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