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Failing to Transition


The numbers are in and the runway is getting shorter by the day. We have promised ourselves that this would be the last full year we would work in our traditional corporate cube farm jobs and while the finish line is in sight, we are working harder than ever… and for what?

We are both still spending countless nights, weekends and holidays working our fingers to the bone and burning the midnight oil. FI Guy went from managing 1 team with 8 people to managing 2 teams with 24 people almost overnight. I went from managing 2 teams to 3 and have been working long hours on projects and filling in the gaps. I even spent this past Christmas and New Years working.

Shouldn’t we be stepping back and kicking our feet up instead of working harder and longer?

I mean, here’s what we know right now:

  1. The work we put in now will not result in more money in our pocket because we won’t be around long enough to realize any salary increases that may result during the next merit review.
  2. It is so rare for any type of off cycle bonuses or bags of money to be given out, so there’s no incentive there either.

Despite knowing these things, we keep grinding away and coming home feeling depleted and frustrated. This has raised so many questions for us already. Including:

  • Why are we both still working so hard?
  • Why does it feel so hard to take a step back when we know we only have one full year left to work at our current jobs?
  • When we don’t have our corporate jobs will we go insane?
  • Does this mean we are failing at our transition to FIRE?
  • Is any of this normal?

It’s a paradox. Seriously though; it is all so absurd to me and contradictory to how we thought things would be. I guess we pictured we would feel differently at this point in the game. Kind of like how so many went through “senior slide” in high school…and again in college. But it’s not like that at all; at least not for us.

Is it because we feel we have something to prove? Or like we really have to earn the right to FIRE? What does that even mean?

I guess it’s hard because we are asking our minds to go against the grain that’s been programmed in to us…you know, that mindset and work ethic that got us to this point in our careers and to this point in our lives and  has helped make all of this possible.

I never thought it would be this hard. I figured stepping back would be a cake walk. Boy was I wrong.

It’s hard because the innate drive, the motivation to want to do well, save aggressively, work harder than we should is inside of us and it’s so hard to switch gears….even if switching gears just means putting less time and energy in to one thing (Work / Career) and more time and energy in to something else (Our Next Chapter).

Putting it all in to perspective, we really do have so much to prepare for over this next year if we truly want to be ready to pull the FIRE trigger and start Value Cruising. This is the stuff we should really be focusing on:

  1. Getting rid of our stuff:

    We have a house filled with so much stuff and it’s mostly my fault. I will admit that. Our plan requires us to get rid of just about everything. If it doesn’t fit in a backpack, it’s gone. We will plan to sell what we can and donate what we cannot. The money we raise from the items we sell will go towards our FIRE plans. We recognize this will take time and a whole lot of patience.
  2. Selling our house:

    A big part of our plan relies on us selling our house and reinvesting in the proper asset allocation to support our withdrawal rate. In addition to cleaning out the clutter, there is quite a bit of work that needs to be done in order to get a house ready for market. Ours certainly is no exception. FI Guy and I are not very handy and so we have neglected some work that has needed to be done on both the outside and inside of our home for several years so we will be paying for that now. After we line up contractors to fix some of the obvious things, we’ll need to get a realtor and a lawyer, put the house on the market and sell this baby!

  3. Travel planning and research:

    My head hurts thinking about how much planning and research needs to be done before we can start Value Cruising. A few things we need to look in to are:

    • Cruise itineraries / linking cruises (Don’t forget price and value!)
    • Timing
    • Visas and other paperwork
    • Transitioning to a personal cell phone plan
    • Credit Cards / Travel / Rewards Cards
    • Health Insurance
    • Travel Insurance
    • What to bring with us
    • General bargain hunting for the next chapter (Cloths, tech, etc.)
  4. Quitting our jobs and saying good bye:

    Need we say more? Not only will we be quitting our jobs of 10+ years but we will need to say good bye to our friends and family so we can go be nomads. Most of which still have no idea that we are planning to do this. This, by far, will be the toughest thing for us.

  5. Moving:

    While we will be mostly traveling nomads, we will sort of have a home base. Due to this, we will need to move to our new home state and do all of the usual things needed like setup bank accounts, change our driver’s license, register to vote, etc.

So yeah, there are a lot of things we really need to start spending time on now in order to prepare for this exciting new chapter in our lives.

It’s going to be really hard to take a step back at work but we are going to have to be more mindful of where and what we spend our time on because there’s a lot to do. We’re going to have to start setting some boundaries at work and sticking to them. We are also going to need to rely on one another to keep each other honest and focused so that we don’t slip back in to our usual programming and habit of overworking and taking on more at work…

If we’re really serious about this, it looks like we must pivot, revisit our priorities and start focusing on the next chapter so we don’t fail to FI/RE.


About The Author


  1. Steveark

    I sort of abruptly decided to retire when I did, and one month later I was out the door. That last month I was pretty much just coasting. I was the boss so I generally delegated most of my work and just tracked my people’s projects but it seemed meaningless to do that when I’d be gone long before any projects were completed. I really had a lot of fun and spent my time setting up side gigs. Some, like a consulting gig with my company failed to come together but I had plan B ready to go and started doing it the week after I left. I did not move so I still see my old work friends some but as the boss they weren’t really my buddies, work got in the way of that. Your situation is much different with moving and not planning on continuing to work at first. But I can tell you all I’ve felt since I left is lightness, peace and contentment with zero regrets. My old life was good, my work was largely fun but this life now has been vastly better the last two years. It is just flying by, I hate that part but when life is good that is what it does. You’ll be fine once this is behind you.

    • FI Girl

      Wow. Love this! Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. It is so wonderful to hear that after everything, looking back you have zero regrets on your decision and you have been enjoying life the last two years. That’s amazing and is really just the confirmation that we needed to hear.

      In addition to going against the grain in terms of our focus and work ethic, we wrote a few months ago about how we shared our plans with some of our friends and family and, to our surprise, not everyone thought it was a good idea or truly understood why we want to FI/RE. So needless to say, it’s always great to get some feedback from someone who is already doing it.

      Congratulations on your retirement.


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