A couple of days ago I found out I actually really like my current job. That shouldn’t be too weird now, would it? It is weird though, mainly because I’m one of the laziest people on the entire planet. I absolutely hate putting in any effort at all to reach a goal, unless it is of direct benefit to me. Hyperefficiency is the name of the game, so why in the world would I enjoy a demanding job with lots of unpaid overtime?
Many financial independence seekers state not having to work or being able to retire as one of the main reasons for building enough financial firepower. I am one of those people. My about page explicitly states that “I [want to] enjoy what I value most in life instead of having to offer up my valuable time for a regular monthly paycheck”. Just a month ago I confirmed that point of view in a post of mine on the monetary value of your own time.
You can imagine how confusing it was for me to discover that lately I’ve really enjoyed going to work early in the morning. On top of that, I also didn’t mind the long hours and unpaid overtime of the past few weeks too much. Genuine fun, challenging assignments and a bunch of growth opportunities in a pleasant working environment do that to a person, much to my surprise.
But what about financial independence? Don’t you want to quit your job as soon as possible?
Being able to quit a 9-to-5 job was definitely the main goal in the beginning. There’s no reason denying that. My goals aren’t as purposeful as the Frugalwoods, who moved to a rural homestead to enjoy the peace of the great outdoors, or as entrepreneurial as Jason from Dividend Mantra, who quit his job at a luxury car dealership to enjoy life and become a full-time writer – you can see how insipring Jason is to me since I constantly seem to link back to his blog.
However, over time and especially within these last couple of days I’ve come to realise that seeking financial independence is not just about a single, lofty goal. It’s about trying to maximize the, quite frankly, limited amount of time you have among family, friends and random strangers. It’s about focussing on what you like the most and prioritizing your time accordingly.
And those priorities may very well be a satisfying job, like in my case at the moment. But how likely is it that I’ll continue loving my job or work environment? Will I gleefully walk on roses to work in five years? Ten years? Thirty years? Will I enjoy having to work until 67?
I couldn’t tell. And neither can you.
Maybe the 50+ hours of going into the office, the daily commute or the workfloor politics will burn me out in a couple of years. Maybe not. In my book, that’s a textbook example of an uncertain situation in which you should take action to maximize the chance of a positive outcome. That’s where the freedom financial indepence provides us with comes in.
Let’s imagine you save and invest rigorously just like I’ve been doing the past few months. You turn 50 years old and have a big-ass piggy bank filled to the brim with high-quality index funds or a sizeable dividend growth stock portfolio. Pretty cool, right?
If you, on the one hand, continue to enjoy your full-time job at 50, good! That’s a positive outcome. If you, on the other hand, find yourself less and less motivated to drag yourself behind your work desk every day, good! That’s also a positive outcome because you can quit. Thank you, financial independence.
You have afforded yourself the freedom to quit your job and spend your valuable and limited time some other way.
Of course, there’s no sure-fire way to be able to spend your time how you like at any given moment in the future. That’s why I said you should take action to improve the chance of a positive outcome, not just the outcome. Nobody can prepare for what’s going to happen in a couple of years. The only thing you can do is sway Lady Fortune to tilt luck in your favour.
If you look back at the statement on my about page, you’ll find that I defined my ultimate goal with that perspective in mind, although without even realising it at the time. Maybe doing the best I can as a civil servant is my passion – it certainly is now – but honestly, I couldn’t tell. Nevertheless, what I do know is the fact that I want to be ready for anything life throws at me.
And that’s the ultimate beauty of seeking financial freedom. It offers us the possibility to deal with most of life’s choices in the most optimal way you can think of. Suboptimal decisions become a thing of the past when you don’t have to worry about finances or time management. Your savings provide you with all the time you need to do exactly what you want when you want. The choice is completely yours.
How do you feel about your full-time job? Is reaching financial independence simply about wanting to leave the office behind because you don’t like it or not?
