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Left workforce for good - hardest thing I ever did

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rkim291968

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Well, today, I walked up to my boss and told him that I am retiring at the end of the year.   I turned in my resignation but it was more than that.   I kissed goodbye to work, period.  For many reasons, that was one of the hardest thing I had to do in recent memory.  It took a lot of convincing on my part.

I worked since I was 14 for 29+ straight years.  I studied hard, got into a good school, majored in Computer Science, and worked my butt off for many years to climb up the corporate ladder.  The longest vacation I ever took was 10 days, rarely calling in sick.  I spent more time at work than at home.   Most of people I know and deal with are from work.  Work has been a dominant part of my life.   To stop working means that my life is changed forever.  I need to make new friends, create new daily routine.   That's a scary transaction, one that I don't know how it is going to turn out.  I had to repeatedly convince myself that I have what it takes to start a new, different, and better life.

Then there was the question of leaving a $250k/year cushy management job with prestige, and lots of fringe benefits.  I know some leave more lucrative job than that but most people will kill to have mine.  Many of my family members and relatives will look at me as if I lost my mind but I did a lot of math and convinced myself that I can make it work.  It took a lot of convincing.  A lot. 

What convinced me even more? As I got older and became more financially independent, I lost tolerance to bad politics people play - blaming others, taking someone's credit for his own, scheming, stabbing people on the back, doing unethical things to advance, ....   Without much exaggeration, my boss and one of his henchmen is right out of Dilbert, and/or The Office TV series.   I felt like I was selling my soul to these unscrupulous people to pay mortgage, to pay for the privilege of playing golf at nice courses, wining and dining at fancy restaurants, etc..  Well, no more selling my soul.  It's time to pick the people I want to hang around with instead of being forced to dance with the devils.  

But the biggest convincing I did?  Life is just too short.   At 53, my body will only degrade.   It's now or never to improve on golf.  It's now or never to climb the Half Dome, hike into the deepest part of Grand Canyon, run a marathon, rebuild a vegetable garden in my backyard, read good books, never to worry about setting the alarm clock to go to work, .....................................................................................................    There's just too many fun things to do that sure beats work.   That sure convinced me.

 

 

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"I need to make new friends, create new daily routine."

You have spent a great deal of time planning this exit so this should be on the top of your list.  How do you plan to accomplish these?

Any thoughts about moving out of the San Francisco area to some place less expensive?

Will you be traveling?  If you haven't been to Scotland yet, put that on the top of your list!

Best of luck and keep us informed of your progress.  I have been slowly disengaging from work for several years.  It is nice to have a chance to hear how someone else handles the transition.

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The friends and routine thing is something I'm working on as well. Not enough golfers, and too many college football fanatics (no offense to those who love college football). As I get older and see collegiate athletics in a different light, I'd rather be golfing. Anyway, I'm following along your journey. Come visit the nation's capital sometime. I'll take you to a crappy muni.

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Congratulations.   I'm planning on retiring sometime between February and May.   It is a big step and I can echo your reasons for retiring.    It's a little disconcerting to see so many young people in the obituaries, knowing that I don't have to work and can enjoy my life before I get too old to be active.  

Keep us updated to your experience.

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2 hours ago, bkuehn1952 said:

"I need to make new friends, create new daily routine."

You have spent a great deal of time planning this exit so this should be on the top of your list.  How do you plan to accomplish these?

Any thoughts about moving out of the San Francisco area to some place less expensive?

Will you be traveling?  If you haven't been to Scotland yet, put that on the top of your list!

Best of luck and keep us informed of your progress.  I have been slowly disengaging from work for several years.  It is nice to have a chance to hear how someone else handles the transition.

I have a daily routine + to do list.   The routine is packed and I believe I will be busy.  It's the making new friend part that I am not sure of, being an introvert.

No thought of moving out of Bay Area but it is my back up plan if things really don't workout financially.  

By pulling in retirement date in, I decided to limit the international travel to 0 for now.  But I will do a lot of local traveling.   Visiting all US National Park has been my dream and I am about 40% there.   Will work on the other 60%.

 

2 hours ago, dennyjones said:

Congratulations.   I'm planning on retiring sometime between February and May.   It is a big step and I can echo your reasons for retiring.    It's a little disconcerting to see so many young people in the obituaries, knowing that I don't have to work and can enjoy my life before I get too old to be active.  

Keep us updated to your experience.

My younger brother's death a few years agot got me seriously thinking about retiring ASAP.  As I stated, life is too short.  At age 53, I have about 1/3rd of my life left to live.  Most of that in declining health due to aging. I figure I have 10 - 15 years of active physically active life left, more if I keep in great shape and get lucky in health department.

2 hours ago, RandallT said:

 Come visit the nation's capital sometime. I'll take you to a crappy muni.

Thanks!  May just do that one of these days.

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Congrats.

I resorted to working from home to rid myself of the petty politics that I recognize still continues behind my back and towards me. In my situation, it's usually because of a lack of communication. People don't realize what I'm doing, so they try to make points with blame -- they don't know the intent of my work so they cut it down to make points for themselves. When I hear about it, I try to snuff it out with better communication.

