A race against insanity – 2

“Get the fucking loan, then get the fuck out.”

It’s weird how memories work. I had almost forgotten that I wrote a very similar blog post 18 months ago.

Yesterday I was dragged into a meeting at work. It lasted for 90 minutes, until 8 pm. It was mostly a meeting where I was yelled at because of ongoing issues with the team’s process. My manager was clearly refraining from stating out loud that it was not only my responsibility, but that the current situation was entirely my fault. It didn’t help that the other person in the meeting used the opportunity to dump her own mistakes onto me.

I won’t pretend that I’ve been doing a perfect work and that I’m not to blame. My current team has terrible processes in place, and it’s part of my role to fix them. I’ve done a sub-par job at that since I joined. Partially because it’s tough, partially because I don’t care and I’m not trying really hard. As I’ve stated before, I wish I could tell you that financial independence has made me a better employee. It did not: all I want is to get out of here as fast as I can.

A quick recap for those who have not been stalking me. We’re pretty much FI right now (more precisely, my side gig combined with my investments should cover for our living expenses), but there’s one thing still in the way: we need a house. To get the house, we need a loan, and to get the loan, I need proof that I have a stable job.

In other words, I have to stick to it until we find a house we actually want to buy, start the process to get the loan, at which point I can request proof of employment from my company, then be done with it.

“Get the fucking loan, then get the fuck out” has pretty much been my mantra for a couple of months, and it’s been even more vivid as of yesterday evening.

As a technical program manager for my company, my job basically has two aspects: 1) Figure out efficient solutions to complex technical problems and 2) manage the schedule to achieve those projects. I excel at 1), and I’m sub-par at 2). Unfortunately for me, in this new team there’s been 0% of technical problems to discuss and 100% of schedule management. In some ways you could say I’m a disgustingly overpaid team secretary who’s bad at his job, that wouldn’t be too far from the truth currently.

So, I could easily pretend that I was mis-cast for the role, but hey, let’s face it, there’s a good half of my job description that I suck at. I could also look back at how I made poor career decisions that led me to leave the engineering role into that one, although it’s not like I loved my job as an engineer either. But at least I was good at it.

“Get the fucking loan, then get the fuck out.”

So, instead, the constructive thing to do is to suck it up, and focus my energy on finding a house.

On that aspect, we’ve been having a hard time too. Our visits of plots of land so far have shown us that our expectations might be a bit too high, or our budget a bit too low. So far, the places we’ve seen, at a “reasonable” distance from Tokyo (one of my conditions – less than 1h30 away from Shinjuku) and with decent public transportation (less than 15 minutes walk from a train station) are either too small or too expensive. “Too small” happening more often than “too expensive”, by the way. So I’m not even sure that increasing the house budget would help that much, and we might have to change some of our expectations, in particular looking further away from Tokyo.

In the name of moving faster though, this week I’ve tried to convince my wife to proceed with company Ichijo, as they’ve been recommended to me by a bunch of folks over at retirejapan. One problem with my wife is that she can never commit to a decision, and if I let her drive the whole thing, it could take a full year before we even know what company to work with. I have the opposite problem, which is that I make decisions too quickly. Hopefully we balance each other out.

By committing to a specific company, they could help accelerate the process of finding the right place, at the right price. Or so I’ve been told. So I have hopes that by moving forward with Ichijo, we can find a place faster.

Alternatively, I could give up on the idea of a loan entirely, and pay for a house cash. This is not the right financial decision, but could be better for my sanity. Playing with cfiresim a bit, I found that I’d need to work a good additional year in order to afford to do that. In absolute, that’s pretty impressive, but I’m not sure I can hold that long. And it kind of defeats the point if the goal is to get out earlier. Honestly, I give myself until June or July this year before I start exploding in meetings. So ideally we’ll find a place by then.

“Get the fucking loan, then get the fuck out”.

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