r/FIRE comments on happiness sacrifice vs. salary
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A"I like my job"26
B"I tolerate my job"39
C"I hate my job"19
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7/10/2018 8:00:01
In my case, just the idea of being 'forced' to work in order to put food on the table and a roof over my head, as opposed to dedicating my life to meaningful personal pursuits, has adversely impacted my general happiness, compounded by never having a job I've truly loved( I've had like one job that I tolerated or liked certain aspects). And no amount of money is equal compensation for time( again, in my case) unless the job was dedicated to the betterment of mankind( i.e cancer research). I make good money now but it's a glorified corporate 'paper-shifting across my desk' job and everyday I feel as though it's a day lost doing ultimately meaningless shit. I've had plenty of existential crisis thoughts the past several years, since I've been in the workforce over 15 years at this point. 'What is the purpose of my life?' has flashed across my mind several times.

So, I've tried to better my outside life with hobbies and spending time with the people that matter in my life. I personally can't wait for the day I'm Barista/Lean Fire so I can just live off my investments and have a part-time job just for fuck-around money. I have no interest in running the rat-race until I'm old and dried up.
7/10/2018 8:01:48
I don’t like my job nor my field (it) and is much rather spent my time indulging my hobbies, arts and learning and sailing around the world. That’s where I’m going for with FIRE. I also have no issues switching my job for more money. Which tripled my salary in the last 5 1/2 years and if all works out will double it again next month (new job). I’d ra her play boardgames, make videos, spent time with my pets, cook, take pictures, draw, paint minis, learn new things, meet new people, sail around the world. Basically anything but my job.

I do tolerate it though. And I know what I’m working towards is achievable, in the next 10-15 years, by which I’ll be 45-50.

As I come from a long living family on both sides I probably have another 40-50 years left from that point on, and to me that is more than enough time spent in the system and filling other people’s pockets.
7/10/2018 8:02:33
For me, I'm pretty close to dream job. Small startup with a manager who actively listens, 150k salary, no avoidable bullshit.

Since the switch, I've been much less actively-interested in my FIRE goals. I'm still cutting costs / investing a lot, but it's no longer something that I put as much energy towards
7/10/2018 8:03:57
I literally do work on cancer research, and I still occasionally struggle with this. Don't worry, still workin' hard on it though.
7/10/2018 8:04:33
I work on a medical device for type-II diabetes, so could be argued less important than cancer but still possibly life improving for many. Have similiar issues. Interesting work in my field and possibly useful but in the end still some pointless stuff and still work.
7/10/2018 8:04:47
I used to work in bio but got out of it because the day to day was making me unhappy, depressed, and sick. Humans weren't meant to spend 90% of our time indoors, sendentary, so as sexy as it sounded to say I was working on cancer, HIV, and heart disease (all previous jobs or internships I held) at the end of the day it was routine lab research that was putting me in a state of disease because i was stressed, underpaid, indoors, and surrounded by caustic chemicals. Ironic huh?
7/10/2018 8:05:15
Working in devices is surprisingly soul crushing. At least IME.

The regulations and red tape meant our pace was basically nothing, esp when compared to any modern tech firm

Not to mention the paperwork.

Which sucks. Cuz med devices was a passion of mine
7/10/2018 8:06:27
I'm right there with you.

I'm actually planning on the day I can retire to go to work doing what I really want to do.
7/10/2018 8:06:31
I used to work in cancer research and it can be just as soul sucking as any other job. Most of the work you end up doing is repetitive shit that's designed to churn out papers supporting the PI's direction, which may or may not actually result in things that "better mankind". A lot of it is just basic science for the sake of science - which is absolutely needed and necessary, but may not be as satisfying as you think.

It's not paper shifting but once you've killed your hundredth mouse, it can sure feel like it. I literally killed thousands of animals while working in cancer research and the lab I worked for as produced ZERO papers that led have directly to improved patient outcomes. They've produced lots of interesting science and lots of results that may one day be used to support improved clinical outcomes, but it's been almost ten years and the most I can say is that the results have added to our base understanding of certain systems.

I jumped ship to software development and its so satisfying to actually being able to create things that people will use a few weeks from now vs creating results that may never get published or used clinically.
7/10/2018 8:06:53
I also have hobbies (Photography), however I need daylight hours for that, and can only really take photographs on the weekend. How the hell am I going to get anywhere at 6 pm when they finally let me out of the office? Weekends are also filled to the brim with chores like cutting the grass.

Life is so, soul crushingly boring. Every goddamn day, day after day, its the same shit. 30 more years.
7/10/2018 8:07:32
I'm also in the IT field, except I'm towards the end of my career.

I also don't really like what I do, and the company that I work for is toxic. Except... they pay me really, really well. I continue to work for them so that I can continue to save large amounts every month and put myself back on track for retirement.

