It’s Official – I FIRED the 9 to 5!

Hello and long time no speak! Apologies for the break in posting – life got a bit too much there for a while and some things had to give. But the big news is – I actually did it! I resigned from my job in December and have left the Corporate world far behind.

I am still getting used to the idea and genuinely wake up smiling to myself every day, wondering whether this can be real 🙂 So how did it all play out?

It Was Only a Matter of Time

Regular readers of this blog will know that I had been having a tough year career-wise and was becoming increasingly frustrated with all things work related.

The travel demands of the job and regularly leaving my family when they needed the stability of a regular routine were taking their toll on all of us. My youngest was missing more and more school due to sickness – almost always when I was either away with work or on a day where I was commuting to another office and leaving the house before he was awake.

The ever increasing demands of the workplace were unrelenting. I felt owned 24/7 by a company that acted both as angel and devil in my life. The company itself was not bad – indeed far from it. The salary, the benefits, the flexibility to work (mostly) wherever I chose, the gadgets, the free food, the gym membership, the family healthcare – the list of positives was long. And when compared to the places where friends worked and the paltry rewards they received for far more important roles (teachers, midwives, nurses) I felt spoiled and ungrateful – how could I even think of leaving this behind?

And yet inside, I was slowly being destroyed. Forcing myself to act every day in a high profile role that was totally against my introvert nature was exhausting. My self-worth was on the floor when I thought about the projects I undertook – streamlining the workforce, squeezing profit margins at the expense of people’s well-being. The measure of whether I did a good job was in incremental points of profit improvement; the human element completely ignored. And for what? I didn’t save any lives or deliver any babies.

It’s Not You It’s Me

At different stages of my life, the corporate life has worked in my favour. Having a successful career in such a lucrative field was the most important factor in getting to this financial position. Spending less than you earn is not difficult when you earn a good salary. So this feeling of dissatisfaction and unease says more about me and my stage in life than the corporate life itself. In spite of  my unhappiness over the last couple of years, I would still encourage my children to pursue this type of career if that’s what they wanted. It will serve them well.

But for me, now, middle-aged, stable, financially secure – other things are more important. When I asked myself what do I want more of in my life – time or money, there was no contest.

The Catalyst

Change can be hard. It is sometimes easier to go with the flow, drift along, think to yourself – one more week, one more month, one more year – than to make a decision to change. And this is what I had been doing for a long time. The pendulum swung from stay to go on a daily basis and the indecision was exhausting.

But life isn’t meant to be lived that way – surviving instead of thriving. I was worn down, stressed, overweight and drinking too much as I sought coping mechanisms for continuing to sell my soul. And when one of my children was diagnosed with a heart condition requiring surgery, the walls came tumbling down.

Life has a funny way of forcing perspective. Faced with this situation, everything except my nearest and dearest became insignificant in an instant. Living only in the moment, I cared nothing for my email inbox or the quarter end or the conference calls I was missing – they didn’t even cross my mind.

The company were incredibly supportive and gave me the time I needed to be with my family without question and for this I will always be grateful. The surgery was a success and cutting a long story short my son bounced back to health as young people do. But I had underestimated the toll the whole episode would take on me when I was in an unhealthy and stressed state and once he was fully recovered, I found myself depressed and anxious and struggling with everyday life.

I took a further leave of absence from work to focus on getting myself back to full health and it soon became apparent that the best option for me was to never return. And so the decision was made.

The Next Chapter

A month later and it hasn’t properly sunk in that this new freedom is real. I’m still in the recovery phase for sure. Counselling and medication have pulled me from the depths of depression. But years of burning the candle at both ends and operating on high alert are not easily forgotten.

Every day is now a treasure. I’m not exaggerating when I say I smile to myself every single morning. My life is calm and quiet; I spend hours outside, walking through woodlands and around lakes with my dog, enjoying the crisp cold days, the fresh air and the solitude. One of the favourite parts of my day has become pausing at a bridge over a stream, watching the water tumble over the stones in a tiny waterfall and thinking about nothing. Back at home, I have hot coffee and an endless supply of books to read until the boys return from school and force some structure.

What’s next? I have no idea. But I’m looking forward to finding out.

 

 

39 thoughts on “It’s Official – I FIRED the 9 to 5!”

  1. Massive congratulations. Now you can relax and decompress. Sounds like you have made a good start on that! Keep posting updates look forward to hearing more.

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  2. Brilliant!

    Massive respect for you taking the plunge on this I wish you well. Like you say people forget their most limited resource is time

    If its not too nosy and you’re willing to share a post about the numbers in the future and how you make this work would be really interesting for me at least

    Also your feeling and thoughts as you go along.

