FIRE Journey and the Job

A recent post by Divnomics about her job switch got me thinking, how is the FIRE journey affecting my job? Vice versa it is quite good, the job is definitely helping the journey to FIRE! But the FIRE journey has really affected how I value my job and my motivation for one. Todays post is then also about the FIRE Journey and the Job.

FIRE Journey and the Job

Divnomics notes in her post that she felt no longer challenge in her job, which meant to her the she’s not growing in her position. The best solution would be to jump ship and swim to a new one. This she has been able to do, congrats!

The problem with me is that I didn’t particularly like my jobs I’ve been having in the past few years. Make that the last 4-5 years actually. The problem started in 2012 when I had landed a dream job and enjoyed that for about a year. The problem with that job was that it had an expiry date. Once completed I had to return to doing things I was good at, but could no longer find satisfaction at.

The 5-year plan - Work
FIRE Journey and the Job

Job Switches

What I look for in a job is the ability to have an impact, the ability to control how things are being executed. Despite promises this never materialized in the past years. I therefore switched jobs about 3 times since that pinnacle year and position, unfortunately never able to find something similar. The last job switch was into a new field of expertise, which was nice, but it starting to loose it’s appeal too. I’m bored quickly, annoying habit really.

Fortunately Mrs. CF is still liking her work, and would not mind doing it a bit longer. This really helps in the form of having some financial/emotional stability in the household. It also provides the opportunity to do new things, which are still in the works but delayed until we sort out our investments first. For this I still need a job…..sigh.

Not really liking your job is a problem, it actually caused (amongst others) our search for freedom and triggered the journey to FIRE. But it also affects your motivation and work ethics…..

Work Ethics

To be brutally honest, my current work ethics are horrible. I get my job done and do so within the required deadlines, but I cringe at the level of quality I generate and the energy I put into my work. Strangely enough it appears to be sufficient as I just got offered an contract extension! Apparently I have mastered the 80-20 rule, as I seem to be able to get “80%” of my work done (which is valued at 100%) in “20%” of the time. This seems to do the trick for now.

However, I don’t like that I’m not motived and not performing at the top of my abilities, it feels wrong. It feels like I don’t deserve the massive paycheck I get every 4 weeks. I don’t mind having to work a few more years until we reach FIRE, but I would like to do so with a sense of satisfaction. Just not sure how I will be able to do so.

Perhaps, as noted in the 5 year plan, I should pull the plug as quickly as I can. The problem is the financing for new Real Estate opportunities. For this I do need my current job just a little while longer. It really is a catch 22 to which I don’t seem to be able to find the correct answer (read find the right opportunity). Until I do, I’ve decided to keep the job, slaving my time away and thinking about the next holiday.

Are you back?

No, not quite, the above has been bothering me and on a date night earlier this week we have extensively discussed this topic. Just needed to write this down to set my mind straight. By the way, I forgot how expensive going to dinner is in the Netherlands. We went to a decent restaurant for date night (first time in about 3 years!) and walked out with our bellies full and being €95 lighter. So much for being frugal 😉 Strangely though, it was really worth it! We had a great time and very good discussions.

However, I have not done any financial reconciliations, tracking of dividend or rental income. Not in detail anyways. We are, as always, also still looking at new Real Estate and hope to know more by late next week. Updates are definitely to come, just not sure when.

How about you, how does the interface between FIRE and jobs affect you?


  1. Good Sh*t, you freaky Dutch bastard! (a little Dr. Evil never hurts on a Wednesday, does it?)
    I can so relate to this post. I love the use of Pareto here. Yep – 80% of the value I add comes from about 20% of the “stuff” I manage to get done. The rest is just useless tasks or useless meetings. And when the paycheck arrives you feel a bit like a cheater. But then, someone once told me you can’t put a price on leadership. Well, I hope my direct reports love me come review time next month! Cheers, Mate (ps – finally added you to my blogroll. Consider filing me under “Minnesota Freak Show”?)

    1. Hey Minnesota Freak Show, glad to read that you have also mastered the 80-20 rule at work!
      Best of luck at the uncoming review, may you rock my cycling friend.
      (p.s. thanks for the support, added you too on our blogroll, was overdue indeed)

  2. Interesting stuff Cheesy!

    While I’m not working anymore, Mrs. Tako and I still discuss work occasionally. She actually says our financial independence has caused her work to improve — she stresses less, doesn’t put in extra hours, doesn’t need to impress co-workers.

    So far it’s a win-win because she just got promoted. If that’s what “not really caring” about work means, then I should have stopped caring years ago!

    1. There is definitely les stress and no need to put in extra work, if you like your job this will really help and I can imagine it helps the motivation too. If you don’t like the job, it’s very much a struggle to say motivated. Even with the lower stress level and “normal” work hours.
      The not caring becomes so much easier when you know you have a safety net!

  3. Hi Cheesy,
    Nearing FI has the same effect on me. I blame this for a large part to actually having a choice. Colleagues of mine have their job, and that’s about it. Because they need the job, they don’t have the option to question it.
    Since I am in a position I could quit my job and still have a decent living, I find it hard nog to question my job. And that also affects my working ethics and motivation.
    I’m planning for a few more years, but it’s getting harder and harder…

    1. Seems we are very much experiencing the same struggles. Best of luck making it through the final years!
      I do like the fact that I’m not worried about what happens at work, if I now loose my job, so be it.