I think you hit the nail on the head with the independence and the options that being financially stable affords. And that is a goal in and of itself for many folks. For us, the desire to retire early is about having control over our time and having the freedom to pursue things we’re genuinely interested in. Sounds to me like you have a good plan in place–it’s going to enable you to be happy either way!
You guys definitely have a clear goal in mind. I find that extremely awesome, especially because you seem so in sync about what you want out of life.
I wish I could say the same already! At the moment I’m not really sure what drives me, but finding out is part of the financial independence journey. We’ll see where we all end up.
Best of luck to you two,
I think it’s all about the journey too! P.S. thanks so much for including us in the article 🙂
Yay! But you’re weird. Weird is good though. Glad you you enjoy your job. Makes it much easier.
I am definitely weird – my friends remind me all the time. Honestly, I don’t mind being weird though. The only thing that counts is being happy.
A fun job definitely makes it much easier to go to work in the morning, especially now that it’s dark all the time.
Great thought. While financial independence is important, if you enjoy your work then you have less pressure to achieve FI as early as possible. If you achieve FI and still enjoy work then you’ll have complete control over what you want to do in life.
You’re right. Having less pressure to achieve financial independence was something I was worried about when I discovered I actually enjoy my job. Luckily that fear hasn’t materialised yet, partly because I’m holding myself accountable on this blog.
If I achieve FI and continue to enjoy my work I’ll probably count myself the richest guy in Belgium because I’ll have all the money I could need and have fun every single day.
Thanks for the inclusion. Much appreciated!
I agree 100%. I wrote a post a while back about how reaching for financial independence isn’t about hating your job. Rather, it’s about flexibility and freedom. You can be financially independent and still work if you want to. But you can’t stop working if you’re not financially independent. FI gives you options, which could be especially helpful down the road in case you don’t enjoy what your work as much as you used to. We change over time, and it’s nice to be able to change directions without worry about the financial side of things.
You’re welcome! I’m always happy to share your inspirational thoughts with others.
I don’t remember reading that post of yours, so I’ll definitely look it up and see what’s what. It sounds like we definitely are on the same wavelength. Financial independence is more about having options than it is about being able to quit your job.
Best wishes and happy holidays to you too,
I couldn’t agree more and options is the beauty of saving. I do not hate my job, but I do not love it either. I have a little something up my sleeve and will be writing about it in the coming months. I’m glad to hear you love your job, even if that changes in the future.
Glad to hear you don’t hate your job! It’s nice to hear folks don’t hate slaving away at the office from time to time. Of course, there’e a big difference between not hating a job and loving it, but I guess actually loving a job is something that very few people do.
Looking forward to what you have up your sleeve!
I found a huge shift in my mindset towards my job occurred when I created my plan to achieve financial independence. It wasn’t so much the job I disliked but more the thought of having to do it for the next 25 to 30 years. Once I realized I could become financial independent within 3 to 4 years and have the option to do whatever I want, I really started enjoy going to work.
Interesting perspective. Maybe that has also happened to me without realizing it. I’ve read before on some other blogs that finally reaching financially independent is a very liberating feeling. That makes sense because you can quit your job and do something completely different whenever you want.
Glad to hear you also enjoy going to work!
I’m pleased to hear that you enjoy your job. I think there are only a small percentage of people out there in the world would say they love it. It’s the dream position to be in really.
I’m really happy with my job too. The company, my boss, my colleagues, my team are all amazing and I feel very lucky. With all of that said, I wouldn’t do the job if I wasn’t paid. If I become FI, I will spend my time working on my passions.
Have an awesome Christmas and New Year!
Very few people do indeed like their job up to the point that they don’t mind going to work every day. We are really lucky to be one of those people! Not receiving any renumeration for my work would be out of the question though. Only very few things can get me to move my butt for no immedate monetary advantage. 🙂
Happy holidays and a merry Christmas to you too, pal!
It is great that you like your job, and that you are a civil servant. Working and living in the Washington, DC area I come across a lot of civil servants – and by no means are most happy or pleasant to work with. Keep that up, the world needs more good people in those positions.
