A positive attitude towards work is important for your happiness in life. However, working in a one-way-street fashion for others while ignoring your needs can make you unhappy at work. Get your life back using Early Retirement. In this article, I will share with you how my Early retirement journey has helped me be true to myself and perform better at my work. I hope it can help you to achieve happiness at work.A positive attitude towards work is important for your happiness in life. Click To Tweet
TABLE OF CONTENT:
How you can get your life back using Early retirement
When you finish saving up a large corpus for early retirement as soon as possible you can leverage the bargaining power of your financial independence to make your job and your boss work for you as hard as you work for them. You will find yourself growing supremely confident even with just 5-7 years of expenses saved up. That’s what happened to me! Read on to know more..
Stop working from a Position of Weakness:
During my corporate career of about 10 years, I found that I did not have much bargaining power with my employers regarding flexible work schedule, choosing to learn new skills I was interested in and getting a raise without job-hopping or threatening to quit. On the other hand, employers have a lot of control over an employee’s time even on weekends and weeknights. The job rut keeps the employee so busy that their skills get rusty and companies then use that as the reason not to give a raise/promotion or even fire employees. Click To Tweet
My track record for negotiating a better job profile at my previous jobs was very poor because I would always settle for less than what I actually wanted.
The reason I could not negotiate better: I was solely dependent on my salary:
I had no cash-flow other than my salary. I was paying installments for my house. If my negotiation failed I couldn’t just quit the job. Also, finding another job requires you to upgrade your skills in your spare time after a whole day’s work since your day job is not giving you the exposure you need. Sometimes learning new skills is only possible by taking up a lower salary at the ground level of a startup or quitting your job to learn new skills or doing an MBA at your own time and expense. All of these options are not possible if you don’t have other income sources to tide you over for a few years especially when you have a family by now or loans to repay.
In short : Employers get that and have the upper hand as they know that you can’t just “up and leave” immediately even if you feel like it. You are more likely to “put up” with a bad situation since you think you have a “bird in hand”. All employers know this about their employees and that’s why employees don’t get a fair deal.
Working from a position of weakness is extremely damaging to your career, net-worth and self-worth:
My reluctance to negotiate hard for a fair outcome led to:
- lower salary increments
- career stagnation
- working long hours project after project
- not getting the exposure or bandwidth to learn new skills
- visiting my aging parents only once a year
- increase in stress and a decrease in health etc.
Ultimately I decided to achieve financial independence so I did not have to “put up” with employers who kept shortchanging me on money, skills, time and respect.
How my Early retirement journey helped me get my life back:
It has been 5 years since I left corporate life to start a business of my own working from home. In these 5 years working for myself, I’ve realized that I did not have a problem with working long and hard. In fact, I have more responsibilities now than when I was an employee only responsible for my work. I only had a problem with all-consuming jobs where only my employer’s needs were being met but my needs were not being adequately met. In the book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us , the author says that people are motivated by 3 needs beyond money :
1. Autonomy — Our desire to be self-directed. 2. Mastery — The urge to get better skills. 3. Purpose — The desire to do something that has meaning and is important. Click To Tweet
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If you are stuck in jobs that do not satisfy these 3 needs then I don’t blame you for dreaming about Early Retirement.
Even though I did not plan it this way, I found to my pleasant surprise that growing my small business at my own pace has given me all of the above in addition to money and I’m happier as a result. I’ve never been more at peace with myself in a work setting before.
- I live and work from Goa, the beach destination of India (Autonomy)
- I set my own priorities for the business and how I get things done. (Autonomy)
- I work from home so there is no commute and I set flexible work schedules including time for a quick power nap in the drowsy afternoons. At previous jobs, I had to fight the afternoon drowsiness with coffee & walks because you can’t be seen sleeping at your desk! (Autonomy)
- I have time to learn new and difficult skills as they become necessary (Mastery)
- Of course, the flip side is that I’m responsible 24x7x365 for customer support & tech issues even on weekends & vacations, unexpected deadlines, competitors, business growth, marketing, programming, etc. While all this was initially stressful for me as I only have a computer programming background, I have now accepted all this as part of learning how to run a better business. Also, this is making me more “Zen” about life in general since running a business has daily ups-and-downs like the stock market. So if you are in it for the long haul, you have to learn to reduce your stress and anxiety about short-term downturns. (Mastery)
- The business is helping our family achieve financial independence so there’s purpose & meaning as well. (Purpose)
- So overall I feel that I have a better work-life balance.
