What’s Your Ideal Work?

What's Your Ideal Work?What’s the difference between ‘work’ and ‘job’? We use these two words interchangeably most of the time, but there is a subtle difference between them. Here are the definitions from the Oxford online dictionary.

Work – Activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a result.

Job – A task or piece of work, especially one that is paid.

To me, work is a more inclusive term than job. You can work on completing a goal like finishing a marathon, raising your children, or fixing up your house. Job is good too, but it usually means something that you have to do to get paid. I like working, but I don’t want a job. A job is work + a lot of BS. That’s my view after retirement. Working a bit after retirement is good, but getting a job would be a drag. Well, I suppose the right job would be nice for a few years, but then you’re not really retired.

Dream job

So what’s the point? I’m sure you’ve heard this question before – what’s your dream job? It’s a common interview question and I hate it. I’m sure 99.99% of the interviewees aren’t applying for their dream job. We just need money to pay the bills. Anyway, even a dream job comes with a certain amount of overhead (i.e., BS). I got my dream job right out of college and it was great for many years. However, the dream job became more stressful every year as I took on more responsibilities. Eventually, it turned into a nightmare and I couldn’t handle it anymore. I gave up my engineering career in 2012 and I haven’t regretted my decision to leave. Of course, I miss the fat paychecks, but we’re doing fine financially, so I can’t complain.

Actually, I wouldn’t mind doing the technical work again. It’d be fun to do logic design and verification. However, there is too much overhead with that job. Things like endless meetings, stupid politicking, long hours, unrealistic deadlines, layoffs, corporate restructuring, and the relentless pressure to do more. I liked the technical work, but I hated everything else about the job. Simply doing the fun technical stuff is just not good enough if you’re a senior engineer. I suspect that’s true for many careers as well.

Anyway, that’s a moot point because my knowledge is out of date after 5 years away. Also, they can’t pay me enough to go back. I love my current life too much and it’d take a lot more than my old salary to put me back in a cubicle.

Dream Jobs circa 2012

You know what, I wrote about my dream jobs in 2012. It’s been 5 years so let’s go back and see what I think now. Back then, the plan was to be a stay-at-home-dad until RB40Jr started school, and then I’d consider finding a job again. RB40Jr is now in kindergarten, so is it time to go after these dream jobs? How does the dream job appeal to a seasoned early retiree?

  • Food truck/cart – I still think it would be fun to run a food cart for a few years. This would be a lot of work, though. It’d be a full time job and I’d need to deal with employees. I’d be willing to try this if it’s limited to 3-4 hours/day and generates good cash flow.
  • Teach Yoga, Tai chi, meditation – This still sounds like fun to me. It’ll be very part time and I’ll be able to help people feel better. Mrs. RB40’s cousin teaches yoga while studying for his degree in physical therapy, and seems to enjoy it.
  • Foreign Service – We gave up on this dream. Mrs. RB40 went in for the oral interview and she didn’t get a position. She realized that her values and those of the interviewers didn’t align. I don’t want a boss, so this is out for me.
  • Okonomiyaki restaurant – I think this is a bad idea now. I still think an okonomiyaki restaurant would do well in Portland, but this would be way too much work. Running a restaurant is very time consuming and stressful.
  • Run a small B&B or hostel in a nice tropical location – Mrs. RB40 still thinks this is a dream job. I think it would be fun too, but it’ll take a lot of time and effort. We probably can’t enjoy the tropical location very much if we’re spending all our time running a B&B.

I still think these jobs would be great, but I don’t want to work full-time again. It’s just too much time and effort. I like my life too much to go back to full-time work. RB40Jr is in kindergarten now, but I just don’t have any desire to go look for a full-time job or create one for myself.

Ideal work

So instead of thinking about a job, let’s try to think about what kind of work we’d like to do instead. Remove all the BS associated with a job and go straight to what you like to do. We’ll start with that and see where it goes.

Here is the question – what’s your ideal work? What would you like to work on if money isn’t an issue? You’d need to be able to do the work or acquire the skill to do so. I mean, it would be awesome to be an astronaut, but that’s too unrealistic. I’ll go first.