But yes, I know about getting out of the office mud pen. I need to spend more time on getting my novel to an agent, or self-publish, and start the new novel.

Good for you, enjoy life.

And 53 yrs? You're young -- work on the body and swing, and you will have more speed and better technique. I've done that over the last 2 years. Yes, the knee ligaments go eventually, so I stopped running and hit the exercise bike. If you do flexibility on a somewhat consistent basis, change the diet as you get older, and hit a few weights, you'll be good to go.

Edited by Mr. Desmond

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11 minutes ago, Mr. Desmond said:

And 53 yrs? You're young -- work on the body and swing, and you will have more speed and better technique. I've done that over the last 2 years. Yes, the knee ligaments go eventually, so I stopped running and hit the exercise bike. If you do flexibility on a somewhat consistent basis, change the diet as you get older, and hit a few weights, you'll be good to go.

My knees are not in good shape so I have been doing stationary bikes, and golf specific workouts since beginning of this year.  Changing my diet will be harder. 

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2 minutes ago, rkim291968 said:

My knees are not in good shape so I have been doing stationary bikes, and golf specific workouts since beginning of this year.  Changing my diet will be harder. 

Well, I changed my diet at 55, after a quad bypass - job stress, marital stress, self-stress and expectations, etc. do a number on your body. Simple changes - more fruit and veggies, less meat, less bread, less dairy, less pasta, more water, no soda.

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Good luck, I sold my business and retired last year at this time, when I was 49.  It's nice to have the flexibility and freedom to do what you like when you want to.  Having the additional time to practice and play golf has certainly allowed me to lower my handicap.  When I wasn't working on my golf game I spent my time learning to trade stocks and options.  I took classes, webinars, etc. and feel I can sustain a decent income using a minimal amount of the sale proceeds.

That said, I am an admitted workaholic and while I enjoy all the free time, I miss having a real purpose so I started a new business based on something I have a real passion for that can fill the void and make some additional income as well.

Give yourself a year to decompress and enjoy not having to work but keep your options open as you may find like I did that having too much free time your hands isn't as great as I thought it would be.

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Nobody ever lies on their death bed, looks back on their life, and thinks "if I had only spent more time at the office...".

We're all really happy for you @rkim291968. You never know what life will throw at you, but it sounds as though you absolutely made the right decision. My brother retired earlier this year for the same reasons. He's just a few years older than you are and hasn't regretted it for a second.

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I never made a quarter mil annually at my job. In fact, I was the office steward (union rep) and an executive board member of my local, so I spent roughly 40% of my time away from my desk on union business. When I was at my desk, however, I worked hard.  Nobody bothers the union rep, but I, like the great Bill Belichick, believe in a person simply doing his job.

But I'll be honest.  I would have been ready to retire at 25, and I did retire with a pension at 55--fourteen years ago. Apparently, I wasn't too afflicted with Calvinist work ethic!

A friendly golf forum is no place to discuss politics, but the country club is not where somebody usually looks to find a person of my leanings.  I'm afraid my friends and I brought the "pool room element" to the club when membership was open.  It's not a member owned club, and the owners aren't too concerned with what the other members think of us (although in reality, most of us get along just fine). 

Let me say this.  We're not here forever.  we all want to do some good in the world, and most of us find at least some time and resources to do just that.  But NEVER apologize for taking a little time to smell the roses.  You worked hard.  Now enjoy the rewards.

 

 

 

Edited by trombettista_vecchio

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I retired at 54 -- that was 11 years ago.  Although I flunked retirement -- many times now -- as I went into consulting.  Consulting allowed me to work as much, or little, as I wanted and on my own schedule.  It worked out great for me.  It gave me time to do things like own a sea kayak operation in Greece for 7 summers and, finally, build that woodworking shop filled with vintage woodworking machines.

This year I'm starting to play golf again after 20 years of not playing.  I'm having a ball.  I walk instead of riding a cart and I haven't felt this good in a long time.  Lost 25 lbs. this summer all due to walking 10-12 km. a day on the golf course.  Bought some "old man's" clubs and haven't looked back.

Congrats and enjoy!

Later,

John

Edited by JBailey

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Congratulations! Reading your post I can soooo smell my own freedom even though I can't retire for at least another 15+ years....  I ratcheted up golf this year to find a bit of sanity in the chaos of a growing family and high stress/ mad dash work schedule.

I would think instead of looking for 'friends' which I can understand can be difficult it would be easier to simply look for people with common interests. Activity groups are great. Personally, golf has given me my best friends, As I get older I find it more and more difficult to make small talk with folks I have no common interest with.

You mention a packed daily routine but for changing food habits, I recommend grocery shopping for food and cooking everyday or at least few times a week. I have seen how it changes people's relationship with food. Maybe a cooking class..

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On 11/21/2015, 8:28:48, RandallT said:

Come visit the nation's capital sometime. I'll take you to a crappy muni.