However, give me an option that pays the same or more, and I'm outta here.
7/10/2018 8:07:57
When I think about what it is I hate about work so much, it isn't actually the work per se (data analyst). It's the work life that comes with it. It's having your actions governed by the corporate hierarchy. It's the office politics you have to deal with. It's the forced schedule of being trapped i a cubicle for 8 plus hours a day. It's the absurd sit in a car commute for so long every single day. I'm looking to pursue freelancing soon and have started dabbling already. I don't know if it's going to be a mixture of things but so far I've tested the waters with teaching English, blogging, doing freelance data work. It may be a mixture of all these. But the good thing is I've made a little money with all of them.
7/10/2018 8:08:42
Same boat. Still focused on FIRE, but don't think I'll stop working.
7/10/2018 8:09:53
Same story here. Small startup, total cash gross > $200k, no bullshit. That said, I'm just as focused on FIRE as I was when I was a freelancer (for this same client). Just because there's no bullshit doesn't mean I'd rather be working than spending my time doing whatever I want whenever I want.
7/10/2018 8:09:59
I love my job and get compensated extremely well for it. My happiness sacrifice is solely the commute time to work, and not seeing my baby during the days. It's still a means to an end, but a much faster end now. I got a job at a FANG.

Previously in my life I went from making 61k and being happy at a great place and culture to making $120k with a 3 hour daily commute to essentially a tech sweatshop. I had more freedom financially, but I was less happy. Ultimately I left the $120k job after 6 months.
7/10/2018 8:10:21
I'd end up hating any job, and it's really just how tolerable one is more than the other. "Don't make your hobby your career" has been the advice I took to heart and have been better off for it. People who have careers involving my passions are always struggling for money or end up burned out having to do a Frankensteined-financially-viable version of it which they hate.

However, if you're the rare guy that loves challenging projects that benefit the market or have some love for a highly valuable skillset, then by all means, go do that even if it's a slight paycut. If we're talking being passionate about something that can barely sustain basic needs (or loses you money) though... yeah, that needs to wait until FI is achieved.
7/10/2018 8:10:44
I think the saying "Do what you love, and you'll never work a day in your life" is so misleading to young people trying to pick a career.

I love the core work of my job. I do not love having to do it on someone else's schedule, having to work weekends and holidays because of the nature of the field. I do not love dealing with office politics, dress codes, and performance reviews. I do not love the administrative paperwork that is necessary for regulatory compliance, or generally anything about my job that isn't the core task work.

I imagine most people who "love their jobs" still consider it work. It's less onerous work than a job you hate, but more annoying than not having to answer to someone else to earn wages. Even if you run your own business (been there done that), you still have to deal with irritating clients/customers/suppliers, put in extra hours, deal with licenses and taxes, etc. It's still work.
7/10/2018 8:12:32
Funny enough, one of the few things I don't like about my job is they do their damndest to not appear too "corporate-y." But (most) corporate models and processes were designed and implemented for a reason: because they work! Why don't you understand that having a documented process in place is just better than everyone doing their own ad-hoc thing?!

Then again, I was built for the corporate life, hehe.

EDIT: also, agreed about running your own business, which is why I don't understand these people who want to start their own business to "stop doing work they hate and focus only on what they love." Uh, no, actually what you're doing is taking all the work, even the parts you hate even more but never had to do, and forcing yourself to do them. Maybe at scale you can do that, but you're usually facing between several years and never before you get to that point.
7/10/2018 8:12:32
It's been a while since I've had a 'terrible' job. I was getting bored of my last one, but it was cushy (go in when I wanted, leave when I wanted, authority of most of what I did in a day, good pay, etc).

Then I got a surprise new job offer a couple of months ago. WFH 80%, much better pay, etc. It's been wonderful.

I'd say I went from Good, but close to the line, to much lower (happier) and much further right (pay). I would still RE from this job, but it'll make getting there much happier.
7/10/2018 8:12:29
Hey, this is a great (and important) post!

I ended up in a similar situation to the poster you're referencing. I switched from working ~60 hours per week in a job that technically had a lot of the factors that are "supposed" to make you satisfied at work (meaningful, high autonomy, variety, regular human interaction). But it also had some serious safety issues, was very stressful, and was burning me out.

Once I hit my leanFIRE number I dropped down to part time in a much cushier position at 24 hours per week. I make about half of what I made before, but have much more free time both at and outside of work. And consequently I hate work a lot less! I really enjoy my days off, but I never dread going into work. There's still some undesirable parts, and I'm still hoping to move closer (but not completely) to a full FIRE within the next few years.

Job satisfaction is essentially another form of compensation, that most people tend to ignore. This is obvious when you compare jobs at the same wage, but even a 10% difference in pay and suddenly people stop paying attention to how happy the job makes them!
7/10/2018 8:13:05
I like my job at the moment. I work in Data Science / Govt Accounting as a subcontractor. I am a bit underpaid but I have a lot of room for growth as well. I give it a 7/10. I hate the corporate culture aspect.
7/10/2018 8:14:18
Interestingly I've been debating this for myself lately. I don't want to hate my day to day in the hopes of getting a chance to do what I want a little earlier. I also don't want to be in a position where I have to worry if I can really afford to do something later.

Background (kinda laying out cases to myself)

2017 - Recruited from an overworked, monotonous accounting job with mandatory month-end overtime to take a more technical role where I was able to regulate my work timelines and had an incredible, supportive set of mentors/managers. The pay bump was nice, but I would have done the job for the same as my accounting job.

2018 - After a year of feeling like I finally found something I am both good at and enjoy, the company announces a reorganization and I'm shifted to a client management role. It emphasizes every weakness that I have and doesn't allow me to use any of my strengths. The monthly bonuses are not insignificant, but I have to travel to visit clients most weeks and the stress is starting to keep me up in the middle of the night.

