I’m Afraid I’m Going to Quit Before I’m Financially Independent

This is one of those weeks where I could so easily throw in the towel.

(I make no apologies – there is some ranting in this post. Sometimes I just need to get things off my chest).

I had a couple of black days on my tracker and that combined with the beautiful weather we are having means I am yearning to be free of this job millstone and get on with real living. 

Please Ask Nicely

It was a week where I tested the “Invoking the FU Clause” philosophy.  I don’t take kindly to demands on the best of days. So when an email arrived from the CFO entitled “Mandatory Finance Conference” my hackles were instantly raised. Penned no doubt, atop his gilded throne from his Silicon Valley Ivory tower, his email dictated that “in the unlikely event you are unable to attend, you must obtain approval from the VP for your attendance to be waived”.

Excuse me? You want me to leave my family for a week, give up two weekends, fly eleven hours across the world to do something that falls outside my every day job responsibilities – and if I am not able to make that happen, I need to ask permission…..???

Did it ever occur to him to ask nicely for people’s cooperation instead of demanding?

The fact is, I have already resolved to no longer travel for work. I was never going to attend this conference no matter how it was presented. But it’s the principle of the thing that really gets my goat. And that’s why, when asked by my boss whether I had registered my attendance yet, I replied with a somewhat snarky, “Well, with or without approval, I won’t be attending”.

Hmmm. I am yet to receive a response; I guess we will discuss on my 1-2-1 next week. But you know what? I don’t care. She can say what she likes, I refuse to ask permission for not being able to attend something that is not part of my day job. And that’s where the FU fund is worth its weight in gold. I don’t need to worry about any consequences.

Out Come the Spreadsheets

Needless to say, the spreadsheets are out though 😊. My financials are in good shape and I am at Lean FIRE stage – in theory I could give my notice and walk away now. And I am really really tempted. Things would be tight, at least until the boys leave home, and there would be no padding and a very lean existence. If the market plummeted and stayed low for an extended period, my finances would be toast. It’s not the early retirement lifestyle I planned for and I really want to keep earning at this high rate until I reach my true FIRE number so things are more secure.

I’ve talked before about items I have already removed from the FIRE budget. And now I find myself scrutinising all over again, except this time I wonder if I am playing a dangerous game – tweaking the plan to fit my circumstances because I am desperate to already “be there” instead of seeing the plan through.

The thing is, I have form for this. I get close to something, soooo close. And then right at the last minute, with the end in sight, instead of seeing through my original plan I move the goalposts.

Angel vs Devil

I can think of a few times in my life where I’ve acted the same way, angel on one shoulder, devil on the other.

The first time goes back to my school days. As a teenager, friendships didn’t come easy to me and girls can be so cruel. Consequently my school years were hard and I struggled to concentrate and listen in class. I was forever staring out of the window and wishing I was free. Which meant a couple of months before exams I would have to teach myself the entire course. This I would diligently do, setting and sticking to a gruelling timetable, putting in the hours night after night. I would keep this up, never wavering, eye on the prize.

And then a couple of days before the exams my inner devil would drown out the angel and my whole attitude would change. Ready or not I would stop working and do nothing but watch tv until the exams were all over. I’d tell myself I’d done enough, that I was ready, even though there were unfinished topics to cover on my timetable.

This happened again and again through my school years. I would work really really hard until the last minute and then I would hit a wall and change the rules to fit my mindset.

The second example is later in life, shortly after my second child was born when it’s fair to say I had more than a little excess weight to lose. Absolutely determined, I joined WeightWatchers and attended meetings every single week. I read everything there was to read about healthy eating and losing weight, planned meticulously every mouthful I was to eat in a week and set to work at the task. Month after month I watched the weight come off, monitoring the numbers and tracking my progress with pretty spreadsheets and graphs 😀.

And then with the target goal just a couple of pounds and probably two weeks away, my inner devil popped up again. I had the overwhelming feeling that enough was enough and I was done. I had a chat with the group leader and we agreed I’d lost “enough”. So we changed my goal weight and I went out to celebrate.

Falling at the Final Hurdle

Spot the pattern? I fear that I’m here again. I am so close to a lifetime of freedom and choice. I know that my best option is to keep my head down and get on with it. In the context of my whole working life I am so nearly there. But likely reality is still two and a half years. Changing jobs won’t help, only the passing of time will. I will kick myself if I kill this golden goose before all her eggs are laid.

But I’m scared that I will.

(986 days)


Let’s Chat

Have you ever sabotaged your own success? Do you find it harder to stay committed to a goal, the closer you get?

30 thoughts on “I’m Afraid I’m Going to Quit Before I’m Financially Independent”

  1. Sorry to hear about that travel demand!

    However, I’m not sure there’s a true pattern – in the first two cases (ie exams and weight loss), you consciously made the decision to stop (for whatever reason). It was your choice to do so.

    Here, you have been left with no alternative but to stop (working at your company). Yes, you are nearly at your FI goal but instead of you moving the goal posts, they’ve been moved for you and you’re quitting/about to quit because it’s sounds like it’s the best option for you and your family.