I cannot say I love my job, or that I even like it every day. I certainly do some interesting things and see some stuff most people would never get a chance to. The coolest things I’ve seen are F-16s taking off at top takeoff speed, Air Force One, and being on top of / in the cat walks the Verizon Center in DC. Still, even with cool stuff like that its hard to like your job every day.
I have to agree with Captain Cash above, my view on my job has changed since I started doing more investing and planning for FI. I enjoy my work more than I did, and I would say I like it overall. Now though, I see it as a means to accomplish a much bigger end and that perspective has meant everything.
Keep it up NWM.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and get ready to crush the New Year.
– Dividend Gremlin
Awesome blog! Finally found your URL. Love the Gremlin pictures everywhere.
Being a civil servants is like any other profession in that you’ll always run into moody or very negative people. The best civil servants are driven by a true public service motivation; it’s those type of folks you want to be working with. They’ll do anything for the greater good of the community/country.
F-16s and Air Force One are pretty awesome perks to have, I’m jealous! It’s good that you understand that your job is an integral part of your FI strategy and as a result appreciate it more.
Happy holidays and a great new year!
PS: you should allow anonymous comments on your blog, otherwise I won’t be able to comment.
Great post NMW, I wish I could say the same about my job! But all that should change soon 😉 Happy Holidays!
I’m sorry to hear you don’t like your job too much at the moment. At least you have the right attitude: do something about it.
Merry Christmas and happy holidays,
As far as I am concerned your perspective is exactly right and believe me it is a great way to live. I reached FI first and then started living my passion-driven lifestyle where I had options. I believe the absence of NEEDING to work defines retirement or FI but when I do work I just do what I enjoy as long as I enjoy it. I realize now that I could have made the journey more enjoyable instead of waiting for FI to do it. Good for you to start enjoying what you do now.
Thanks for chiming in! It’s fun to get the perspective of someone who is actually retired already.
You’re right in that it’s the absence of having to work rather than not working that defines true financial independence. Who knows, maybe I’ll continue to work well after reaching FI?
Happy holidays and thanks for stopping by,
You’ve summed that up really well from my perspective NMW – funnily enough I’m going through the same thing at the moment, realising I’ve really enjoyed my work over the last few weeks, even though it’s been crazy busy! The difference is, I KNOW I won’t love doing it for the next 20-30 years, I always go through highs and lows, and would love the flexibility to work less and do other things during the year. I’d probably keep working there for now even if I was FI, but maybe 3 or 4 months out of the year.
Hope you’re enjoying a fantastic Christmas break NMW!
It’s great to hear you love your job even though you probably won’t twenty years from now. Everything has its ups and downs, so enjoy the ride up while it lasts!
I’m with you on working less hours. The weird thing is that I could actually work two days instead of the standard five and still have more than enough money to live a luxurious life. Sometimes I wonder why I don’t start enjoying my free time now more rather than building a big investment portfolio and retiring later.
I really enjoyed the Christmas break, don’t you worry. For some reason your comment didn’t show up on my dashboard and I was it just now.
Hope you had a great couple of days with the family,
First of all, I’m happy for you that you found a job which you love. That’s really rare these days.
I’m not sure if you’ve covered more about this in the past, but can you share what is it about your role which you love? Was it the friends, work or environment? Will you be able to love the same job 10 or 20 years from now.
I’m clearly at the opposite end of the camp but would love to find one like you do 🙂
You’re right that it’s not very common to find someone who likes doing his job. I never thought I would be one of those people, but you won’t hear me complain.
The thing I love the most by far is the freedom and opportunities I get, especially since I’m only 25 years-old with hardly any working experience. Great colleagues and a fun working environment make my current job the complete package. Obviously, these things can change rather quickly (co-workers leave, job transfer, etc, …), but at the moment I can imagine doing this job for a couple of years – with a promotion in due time and even more responsibilities.
Don’t give up looking for a job you really love! It’s out there and you’re bound to find it if you keep searching.