Heck, just last night, I went to bed at 12am after working of a few hours. Woke up at 4:30am and could not get back to sleep because I kept thinking about a response to a client I needed to write. I gave in and just got up after 30 minutes of trying to sleep and failing.

I've been willing to put up with jobs I was unhappy at because they were a stepping stone to something else. I'm now hitting a point where I don't think I really care if my salary grows from where it is, but I do care how much my job impacts me outside of business hours. I want defined business hours, not 24/7 on call. I want something that doesn't make me feel guilty taking a day off. I'm ok with a decrease in pay if it means an increase in the other areas. I think there has to be a balance somewhere. It's just really hard to find that in both a company and myself.

That got long. Need coffee.
7/10/2018 8:14:18
Gave up a really cushy grad program for an operations position with a prestigious trading company. The moneys better than most people my age but it's soul crushing being constantly under pressure. I have less time to do the things I like and I know that some of the more active things I love doing will be harder to do as I get older. I love the idea of FI but you're only young once. It's important to balance happiness now vs. Happiness later
7/10/2018 8:14:18
My compensation is great but it doesn't counteract my not liking my job.

I'm going to try and focus on some meditation techniques to reduce how much I care. Otherwise I'm going to have to just quit and start my own thing.

I have over a decade of expenses saved up and we could probably live (but not save much) off of my wife's salary. So it's nice to have options I guess, but there fact that I can retire in a couple more years if I stick it out is hanging over my head.
7/10/2018 8:15:10
I have a high paying job that is mostly remote. My issue has come from the work life balance of the organization. I work all the time. The culture of the company just is a group of dedicated and persistent people. I feel like all I do is work, and that is the primary drainer of happiness for me. I don’t see my family, I don’t see my wife, it is just work non-stop and constant availability.

I put in my notice of resignation this weekend. I’d rather find happiness than be paid a lot. The depression isn’t worth the extra savings.

The best thing for me was plugging in the numbers to my spreadsheet. I would earn more, but after taxes that would be severely minimized. And assuming I could save the rest, it would only mean I could retire in 5 years instead of 8. If I’m able to be significantly happier I feel I’m fine working an extra 3 years.

I’m literally in an identical situation. However I put in my notice this weekend. I am just too burnt out. Doesn’t help that my boss came back and offered me a hefty pay increase and title change (manager to director) plus a promise to change things for better work life balance.

I’m still going to quit though. It just isn’t worth it. I’d rather work 5 extra years at a job with better work life balance then continue my depressive grinding.
7/10/2018 8:15:10
I don't have a real problem with the specifics of my job at the moment. I would just prefer to work fewer total hours. At the moment, working full time will definitely maximize my total lifetime happiness over not working full time, because I wouldn't really be able to FIRE on much less money, and you don't make that much money if you aren't working full time. That said, I'm sure I could make a lot more money if I were willing to look for a new job, which would likely be the sort of job expecting me to work way more than 40 hours, and yeah, screw that.
7/10/2018 8:18:03
I am in a similar situation. Came from a previous job that paid really good, but the job sucked. I would work 50 hours a week and my phone and email would blow up every night sometimes as late as 10:00!

Then I switched jobs and make a little less, but I only work 40 hours a week and the work-life balance is great. The job is a little boring, but I would rather be here than the previous place.

If I could guarantee that I could work here forever, I don't think I would put as much stress on FI/RE as I am. But I honestly do not know what is in the cards down the road. I would rather prepare to RE than to take this good job for granted.
7/10/2018 8:18:03
My job is great and pays very well, but I'm still sacrificing a lot of happiness by working. There are simply too many interesting things to experience in a lifetime, and my job, despite its many perks, keeps me away from the vast majority of them for more than half my waking hours. That's why I'm aggressively working towards FI even though I'd never consider changing jobs.
7/10/2018 8:18:32
“Happy Job” is an oxymoron. Being forced to get out your bed Monday morning at 7am is living hell. I could handle it up to about 35 as the money was great but Sunday evenings just got darker and darker until no amount of money was enough.
7/10/2018 8:18:51
😂 just turned 27 and feel the same!
7/10/2018 8:20:42
I genuinely love my job. I would do it even if I were FI
7/10/2018 8:20:42
Actually, I know I am happy with my job BECAUSE I never mind getting out of bed at 5:30am on Monday mornings. I have maybe 4-5 "I don't want to go to work" mornings a year, and my job gives me the flexibility to actually take a couple of those days off.
7/10/2018 8:21:32
Job is not interesting or fulfilling in any way, pay is low, still in student loan debt and have a family. Can't really go back to school until possibly when I'm 35-37 years old. At that point I can't imagine wanting a completely new degree just to have a higher paid job in a cubicle. For now I can't find or imagine any certification that would pay well, and that I would enjoy enough to be motivated to attain it. So for now I'm just very very slowly chipping away at debt and retirement savings and waiting for something to happen.
7/10/2018 8:21:30
For me I dont really love my job but its alright as far as jobs go, but I want to get out of the field in a little bit. I'm an electrician for a large company, I make 6 figures a year but work 50-70 hours a week, most weeks being 55-60 with weekends off. I also get a pension that after 5 years is 500 a month after retiring, after 20 years its 2k a month but I dont plan to be there more than 5 years. Free top of the line medical as well. My work also pays for free schooling which I plan to take advantage of and go for something else that I enjoy more and isnt hazardous and hard on the body. I'm sure I wont make as much but I plan to save up for a few years before switching fields. Currently I get 1 week a year off and we work all holidays, after 3 years its 2 weeks. All my friends get much more time off and despite making much less, they are happier. I want to do some thing that pays decently but have more free time, especially since I have Alzheimer's on both sides of the family, I could get to retire and get it and never get to enjoy my free time after retiring. I'd like to have more time now when I can enjoy it. I'd like to start my own business as well, I have a small one currently but I'm working on other things or buying property with my current salary to make money on in the long run.
7/10/2018 8:21:58
I’m an SDET and I really enjoy it. My company works on exciting projects and I usually don’t feel overworked. I do sometimes want to switch to straight software development though when my job is going through a monotonous phase and I can see the other devs learning new stuff.
7/10/2018 8:22:55
What engineering background do you have?