    Yours is probably one of the best examples of having a FU Fund, where you can walk away and not be worried about your finances. True, you mention that it’s going to be a lean retirement but since you can’t really consider another full-time role (as it won’t help with your son’s health), perhaps you might consider part-time work or upping your matched betting (!) and other ‘side hustles’ to supplement your income?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a good way of looking at it, that it’s not me that’s moved the goalposts. I must admit I have started to look around at the part time market. Not that I’m absolutely there yet – I will stick it out as long as I can under these new circumstances – but never hurts to know what’s around. Upping my matched betting is a definite option – with all the competing demands on my time, I’ve let it go a bit lately, which is mad considering there is money there just sitting on the table.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, quite an update, and really sorry to hear that. I dislike such offsites myself, but save special resentment for anything that tries to take my time without my consent. That said, if people didn’t do things like that, work would be better and I wouldn’t be FI’ing. The greater goal might be FI – but even if for you that proves to be the case, I would be SO tempted to give him equally little consideration and notice when you do FI – notice on Friday, empty desk and gone on Monday.

    Do you have an idea why such a sudden & critical offsite is needed? Whatever the background it’s a poorly thought out way to set it up, but might there be a reason? (An added aspect might be that in the US, Japan and such like there is far greater expectation that people will just drop things for the company, much more so than in Europe, so culture might play a part).

    Intriguing too your childhood, and tendency to ‘self sabotage’ (if that’s an appropriate way to express it?) at the very last minute. In each case you mentioned, you already proved yourself more than capable of achieving the target, so intriguing to consistently step out at the last moment?

    From your work position and description of past application and aptitude, I imagine you would make a success of whichever path you chose. Question might be if it will be shorter and tougher (current job), or longer but perhaps more enjoyable.

    I’m writing this as much because I think the same things myself, over much the same issues. And, while we wait for life, life passes…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love that phrase “save special resentment” – you sound like a kindred spirit 😊
      I think it is a cultural thing – being a US company where it seems to be the norm to expect your employees to drop everything at anytime, which is far less common in the U.K.
      You have had me thinking about self-sabotage the last few days. I don’t know why I do it – if that’s what I’m doing. Although Weenie has a point that this time it is more external forces, I wonder if I am “using” those external forces a little – an uncomfortable thought, but something I am mulling over. Studying psychology is on my list for early retirement pastimes!
      Thanks for your encouragement – the million dollar question does seem to be shorter and tougher or longer and more enjoyable….I will persevere as long as I can and then take stock.
      I would love to hear if / when you make any decisions around these areas 😊


      1. The phrasing absolutely reflects how that impacts me. Whether I like or dislike, I think I can cope with most things as being just uncomfortable steps on the way to a bigger objective. What I intensely dislike is when someone acts as though they presume to have greater say over my time than I do.

        Time may well be money – and we can strongly influence the exchange rate of time into money – but the exchange rate of money to time is a big fat zero. So if a decision is to be made about my time, I want to be the one making it – that’s what FI is all about.

        Still – the objective of FI remains the same. The boss (incorrectly!) thinks they have that right – the question is whether it is in your long-term best interest to make clear their error? Even if we dislike it in that moment, acting as they would expect might be the best thing in the long term?

        My own work environment does sound very similar. It has a very strong culture of presenteeism, working late, and working on holiday. That is the area where I’ve put the most effort so that I am the one to draw my own lines – I will work late if critical, but otherwise absolutely not. If I’m needed on holiday you can call me – but it better be an emergency. These are things I do for me personally, but I also think they are a proper example to the people in my team, and are little blows to make the world a better place. World population has more than doubled since I was born, and productivity has increased far more. That we need more and more people working longer and longer (when they prefer not to) shows a spectacular failure of our ideas and systems (or a spectacular success – depends maybe who is judging it?)

        Decisions around these areas are really tough. I do think that anything done in haste / heat of the moment is a risk to be counter-productive. I typically make small changes, step by step, and try to demonstrate that success can come by other approaches.

        On the ‘self-sabotage’ – I have a tendency to leave projects until I absolutely need to do them, but then I completely go overboard on them. I’d had that explained that I have a severely perfectionist approach. If I leave things till the last minute, that will serve as my excuse (to myself!) if the result is below the standard I need. I wondered you had a similar personality quirk that came through in your last minute relaxation! I just live with mine – the alternative is that I’d spend ALL the time available tweaking and honing things…and that’s not an option I like 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Every day that you can keep your head down, without having to go abroad/away, brings you another step closer to FIRE. Your FU fund has already kicked in allowing you to say it as it is to your manager. The US manager is a dick and not worth a thought, he might even be doing you a favour in the long run.