  • Blogging – I enjoy writing a blog post and interacting with the comments. Blogging is a lot of fun and I think everyone should have one. The problem with blogging is that it takes a lot of time. I used to blog 3 times per week, but I reduced to 2 last year. That’s pretty good for now, but eventually I’ll probably just blog once per week. Here is my tutorial on how to start a blog if you’re thinking about it.
  • Financial coaching – Lately, I’ve been thinking that financial coaching would be a good way to give back. I’d like to coach poor families and immigrants who need help with money. They’re the ones that need help the most.
  • Help at school – I’m volunteering at school about once per month. It’s really great to spend time with the kids. They are so enthusiastic about everything and they are learning so much. I wouldn’t want to do this every day, though. It’d drive me nuts. J
  • Reading fun books – I love reading science fiction books. Recently, I discovered the Expanse series and read all the books. They are so good! The TV version on Syfy channel is awesome too. If you like science fiction, you can’t miss it. Is there a way to make money by reading books? No, I don’t want to write book reviews.
  • Small event planning – This is actually Mrs. RB40’s dream. She likes the idea of throwing
    small-scale events (wine or food tastings, themed dinners, or lectures, for example) and loves planning get-togethers at our home. Nothing huge like weddings, unless there are fewer than 12 people in attendance. With her regular job, though, she hasn’t had much time for this.

Hmm.. My current life is pretty close to my ideal work situation. The only issue I have now is that I spend a lot of time blogging. Eventually, I’d like to cut back a bit because too much screen time is really bad for my eyes. Also, I spent quite a bit of time being a landlord this month. I fixed a light fixture, replaced a kitchen faucet, caulked 2 bathtubs, and got the roofing guy to fix a leak. It’s been a busy few weeks at the rentals.

It’s interesting to see how my idea of work changes over time. Previously, I thought a dream job would be ideal, but now I prefer to work part-time on some enjoyable projects. Being self employed is really nice, too. I don’t think I can handle having a boss anymore.

Okay, it’s your turn. What’s your ideal work? Is it what you’re doing right now?

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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. After 16 years of investing and saving, he achieved financial independence and retired at 38.

Passive income is the key to early retirement. This year, Joe is investing in commercial real estate with CrowdStreet. They have many projects across the USA so check them out!

Joe also highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. They have many useful tools that will help you reach financial independence.

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79 thoughts on “What’s Your Ideal Work?”

  1. For me, some mix of writing/communicating, e.g, a blog, and also some consulting/advising. The financial consultant idea sounds great; I, too, would think about it down the road. (Now isn’t the right time, but it’s something I can easily imagine myself doing once I’m independent.) There’s also a good deal to be said for saving people from lousy financial advisors. But I agree: helping out those who need it most is where it’s at; the only trick is finding and connecting with them…

  2. I have to admit I have pretty much a dream job now. Although I would prefer a better location. However, if I could do other things I would love to do some financial coaching. I am working on getting a certification as a financial education instructor now. It seems that some sort of education/teaching is work I should do for the rest of my life.

  3. My dream job would include working for myself. A neighbor of mine said his mom worked for the National Park Service, and he would sometimes join her at work for the day. She would “walk trails for maintenance purposes” on days he would join her. That is, she got paid to hike and make sure the trail was in good order. That sure sounds like a dream job, but even with a bad boss eventually, she had to retire (at a traditional age).

    My next dream job is blogging, but I am new to the financial blog world. I wrote three blogs about 10 years ago, and even made some money from it and gained followers. However, the only topic close to FIRE was “investing.” I found that was too narrow of a topic, as only a select few read this topic with vigor.

  4. Have you ever thought of partnering with a restaurant to offer your specialty dish on their menu? I live in NYC but originally was from Vietnam. There are 2 Vietnamese noodle soups that are not a regular on most VN restaurant menu but everyone who has tried my version loved it. I’m 45 years old and have reached FI a few years ago. I like my job and it pays really well so I’m planning to work for another 5-7 years before calling it quit. But I want to do something for a few hours a day that I’ll enjoy doing and make some side money after I quit. I know the reason why these dishes are not on the menu at most restaurants is because not a lot of chefs know how to make them.

