in a position where compensation will no longer be the deciding factor in my employment.
Broken Man 1999
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Re: Job Satisfaction vs Maximizing Income

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

There was never a day in my career that I enjoyed work more than not going to work. I didn't hate my job, but I didn't love it, either. There is a reason it is called work. I had a good work ethic, I was successful, and provided our family (along with DW's efforts) with a good standard of living.

One advantage with MegaCorp was I could move easily into other positions. The department head was all about moving people around, so his view offered many opportunities. Sometimes I was approached for an opening without applying. The only position I held over a few years was my position as a new hire.

So, I never experienced any job burnout. Since I was always on the lookout for a new position, I knew which jobs had lots of hours, so I certainly avoided those openings. My goal was have the highest salary along with a forty-hour work week. Occasional longer weeks were fine, but no long-term work weeks over forty hours.

I found that most of the first year in a new position was about learning, the second year improving the results of my group, and after that I became bored. Boredom can be dangerous, kinda like "idle hands being the devil's workshop." Too easy to pick up bad habits, and some bad habits can destroy careers. :oops:

Fortunately I navigated the boredom minefield successfully, though not perfectly.

Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven then I shall not go." - Mark Twain
rich126
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Re: Job Satisfaction vs Maximizing Income

Post by rich126 »

coachd50 wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 6:39 pm
TheBeanCounter wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 6:25 pm Maybe it is too hypothetical or opaque for many to give advice on. More so, just trying to take a poll of prevailing sentiment. In my mind, I think I could put up with pretty much anything for the first 8-10 years of my career if it will set up my family financially. Not sure if that is just because I haven't been in an unsavory work environment yet.
I think that last sentence is probably accurate. Plenty of people think they can ___________ (fill in the blank) until they actually do it.
"Everyone has a plan until they are punched in the face"
Yeah I agree with that. I was lucky for the first decade or two of my working career and while I had some issues, overall going to work wasn't painful and mostly I enjoyed it. Then I took this one job (actually a government one) and things were terrible. Stuff I heard people complain about previously and I assumed they were exaggerating, I realized they weren't since it was now happening to me. Bad for my health, dreaded Sunday nights, etc. I did persevere and ended up doing well once I was able to transfer to another office but I have a ton of sympathy for people in bad situations after having gone through it myself.

Thinking of putting up with anything for 8-10 years is simply not realistic IMO. 8-10 weeks or 8-10 months can be a horribly long time. There are some really psychotic managers, and even companies, out there. Some don't think twice of violating all kinds of laws and policies knowing that most employees don't want to fight it or risk their careers in challenging them. We had some people in my case that had to go through various processes and eventually got things resolved and only a couple of years later got the senior management removed from the government agency but not before she destroyed a lot of people.
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TheBeanCounter
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Re: Job Satisfaction vs Maximizing Income

Post by TheBeanCounter »

rich126 wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 11:04 am
coachd50 wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 6:39 pm
TheBeanCounter wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 6:25 pm Maybe it is too hypothetical or opaque for many to give advice on. More so, just trying to take a poll of prevailing sentiment. In my mind, I think I could put up with pretty much anything for the first 8-10 years of my career if it will set up my family financially. Not sure if that is just because I haven't been in an unsavory work environment yet.
I think that last sentence is probably accurate. Plenty of people think they can ___________ (fill in the blank) until they actually do it.
"Everyone has a plan until they are punched in the face"
Yeah I agree with that. I was lucky for the first decade or two of my working career and while I had some issues, overall going to work wasn't painful and mostly I enjoyed it. Then I took this one job (actually a government one) and things were terrible. Stuff I heard people complain about previously and I assumed they were exaggerating, I realized they weren't since it was now happening to me. Bad for my health, dreaded Sunday nights, etc. I did persevere and ended up doing well once I was able to transfer to another office but I have a ton of sympathy for people in bad situations after having gone through it myself.

Thinking of putting up with anything for 8-10 years is simply not realistic IMO. 8-10 weeks or 8-10 months can be a horribly long time. There are some really psychotic managers, and even companies, out there. Some don't think twice of violating all kinds of laws and policies knowing that most employees don't want to fight it or risk their careers in challenging them. We had some people in my case that had to go through various processes and eventually got things resolved and only a couple of years later got the senior management removed from the government agency but not before she destroyed a lot of people.
I suppose my statement was probably too broad. I think I could put up with working many hours, having hard deadlines, stress, and such, for 8-10 years. I can only imagine the difficulty of working under an unethical, narcissistic boss. I guess I am having a more optimistic view of potential employers, which may be misguided.
Nathan Drake
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Re: Job Satisfaction vs Maximizing Income

Post by Nathan Drake »

I would only maximize income (above other factors) if extremely early retirement is the goal (but even this can be achieved on more modest incomes)

If that is not the goal, then income maximization serves no purpose other than to spend on things you likely don’t need anyway.
rich126
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Re: Job Satisfaction vs Maximizing Income

Post by rich126 »

While you would prefer to increase income I think you can get to a point where money is secondary to happiness. Sure if a pay cut means you have to make drastic lifestyle changes to include even medical events that is a different story but often it isn't to those levels.