Chemical Engineering... ~12 years as a process engineer, ~6 years as a "lead", ~#8-9 in department seniority out of ~60 engineers (e.g. in I end up in a lot of leadership discussions). Oil and gas first part of career then moved to semiconductors.

How can you be an engineer and happy?

Two fold:

You MUST compartmentalize work and not-work. This isn't unique to being an engineer, lots of professions have stress, deadlines, impossible tasks, unknowns, etc.

You have to bank on the fact that the money that comes from being an engineer is a great way to provide for the needs and wants in your non work life. The "build the life you want, and then save to achieve it" mantra is hugely enabled by your engineering job.

Most engineers I met are over-worked and constantly on the pump to come out with solutions with limited budget and time.

Limited budget and time is a given. The over-worked portion is a nuanced discussion. Lots of engineering work is feast or famine, go fast or stop, or some variation of sprint/not-sprint. It can be incredibly frustrating.

All you can do is be very clear about what your availability is to the stakeholders. E.g., I have up to 50 hours a week that can be dedicated to this work, and unfortunately not any more. What you need to ask for in return is clarity as to what your stakeholders expectations are with regards to work spikes.

Who knows what the answer will be. 1) Get it done or you're fired. 2) Get it done or I'll be mad and you'll suffer consequences. 3) Get it done or I'll be mad but since this is a matrix organization and I am not your supervisor and you were clear and vocal about your limits, I can be mad all day but you're teflon and nothing will happen. It's usually #3 or some variation of #2 (the old: "you'll get chewed out... but you've been chewed out before situation). Manufacturing environments may claim to be #1, but are closer to #2.

If it is #1, and you are unable/unwilling to get it changed to a #2/#3 situation, then you'll be unhappy for the duration of your employment. Sometimes the uncomfortable and scary as shit answer is to seek employment elsewhere.

Lots of jobs claim to be a #1 situation, but really aren't. It's all about making expectations clear, and if it's get it done at all costs, and this is unpalatable to you, then you need to look for alternative work.

Anecdotally, I know a girl who claimed to work a SHIT TON... as in all she did was work. When I moved cities, I lived with her for a bit (cause she's a good person and did me a solid) and it turns out she went to work after I did, got home before I did... and "work a shit ton" consisted of watching "real house wives of whatever" at night while looking at (but not actually doing anything to) excel spreadsheets of data. She claimed that all she did was work because it was true... but what she didn't mention was the filled the "not at work" void in her life with "work."

It's all high stress and soul crushing.

I've never got the "soul crushing" part people toss around here. You voluntarily show up to work... if something is soul crushing, for the love of god do something else. You aren't a literal slave, you haven't been pressed into service by the British, you're not an indentured servant.

High stress I get... 100% get. People lob curve balls over the fence all day and then get pissy when you don't hit home runs. WTF is this triple? I wanted a home run! Three RBI's and a triple is simply unacceptable! Rabble rabble rabble...

It is then up to the engineer to find an outlet to de-stress. This is different for everyone. Some people drink, some people cook, some people hang out with their spouse and kids/dogs, some people tinker in their garages, some people work on their house, some people crossfit and talk about it endlessly, some people work out three times a day and complain about no free time, some people eat, some people take long 3 week vacations to Europe, some people calculate their minimal expenses to the cent and fantasize about retiring to a life of soylent and a furniture-less house.

Remember, if you are stressing at home routinely, then obviously you're in a #2 or #3 situation and not a #1 because if you're stressing about work at home, then all the work didn't get done, and if that was a problem, you'd have been fired already.

Focus on something else... what that is, is up to you. The RE portion of FIRE is going to be super shitty for you if your life consists of work and stressing about work when not at work.
7/10/2018 8:24:14
I have no degree. I'm 25, married with one kid and one on the way. We are a single income family (my wife stays at home with my boy) so I work two jobs to provide for us and help us save more. We just bought a house and will be moving in soon. My income is around $90k/year between the two jobs but at the cost of my whole day/week basically. My weeks basically consist of me waking up at 7am to get to my day job at 8am, then I leave here at 6pm to start the next job at 7pm. I get home around midnight and rinse/repeat around 4-5 times a week, it is exhausting but it makes me happy because I've been able to afford a better lifestyle for my family and can save some as well. I sacrifice spending time with my family to be able to make sure they are happy when I am away working. At times I wish I had more time to spend with my boy but I would rather he miss out on some of me than both me and my wife if she were working full time. On an individual level, I get in early at my morning job and take a 2 hour lunch so I can hit the gym in the afternoon. I am salaried there so the time isn't an issue. Overall I sacrifice my time during the week but I wouldn't say I sacrifice much of my happiness. I spend weekends with them as I rarely work either job during the weekend so I don't regret it because spending those days with them makes it absolutely worth it. In the end I feel like the salary justifies my sacrifice because it means the people I care about don't have to worry about anything. Even if I were miserable, my family is happy and that makes me happy as well.
7/10/2018 8:26:20
I'm FI (many would probably consider fatFI) and still working, so I'd say there is not a lot of sacrifice involved in my job. I wouldn't say none, as I wouldn't do my work for free for an extended period, but I'm compensated quite well for the little sacrifice I do make.