    • Interesting! We have a specialty Vietnamese noodle shop here in Portland. HA & VL. They serve just 2 soups per day, different everyday. Really good soup.
      I’d probably go with a food cart if I ever go into cooking. I don’t think I’d work well with a partner.

      • By the way, I stumbled upon your blog a few months ago while searching for how social security calculations would be impacted for people who stop working early. I’ve been reading your blog whenever I have time at work. Your blog is the 1st and only blog I’ve been following so far, thanks for sharing, I enjoy reading your materials.

        Maybe I shouldn’t say partnering, more like distribute your food to the restaurants. I know that food business is hard work, I don’t want to work that hard once I decide to stop working full time. What I’d do is work out a terms with the restaurants, the amount of bowls I’ll provide to them each day, how many times a year I need to take off to travel, etc. The reason I know some restaurants don’t make these specific noodle soups is because they either told us that 1) the portion has been divided, they can’t take out certain items from the soup 2) they only have a limit number a bowls a day, we have to pre-order if we want to make we get it 3) they’d take the item off the menu because the chef is on vacation (that’ll be me, if I was the chef :)).

        As you can see, I have time to read your blog now, I don’t want to have to work harder once I quit.

        • One more comment, with this approach, you don’t have to invest any capital at all, just a little money for making the food and a few hours a day to make it and deliver. You can have the rest of the day to enjoy your RE life.

        • Thank you for the complement!
          The food idea is very interesting. From my previous research, I know we can’t make food at home. I’d have to rent a commercial kitchen space or something like that.

  5. What do they say – it becomes work (aka job according to your definition) when you would rather be doing something else 🙂

    I enjoy my work now and ‘m thankful for it.

  6. The hardest parts of a job are those that involve dealing with people. When you volunteer, or work without $ pressure, people are usually nicer. (Not always, I’ve discovered as a volunteer for my strata). That is why early retirement money is sometimes referred as f### you money. I would say working freelance in anything that involves little contact with clients is ideal work. You can earn money by reading books if you are a proofreader. Or an editor. Or a writer. Or a ghost writer. Or a copywriter. Or a translator.

  7. I like learning, but on my own terms. I think that the ability to find something of interest, and pursue the trail of knowledge from one piece to another is exhilarating. This is where reading is so fascinating to me – you get reference points from and to other sources, and you learn a lot that may even be applicable to current situations.

    I also like flexibility, and trying out new things. But I like doing a variety of projects. When I only did blogging a few years ago, I found it too stressful. If I only did a job, I find that stressful as well. I will likely keep working for a while, though I am close to hitting my dividend crossover point in 2018.

    Perhaps my dream is to not be accountable to anyone, and not be subject to a narrowly defined definition (such as a project engineer, investor, blogger etc), while doing things I enjoy…

  8. My dream job would be to own my own restaurant. I went as far as completing culinary school 12 years ago, but realized the work was too physically hard and the chance of running your own successful restaurant is very remote.

    However after ‘retiring’ in 2014, I did try to do something related to food. I spent a couple of months working in a deli in a supermarket – that was hard work but I enjoyed it. My plan was to write a book ‘millionaire on a minimum wage’ – but I realized I was not an author. Then I spent almost a year creating, plating and demonstrating food for Boars Head in supermarkets. That was really fun meeting so many people and handing out free food. But when I looked at how much work it was and how little I was getting paid compared to being an engineer, I started looking for more higher paying jobs and am now consulting in the engineering business again.

    I also enjoy the blogging side of things and would love to spend more time putting my ideas on paper.

    If you are happy doing what you do, then you can’t really describe it as work or a job!

    • Thank you for sharing! What do you think about running a food cart? You’ll have more creative control and you don’t have to work as hard. How do you like being an engineer again? I’m not sure if I can go back.

  9. How come there are so many retired-early engineers around here? Stressful line of works, well paid, cheap (or practical) by nature, or planning was taught in engineering schools?

    • In my case, well-paid… I was never cheap and planned well on projects but not so well outside of work.