I've gone to doubling my salary in one year to back to ~80% of that pay to a recent lateral position in a new state to now pondering taking a 5% pay cut to go back to the government. I can stay where I am, take the government job (out of state), or take a contracting position (also out of state). The contracting positions would pay an easy 30% more than the government position. Nearing retirement that would be a nice bump in savings, especially considering my huge tax bill this year due to selling a house that was used as a rental.

However my biggest interest is just a job that in interesting with a good environment and hopefully enough security to get me to retirement (< 5 yrs).

Obviously the OP has family considerations which is juggling happiness, job security and salary and often you can't get all 3. To me happiness is number one and then the other 2 depends on the situation.
Keenobserver
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Re: Job Satisfaction vs Maximizing Income

Post by Keenobserver »

TheBeanCounter wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 9:55 am
Keenobserver wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 9:35 am
shuchong wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 8:25 pm I chose maximizing income: I'm in my last 30s and have spent about eight years now at a large law firm. For most of my years at my firm, I enjoyed the work and the people, and put up with the hours. I'm now definitely burnt out, thinking of getting out, and trying to be patient (not sure how much of the burnout is from the low-level stress and remote work require by COVID).

I am honestly not sure I made the right choice, or even the choice that will maximize my overall lifetime earnings/net worth. I'd like my next job to be low stress and with reasonable hours, and will prioritize that over income. If I had started with lower income and a more reasonable work/life balance, it's possible that my income would have built over the years and I would not have found the need to "downshift" in my late 30s. On the other hand, I now have the ability to downshift -- I can take a job that makes under $60k, cover all my living expenses with that salary, and just let my investments grow until whenever I decide to retire.

And I would surely be a different person if I had not spent so much time at my job, but tough to say if I would be a better one.
Im in a very similiar situation. Late 30s..Worked hard thus far with the plan to tone it down when I hit 40..maybe 30 hrs a week or so with frequent vacations. I can attempt it only because of my.savings/ investments as a result of the grind. I hope to let my investments grow and just make my expenses ( which I can easily do working 20 to 30 hrs a week) while traveling and doing all the other things I held off during the grind. That has always been.my plan, and if I continue to grind after 40, then my sacririces in my 30s are wasted. I hope to work on becoming a better husband, father, beliver in God, and improved overall human being as I shift to a different phase/ age group in my life. I have first hand experience of family.members getting seriously sickd in 40s and dying in late 40s to early 50s.
This is kind of the trajectory I envision, when thinking about my career. Do you think the timing of this was good for you, personally? Or do you wish you worked less and did more with your spouse, when younger?
I suppose only time will tell. It would only be worth it if I actually follow through, keep the promises I made to myself and not continue chasing the $$ into old age. I did spend a lot of my 30s just accumulating and grinding, however, I have coworkers in their mid 50s grinding and always afraid of losing their jobs. They didnt plan well, and now dont have a choice but to grind and take orders. I knew from beginning thats not what I wanted for myself. I would rather make most of my health, energy, and grit now and execute an exit plan. If you fail to exit, then your plan has failed even if you are making a lot of $.
BrooklynInvest
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Re: Job Satisfaction vs Maximizing Income

Post by BrooklynInvest »

Sic Vis Pacem wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 8:54 am The marginal utility of money is real, and drops off more steeply than you might think.
This. I work in finance and while I enjoy parts of my job, I deal with some truly arrogant people. At 30 I needed the money. 10 months away from retirement the calculus is very, very different.
shuchong
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Re: Job Satisfaction vs Maximizing Income

Post by shuchong »

Keenobserver wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 9:35 am
shuchong wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 8:25 pm I chose maximizing income: I'm in my last 30s and have spent about eight years now at a large law firm. For most of my years at my firm, I enjoyed the work and the people, and put up with the hours. I'm now definitely burnt out, thinking of getting out, and trying to be patient (not sure how much of the burnout is from the low-level stress and remote work require by COVID).

I am honestly not sure I made the right choice, or even the choice that will maximize my overall lifetime earnings/net worth. I'd like my next job to be low stress and with reasonable hours, and will prioritize that over income. If I had started with lower income and a more reasonable work/life balance, it's possible that my income would have built over the years and I would not have found the need to "downshift" in my late 30s. On the other hand, I now have the ability to downshift -- I can take a job that makes under $60k, cover all my living expenses with that salary, and just let my investments grow until whenever I decide to retire.