Things I like about my work:

great work/life balance (almost 50 days of paid leave per year) and benefits

not for profit -- the people are around me are literally trying to save lives

flexible hours with usually no commute. I wake up to an alarm clock probably less than 10 times a year.

I could make double what I'm making somewhere else (I'm still in the 6 digits though), but I doubt I would overall be more happy.

Of course nothing lasts forever, and I do look at quitting every once in a while. But so far it's still been worth it to keep working.

TLDR: X=high, Y=very low
7/10/2018 8:26:20
I'm the same, though working remotely for a shop on the other coast, and I get unlimited leave. I think I took 40ish days last year, and far fewer this year so far but will tack on about 30 between various vacations and long weekends I have planned in the next 6 months. My boss is....pretty dope, though. Really cool guy who understands work life balance, which is why I still work for him three years after moving to the bay area.
7/10/2018 8:27:08
It's very challenging to quantify, but recently I've been very aware of how my attitude outside of work is very reflective of what happened at work.

After a very good day at work, I come home happy with some energy and excitement. I feel great. I sometimes have very challenging days at the office that make me feel the opposite when I get home; frustrated, tired and I just don't feel like doing anything.

Fortunately the vast majority of days are just average and don't weigh heavily on me outside of the office. But the fact that my attitudes and general happiness is so tied to my work is rather significant.
7/10/2018 8:27:25
This is an interesting question. As someone who has had various periods of forced unemployment (health reasons, maternity leave etc), I have learned enough to know that I am honestly always happier in a paid position where my opinion is sought out and respected. Volunteering etc. just doesn't cut it. My brain craves being in a challenging environment and when I'm not getting that through work, I turn my home into that challenging environment and that is just terrible for my poor SO and kiddo!

I'm at a point where I could afford to scale way, way back monetarily but I am so young (34) and relatively new to my field (5 year call, law) that it just doesn't make sense. My kid(s) - #2 due in a couple weeks - are too young to do anything awesome with yet (I'm not a huge baby person, I want to adventure with 6+ year olds) and stepping out now would totally invalidate the huge amount of work I've done to get here, without reward. If I ride this ship out for another 5-7 years, I can develop some real expertise while keeping our cost of living down, and I can easily work 1-2 days a week out-earning what I'm making now but keep that level of brain engagement I desperately need. There are a couple of lawyers at my firm that do this and goddamn, they have it made. They roll in at 10am, go for awesome lunches with engaging people (networking/marketing) and then they're gone by 3. They take long regular, long vacations but are still tapped as experts in their areas.

I want their lives and I'm hammering down now to make that happen.
7/10/2018 8:28:03
This is how I feel although I haven't had the forced unemployment. I have worked a variety of jobs and I have often felt that my alarm clock in the morning is a cruel form of torture. However, I know that if I were to be left to my own devices to put in my days, I would likely become depressed and a miserable human being.

This year I accepted a new job with a significantly higher salary, significantly crappier commute, but I'm.... happy! I'm currently expecting too (Nov 2018. Congrats btw!) and instead of taking a year (which we typically do in my country, and which I would have relished with my previous jobs), I'm planning on just taking 6 months. This is technically 4 months longer than I'm eligible for, but I think I'm going to go a bit batty without work stimulation. I am the happiest I have ever been with this job and I never thought I was unhappy before. The difference is, now I'm don't dread going to work, nor the sound of my alarm.

I'm on a longer duration FIRE path. I hope to retire when I'm 55-56, which would give me 18-19 years left to work. My income is likely only going to improve, and with my experience, I should be able to work pretty much wherever I want. At my current SR, I can reach my FIRE goal in a very conservative 16-17 years. If/when my salary improves, and with kiddos, I may decide to scale back my employment to a few days a week for a longer period. But who can say what the future holds. I may get a job that I love more than this one and want to work until I'm 70!
7/10/2018 8:28:41
Money has no bearing on happiness AT the workplace. I would hate my incompetent workplace even if they were paying me a half million a year. Now, I would be able to retire much sooner and buy whatever I wanted, but I would still be miserable at work. There's no price you can really put on an engaging, productive workplace.

But what if I have neither? Lol. At least it's easy.

I'm saying that my unhappiness at the end of the day has nothing to do with how much I'm paid, which is not a lot but enough to save an ok amount. It's how unfulfilling my current job is that makes me unhappy. Fulfillment doesn't have a price. I would be equally unhappy if my salary doubled right now.
7/10/2018 8:29:51
I'm on the other end here. I love working. I feel useful, and I make friends at work.
7/10/2018 8:29:51
I am on the green side. I work long hours (~80 per week) but I have a high salary ($250,000) and I enjoy what I do.