  4. At least you enjoyed the dinner. Definitely worth the bill and I’m happy you said it wasn’t “average” for that price. I can understand your feeling and have days where I feel the same way at my job. It really isn’t the best situation for me anymore and checks few of the boxes that I want. On top of it, certain aspects, FI, the blog, and everything else only grow my anger/feelings towards my situation rather than help me calm down. I know it isn’t a healthy situation and that is why I am looking to make a switch. Life is too short to be miserable and feel this way. We owe it to ourselves to enjoy as much time as we can. Enjoy your break and thanks for sharing.


    1. It’s probably not average, but not far from it either. Going out to dinner in the Netherlands is generally much more expensive than in the US/Canada. Labour cost and taxes, both are not helping. Good motivator to eat at home!

      Glad to read I’m not the only one struggling, best of luck Bert.

  5. I have to say that for me too FIRE isn’t helping the job motivation. ‘Why the fuck I am I wasting my life sitting here doing stupid stuff I have zero interest in doing?’ is a regular thought I am having. Regular like 2 or three times a day. Or 5 times, or 10 times …

  6. I totally understand you. My previous job was just like this. I was not motivated at all and even though it paid nice, I probably would’ve left even if my salary was higher.
    Is the type of job you enjoyed doing for that year something that you could do as a business…?

    1. To answer your question, no. What I like to do is build large international construction projects (civil or mining), but that does not work well with having a family and a wife with a good career. So I’m stuck for now.

  7. I also am having trouble to keep up motivation with FIRE in sight. I do have less stress than in earlier years though because of the FU money attitude that comes with the nice net value I have.
    I have nice colleagues and intellectual challenge which keep me motivated enough to stay the ride, but the appeal of freedom when quitting the job is continuously in my mind and makes work seem as a waist of time. Indeed a golden cage..

    1. See I have the same as you, but I lack that intellectual motivation and also have no desire for it anymore either. That last one is really a killer in a career.

  8. Glad to read you both enjoyed the restaurant visit!

    Concerning the job thing: maybe try to sort out what you prioritize most? A wallet with cash for an extra rental property and the current job or a longer satisfying job career? Having money creates opportunities. Maybe work until an extra rental unit and switch jobs then? It would soften a lower monthly wage. Or push your employer’s limits and ask to work some days at home? Those days you can use however you like, considering your Pareto 20-80 efficiency ;).

    Considering the interface between my job and FIRE. Lately I asked myself what I would do if I won EuroMillions and be filthy rich. After some deep thinking, I would still finish my last year at the Academy and obtain my masters degree. Even tough from a financial perspective it would be completely unnecessary. It’s already some kind of FIRE as completing the formation is a matter of honor and personal development to me. So asking yourself the same question might provide an answer to yours.

    1. You hit the nail on the head, I’ll continue to work until the next rental properties are secured and than I’m going to call it quits.
      You are so close to completion of the education, it would indeed be a waste to give that all up, even if you win lots of money and are instantly FI.

  9. My job is not very high paying but it has a good work/life balance, nice colleagues, room to grow and I like the work itself (so far). I have no intention of giving that up for a higher salary and faster FIRE anytime soon. But we’ll see how I feel about the job in a few years.

  10. Good for you that you had your date night, now immediately plan the next one! 🙂

    I rencetly switched jobs as well, it was killing my motivation. Now I ha ve fresh new outlook and am actively expanding my knowlegde. The step in salary also enables me reaching my version of FI that much faster. Win-win I call it!

    1. Right, next date night…..there seems to be a spot in the calendar in 20202 😉
      Seems like you did the right thing by switching! Despite 3 switches, I’m still not doing so hot unfortunately.

  11. Glad you had a lovely dinner, eating out ís expensive here..;-)

    I was wondering where you got the time to write all those blog posts, but that’s coming from the other 80% I suppose 😉

    A couple years ago I was in the same position, could do the job in 20% of the time they gave me and they were still enthusiastic and gave me a fixed contract and a payrise.. It’s a horrible situation to be in because a job takes way too much of your free-time 😉 Good luck with finding a way out of it, it’s hard to find a way out of such a golden cage when they pay you quite good..

    1. Yes, this post was proudly sponsored by my employer 😉 The golden cage is certainly difficult to get out of, it’s going to be strange when there is no more employment income, will be scary at first I assume.

  12. The route to FIRE was actually one of the triggers for me to change the way how I view work. Entirely the other way around. I’ve always had my eyes set on a career, where I would build something over a timeline of 20 years (or more).

    However, With FI in our sight, I don’t have that long of a career ahead of me anymore. So, my need to find something where I could step it up has become more urgent.

    I can understand how this can keep you up at night,. Not being able to fully exploit your potential is essentially what’s killing every job motivation. No matter what job you’re in. I’m hoping that you’ll find a way to sort it out and be able to pursue the business of your own.

    By the way: in recent events we found out that getting a RE mortgage could be done based on rental income entirely. Since you guys already have some properties, it might be worth it to research if that’s a possibility for you.

    1. Makes sense to have a different view on your career, this is definitely playing part for me too. There is no more “need” to impress to move up the corporate ladder. Strange sensation and really does not help in the motivational department.
      As to the RE mortgage and income, I’ll explain during the next meetup. Couple restrictions on our end, so the income is part of what we need to make the current opportunity happen. But in general terms you are absolutely right!

  13. Wow that is very expensive for a date night! Well deserved date night after 3 years! I think my job motivates me to want to FIRE because it can be so busy and exhausting that I don’t want that to be my lifestyle.

    1. Very expensive, the 3 course meal was €31.5 add a few drinks and tip and you area quickly at €95. That being said, we sat in the restaurant for more than 3 hours! That’s €30/hour for entertainment, looking at it that way makes it less painful 😉

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