And I would surely be a different person if I had not spent so much time at my job, but tough to say if I would be a better one.
Im in a very similiar situation. Late 30s..Worked hard thus far with the plan to tone it down when I hit 40..maybe 30 hrs a week or so with frequent vacations. I can attempt it only because of my.savings/ investments as a result of the grind. I hope to let my investments grow and just make my expenses ( which I can easily do working 20 to 30 hrs a week) while traveling and doing all the other things I held off during the grind. That has always been.my plan, and if I continue to grind after 40, then my sacririces in my 30s are wasted. I hope to work on becoming a better husband, father, beliver in God, and improved overall human being as I shift to a different phase/ age group in my life. I have first hand experience of family.members getting seriously sickd in 40s and dying in late 40s to early 50s.
Good for you! I'm struggling a bit with the "when to downshift" decision, though it is definitely a when and not an if at this point. I've already gone 80% time at my firm (supposedly... I worked 95% time this past year and got grossed up to that level) and tried to make my current role more flexible. My firm is willing to work with me, because I've made it clear I don't want to be partner, and they want me to stay. But I've come to the conclusion that I will never get away from late night fire-drills: it's just the nature of the beast.

I'm hesitant to pull the plug, though, in part because I'm scared that I will miss the competence and dedication of my colleagues, and the particular satisfaction that comes with doing difficult things well under pressure. (It's been absent for a while, but as I said above, that could be COVID-related.) And I would feel better if I left with a slightly higher net worth, though realistically I don't need one. It also depends on what I down-shift too... an in-house legal department role would be a much different financial decision than my dream scenario of lecturing part time at a law school and training an avalanche/backcountry SAR dog on the side.
Sic Vis Pacem wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 10:07 am +1. I know a lot of lawyers in this boat, minus the financial discipline. So they are now a decade in, young kids, 6 figure student loans, feeling burnt out, with no where to go. If you're going to make these kinds of sacrifices in your 20s and 30s, do it with an exit plan. Most of the partners in my group have said that their happiness went way up a few years after making partner, as the work changes and you get to do more of what you like and less of what you don't. I'm willing to stick around and see if that's true, but if not, I'll be in a position where compensation will no longer be the deciding factor in my employment.
I cannot imagine being "stuck" in biglaw. I paid my loans off as quickly as possible, lived with a roommate as a junior associate, cooked my own food, etc. so that I could go into work every day knowing that if I got fed up and quit, I would be fine. It made my job a lot less stressful. I feel like FU money is a must for anyone who has spent 8-10 years at a large firm.
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anon_investor
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Re: Job Satisfaction vs Maximizing Income

Post by anon_investor »

Sic Vis Pacem wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 10:07 am
shuchong wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 8:25 pm I chose maximizing income: I'm in my last 30s and have spent about eight years now at a large law firm. For most of my years at my firm, I enjoyed the work and the people, and put up with the hours. I'm now definitely burnt out, thinking of getting out, and trying to be patient (not sure how much of the burnout is from the low-level stress and remote work require by COVID).

I am honestly not sure I made the right choice, or even the choice that will maximize my overall lifetime earnings/net worth. I'd like my next job to be low stress and with reasonable hours, and will prioritize that over income. If I had started with lower income and a more reasonable work/life balance, it's possible that my income would have built over the years and I would not have found the need to "downshift" in my late 30s. On the other hand, I now have the ability to downshift -- I can take a job that makes under $60k, cover all my living expenses with that salary, and just let my investments grow until whenever I decide to retire.

And I would surely be a different person if I had not spent so much time at my job, but tough to say if I would be a better one.
+1. I know a lot of lawyers in this boat, minus the financial discipline. So they are now a decade in, young kids, 6 figure student loans, feeling burnt out, with no where to go. If you're going to make these kinds of sacrifices in your 20s and 30s, do it with an exit plan. Most of the partners in my group have said that their happiness went way up a few years after making partner, as the work changes and you get to do more of what you like and less of what you don't. I'm willing to stick around and see if that's true, but if not, I'll be in a position where compensation will no longer be the deciding factor in my employment.
I was a former biglaw associate that went in-house to a megacorp. When I left biglaw, I had 2 kids, ages 3 and 1. Biglaw burnout is real, and it puts a lot of strain on a marriage, and the stress is multiplied with young kids. I was fortunate that I used my time in biglaw to pay off my student loans, stay debt free (aside from a mortgage) and save a good amount.

