My family and I have been looking into going back to Japan, to start working on the next phases of our FIRE plan: move back to Japan, keep the job in order to get a mortgage at a good rate, then ultimately ditch the job.
I’ve been working on the plan of course, and recently got an informal confirmation from a team in Japan (within my company) that they have a position for me. The offer will come “soon”, is what I was told about 2 weeks ago.
I’m a person who has a hard time enjoying the “now”, in particular if there’s some big change coming soon, and moreover when it comes to work. My current position at work used to be bearable. Now that I know that I’ll be ditching it “soon”, it’s borderline hell.
Not that my coworkers are bad people, or that the projects are worse than before, but it is extremely hard for me to focus on a project when I know that it’s very likely I won’t be the one working on it in, say, 4 weeks. Frankly, 4 weeks is very short, and that’s the reasonable time span I would need to stay in my current team once I receive an offer from Japan.
And, call me unethical, but I’ve been operating under the assumption that I would be out soon, and as a result I’ve been procrastinating even more, if that was even possible.
My projects are suffering for it, but it’s not completely visible yet. It feels a bit like I’m in one of those action movies where the building is burning, and I’m going to escape right the second before it explodes. So long suckers, and good luck to anyone who has to get this project back on track! Except there’s no action scenes in the movie of my worklife. It’s all TPS reports and effing meetings. And if that offer does not come soon, I might end up exploding with the building before I can escape. crap.
Of course I’m not trying to burn bridges here. I’ll still be working for the same company for some time, after all. So I still do the stuff that urgently needs to be done. But I’ve become an expert at pretending I deeply care about the project, when in practice, I don’t. Don’t do this at home, kids, this blog post is done by highly trained professionals. If you attempt to do it, you’ll probably realize that procrastinating and faking is not only at least as much work as real work, it is also deeply unsatisfying and could lead to severe depression.
I realized this morning that the only satisfaction I’ve had (in a looooong time) at work is when I jump for 10 minutes on social media to check news related to my hobby (which is my side gig). Then I get all excited thinking of blog posts I could be writing, people to contact, and new opportunities for this hobby, I enter some sort of dreamlike trance for a few minutes, probably as some dopamine gets released. After a few minutes of that high, some watchdog wakes up inside my brain to wake me up. The internal monologue goes like this: “Oh, hey, weird, seems like I’m enjoying my day at work today, what’s going on? Oh, no, wait, I’ve actually been thinking of my side gig for the past 20 minutes, not doing my actual work. That’s why. Back to those TPS reports”. Needless to say, the dopamine levels drop instantly and I go back into withdrawal mode.
I was thinking about this earlier today, and find it… interesting, for lack of another word, that I’m technically financially independent (or something close), and still manage to be so unhappy at my job, while sticking with it because it is the fastest (and financially most efficient) way I can think of to get to where I want to be in a couple years. Any sane person in my position would probably ditch the job. But then it would make the plan much harder to enact (I’d have to figure out a way to move my family to Japan by ourselves, and then good luck getting a mortgage without a job). So, yeah, I’m basically unhappy 8 hours a day, and that’s not counting the many other moments of the week when I’m stressing about the next day at work.
That’s nothing really new, but what’s made it worse recently is that offer which is supposed to come “soon” and that hasn’t come yet. Of course, I ping my future manager daily on this, and he’s “following up” but it’s “in the hands of HR” and “these things take time” and “they’ll get back to you by the end of the week, if they don’t please ping me again”.
I switch between phases of intense despair where I can’t see anything else than my current job going on forever, grinding on the day to day tasks, and others where I think: “tomorrow, I’ll be receiving this offer, and then I’ll enter the bliss of the transition phase, where I have nothing to do for one month but ensure that whoever replaces me gets invited to all my meetings.”
I’ve complained about my work a lot already, and people who read this blog regularly probably know by now that I’m the kind of person who has a hard time enjoying life when one aspect of it is not working as expected. With work being such an important part, and since my work has not been satisfying for a long time, I’m actually amazed that I’m not just completely depressed (ha, “the positive point of my job is that I’m not clinically depressed yet”. How’s that for a resume title?).
People have many times suggested that I change jobs to find something more satisfying until I reach my goals. But, isn’t resilience part of why we succeed in FI? Because we’re able to stay the course in a much stable way than most people? I mean, of course, this resilience applies to holding your diversified stock, but to me it also applies to the rest of the plan. The best plan I found is to be in this high paying job, get it to send me to Japan sometime soon, and stick with it for a few more months.