I was considering FIRE, but I think that was due to job dissatisfaction which has now resolved. I will “save” a lot of my money, mostly just because I see no reason to spend it (I would probably be just as happy with $50,000 per year as I would be with my current salary)

So maybe after a decade or so I could technically FIRE, but I won’t, because my job gives me satisfaction and a purpose ; a reason to wake up in the morning. As time progresses I do plan to cut down my hours and hopefully use my savings to start some kind of humanitarian project, and hopefully if that is successful I will gradually transition into that in my later years.
7/10/2018 8:30:15
I hate my job, and it pays... adequate money. The only reason I’m still working there is because “ok” money is the most I’ve ever made in my life.

I have a plan, though. I’m going to stick it out until I hit a year after my promotion and move for three reasons. 1) I have my first vacation in years planned and I need my accrued vacation time for it, 2) it will look better on my resume if it shows that I stayed for a length of time after my promotion, and 3) I won’t have to pay back as much of my relocation if I wait for my anniversary.

I’m doing some serious analysis right now of what kind of job I want next, where to apply, and how to get the job once I decide where I’m going. I feel like my resume is finally beefy enough to apply to a job that will make good money.
7/10/2018 8:30:47
I have found almost no correlation between pay and my happiness at a job. I highly value my time outside work, so work stress + long hours are soul crushing to me. I thought I could trade money to lessen those things, but instead I found myself making more money, becoming more valuable to my employers, and setting more boundaries. No it will not get done this week, no I will not work this weekend. A good work environment will respect those boundaries if you regularly deliver.
7/10/2018 8:32:35
I am bored in my job. I would actually take a pay cut to ~$80-90k/yr if it enabled me to work from home 100% and do interesting work.
7/10/2018 8:32:35My happiness comes from working.11310.00%50.00%A10%50%1
7/10/2018 8:32:35
I really love my job, and I don't see myself retiring much earlier than normal. I'm here more for the financial advice and perspectives. I may consider working part time or changing to a front-line role instead of management towards the end of my career, but I can't see myself leaving altogether. I think even when I eventually retire, I'll probably want to volunteer in some capacity in this field.

There are absolutely things I dislike about my job that impact my happiness. I don't like having to be somewhere at 7am four days a week. I don't like dealing with some of the headaches that come with managing a team of ~20 people, primarily women. I don't like reporting to a group of volunteers who've never done anything close to my job. But at the same time, it's incredibly rewarding work, and I can't imagine doing anything else. I don't even know what I'd do with myself if I didn't work all day.

That said, I do wish my salary was higher (who doesn't?). I currently work for a non-profit, but I may consider a lateral move to municipality-operated organization with higher salaries and benefits.
7/10/2018 8:32:35
One's "dream" job can change in a heartbeat though, people need to be aware of that. New owners, colleagues, clients, reports up or down, responsibilities, hell even desk location can change your day to day very quickly even if nominally you are still VP of widgets working at Widgetco.

I'm also always a bit cautious about people romanticizing lower paid jobs and assuming they'll be happier and they'll not miss the freedom and trust they had at Intense Role, etc. If you literally have a soul crushing job that's leading to actual depression or relationship issues or something, then change it, but wherever you go there you are and all that. I know people who've moved up, down and around in terms of roles and employers and end up miserable at every one.

For me a high salary and outstanding colleagues balances out the occasional soul-crushery and the stress of a crazy deadlines environment. And I always have somewhere to go and something to do after (and before) work, I set my priorities and my life is not my work.
7/10/2018 8:32:3595%, and no. I'm dead inside.11395.00%50.00%C95%50%mr_em_el1
7/10/2018 8:33:12
I feel so blessed. I started working as a tech consultant when I got out of school. My colleagues were smart and dedicated but I wasn’t paid much. It was offset by per diems, fancy hotels, and airline points, but it sucked never being at home with friends and family. Spent most of this period of my life planning for FIRE (only spend travel or credit card points, eat free food, and invest all cash).

When I moved into tech industry role, I got an IT job that paid me 40% more salary and no travel. However working crazy hours in the middle of the night and weekends with a narcissist of a boss. At this point, I was ready to give up FIRE just to stop the shitshow that was my life and find any other way to survive.

After a year, I was able to transfer to a product (R&D) role for no pay bump but normal 9-5. Contemplating working longer so that my boyfriend can quit his job and pursue his dreams. Crazy how different and sustainable my latest job feels. With maternity benefits, I can literally see myself doing this until I’m 60 but will probably retire early because I can.
7/10/2018 8:34:08
This is something I struggle with every day.

On one hand I make good money and have a nice respectable desk job. On the other, I don't really enjoy my job much and I definitely take work home with me. I've gone from being a people person to really not enjoying working with people anymore.

I have a family at home that relies on me, so my golden handcuffs are pretty set, but I will admit to constantly being on the lookout for something better, even if it means less money. I don't think I'll be able to bring myself to taking less if it came to that though. I often think about past decisions that I've made that have lead me to where I am. I wish that I'd pursued something outside of money being my only focus.