I know not all megacorp legal departments are the same, so maybe I am lucky that I work only 40-45 hr/wk and have low stress at work, although just about everything feels low stress to me after having gone 70-100 hours a week non-stop for years. At least at a megacorp the drop off in pay compared to biglaw is not that steep, especially when you factor in the superior benefits (better 401k company contribution).

I never had a real biglaw "exit plan" but when offered the in-house option, I jumped at the chance. What is the point of money when you have no time to spend it? Work/life balance is definitely underrated.
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Re: Job Satisfaction vs Maximizing Income

Post by Cruise »

TLDR, but OP should know that the research shows that job satisfaction and income are orthogonal. Sure, there are those in which it is aligned, but for the mass of humanity, they are independent dimensions.
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anon_investor
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Re: Job Satisfaction vs Maximizing Income

Post by anon_investor »

shuchong wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 8:05 pm
I'm hesitant to pull the plug, though, in part because I'm scared that I will miss the competence and dedication of my colleagues, and the particular satisfaction that comes with doing difficult things well under pressure. (It's been absent for a while, but as I said above, that could be COVID-related.) And I would feel better if I left with a slightly higher net worth, though realistically I don't need one. It also depends on what I down-shift too... an in-house legal department role would be a much different financial decision than my dream scenario of lecturing part time at a law school and training an avalanche/backcountry SAR dog on the side.
Depending on your practice area, a lot of in-house roles at large companies are now going 100% remote. Even before Covid, some companies were heading in this direction. Larger companies while paying less than biglaw, still pay well. Obviously do your reacher as YMMV, but a lot of in-house roles offer significantly better work/life balance than biglaw. So in-house may still be something you want to look into a least as a "resting place" before you start lecturing part time at a law school.
Wanderingwheelz
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Re: Job Satisfaction vs Maximizing Income

Post by Wanderingwheelz »

rockstar wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 9:03 pm No matter what job you choose, you'll eventually end up bored. It's just a matter of how long that takes.
I completely agree. The perverse way careers tend to work is the faster you’re bored with them the more money you’re earning because your mastered your craft too quickly.
3 Fund Portfolio. 70%/30% AA. No mortgage. Simple.
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Bogle7
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Maximize Income

Post by Bogle7 »

1. Earn the most money at the youngest age. Your Social Security payout will reflect that.
2. Put as much money as you can into Roth and tIRAs as you at the earliest opportunity.
3. Wake up one morning and realize that you have hit FU money in retirement funds and can do whatever you want.
Old fart who does three index funds, baby.
Annabel Lee
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Re: Job Satisfaction vs Maximizing Income

Post by Annabel Lee »

Tingting1013 wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 6:20 pm Need more information to give advice.

But one thing I will say is that what appears income maximizing in the short term may not necessarily turn out to be income maximizing in the long term.
Wow, this is really well said.

Mid 30s now. I vividly remember rejecting good advice that would have caused me to hit “eject” from Megacorp 10 years ago. I turned it down because I had a $10k raise in the crosshairs. Suffice to say the advice could have led me down a much more lucrative path than the raise, even though the raise made a difference at the time.

With that said I’m happy and grateful with where I’m at and have achieved income growth without hitting a ceiling to the extent that I don’t have to follow advice in BH threads about $2,000 cars, reusing Ziploc bags or eating Frankenfood just because the local Big Box store pumps it full of savory, tasty saline.

OP, I’d optimize for how you want to live your life, while finding ways to say yes to interesting experiences that develop your career, and the money will come. I coach people I work with in their 20s to say yes much more than they say no. Grind and work hard but keep your options open. Find ways into stretch assignments that push you to learn more and optimize income. And by all means invest early (by far my greatest mistake).
Dandy
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Re: Job Satisfaction vs Maximizing Income

Post by Dandy »

A work career can be 30 or 40 years, 5 days a week, 8 or more hours a day plus commute. Having a job that is satisfying would have been my choice assuming it paid a decent salary. Most of my jobs were ok but when the job and or the situation was not good -- I hated to go to work -- Sunday nights were tense as Monday mornings were coming and I had to face another week of a bad job/work environment.
Keenobserver
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Re: Job Satisfaction vs Maximizing Income

Post by Keenobserver »

shuchong wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 8:05 pm
Keenobserver wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 9:35 am
shuchong wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 8:25 pm I chose maximizing income: I'm in my last 30s and have spent about eight years now at a large law firm. For most of my years at my firm, I enjoyed the work and the people, and put up with the hours. I'm now definitely burnt out, thinking of getting out, and trying to be patient (not sure how much of the burnout is from the low-level stress and remote work require by COVID).