      There’s not too many electronics design engineers working in engineering past 45. Needs too much brain power on minutiae. Around age 40, debugging tasks that I used to be able to do in half a day would take me a few days. It could just be that designs got much bigger. Think about trying to find the one faulty transistor out of one billion… very tedious work.

  10. Like you, I still enjoy the technical side of things a little bit. Right now, I’m stuck on the management side of things so I don’t get to mess with it much. I’ve dabbled with some programming and would actually love to tinker with that some more.

    Ideal work for me would be to continue blogging (been loving doing that) and try my hand at gardening. If I could become self sufficient on the food side of things, that would be awesome.

    — Jim

  11. Ideally I’d help people get into shape as I truly enjoy doing it with friends and colleagues. I helped one coworker drop almost 70 pounds by getting her active and showing her what to do. It’s that thing that you can give to someone, I don’t charge people I know, that they truly appreciate because it helps with so many little things. So if I could just do I would help people not pay crazy prices for trainers, many who are not qualified, and get the self fulfillment of helping that person. I would never make it a career, even though I would get paid to wear sweat pants, due to the hours, sales tactics, and having clients basically whine because they aren’t getting results. It’s much easier to say I’ll help you and leave the whining at home or we aren’t doing this, than it is to have to depend on it and be all nicey nice with people who are not truly dedicated.

    • Nice! I like personal training too, but I can’t even get my wife to exercise more. It’s probably not the right fit for me. I’ll have to concentrate on getting more fit first.

  12. I would definitely say we are in the selfishly employed stage of life. There about 8 other questions we ask before income. We just do whatever we love and seems like important work and we are uniqly gifted to do. I doubt we will ever do another job just for money, unless something really unexpected happens.

  13. This is a great topic for me because I’m currently transitioning from a job to different kinds of work.

    I’m looking forward to having more variety in what I do and not having to deal with the BS you referred to. We will see if I actually enjoy the work I’m planning to do or if it will start to feel like a job too. Either way, it will be interesting.

  14. I’d love to be an executive coach. but I need to move up the ladder a bit more for that. I feel that it would be stronger to coach from a standpoint of “been there and experienced that too”. Although I know that that is not the essence of good coaching.

    I think you would do great as a financial coach, but would the liability not be crippling?

    • I haven’t thought about liability. I’ll do a bit more research, but I don’t think you have to assume any responsibility. It’s not a licensed profession like financial advisor.

  15. For me, the number of enjoyable activities that don’t bring a paycheck FAR outnumber the number that are tied to a paycheck. The couple paid activities that I do include being on a corporate board of directors (4-8 days work/year) and an occasional consulting project (usually over the phone for an hour).

  16. As a fellow engineer, I completely relate to the fact that I love to be back in design engineering work – but you only design maybe 50% of the time. My dream job is to engineer all day, every day as a consultant. I would want to meet with customers, fully understand what they want, and then deliver a solution that meets their needs. Specifically, I like the IOT space, where I could help people connect their products to the cloud to provide useful data to their end customers!

  17. I’m very happy at my job, but if I didn’t have to come in every day, I can’t say I still would. My dream job is something that, most likely, pays like crap but gets me around my hobbies and others like me. In other words, these are jobs after I am FI, but before I am ready to retire off into the sunset.

    my current thoughts are:
    (1) travel writer: I’m already planning on traveling, why not make a little money. This isn’t to say I want a Rick Steves-esque career, just a few articles every once in a while. I envision this for a local paper/magazine or an alumni magazine, something along those lines.

    (2) Ski bum: Unfortunately, this is not very realistic as I doubt my knees will hold up well enough that I could actually do this…and more importantly, my wife is not a huge winter person.

    (3) Golf Course: I dont have the skills to be a teaching pro or anything and I dont want to only hound people as a ranger. If i had my druthers, it would be something with maintaining inventory and such as there would be some challenge there, but given that most courses dont sell a ton of product, it shouldnt be too taxing (I worked at a course in college so I have some idea of what this entails).

    • Thanks for sharing. Mrs. RB40 does not like to be cold and I stopped hitting the slope once we got married… It is what it is. 🙂
      Good luck!