If I can make this lifestyle last for the rest of my life I would actually consider that to be early retirement! I got lucky but a large part of the luck happened because I had the staying power to go without making much money for the first 2-3 years in business as we had savings that would have lasted for 7 years. You too can create a lifestyle business if you save up a lot of money which is the point of early retirement I keep repeating through this blog. I could have been happier in my previous jobs as well if they had offered the same job satisfaction as my current lifestyle business.
“I had the staying power to go without making much money for the first 2-3 years in business as we had savings that would have lasted for 7 years”
3-Steps to F.I.R.E your bullshit job and F.I.R.E up for your Dream Job:
1. Start your journey towards F.I.R.E (Financial Independence & Retiring Early) to put yourself in a Position of Strength.
2. Once you become financially strong, negotiate confidently with your employer for what you want out of the job just like how employers expect you to constantly perform for them
3. Get them to respect your personal life, your need for keeping your skills up-to-date, desire to try different job roles and being paid adequately for the value you bring
In conclusionThe best outcome of financial independence would be if you are able to achieve Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose in your current career itself by negotiating with your boss to cut out the bullshit part of your job. Click To Tweet
If that’s not possible then you can quit immediately and take the time to find a better job instead of putting up with a job you hate or you can even start a lifestyle business. This way you never have to retire from working to find happiness!
Next to read
Early Retirement In India- Beginners Guide
Find out how much you need to retire early
I could so easily relate to most of the article, as I too have been a victim of the rate-race in the corporate sector, which I quit for good many years ago. While I did manage to save up enough to support myself financially for couple of years, I haven’t had the courage to start a business, the way you did. For many of us who slogged our life away in an underpaid job, working for ourselves (self-employed) is a dream. I had read about your FIRE concept in a newspaper article couple of months ago, and have been curious to explore earning options which would enable me to define my own work-life balance. After all, I would much rather slog 12-14 hours for myself and reap the benefits, than do the same to make an employer richer (while remaining just as poor 😉
Look forward to reading up on new avenues to explore, for middle-aged persons like myself, to get to lead a more fulfilling life someday.
Thanks for your personal reply Ramesh.
Before starting my business, I also tried my hand at freelancing and consulting.
I would recommend checking out freelancing websites like upwork.com and fiverr.com where you can earn income by indulging in your interests/skills. Other than online freelancing there are a lot of other earning avenues in India like giving tuitions, teaching, consulting, selling online, writing etc I will write an article in the future about ideas to earn income with work-life balance.
The best part is you can do this on the side while you still have a job so you don’t have to quit your job till you start making adequate money. this also allows you to hone skills that you are not getting exposed to at work.
Confidence comes when you realise that the alternative path is viable. Making an alternative path viable does not happen overnight. You’ll have to dip your toes in the alternative path slowly & steadily to test the waters but wearing the lifejacket of accumulated “skills” and “savings” 🙂
@SavingHabit – Thanks for your kind response to my earlier comment. I observe that more and more middle-aged professionals feel the urge to quit the rat-race in their professions and lead a life where they can be productively engaged in an activity which gives immense satisfaction. So, retiring early and doing something purposeful and productive is a very good option, if more avenues are known. As you say, one has to test the waters gradually, before taking the plunge. People like me who’ve spent decades in their professions / careers possess transferable skills which can be useful in a range of areas, including engagements in the social sector. And entrepreneurship or teaching may not be everyone’s cup of tea, am sure there would be many more options which can be explored for leading a fulfilling purposeful life. Look forward to more posts from you in this regard. Kudos for your efforts. Way to go !
Congratulations and you are one of the very few Indian bloggers in the FIRE space. Like you, I also discovered MMM and has been hooked ever since. Best of luck and keep up the good work.