 

On 11/21/2015, 10:56:39, rkim291968 said:

Thanks!  May just do that one of these days.

If you end up coming to the East Coast and don't visit me in NY I'll be thoroughly disappointed, haha.

I think it's great that you're able to make a decision like this at what most would consider a young age.  I've never made $250k a year and doubt I'll be able to retire before I'm in my 60's and fear I might have to work until I drop dead which would suck.  That said, I look forward to retirement.  My mom retired this year from running her own individual business and from what she says, it's great being able to wake up and not feel rushed to take care of he business.  The vibe I get is she is genuinely enjoying retirement and I hope you do, too. 

Best of luck!

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3 minutes ago, No Mulligans said:

@RFKFREAK, not feeling rushed is something I'm definitely looking forward to when I retire.

Exactly.   My work/boss requires that everything is run at warp speed.  I have gotten to a habit of doing everything fast: washing hands, playing golf, eating dinner, ..., as if someone is after me.   No more of that.   I will slow down, sleep and wake up when I want to, I will be that annoying two some moving through the course very slowly - fixing every divot, looking for lost golf ball, ... , (oops, I am getting carried away, aren't I?).

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3 minutes ago, rkim291968 said:

Exactly.   My work/boss requires that everything is run at warp speed.  I have gotten to a habit of doing everything fast: washing hands, playing golf, eating dinner, ..., as if someone is after me.   No more of that.   I will slow down, sleep and wake up when I want to, I will be that annoying two some moving through the course very slowly - fixing every divot, looking for lost golf ball, ... , (oops, I am getting carried away, aren't I?).

I think of this also when driving.  It seems driving, I'm in a hurry to get to work, a hurry to get home, a hurry to get to the golf course, etc..  I see retirement as turning all that hurry into leisurely driving.

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22 hours ago, No Mulligans said:

It seems driving, I'm in a hurry to get to work, a hurry to get home, a hurry to get to the golf course, etc..  I see retirement as turning all that hurry into leisurely driving.

That's nice for you, but if you're driving slowly, get out my freakin' way because I'm late to my tee time K?

Just kidding.

Sort of.

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22 minutes ago, chspeed said:

That's nice for you, but if you're driving slowly, get out my freakin' way because I'm late to my tee time K?

Just kidding.

Sort of.

I will yield to golfers on their way to a course.   I've been there myself.  Not fun to get behind a traffic when my tee time is minutes away.   :-)

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That is fantastic news @rkim291968, I know you have struggled with this recently.  Hey, especially in your field, and especially in that area you can always consult at a high fee when and where you want.  My dad retired several years ago but he still consults because he needs and wants something to do.  I fear I am like that as well and could never fully disengage, I like working, I like doing things and helping people solve problems.  I am a long way away from retiring, long ways away and behind but trying to catch up.  

I too am trying to fix other things, and so far have been finding that changing my diet has not been that hard.  I still eat things I probably shouldn't but we/I have moved away from a lot of garbage.  Eating a lot more vegetables and fruits (especially at snack time this comes in handy), less meat, cleaner foods in general and I am already starting to feel better.

You have several items on your list that are on mine as well, such as hiking/camping in the Grand Canyon.   I have been there a few times but never camped it.  I have been to a number of national parks and love them and love the outdoors.  It is proven that nature walks and being outdoors significantly lowers stress.  We were not meant to sit under these fluorescent lights for our entire lives.  

Good luck on your journey and as others have said, if you find yourself(selves) out this way definitely let me know.  You can come visit in winter when everyone else is griping about not being able to play and we can post some pictures to make them jealous. I wanted to take some pictures of these gigantic wild turkeys that were on the course at Tarpon Springs Sunday but pace of play was fast so didn't have time to get the phone out.

Edited by Gator Hazard

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Thanks, @Gator Hazard !

 

44 minutes ago, Gator Hazard said:

I like working, I like doing things and helping people solve problems. 

Me, too and I don't mind working for a few more years to add international travel budget to my retirement.   But as I got older and became more financially independent, I lost my tolerance to people with questionable ethic/personality, and too lazy to work another job.   Funny how my integrity (?) grew at the same time, too.  ;-)  

44 minutes ago, Gator Hazard said:

You have several items on your list that are on mine as well, such as hiking/camping in the Grand Canyon.   I have been there a few times but never camped it.  I have been to a number of national parks and love them and love the outdoors.  It is proven that nature walks and being outdoors significantly lowers stress.  We were not meant to sit under these fluorescent lights for our entire lives. 

Yeah, I think men are bred for outdoor activities (hunt, farm), to enjoy the blue sky and watch the stars.   In my last trip to Canyonland & Arches NP, my son insisted that we check out the stars and take some pictures.   It was great to see our own galaxy streaming across the sky, something I can't do living in a city.  

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It was not easy to break the news to my employees, most of who have worked for me for longer than 10 years.  We are like family members away from our own.  But at the end, I feel relieved. 

My last day is set to 12/24/15.   Now the countdown begins. 

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