Why do I want to quit my job?
The fact that I want to quit my job has been a driving force for me seeking FIRE over the past four years. Some days I cannot understand how some people enjoy their jobs. But, I think in classic millennial style I was raised believing that I can achieve anything (but I’m going to have to work for it).
I love pursuing my passions:
- cross stitching (wow, I sound old)
- spending time with friends and family
- watching documentaries and HGTV
But none of the above items would as easily translate into a well paying job like engineering does. In the end, I guess I’ve always known I wanted to quit my job.
Can I even quit my job? Is that a viable option?
Even though I was solidly middle class, my family lived in a fairly affluent city. Many of my friends’ parents were stay-at-home parents or retired young (mostly by selling a business). Many of the families that I babysat for multiple times per week had a stay-at-home parent, and they were able to afford for that parent to get some time alone (by paying me!) to pursue their hobbies and maintain friendships. This type of life seemed idyllic, even from my young age. I chose engineering (as an 18 year old senior), and locked myself into that choice basically by going to Michigan Tech, which is primarily an engineering school. I grew up wanting to be a teacher, but I was discouraged from that profession by some family friends since I loved math, and they knew my career prospects would be greatly improved by going into engineering. Engineering always felt like a placeholder, a way to make money before I can fulfill my passions. I figured out pretty quickly after I started working full time (yay DINK status!) that we would have a fairly sizable surplus. Finding FIRE and the awesome community that makes up FIRE, I realized how I could leverage and increase that surplus income to pursuing my passions full time in the near future.
I now have reached “half FI,” and I feel like I have many more options available. While I think in general, I still work harder than my money (I earn more annually than my portfolio increases), I have a strong safety net where I have over a decade of living expenses saved. I almost feel safe to quit my job. Thanks fully to my wonderful husband who is fully employed. I was so close to pulling the trigger a couple of weeks ago, but logic won out. I have so much savings power by working now and the main future plan (having kids) is still not fully planned out. I’d hate to have kids in a few years, and regret now working pre-kids so they could have two stay-at-home parents. I definitely understand the one more year syndrome.
I want to quit my job to bring balance to my life. Engineering has helped make that an option, and I may be safely(ish) at FI now. Mr. Kiwi has no intention of quitting anytime soon, but he may look for a new engineering job, since he is bored currently, and he may go back to school (woot! engineering, so it’d be fully paid for with a stipend that should cover our cost of living). The balance in our relationship, my time, and our daily life has been lacking since the headache came on a little over three years ago.
Living with chronic pain, is a daily challenge for both of us. Work is a much easier task for Mr. Kiwi to take on, since it is more mentally stimulating and less physically demanding than many of the household tasks. Thus I take on most of the cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, yard work, finances, and other routine tasks. After work, he meditates, stretches, relaxes, and makes me laugh. Mr. Kiwi, is also our household plumber and puts in the majority of the labor on home improvement projects that go beyond painting. This division is certainly not fair, but it also plays to our strengths overall. We are definitely able to spend time enjoying life together, but after putting in a full day of work, his productivity is mostly shot by the time we reach the driveway. Since, all the household stuff still needs to take place, and I enjoy finding time for my hobbies and working out, this greatly takes away from the time we are able to spend together.
While taking care of our household isn’t a full time job, we are saving ~70% of our income right now, so we don’t really need two full time incomes.
Sometimes I lash out at Mr. Kiwi, in regards to this unequal division of labor (I am working on this!). But I fully understand that he is contributing greatly in the relationship and for the household by working his full time job, focusing on his mental health, and coping with chronic pain. Hopefully, in the future when I do actually quit my job, the balance of me having the day to care for the home and pursue my passions will strengthen our bond and help us both deal with the chronic pain a little better.
I see so many benefits to spending time focused on my values, but I also enjoy the security of a salary. I have a fairly easy job, with relatively nice coworkers, and a miserable boss (I miss my old boss!). Someday I will quit my job, but that day is not today.