    Do you think you will do some other job? Albeit in a less corporate environment?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks FBA. Yes. I will post something about the numbers. Believe it or not, I have not updated them for a few months – something that hasn’t happened ever before. Goes to show how disengaged from everything you can become when you hit bottom. Bouncing back up now though and will put something up on that soon.
      Not ruling out the possibility of a part time job at some time – hoping I have many years in front of me. Definitely no full time though and no corporate.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Been waiting for this post for a while and it was worth the wait! 🙂 Massive congratulations to you. It can’t have been an easy decision but you did it and now you get to smile every morning! I look forward to hearing what the next phase of your life will be and hope you will continue to document your FIREd life!

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  4. So sorry your son had such a worrying diagnosis but great news he has bounced back. Things like this absolutely put real life into perspective.

    Sometimes it takes a shocking thing to make us wake up and realise what we need to do. Huge congratulations that you’ve done it, walked away from those big numbers. From now on, smaller numbers and family are all that matters.

    So very, very pleased for you and your boys. I bet you being home every days has been a real positive for them too.

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  5. CONGRATULATIONS!!! And welcome back! I was just looking through your site yesterday wondering when you would return ☺️. So happy to hear that your son is feeling better and that you took this step for yourself. I’m so excited for you and eager to see what your future holds 😃. Thank you so much for updating us!

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  6. Congratulations. Amazing what a tonic for the soul it is not being shackled to a job.

    I completely emphasise with being an introvert in a corporate world. So much of what I’m pushed to do in my job just doesn’t sit well with my personality. I don’t care about being good at pitching, having high levels of client contact or building a “personal brand”. I just want to be left to get on with the more bookish side of my job in peace.

    I’m a long way from being able to quit the job yet, but hearing the stories of people that have managed it keeps me going.

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    1. Thank you. I’m glad reading this and others like it is helping. Blogs are what opened my eyes to the possibilities and to believing it really could be done. As you get closer, you will find it easier to say no to all those parts of your job you don’t like – as you need the money less and less.

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  7. I’m pleased your son bounced back, hopefully he is better than new now.

    Congratulations on starting the next phase of your life. If you’re anything like me, it may take you much longer than you might expect to unwind and decompress. You can take your time with it, now you have all the time in the world!

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  8. I am pleased your boy has recovered. That must be huge relief. I envy you the peace and solitude of the country walks. I often sit in my office and daydream of doing the same. Do keep up the posts and remember to try and do something each day that makes you happy.

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  9. Awesome mate, that is fantastic news. Take it easy for a little bit, things will come on their own. I remember it took me some 8months before I had my first night of 8hr sleep. it takes a while to decompress and relearn a few basic things following the 9-5.

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  10. Wow, a ton of feelings about this and it’s so relatable! Congrats on the good news about your son and enjoy staring at that stream for a while longer!

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  11. Welcome back! I was worried something awful had happened. I’m glad to know that both you and your son are doing better now. Congratulations on firing the 9to5! That’s amazing news and sounds like just what you needed. Take a good long break to do only what you feel like doing and enjoy every second of it!

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  12. Fantastic stuff – massive congratulations and it sounds 100% like the correct decision. Really hope you carry on posting because I’d really like to see how life on the other side goes. I have school age kids too and at the moment I’m struggling to see what I’d do with myself between drop off and pick up once I’ve reached FI in a couple of years. Perhaps life in the office has stunted by creative thought – there’s a whole world out there – hope you find what you want out there!

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    1. Thanks. I can honestly say I haven’t been bored for a second. There are so many things to do, I still feel like there’s not enough time in the day to fit everything in. I’ve always been this way though in my free time – never found it difficult to entertain myself. Perhaps look at your weekends now – if they are filled only with family activities then yes, it might be a struggle to adjust, but as you say, there’s a whole world out there and maybe you just need some headspace to see it.

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  13. Wow, what a good news. About your son and leaving the 9to5!
    Looking forward to your future posts. The last part of this one reads like a meditation session for the ones still in the 9-5, like me. 🙂

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  14. I’m so pleased to hear that your son’s treatment was successful and that he is back to good health. As a parent, there is just nothing more important is there!

    Congratulations on FIREing, too. For me, it was a more gentle transition to retirement (I chose to do 4 ‘one more years’ working part time from home). However you do it, there is always a fair amount of mental adjustment to do once the honeymoon period is over. But things fall into place and you suddenly realise that you are building a great new life – even if there are a few wobbly bits along the way!

    Enjoy your new freedoms, and it’s great to have you back. Who knows, perhaps we can look forward to lots more posts now you have more time on your hands (she says, cheekily!)

    Jane in London

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  15. I’m sure you could imagine infinitely preferable ways of easing into FI, and glad to hear your son is back to health. But the silver lining to that enormous cloud sounds like the nudge into FI.
    I’m looking forward to future blogs telling us how is the reality compared to the dream, and all of the planning. What advice would you give from ‘the other side’?!

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    1. Yes, it wasn’t the exit I was expecting. After all those years of planning, it was nothing like I imagined. But the dust is settling now and I’m easing into my new life. I will be posting more from the other side 🙂

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