I know you don’t hear this often from a FIRE blogger, but I actually like my job. I know, it sounds crazy.
I am on a journey towards financial independence and early retirement. Not because I am tired of working, but because I want to spend more time on other things (family, friends, hobbies) and less time on working.
My purpose with retirement is not to avoid work forever. I just want to be able to take time off, work part-time and work full-time whenever I feel like it. For me, it is about having the freedom to choose.
As a management consultant, I work in a demanding and time-consuming job where I work more hours than most people.
However, there’s many good things about the job as well, and I must confess that I enjoy being at work (most of the time).
So, what is it about working I enjoy?
I like the people
For me, the people at my company are the most important part of my work. I get to work with super smart, funny, kind and ambitious people.
I work with people who are as young as I am and are at the same point in their lives, so we have a lot in common.
I have a lot of fun when I am at work. The chats by the coffee machine, stories at lunch and the obligatory Friday beer are things I enjoy a lot.
Plus, I always feel like the stupidest person in the room amongst my colleagues, so I look up to them and there’s always plenty for me to learn.
I like the challenges
I really like the challenges I get at work. I consider my job challenging, but not challenging in the same way as other physically or mentally hard jobs (teachers, nurses, construction workers, assembly line workers etc.) that I have the biggest respect for.
I sit by a desk all day, but I can have an infinite number of breaks, people are respectful, and I don’t have a rude boss, so my job is challenging in other ways.
Every day I get to solve problems for some of the largest companies in the world. I love trying to figure out how to solve a problem together with my team and how to make a positive impact on companies and real people’s lives.
I get to present in front of hundreds of people, discuss with CEOs and convince boards frequently. This can be stressful and nerve-wracking, but it is all a lot of fun too. My work days usually fly by and are never boring, so I’m never just staring at my clock trying to get my shift to end.
I like the perks
I’m not going to lie. I really like the perks of my job. Being in a full-time job (especially in Scandinavia) comes with a lot of perks that early retirement cannot give me.
I’m writing this post 35,881 feet above Greenland sitting in a business class seat. It’s Monday and I am on my way to work.
Traveling is not my kind of thing – I don’t like to be away from friends and family, but many jobs come with traveling and I am mostly spared. When we are traveling we eat at nice restaurants, stay in great hotels and fly luxuriously, so I can’t complain. The miles from this trip alone will cover 5-6 nights on my next vacation with my wife.
We have free phone, free computer, free dry cleaner, free home internet, free… You get the point. Unfortunately, this comes at the cost of free time (see what I did there?).
My job includes a decent salary, a great bonus, good pension – and the company throws amazing parties frequently.
Being employed in Scandinavia also comes with six weeks paid vacation each year, three months paid maternity/paternity leave and I get full salary in six months if they decide to fire me today.
I know perks should not be the reason to work, but it is well worth considering what you give up when you decide to retire if you still like your work and the people you work with.
But, why are you going to retire early if you love your job so much?
I like my job, but I would like it to be more flexible.
I would love to work occasionally, but I don’t want to be forced to work the entire week – and especially not working the number of hours I do now.
I want to spend time with my wife. I want to do spontaneous things with my friends. I want to use my body throughout the day. I want to throw out my alarm clock. I want to choose exactly when and for how long I want to work.
I am quite certain that I will continue working in retirement. I might even do freelance consulting because I love being around the people and solving challenging problems, but work will be entirely on my own terms – and not somebody else’s.