  18. I enjoy jobs where the work is dynamic and changes day to day. It also has to make a tangible improvement. The beutacracy and politics at work are the only bit I don’t like about my job. Some day they’ll annoy me enough to be done, but for now the good outweighs the bad.

  19. My ideal job would be a freelance writer. My current job includes writing, which I enjoy, but it also includes other stuff, some of which I don’t enjoy. I do wonder though, once the thing you love becomes something you have to do to live, does it start to feel like work (in the negative sense)? Does blogging ever feel like work to you now?

    • Yes, blogging feels like work sometime. Usually it’s pretty good, but sometime I feel like I have to get a post out to stick to the schedule. Eventually, I’d like to blog whenever I feel like. The problem with not having a schedule is that I’d probably won’t blog much at all. I think blogging once per week would be ideal for me. I’ll probably do that in 5 years or so.

  20. The beauty of FI is that it allows you to do things that are not based just on the pursuit of more money. Joe I’m like you, I used to like my job but had to get out when the stress started to impact my health and I just didn’t want to have a boss anymore. I ended up creating my own job that will allow me to help a lot of people deal with this retirement thing through my book, blog, coaching and public speaking. Not sure how much money I will make but life is so much better now. .

    • I think you did really well over the last few years. I bet you’re enjoying working again without the constant pressure like in your old job. Enjoy your retirement!

  21. Joe, this is a great post and I love reading everyone’s ideas. I am still working in a j.o.b. and it does include some BS no doubt. After reading your recent post on blogging, I have also started one. What on earth was I thinking – I didn’t realize how much time it would take?! I also started an Etsy store, and a Facebook page to go along with the blog. I totally see this being my focus in retirement, along with reading more, traveling, going to the gym, spoiling my nieces and nephews, etc. And none of these things feel like work to me. ~smile~

    • Good luck with your blog and Etsy store. It’s a lot of work, but a lot of fun too. It’s great to work on something for yourself instead of for your employer. 🙂

  22. Hee, I love your ideas of dream jobs. My dream job would be to bake yummy treats or to run a rescue-only pet store. 🙂

    My ideal *work*, however, is definitely writing and running a blog. It’s so much freakin’ fun; it’s what I live for nowadays.

  23. My dream job would be any job that I could do while traveling. I would LOVE to be able to travel the world and support myself working part-time. When I’m at my current job (which I strongly dislike) I find myself daydreaming about staring out into the ocean with a laptop at my fingertips.

  24. Blogging would be my ideal work as I enjoy talking about personal finance and love interacting with other people about the topic. If only I could earn a decent living doing it though! I only blog at most once a week since I have a full time job and 2 little ones. Not sure how others who work more hours and have a family blog more often!

  25. My current job is definitely not my dream job, I hate doing, but I can’t also quit till I figure out some second income source. I just entered into this blogging field to test out my luck and patience. As you said, it really takes a lot of time and efforts to start making money off from blogging. Other than blogging, I also like doing helps at school. It all depends on your situations and personal preferences.

    • Good luck with blogging. It’s tough at the beginning, but stick with it. You never know.
      Helping at school is a lot of fun. It keeps you young.

  26. Thank you for the sci-fi book recommendation! I’ve been looking for my next set of fun books, and it sounds like those should do the trick. I agree with your distinction between a job and working. I enjoy work on my own terms, a job pays the bills and makes early retirement a possibility.

  27. Yep, “endless meetings, stupid politicking, long hours, unrealistic deadlines, layoffs, corporate restructuring, and the relentless pressure to do more” are often the tradeoffs involved in working for someone else. At least my employer subsidizes lots of non-monetary benefits and give me lots of autonomy too. I recently rejected a volunteer opportunity simply because of its 16 page outline of responsibilities, dress code, physical capabilities, all followed by a signature page at its end. There are plenty of other non-profits who are more accommodating, less demanding, and likely to be more fun. Shelving and pulling books as a library volunteer is surprisingly therapeutic and rewarding for me (still suffering as an engineer as Joe used to do). Some balance of detective work/exploration and organizing seem to be the key characteristics for me.

