Things I miss about work? This is a tough one for me to write. First of all, life is fantastic right now after 2 years without a full time job. Family life is better, I’m not stressed out, and even our finance is doing pretty well. I can’t complain at all. Second, I hate dwelling on regrets. It’s a downer and I’d rather focus on the present and figure out how to improve the future. Maybe that’s why my memory is so bad… It’s also difficult for me to admit missing anything about the job that I willingly walked away from. I don’t want to doubt my decision. So as you can see, it’s not going to be the typical cheerful post today.
However, I thought it’d be good for me to examine how I feel about work on a deeper level. It has been 2 years and it’s the right time to reflect a bit. Time gave me some distance so I can take an objective look at my feelings. Will I miss work enough to go back? Let’s see.
I think the biggest thing I miss about work is the gratification from solving difficult technical problems. Most engineers enjoy solving problems and it can be a lot of fun especially when I got into the flow. Sometimes I spent the whole day in lab debugging an elusive bug and it’d be 7 pm before I knew it. Those days were increasingly rare as I gained seniority, though.
Now, the most difficult challenge for me is to figure out my son’s playdate schedule. It’s not quite as challenging, but life is also a lot less stressful. It’s a tradeoff. Maybe once my son goes to school full time, I can take on some technical challenges again. I would like to learn how to develop an app, for example.
According to a study by the Center for a Secure Retirement, 65% of retirees said they missed interacting with co-workers and friends the most. That’s pretty obvious. Most of us spend at least 50% of our waking hours working and interacting with our co-workers. Work is a huge part of our lives and the human interaction is probably the best part of it.
Sure, I miss having a wider group of casual friends to talk to. Life is a bit slower in semi-retirement and my circle shrunk quite a bit. I made a few friends through our kid, but everyone is just so busy with their lives. It’s not like the office where you can just drop by your friend’s cubicle and complain about the boss. I guess coworkers are somewhat of a captive audience. Next year, I’ll be more involved with the co-opt preschool so I think the casual friendship situation should improve.
I used to go to the gym at work almost every weekday and I miss it. It was really easy for me to go to that fitness room for some reason. I guess it was better than actually working and it was a great stress relief valve. It was also very conveniently located.
I joined 24 hour Fitness this year and it’s a much nicer gym, but it’s more difficult to actually go. I have to get the kid ready, drive to the gym, find parking, etc… It’s not very convenient so I’m not consistent about it.
So what do you do?
I miss having an easy answer for this question and I’m still trying to figure out how to respond to this conversation starter. I tried “I’m retired” a few times, but it didn’t go over very well. People seem to just ignore that for some reason. Another option is – blogging, but I’m a bit embarrassed about telling new friends that I’m a blogger. I just don’t want to elaborate too much. My staple answer now is “I’m a stay at home dad.” That works pretty well for now.
Actually, our lifestyle hasn’t changed that much since I left my job 2 years ago. We always lived below our means so we didn’t have to make any big adjustments. The paychecks would have been nice because we could have invested them. The last 2 years were great for the stock market and I’m sure we’d increase our net worth even more if we had more money to invest.
Anyway, having less income didn’t impact our day to day life so it’s not a huge deal. Our investments are doing pretty well so I can’t complain too much.
I love self employment
That wasn’t as a bad as I thought. I miss a few things about work, but they could all be remedied with some creativity. They are minor issues anyway. I could write a much bigger list of what I don’t miss about the corporate job. For me the positive aspects of not working for a corporation outweigh the negatives so I don’t think I’ll get a job anytime soon. I love being self employed.
What about you? What do you miss about work? Or if you’re still working, what do you think you’ll miss?