I am honestly not sure I made the right choice, or even the choice that will maximize my overall lifetime earnings/net worth. I'd like my next job to be low stress and with reasonable hours, and will prioritize that over income. If I had started with lower income and a more reasonable work/life balance, it's possible that my income would have built over the years and I would not have found the need to "downshift" in my late 30s. On the other hand, I now have the ability to downshift -- I can take a job that makes under $60k, cover all my living expenses with that salary, and just let my investments grow until whenever I decide to retire.

And I would surely be a different person if I had not spent so much time at my job, but tough to say if I would be a better one.
Im in a very similiar situation. Late 30s..Worked hard thus far with the plan to tone it down when I hit 40..maybe 30 hrs a week or so with frequent vacations. I can attempt it only because of my.savings/ investments as a result of the grind. I hope to let my investments grow and just make my expenses ( which I can easily do working 20 to 30 hrs a week) while traveling and doing all the other things I held off during the grind. That has always been.my plan, and if I continue to grind after 40, then my sacririces in my 30s are wasted. I hope to work on becoming a better husband, father, beliver in God, and improved overall human being as I shift to a different phase/ age group in my life. I have first hand experience of family.members getting seriously sickd in 40s and dying in late 40s to early 50s.
Good for you! I'm struggling a bit with the "when to downshift" decision, though it is definitely a when and not an if at this point. I've already gone 80% time at my firm (supposedly... I worked 95% time this past year and got grossed up to that level) and tried to make my current role more flexible. My firm is willing to work with me, because I've made it clear I don't want to be partner, and they want me to stay. But I've come to the conclusion that I will never get away from late night fire-drills: it's just the nature of the beast.

I'm hesitant to pull the plug, though, in part because I'm scared that I will miss the competence and dedication of my colleagues, and the particular satisfaction that comes with doing difficult things well under pressure. (It's been absent for a while, but as I said above, that could be COVID-related.) And I would feel better if I left with a slightly higher net worth, though realistically I don't need one. It also depends on what I down-shift too... an in-house legal department role would be a much different financial decision than my dream scenario of lecturing part time at a law school and training an avalanche/backcountry SAR dog on the side.
Sic Vis Pacem wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 10:07 am +1. I know a lot of lawyers in this boat, minus the financial discipline. So they are now a decade in, young kids, 6 figure student loans, feeling burnt out, with no where to go. If you're going to make these kinds of sacrifices in your 20s and 30s, do it with an exit plan. Most of the partners in my group have said that their happiness went way up a few years after making partner, as the work changes and you get to do more of what you like and less of what you don't. I'm willing to stick around and see if that's true, but if not, I'll be in a position where compensation will no longer be the deciding factor in my employment.
I cannot imagine being "stuck" in biglaw. I paid my loans off as quickly as possible, lived with a roommate as a junior associate, cooked my own food, etc. so that I could go into work every day knowing that if I got fed up and quit, I would be fine. It made my job a lot less stressful. I feel like FU money is a must for anyone who has spent 8-10 years at a large firm.


I guess one can never know with certainity " when" to pull the plug, but speaking with elder/ wiser folks, they all consistently admit wishing they had shifted down or retired earlier. Yet to hear someone say they retired too soon or they should have put.in more hrs at work. I know its going to be scary initially, but its something I have consistently wanted for as long as I can remember. Make as.much FU money as I can, and try to discover who I am without the pressures and dealines that come with capitalism. Need a clearer head to reconnect with my younger, true self and also the thoughts/ ideas and dreams that were abandoned along the way. Funny you mention teaching, as I was thinking about maybe teaching an under grad class as adjunct. Maybe down the line if the dots line up. With every year passing, my time is becoming more and more precious and trading that time for money feels more and more foolish. I dont get do this life twice. Right here, right now is it. Best of luck.
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Re: Job Satisfaction vs Maximizing Income

Post by jg12345 »

Too few information to decide.

First, there's needs: do you have or want a family? do you like big cars/expensive clothes/etc.? do you need 300k in your portfolio to feel that you are financially independent? do you have a retirement plan that requires saving of xx US$ per month?

If you want those things, and you cannot afford them with the lower paying job, then you NEED to get the job that pays more.

Once your needs are covered, the marginal return of "more salary" is lower (if your needs are covered, there's to some extent less reason to earn more money).

In that situation, I would choose a "more fulfilling" job that is less paid than a job that makes me feel like s**t, down to 50-60% less salary, with a floor around the higher between a) afford a 1 bedroom place for myself, and savings in line with my retirement objective without having to count money every month OR b) enough to have a family of 3 assuming my partner would work too.

It's actually what I did, and I have no regrets. In fact, probably best decision of my life.