    You might already be at lean FIRE but if you left tomorrow it doesn’t mean you’ll ever earn money again. Side hustles, consultancy, matched betting, monetizing your blog (!) are all choices you can dip into if you leave and have time on your hands. Might be just what the doctor ordered! But, stick with the job one day at a time for now, always be ready to go. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! He is indeed! 😂
      Thanks so much for your support and encouragement. I would never have guessed before writing this blog what a difference it makes to have some like-minded and supportive people on my side – a big thank you 👏


  4. Prior to retiring I had corporate overlords that could summon me with little notice to the far away HQ for meetings that might or might not be in my specific “need to know” area. But to me that is just part of the job. You simply do not get to decide what work you are going to do, you have to instead do what is assigned to you. You are exchanging your time for their money and if you take the money then you’ve got to provide the time. Saying “I’m not going no matter what!” or demanding they justify just why they want you there is not acceptable behavior. You aren’t going to last another 2.5 years acting like that, or you wouldn’t in my former corporate environment. Maybe it is different at your place, I hope so.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know that this corporate culture is common place and for many years I have just done as I was told, somewhat resentfully, but I have done it. I don’t agree that we have to be at their beck and call though – when it involves travelling so far and when it eats into so much personal time. Good management style would have been to engage with people and foster support for the event – this feels more like a dictatorship.
      I agree with you though, you are absolutely right – I am not going to last another 2.5 years acting like that. One way or another, it will likely come to a head before then.


  5. Had a situation recently when one of the high up bosses messaged me to ask if I could in the coming week head to their office to chat through a few things, unknowingly to him he’d messaged at a badtime of the day when I was deep sorting out someone elses mess. My response was quick, probably ilthought out and maybe in hinesight could be read in a blunt way, ‘Sorry, too busy, can do it over the phone’, with a heticent reply recieved of ‘Ok’ then silence.

    The next week my immediate manager phoned me to update me, took all of two minutes. My first thought was good job I didn’t waste 2 days of my and companies time for a couple of minutes of news, then when it had sunk in it became wow if I had of gone I would of been mightily cheesed off. I have no issue with going to other offices but I need to understand the benefit it’ll give to all parties.

    Unusally I take too long over analysing situations, thinking of plausable ways of presenting a reason for not doing something when keeping it simple tends to be the best way.

    So my response would be just ‘Unavailable’ and I’d leave it at that, if another response was heavily pushed for then my reply would be ‘family commitments’. Yours sounds 100x worst.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My response was also quick and ill thought out. I’m really glad yours worked out ok. I think sometimes pushing back a bit can be helpful – always hard to know how it will play out.
      I agree with keeping it simple – that would be the clever way to play this.


  6. My thoughts are you have many ways to play this.

    I think your game should be to aim to get exactly what you want, i.e. no travel and work 2.5 years till your FIRE numbers. But in order to do this, you’ll need to think differently – your aim should be not to get sacked and to give less f*cks at work. So the CFO has poor comms skills issuing a demand, I’d move your energy from being upset at that and use the energy on devising a plan around it. And when it gets really bad, what’s your sick leave policy?

    Or you could quit and you will be fine – there are plenty other jobs out there – perhaps 4 years at a nicer job is more palatable? And with our regressive taxation, the drop in income should not be steep.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I guess if I’m killing it with other areas of my job I can get away with avoiding the travel for longer. I lost my focus a bit and my motivation, but I should adopt this attitude. Sounds like it’s working for you – thanks 😊


    1. Agreed – I am going to need to be a bit smarter about it if I want this to work. Love that comment – I am going to repeat to myself on the way to work, “don’t get sacked but give less f***s!” It may just help me survive that bit longer 😊


  7. Hello,
    my first comment even I read already in the past weeks 🙂
    Same for me is difficult to accept something completely different in our life after years and years of same routine… you are not alone :).

    To switch to our retirement moment (even we still have 10 years) I already started to live, now, in the way i am dreaming to live in my retirement: more sport, more holidays, more time for hobbies. So I say no to overtime at my job, and ask days off unpaid – 2 months of holidays is great now.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Claudia – welcome! It always helps to know that others feel the same.That’s fabulous that you can do that, 2 months of holidays is fantastic. I know that would be refused at my place sadly.


  9. This such a thought provoking, awesome post. Most of us have those type of encounters everyday in the professional setting…. yet we do nothing about it.

    We just hope that if we continue to comply we will continue to climb up that proverbial ladder… smh. Thanks for this little piece of awesomeness!


  10. I’ve just immersed myself in your backstory and history. This seems to be an incredibly difficult situation you are in and one you don’t deserve.

    From what I have read (started this morning) you seem to be an intelligent, resourceful individual. Part of me can’t help but think to stay a couple more years is wasting this; especially with the finances, you have at your disposal. I genuinely believe you would achieve with whatever you put your mind to.

    You are currently shackled and even though it would be leaving on a number lower than you originally wanted I think it would open up new opportunities, fresh perspective and I have no doubt you would achieve more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ryan – thank you for your kind words. It is so helpful to hear other people’s perspectives and reassuring too. It is hard to be rational sometimes about my own position. I am getting more confident that this will be the case – not quite there yet, but getting there. I would like to print out what you wrote and frame it – you made my day! 🙂


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