I suppose that I am sacrificing my happiness for my career. If I had to do it over again, I would, but I'm pretty set in it now.
7/10/2018 8:35:15
Rereading your post, I think I misunderstood what you were asking. happiness sacrifice is the negative aspects of *each* job rather than generalized into hours working v. pay per hour.

very interesting. i definitely minimized my commute time (happiness sacrifice) to the point where i almost wish i had more of a commute (happiness sacrifice inverted) so i could listen to podcasts. i currently do not listen to podcasts, but plan to soon. :)

i'm doing pretty ok (<6 figures, but gettin there) with minimal happiness sacrifices. no concrete plan to FIRE.

edit: reading your site now, this is excellent. will finish later. thanks for posting!
7/10/2018 8:36:24
I don't sacrifice much. I like my job. I like the work. I like the organization. I like my boss and my coworkers. I feel like I'm making an impact. My salary isn't high (low 60s) but it's more than enough for me. My commute is a 20 minute bike ride and my schedule is very flexible. My only complaint is lack of vacation time, something I'm hoping to remedy soon by negotiating more time off (hopefully paid but unpaid is fine too).

I'm 30 and basically on track to reach FIRE by early-mid 40s. But I'm a doer. I love having projects. I was unemployed for 5 months and got bored out of my mind even though I taught myself to sew during that time. I'd love to have more PTO and maybe work only 80% but I don't see myself actually retiring.
7/10/2018 8:36:24
my salary would need to be atleast 5 times what im making right now for it to be a good trade off
7/10/2018 8:36:49
Here's my story:

Started working back in 2011 as a financial analyst with an MBA for $38k with a large health insurance provider. Largest employer in the city and everyone knows them. Going in, my parents and relatives thought that MBA and college degree I earned was well worth it for such a prestigious company to work for.

What a joke. $38k to work 8-5pm on an easy day. At least once a week we were staying for unpaid overtime (salary). Management was bad. Equipment and computers were a joke. I stayed there for 5+ years working my way up to $45k inch by inch. Longer nights. Zero work life balance. You could only use your PTO 3 of the 4 weeks in a month (first week we had financials to do), but not anytime in December, January, March, April, or July.... and not for more than 2-3 days at a time as no one was cross trained. In 5 years, I never took more than a day off here and there and constantly maxed out my vacation and lost it. In hectic months and quarter ends, 10-12 hour days were the norm, being in a zombie like state. I actually slept in conference rooms here and there when it was bad.

The plan was ultimately to stay and work my way up, but 5 years in, I said fuck this, it's not worth it. I can get better pay somewhere else. And I did, to the tune of double my salary, with much less stress and total work. Since then, I've moved up and increased my salary even more.
7/10/2018 8:37:45
I have the best job I think I could in my particular field and it's a solid 5/10. I have no complaints about my job or my management. I also wouldn't choose to do it over anything at home.

People are shocked when I say 5/10 as if I hate my job. To me that's the ceiling. 6/10 would imply I like it more than not working and I just think anyone who likes working more than not is mentally ill. I wish they would work for me so I could use their free time they apparently squander.

I'd say yes the salary justifies the stress but just barely. The personal financial liability of "malpractice" is insane and I dont enjoy having it hang over my head.
7/10/2018 8:38:06
My job is necessary and useful, and pays okay (~50k/yr). People pay me to be right, and when I'm wrong, people risk injury or even death. I'm outside all the time, which is great, and I can take pride in a job well done.

My current challenges are that my job is very asocial, overtime is necessary to stay on top of deadlines, and we don't have a good process to fix documentation when it's obviously wrong. I don't know how to fix these problems all at once. And I also don't know how to move up (or sideways) and earn more. So I'm kinda stuck wondering where to from here.
Ahem_ak_achem_ACHOO (your name is fucking hard to type dude)
7/10/2018 8:39:44
i believe I’m considered young at 23, and currently work as a carpenter that does work far beyond the scope of carpentry, building things that I don’t think Most of us on this sub could ever dream of affording, not even want. I wouldn’t say I’m in my dream job by any means, and am currently finishing up my bachelors degree in Business Management from WGU and I really have no idea what the smart move from here would be. My current job has steady hours and benefits, it’s work that I enjoy, I get to travel to some cool places, but I make about 50k a year.

I’d say I’m right in the middle of your chart. I know I was meant to do more than simply continue working with my hands at my current place and at times feel trapped. Usually at work I’m always going over in the back of my head what the next step will be, how to transition from a blue collar profession to a white collar career that falls in line with my degree and whether or not I’ll be happy once I switch.
7/10/2018 8:39:42
It's not a secret, I would say it takes 50% of my happiness and the weightloss takes another 30%. The 20% i have left is consumed by youtube and watching tv shows.

And no, it's not worth the salary especially as I know how much more my boss is making and he is not putting even 15% of what I and my team are working on.

But hey, I make much more than my peers so i stick to it and every f* morning I want to give notice
7/10/2018 8:39:58
tl;dr: this graph denoting the happiness sacrifice vs salary is the epitome of my career thus far and I couldn't agree more with it.

I started my career in a meaningful job: counter-terrorism engineering. Pay was GREAT, but I worked such long hours and it was so stressful that I never got to enjoy the fruits of my labor, and it wound up wrecking me mentally. So I 'downgraded' and took less pay for a less meaningful but less stressful job and my mental health immediately got better, but I kept beating myself up over doing work that didn't matter (in my opinion) and just contributed to the corporate machine's profits. I wouldn't let myself be happy because I felt like I wasn't doing 'enough', whatever that meant. So I started climbing the corporate ladder because that's what you do, and while my pay got better, the jobs got crappier.