    • Good tip on volunteering at the library. I will check that out when I have more time. I use the library so much and it would be great to give back. Other than paying late fee, that is. 🙂

  28. Well if a job is what I have to do in order to get paid, since I don’t need my paycheck maybe I could be described as jobless? Or retired on the job?

    I guess I don’t know what my ideal work would be, but what I’m doing now seems pretty close. It’s pure technical engineering — and only the tricky puzzle solving stuff (not sweating specs or standards etc) with total control over content (management gets my permission before assigning me stuff). Yes there are endless meetings but I don’t show up. And politicking doesn’t affect me because I’m not in the promotions or raise pool (no need for either). I’ve made it clear I have no tolerance for working conditions that aren’t to my taste, and at the moment management needs me too much to not give me what I want. And when they don’t it’s bonus time– from the layoff severance.

    So I guess what I have are pretty sweet working conditions for an engineer. Although sometimes I wonder what it’s like to be an Elvis impersonator.

    • That’s great! You’ve made an ideal position for yourself. It’s a great place to be in. Enjoy it while you can. Will this last for many years?

  29. I think you have a pretty ideal picture. Mine would also include some physical labor. Right now I try to:

    1. Blog 1 time a week – but also don’t make money doing it that little 🙂

    2. Read books – something I didn’t do when working

    3. Rocking out – I’ve finally been learning some music

    4. Working out – I go to the gym regularly

    5. Gradening/cutting firewood – the serious work 🙂

    • That’s a good point. I like making things too. It’d be cool to learn about woodworking. Playing music is fun too, but I’m not very good at it.
      Cutting firewood would be a no for me. 🙂

  30. I have the same problem as you when it comes to ideal work. Most of the things I enjoy don’t pay anything! Who will pay me to go swimming for a couple hours, walk in the woods, laze in my hammock in the sun on a warm spring day, play video games, and watch netflix?

    That said, I do indulge in blogging and personal coaching. Both on a very limited basis. They pay pretty well and I enjoy sharing what I’ve learned with others.

    • Well, I’m sure somebody is getting paid to read, but probably only a few people. You’d have to write a book review or do some other kind of work, though.
      You’re doing it right with limiting blogging and personal coaching. Hopefully, I’ll get there someday.

  31. I’ve been thinking about this a lot too as I’ve become increasingly aggravated with things at my day job. I would LOVE to be my own boss and also rake in the pay I’m getting now. I don’t think that’s very likely to happen unless I started a company/blog/website and it blew up at an exponential rate. Aside from that, as an engineer, I empathize with your reasoning for leaving your career – the meetings are abysmal, the office politics are brutal, and the departure from the technical work is a killer. It’s tough to not be able to do the interesting parts of the job anymore. I’d love to move to a new job in a different industry and certainly at a different company, but I’m worried my skills in my field have atrophied so badly due to not using them in this job that I won’t be employable in my actual field.

    On another note, in the last 5 years, I’ve rekindled a love of reading that I hadn’t enjoyed since before high school. If you have loved The Expanse, check out the Dune series, Old Man’s War, and The Icarus Hunt to name a few. Also, the Dark Matter TV show also on SyFy is another great science fiction show set in space.

    • Maybe you should try technical marketing. Some of my friends went into that area and they seems to be doing pretty well. It’d be tough to get the same salary if you change field, for sure.
      Thank you for the recommendation. I will check them out. I’ve always loved reading, but didn’t have much time when I was working full time. It’s great now. 🙂

  32. You are “right on” about a (paid) job having some “BS” thrown in the mix!
    A recently retired friend, former manager in a large international company, was going over new work/job options with me. When she finished, I said to her, “you can’t go into one of those jobs ‘low man on the totem pole’. You have to go in with a position of power or you’ll get eaten up! And it has to be a job w/a future.” She thanked me for the moment of clarity.
    Work is work, a job’s a job.
    And if you go the volunteer route, kindly remind folk if needed, that you’ll be treated w/kindness, appreciation and respect and nothing less. Or just walk away and find a better volunteer opportunity. We have options people!

