I think it’s no secret that many people in the FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) movement have a hankering to quit their 9-5 job.
However, there are some of us who want the choices that Financial Independence (FI) will bring but don’t necessarily plan on the RE part. I fall in this latter camp.
Whatever your flavor, make sure to love the journey. Life is too short to be miserable now in order to be happy later. Which, to be honest, may never come. We are not promised longevity on this earth.
Wikipedia will tell you that delayed gratification is the process where a subject resists the temptation of an immediate reward in preference for a larger later reward. I can agree with that.
What I’m about to propose is that delayed gratification can create more room for joy. And that joy can include a purposeful career. You just need to be really intentional about what truly matters to you.
Unfortunately, in my younger years, I was the poster child for instant gratification. This thrill-seeking lifestyle ultimately led me to a dark bottom when I was in my 30’s. The good news is that I’ve come out stronger and quite amazingly am now on a path to FI.
Recovering from addiction and debt has taught me a great many things. I’ve learned to embrace delayed gratification and in the process, I discovered what truly matters to me. Turns out the things that bring me joy, don’t really cost money. A lot of things which bring instant gratification are fleeting. I desire for a more lasting gratification in my life. So let’s come up with a more appropriate name for that.
I’ve found a better life in being intentional about what brings me true satisfaction while factoring in my long-term goals. Embracing this intentionality is producing fruit in both the short and long term.
Since the things I value don’t necessarily cost money, I’m able to sustain a fairly high savings rate. A high savings rate allows me to invest in the goal of achieving FI which will, in turn, allow me more freedom to spend time on the things I value. It’s a beautiful cycle! However, I’m not waiting till later to take the time for these things:
- Health and Fitness
- Helping Others
None of the above truly cost money or, at least, don’t have to. The glaringly obvious one that can cost money is health and fitness. I’m a fan of group fitness as I like the accountability. This costs money. Fortunately, my boss pays for my gym membership. That’s certainly a top reason I love my job!
If I had to fund my own fitness, a membership would still be something I value. But, I know if I have to cut costs, I can still maintain my fitness for free in the beautiful world we live in. The following activities are free:
Check out this podcast episode to learn about seven easy ways to workout for free.
However I do it, it remains a top priority for me. I heard a great quote from the late Dr. Wayne Dyer, “if you don’t take the time to exercise when you are young, you’ll have to take the time to be sick when you are old.” #Motivation
Enjoying The Journey
I love my job but that was not always the case. I’ve worked in some crappy environments, had abusive bosses, worked nights and weekends, and was paid little. I’ve worked really hard to get to the place I’m in with my current career. It’s good.
I would like to explain what I love about my job in hopes that it’ll inspire you to make the most of your current career or maybe even change careers. Find your passion!
Firstly, it’s called work for a reason. Some people loathe hard work. I personally find it gratifying and no doubt, in retirement I’ll still work really hard on my hobbies. It’s just ingrained in me. Even when I was caught in addiction, I worked really hard. I was high functioning. The difference is now, I work smarter.
Related: Financial Independence And The Future Of Work
What I Love About My Job
My Awesome Boss
Bosses can really make or break a job. I endured cruel treatment from bosses in my past. I’m not sure why but I have this loyalty thing in my bones. When I start something I see it through. That can be a great trait but obviously in the case of staying at a crappy job for too long, not always.
My boss is a genius. He started his company with a great idea and has grown it from there. I get to participate in that growth.
He personally values health and fitness, and in turn, provides health insurance and foots the bill. Additionally, he offers a membership to a fitness club. I take full advantage of both.
He values his employees and tells them. I love affirmation. No, actually I crave it and that is probably due to the lack of affirmation I received as a child. My boss gives it, but we have to work for it. He recognizes hard work, efficient processes, talents, and skill. He tells me often that my stock at our company is high. It makes me want to work harder and smarter.
Related: Career Hacking: Speed Up Your Path To FI
I work with a bunch of team players who strive to get better both professionally and personally. Sure there can be the occasional drama but I’ll tell you what, my boss doesn’t tolerate it. If there is a relational issue in the office, my boss will get to the root and make us work it out.
Most of the people in my office care about their fitness. That in and of itself creates a healthy environment. It seems to me that people who work out, also eat healthily. When others are making healthy choices, I’m inspired to also make healthy choices.
In the past, I didn’t know my worth. I lived below the line and accepted whatever pay I could get. During the last seven years at my current job, I have undergone a lot of financial transformation. Namely, I dug my way out of debt.
An amazing thing occurred as I started to pay attention to my money. Actually, several amazing things occurred with this level of intentionality:
- I found #CareerHacking and started to work smarter.
- I found my voice professionally.
- As I started to pay attention to my personal finances, I learned to pay attention to my company’s finances.
- I discovered my professional worth.
Let me tell you what has happened to my income over these past seven years. Within four years my salary had jumped by 25%. During the intensity of my debt pay off phase, I began employing career hacking and received another 20% raise. This year, I received an 8.3% raise. Additionally, I have received quarterly bonuses.
When I got back from Ramsey Studios where I was able to share my testimony, my boss talked to me about my future financial goals. I am happy to report we are on the same page with the next level of pay increase I’m striving towards.
I know that recovering from addiction is a gift and I use that gift to help others find the same freedom. My career doesn’t involve helping recovering addicts or alcoholics but it does involve helping others. I’m a fan of helping all kinds of people.
I manage accounts and we have a unique model for helping small business provide health insurance for their employees. Part of my job involves cost-benefit analysis. I find it gratifying to work the numbers to find the optimal solution for our clients.
Another part of my job involves teaching the employees of our clients about their benefits. I’m a teacher at heart as I used to teach high school mathematics. Teaching falls in line with helping others.
Related: Talent Stacking to Fast Track FI
We have a diverse set of clients and some require hard hats during visits. I always enjoy seeing how companies run and employ different efficiencies. Not to mention I get to meet a lot of interesting people and hear a great many stories along the way.
Enjoying the journey and living a life of purpose is what it’s all about. If you don’t yet know your purpose, I suggest you spend some time figuring it out. It’s well worth the time!
Now I’d love to hear from you. What have you learned on this journey? What do you value in life? How do you live your purpose?
Navigating Career Changes Financially With Stefanie O’Connell