Regarding balance, you may look into (the westernized version of) a concept called Ikigai, in other word seeking balance among 4 ideas: you are well paid, you are passionate about what you do, the world needs it, you're good at it
hoffse
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Re: Job Satisfaction vs Maximizing Income

Post by hoffse »

I think maximizing between 20-30 is a good choice if you (1) don't have other serious obligations like young children and (2) keep an eye on potential burnout.

My husband and I both did this in our 20's. We put our noses to the grindstone and studied our areas, stayed late, worked hard, and become critical to our employers. By 30 we were pretty close to having our nest egg in place such that we could no longer contribute another penny to retirement and still retire on time with a reasonable (if not luxurious) standard of living.

Then at age 31 I had our first kid, and our priorities shifted a lot to focus on him. But because we were so focused in our 20's we were able to take our feet of the gas just a little bit and still rise in comp, and in fact we both made partner at our respective law firms on time after our son was born (my husband actually made it a year early). Now I am expecting #2, and I am paid a rather astonishing amount of money for the amount of hours I work because I am in a specialty area that nobody else in my firm does. Am I likely to rise super high into the equity tiers or firm leadership? No, not unless I crank it up again. But at this point I don't need that because my comp is generous relative to the amount of time I spend at work, and nobody has any complaints about my collections. My husband and I each independently make enough for our family to live on, and we value the work-life balance more than the crazy paydays at this point. So even though we are in the same jobs, we are seeking more job satisfaction and work-life balance at this stage than money.

Killing it in your 20's can really pay off in your 30's and 40's if you play your cards right.
Shalom Aleichem
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Re: Job Satisfaction vs Maximizing Income

Post by Shalom Aleichem »

surfstar wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 6:52 pm It is more dependent upon the employee than employer for most (but not all) cases, IMO. Very subjective.

I hate working. Never had a job a found enjoyable. Tolerable, maybe, but because I have to make money.
If you can "suffer" for substantially more money and FIRE, that could be a meaningful difference. But if that requires 60-80 hr weeks and no time off, versus a more normal schedule - you gotta draw the line at some point.

And for all the BHs who "love" their career and can't imagine retiring - put your money where your mouth is. Volunteer. Or send me your excess income. You "love" your job and "don't do it for the money, right?" I'll be waiting...
Actually I love my job. I can't imagine not coming in to work. But I work as a physician and every day I am working I have an opportunity to alleviate suffering. The pleasure I get from that is just not comparable to the pleasure of a beach vacation or driving a fast car. One is a giving pleasure and one is a taking pleasure. Giving pleasure just can't be compared to taking pleasure. I'm also obligated to give 10% of my take home pay to tzedakah (not really "charity," as charity implies something not obligated - tzedakah is helping those who need help because existence demands this behavior), and am fortunate to be able to give 20%. If I were to retire, not only would I be discarding a set of skills that took a lifetime to develop, but also less money means less money to give to others.
Shalom Aleichem
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Re: Job Satisfaction vs Maximizing Income

Post by Shalom Aleichem »

Oh and a response to the OP -

Make hay while the sun shines. You have a body that works and energy. You human capital will not be forever. I would work as hard as I could, and save as much as possible. When young people ask for advice, I tell them you will work hard for half your life. If you work hard as a young person you will develop the skills and resources to enjoy thoroughly the second half without much work. If you splurge as a young person and do not work hard, you will for sure have to work hard the second half but will not have the skills and resources you would like.
Shalom Aleichem
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Re: Job Satisfaction vs Maximizing Income

Post by Shalom Aleichem »

Keenobserver wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 10:49 am
shuchong wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 8:05 pm
Keenobserver wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 9:35 am
shuchong wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 8:25 pm I chose maximizing income: I'm in my last 30s and have spent about eight years now at a large law firm. For most of my years at my firm, I enjoyed the work and the people, and put up with the hours. I'm now definitely burnt out, thinking of getting out, and trying to be patient (not sure how much of the burnout is from the low-level stress and remote work require by COVID).

I am honestly not sure I made the right choice, or even the choice that will maximize my overall lifetime earnings/net worth. I'd like my next job to be low stress and with reasonable hours, and will prioritize that over income. If I had started with lower income and a more reasonable work/life balance, it's possible that my income would have built over the years and I would not have found the need to "downshift" in my late 30s. On the other hand, I now have the ability to downshift -- I can take a job that makes under $60k, cover all my living expenses with that salary, and just let my investments grow until whenever I decide to retire.