  33. My dream job is to work in the craft beer industry. I love telling and teaching people about the beer they’re drinking. Once I’ve FIRE’d, my plan is to be a part-time bartender at a craft brewery, or work in a high end bottle shop.

    • Very cool. I love craft beer, but I stopped drinking due to my triglyceride problem. so sad. 🙁
      I’d prefer working on the crafting side myself.

  34. My current job is as close to a dream job as it gets, but I’m still working for someone else. Blogging for a living would be my dream work. I love creating and sharing opinions with others. It does take a lot of work, but the reward can be very high as well, both from a monetary standpoint and helping others as well.

  35. I think my ideal job would be a GM for an NFL team. I would love to draft players, watch the team develop and make personnel moves. Since that is never going to happen.

    My fall back dream job would be to work around financial counseling and impact the most families that I can. I would love to get into the schools and teach kids from a young age. Maybe through curriculum and games to reinforce these good habits.

    But I know I want to help out somehow.

  36. For me, my ideal work would be one that allowed a proper work/life balance. More and more I am leaning towards my websites as being the probable ideal work situation.

    Back when I had a real job, I too, enjoyed the technical aspects of the position. Frankly, I loved it. But you are absolutely correct at least in my experiences that the politics and general drama intereferred with getting the job done to such an extent it made it generally unbearable.

    • The problem with work/life balance is the drive to increase productivity. Employees always have to do more and more. That’s why I like being self employed. I don’t have to go all out every day. That’s the only way to achieve work/life balance.

  37. It’s strange. After early retirement, I’m working even more. There are too many projects, but I definitely love the variety! The difference with work now is that I don’t mind it. Even when I was running my own company, there were a lot of things I “had to do” that just annoyed me. Now, most everything is attached to a choice and work is free flowing and fun. Of course some days the kid want me to pull out my hair, but it’s still worth it for all the fun on the other side. 😉

  38. I’m not entirely sure what my ideal work is yet, but i do know thar my current job isn’t really my dream job.

    In the future, I would probably look for something that I can manage myself and not be told what to do.

    • Good luck! Being self employed is a great fit for some people. I love doing things at my own pace. Yes, it’s probably not optimal, but at least I’m not stressed out all the time. Having a boss is one of the worst thing in life. 🙂

  39. Another tough one for me. Although successfully planned early retirement, finding a passion at a point in time it’s more like finding a needle in a hay stack. There are a lot of interest, the challenge is now that I own my time, what passion, work, or endeavor I find worthwhile? So far none yet. Lots of opportunities have come up but all been truncated to travel and experiences.

    My work would be coaching in financing, engineering, career, personal development, and/or life. My life story is compeling and interesting. It would motivate and give hope to others.

    • You’ve got a point about finding a passion. At least you have a lot of time to try. Just imagine retiring at 65 and trying to find something to do. It’d be a lot more difficult.

  40. Is the grass always greener on the other side? Hardly.

    After over a year without a boss, I would never want to go back to a “job” if I could help it.

    Right now, I see my work as two separate pieces:
    1. Chief Allocator of capital. I invest money and time where I think it will do me the most good. So far, this has worked out rather well.
    2. A Creator of Things. I build all kinds of things now that I don’t work at a job. Sometimes it’s furniture, sometimes it’s electronics, sometimes it’s projects like my blog.

    I find this kind of life far more rewarding than building a tiny little piece of a gigantic project for a mega corporation. That kind of project, I just can’t get enthused about anymore.

    • The gigantic project just have too much overhead. You need so much management and coordination. The time actually spent working is probably less than the time on management. If like technical work, it’s not fun.
      I never want to go back to a job either. Life is so good now and I don’t have enough patient to deal with a boss anymore.

      • Joe, this may have been more true at Intel or some other giant company. I also did chip design but at small to mid-size companies. My time was over 90% spent on design at all 4 companies I worked. Did you consider switching to a smaller company before?

        • You’re right. I should have switched to a smaller company. There weren’t many small companies in the Portland area back then, though. I should have moved to CA, but we liked Portland too much. I blame Mrs. RB40 for not being flexible. 🙂


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