I wound up in a highly coveted position in my company on their innovation team as a developer working directly with the President of the company, and had a complete and utter breakdown because I HATED it. So I again switched jobs to a lower stress one and I'm starting to learn how to be okay with leading from the middle instead of always keeping my eyes on the next prize (while never being satisfied with what I had). It's a process to find the right balance for you, but it gets easier as you keep eliminating what doesn't work for you.
7/10/2018 8:40:19
I don't earn nearly enough for the shit I deal with and the emotional labour I expend.
7/10/2018 8:40:47
This is my version of your chart

On a scale to 10 my first job was a 2.5-3 at best. I was making so much money that I honestly stopped enjoying having more money quickly because I ended up having no time to use it. Christmas was the only good part of that because I was able to gift my father a trip he always wanted to go on. If it wasn't for that it really wouldn't of been worth it. Working for almost 25% of the original amount with at least a 6/10 on the happiness scale means a lot. Happiness is a exponentially increasing factor. The difference from 3 to 6 is HUGE compared to a 7-10 I feel

I left a highly stressful job that required 20-25 days away from home a month but paid close to 150k a year. I don't have a degree so this was a gold mine for the first few months for me. Especially being fresh out of the Marines, this felt like the jackpot. After 6 months I was exhausted, relationship was struggling and my personality was darker overall. But the money was good. I was working 70 hour weeks and it broke me.

Now I make 40k a year and work night shifts working 12 hour shifts 3 days a week. I hate it. But you know what? I live. And I get to see my girlfriend every day I come home. I get to enjoy having dogs, and volunteering at a local shelter. I don't have friends but I atleast get to see my father every weekend at a local brewery. It's worth it. Yeah, now I get to enjoy credit card debt, and had to sell some of my favorite things but it's worth it to me. I plan to transistion from this job now to a full time student and hopefully end up at NASA one day. I wouldn't of gotten that drive if I didn't go from a high paying shitty job to a lower paying, less shitty job that afforded me a social life and happiness again.
7/10/2018 8:41:23
I make around $380-400k USD a year, and while I have times I do enjoy what I do, there's a high level of bullshit/travel/time away from home that comes with it. Currently working to pay off all debt and save save save so I can simplify within the next 4-5 years. I'm a 38/f with a 4 year old.
7/10/2018 8:42:391) All of it. 2) No.111100.00%30.00%C100%30%Misfit_Penguin1
7/10/2018 8:42:39
My job as an engineer puts me right on the line usually. Personally, a lot of my happiness is tied to experiences. I love traveling, going out with friends, etc. I also enjoy having a decent place to come back to. So a solid middle class job was necessary for me to achieve my goals. Obviously there are days my job stresses me beyond belief but other days when I walk out at 2PM because my work is done. And all in all when I’m sitting somewhere I’ve never been with the work phone turned off, I realize it’s a pretty nice life. Everyone has their wants and needs though and the level of crap they are willing to go through to get there.

Haha absolutely. Isn’t that what work is for? To allow us the opportunity to live the lives we want? Obviously there is a line. If my job forced me to be there 80hrs a week and I had no time for the things I love I’d be out in a heartbeat. But a nice 40 hr / week mid level engineering job is perfect for me. Nice amount of time off and it affords me the means to enjoy that time off.

My goal is to be financially independent to my lifestyle expectations by 50-55. Then I want to go teach high school and coach football as a supplement. Free summers, health insurance, etc. So far I’m on track but I’m only 28. Anything could happen in the next 25 years. Just gotta enjoy life as it happens. Good luck in your journey to independence!
7/10/2018 8:43:37
I remember reading that thread where the OP talked about giving up the pursuit of FI/RE because he liked his new job so much. Even if I loved my job, I'd still work toward FI/RE because I'm always mindful of external factors outside my control (economic downturns, layoffs and re-orgs, etc.) that could end that job in an instant and without warning. The only way I could envision being as cavalier toward my financial future as the OP would be if I absolutely loved my job and had an ironclad contract guaranteeing my employment there for the long term.
7/10/2018 8:43:34
Going through just this and created a throwaway to share a bit more information than generally comfortable.

I went through an MBA at a top 2 European business school and took an M&A job at a bulge bracket bank in London thereafter. I found that while I was well paid, more and more of my focus became on engineering the exact second I would have saved enough money to quit my soul-destroying job. This in a nutshell is a tell tale sign of when to find something new. You should not be spending the majority of your time thinking about when you can quit your job. Your job should be slightly more interesting to you than that.

In any case I have since found something new and am in the process of moving across to it. The new job is likely to pay 20% less (pre-tax) in the short-term but increase my happiness by a substantial amount AND (most importantly) extend my interest in working multiple more years. The last point was the clincher for me. Whilst I am super interested in becoming FI, I am equally interested in finding something that I spend the majority of my day doing that stimulates me.

If it take me marginally longer to become FI, well the sacrifice in time will be hugely worth it in happiness.
7/10/2018 8:44:06
I've been contemplating this very thing here lately. I'm paid very well for a relatively easy job (IT Engineer), but over the years its grown from a great place to work with wonderful people. To a corporate shell that sucks the fun out of everything. I'm at the point now where I'm considering leaving and finding a job that is more satisfying to me. If I need to sacrifice pay then so be it. Its funny I don't think I'll ever really retire from anything. FIRE it me is about the freedom to just do what I want, when I want. I'll always have some job, but it will be something meaningful.