And I would surely be a different person if I had not spent so much time at my job, but tough to say if I would be a better one.
Im in a very similiar situation. Late 30s..Worked hard thus far with the plan to tone it down when I hit 40..maybe 30 hrs a week or so with frequent vacations. I can attempt it only because of my.savings/ investments as a result of the grind. I hope to let my investments grow and just make my expenses ( which I can easily do working 20 to 30 hrs a week) while traveling and doing all the other things I held off during the grind. That has always been.my plan, and if I continue to grind after 40, then my sacririces in my 30s are wasted. I hope to work on becoming a better husband, father, beliver in God, and improved overall human being as I shift to a different phase/ age group in my life. I have first hand experience of family.members getting seriously sickd in 40s and dying in late 40s to early 50s.
Good for you! I'm struggling a bit with the "when to downshift" decision, though it is definitely a when and not an if at this point. I've already gone 80% time at my firm (supposedly... I worked 95% time this past year and got grossed up to that level) and tried to make my current role more flexible. My firm is willing to work with me, because I've made it clear I don't want to be partner, and they want me to stay. But I've come to the conclusion that I will never get away from late night fire-drills: it's just the nature of the beast.

I'm hesitant to pull the plug, though, in part because I'm scared that I will miss the competence and dedication of my colleagues, and the particular satisfaction that comes with doing difficult things well under pressure. (It's been absent for a while, but as I said above, that could be COVID-related.) And I would feel better if I left with a slightly higher net worth, though realistically I don't need one. It also depends on what I down-shift too... an in-house legal department role would be a much different financial decision than my dream scenario of lecturing part time at a law school and training an avalanche/backcountry SAR dog on the side.
Sic Vis Pacem wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 10:07 am +1. I know a lot of lawyers in this boat, minus the financial discipline. So they are now a decade in, young kids, 6 figure student loans, feeling burnt out, with no where to go. If you're going to make these kinds of sacrifices in your 20s and 30s, do it with an exit plan. Most of the partners in my group have said that their happiness went way up a few years after making partner, as the work changes and you get to do more of what you like and less of what you don't. I'm willing to stick around and see if that's true, but if not, I'll be in a position where compensation will no longer be the deciding factor in my employment.
I cannot imagine being "stuck" in biglaw. I paid my loans off as quickly as possible, lived with a roommate as a junior associate, cooked my own food, etc. so that I could go into work every day knowing that if I got fed up and quit, I would be fine. It made my job a lot less stressful. I feel like FU money is a must for anyone who has spent 8-10 years at a large firm.


I guess one can never know with certainity " when" to pull the plug, but speaking with elder/ wiser folks, they all consistently admit wishing they had shifted down or retired earlier. Yet to hear someone say they retired too soon or they should have put.in more hrs at work. I know its going to be scary initially, but its something I have consistently wanted for as long as I can remember. Make as.much FU money as I can, and try to discover who I am without the pressures and dealines that come with capitalism. Need a clearer head to reconnect with my younger, true self and also the thoughts/ ideas and dreams that were abandoned along the way. Funny you mention teaching, as I was thinking about maybe teaching an under grad class as adjunct. Maybe down the line if the dots line up. With every year passing, my time is becoming more and more precious and trading that time for money feels more and more foolish. I dont get do this life twice. Right here, right now is it. Best of luck.
I would say if you love your job and your job is meaningful to you, you have to consider the pleasure of your job versus what other pleasure is out there. For me, alleviating suffering for others, analyzing problems and fixing them, and being a positive part of others' lives gives my life meaning and satisfaction. Travel is fine. I like it but it's not what I long to do and honestly how many places can you visit? If travel means moving to another country for a few months that would be different but that's not what most people mean by travel. I love exercise and mountain biking but can't imagine filling up my days with that, or gardening, or whatever. For me, I get a great deal of meaning in life helping others. Which is what I do for a living so I get the bonus of getting paid for that! I don't think there are a lot of people who feel their work is truly a calling however so I can't really understand what others are going through.
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Re: Job Satisfaction vs Maximizing Income

Post by surfstar »

Shalom Aleichem wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 1:59 pm
surfstar wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 6:52 pm It is more dependent upon the employee than employer for most (but not all) cases, IMO. Very subjective.

I hate working. Never had a job a found enjoyable. Tolerable, maybe, but because I have to make money.
If you can "suffer" for substantially more money and FIRE, that could be a meaningful difference. But if that requires 60-80 hr weeks and no time off, versus a more normal schedule - you gotta draw the line at some point.

And for all the BHs who "love" their career and can't imagine retiring - put your money where your mouth is. Volunteer. Or send me your excess income. You "love" your job and "don't do it for the money, right?" I'll be waiting...
Actually I love my job. I can't imagine not coming in to work. But I work as a physician and every day I am working I have an opportunity to alleviate suffering. The pleasure I get from that is just not comparable to the pleasure of a beach vacation or driving a fast car. One is a giving pleasure and one is a taking pleasure. Giving pleasure just can't be compared to taking pleasure. I'm also obligated to give 10% of my take home pay to tzedakah (not really "charity," as charity implies something not obligated - tzedakah is helping those who need help because existence demands this behavior), and am fortunate to be able to give 20%. If I were to retire, not only would I be discarding a set of skills that took a lifetime to develop, but also less money means less money to give to others.
I'm about the opposite.

"Work sucks, then you die" *shrug* It is a shame that we must waste the best years of our life working, in my opinion.

I do appreciate that the work you do is helping others and I am grateful that many humans are wired differently than I am. If we all saved our money to FIRE, there wouldn't be enough random spending to make the market go up to allow FIRE - Catch 22!
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hand
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Re: Job Satisfaction vs Maximizing Income

Post by hand »

Premise of this question is a false dichotomy; there is a very important third dimension - the concept of enough.

If you are at risk of not having enough (whatever that means to you), then you probably need to focus more on the income side of the continuum. If you are confident that you will have enough, then you have the flexibility to trade off income for satisfaction (though as others have noted, less income doesn't always mean more satisfaction).

To me, prioritizing income for as early and as long as possible intuitively provides the most opportunity to prioritize things other than income for the greatest amount of time later in life.
mr_brightside
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Re: Maximize Income

Post by mr_brightside »

Bogle7 wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 9:29 pm 1. Earn the most money at the youngest age. Your Social Security payout will reflect that.
2. Put as much money as you can into Roth and tIRAs as you at the earliest opportunity.
3. Wake up one morning and realize that you have hit FU money in retirement funds and can do whatever you want.
agree

i am almost there

-------------------------------
remember Enron?? I do
Shalom Aleichem
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Re: Job Satisfaction vs Maximizing Income

Post by Shalom Aleichem »

surfstar wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 2:08 pm
Shalom Aleichem wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 1:59 pm
surfstar wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 6:52 pm It is more dependent upon the employee than employer for most (but not all) cases, IMO. Very subjective.

I hate working. Never had a job a found enjoyable. Tolerable, maybe, but because I have to make money.
If you can "suffer" for substantially more money and FIRE, that could be a meaningful difference. But if that requires 60-80 hr weeks and no time off, versus a more normal schedule - you gotta draw the line at some point.

And for all the BHs who "love" their career and can't imagine retiring - put your money where your mouth is. Volunteer. Or send me your excess income. You "love" your job and "don't do it for the money, right?" I'll be waiting...
Actually I love my job. I can't imagine not coming in to work. But I work as a physician and every day I am working I have an opportunity to alleviate suffering. The pleasure I get from that is just not comparable to the pleasure of a beach vacation or driving a fast car. One is a giving pleasure and one is a taking pleasure. Giving pleasure just can't be compared to taking pleasure. I'm also obligated to give 10% of my take home pay to tzedakah (not really "charity," as charity implies something not obligated - tzedakah is helping those who need help because existence demands this behavior), and am fortunate to be able to give 20%. If I were to retire, not only would I be discarding a set of skills that took a lifetime to develop, but also less money means less money to give to others.
I'm about the opposite.

"Work sucks, then you die" *shrug* It is a shame that we must waste the best years of our life working, in my opinion.

I do appreciate that the work you do is helping others and I am grateful that many humans are wired differently than I am. If we all saved our money to FIRE, there wouldn't be enough random spending to make the market go up to allow FIRE - Catch 22!
I have to tell you I am so consciously grateful every day that for me work is a calling not an obligation. It's not like humblebrag look how great my life is. I am very aware that for nearly every one of the 6 billion or so people on this planet work is something they need to do to survive and they want to stop as soon as I can. I thank G-d every moment of every day (or at least many moments of every day if I'm being honest) that it brings such meaning to me.

I can't think of many jobs where people feel similarly. Probably teaching, possibly research, clergy, and possibly security fields (police, military).
Keenobserver
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Re: Job Satisfaction vs Maximizing Income

Post by Keenobserver »

Perhaps some people define love differently than all the people I know. I love my parents, my children, my wife. I cant imagine a life without them. My job is a way for me to provide for my family and I dont hate my work. I dont mind going in and realize my job enviornment and pay is better than most of humanity. I feel blessed. However, I will not voluntarily keep showing up everyday doing the same shift and role if they were to stop paying me. If you claim you love your job, then you should have no problem putting 40 to 50 years or more in the same job/ same shift etc for free. Why not, as its something you love doing? As a matterof fact, I m willing to PAY to do the things I love. So perhaps those who claim to love their jobs should prove it by paying their employers for the opportunity to engange in the activities you love instead of collecting earnings. Why is it that all these people who claim to " love" their jobs are out the door at the instant of a better offer/ package? What happend to the love? Will you abandon your children or parents and replave them with better ones?
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