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  1. #1
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    People are more alike than they'd like to admit, and so I know someone else had...

    People are more alike than they'd like to admit, and so I know someone else had to have dealt with the same at some point...

    I'm in my mid thirties and somewhat disillusioned with the status quo. Wife and I are living in a major metropolitan area where everything around is prohibitively expensive, and while jobs are plenty the commutes are an hour + each way. From a cycling perspective, weather is either freezing or oppressively humid. We did not put down roots or own RE, thought I do have the funds to do so and at some point it will have to be done. Whatever little family we do have here have just retired and are looking to move as well. Currently, I work in a small consulting shop. Business development are not going as expected and I'm concerned that the writing is on the wall and it's time to reassess.

    A couple of recent experiences have contributed to this soul searching:

    1. My daughter was born just about a year ago. My wife just went back to work after our first and we are now doing the busy parent daycare hustle.

    2. A friend recently got a new job at a bank in the heart of downtown. He immediately purchased a relatively expensive house with an insane tax bill, had two kids and is now commuting one hour + each way. He comes home for bath time. Not sure if he's aware, but unless his career takes a stratospheric trajectory, or he finds a lucrative side hustle, he is going to continue this grind for years to come.

    3. I reached out to a partner in a large accounting firm and found out that he's been asked to leave the partnership. When I spoke to him his voice was literally cracking as he told me how he picked up the pieces and is now a solo practitioner. I mean here's a guy, 50's who appears to have done everything right, did his time and lost it all because of not meeting sales quotas.


    Wife and I are both dual passport holders and go back to Europe often. We're thinking about going back for five years or so and just enjoying life. A couple of friends who've made the move have good positions with multinationals, are in demand because of the fluency of their English, and are pretty damn happy. Our absolute salary would take a hit but the quality of life would rise significantly. We'd get the apartment we could only dream of here, focus more on experiences and relationships, reconnect with family. Weekends in Slovakia, cycling in the Alps. Sure at some point it will get boring, but there's gotta be more than the cut throat work culture and hour long commutes here.

    Are we crazy for considering this, or are we lucky that we've had this moment of reflection sooner rather than later?

    Anyone with similar feelings at this station in life? How did you deal with them?
    "That pretty much sums it up. I'm 43 and my max is ~178-180. If that HR chart was mine or Froome's, we'd be on the verge of death. But for you it probably looks like a normal workout." -TLG

    LOLOLOL

  2. #2
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  3. #3
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    On the one hand, you could walk out of here and get hit by a bus this afternoon.

    Don't just go to work because it's the thing to do.

    I tend to think the notion to do what you love, and you won't work a day of your life, etc., is BS, but doing what you hate, every day, day after day, sucks the big one.

    On the other hand, it's a living. The checks are good so far, and I like my too big house with a stupid tax bill. Mostly.

    On the other other hand, I just put in notice here after 15 years. I am leaving button down life to go back to the dirt and chaos of field work.

    Somewhere else.

    I hope the grass is greener.

    I wish I had some sort of practical answer for you.

    Good luck. And remember that there are actually all sorts of do overs, at least til the bus hits us.

  4. #4
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    [QUOTE=9W9W;5207972]
    Our absolute salary would take a hit but the quality of life would rise significantly. We'd get the apartment we could only dream of here, focus more on experiences and relationships, reconnect with family.

    My question to you is what is the higher absolute salary/career path providing you (or will provide you) that your proposed move will not provide? You have stated that your proposed change WILL increase your experiences, relationships, family bonds, and better home.QUOTE]
    "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." --A. Einstein

  5. #5
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    A change of scenery is definitely required, this much we know. I suppose the natural thing to do would be to look for places within the US, but if getting a great gig is all about leveraging ones expertise and experience then why not leverage it while we're relatively young and mobile.

    There's something odd about doing something different than the rest of the herd.
    "That pretty much sums it up. I'm 43 and my max is ~178-180. If that HR chart was mine or Froome's, we'd be on the verge of death. But for you it probably looks like a normal workout." -TLG

    LOLOLOL

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigrider View Post
    My question to you is what is the higher absolute salary/career path providing you (or will provide you) that your proposed move will not provide? You have stated that your proposed change WILL increase your experiences, relationships, family bonds, and better home.
    I think the initial knee jerk response to that is the ability to save the excess higher salary they are paying here, when or if we decide to come back; but your message is not lost on me!
    "That pretty much sums it up. I'm 43 and my max is ~178-180. If that HR chart was mine or Froome's, we'd be on the verge of death. But for you it probably looks like a normal workout." -TLG

    LOLOLOL

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by 9W9W View Post

    There's something odd about doing something different than the rest of the herd.
    It's called being a Maverick

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by 9W9W View Post
    I think the initial knee jerk response to that is saving power, but your message is not lost on me.
    Navigating your career/work is a dynamic and difficult thing to do. Each person has to know what is important to them. I have a friend that is rich. He has an awesome car collection, bike collection, etc. He never goes on vacation and works about 60 hours a week his whole life. He has a huge house. He is also very happy. I would be miserable.

    I limited out intentionally on the corporate ladder so I could trade the extra pay and hours of work for experiences such as

    riding my bike
    spending time with family
    vacations (inexpensive ones)
    cooking nice meals
    coaching travel soccer
    beekeeping
    hiking
    hunting
    etc.

    When you work 60 hour weeks and make more money, most people buy a 40k car instead of a 20k car and buy a 2500sq ft house instead of an 1800sq ft house. That what you get for 20 hours of life every week. It just seemed like a bad deal to me. I also had a 20 minute ride to work. An hour commute would have cost me 80 minutes a day or over 6 hours of my life every week. YES, I did consider these factors when I made life decisions.
    "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." --A. Einstein

  9. #9
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    Make the move!
    You have only one life and life is too short to be boring.

    And if it doesn't work then go back.

    I moved in different countries in my life and I do not regret it. Always some advantages and some disadvantage but never boring.


    BTW, in which country do you plan to go?

  10. #10
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    Long ago I decided what kind of lifestyle/place I would like to live in and formed my education/career around that. As a result, my commute is 4.7 miles and just about everything in my life is fantastic.

    There's just 2 problems that may add to your perspective YMMV;

    - my town (Bozeman, MT) has been "discovered" and is now one of, if not the, fastest growing small cities in the US. I still love it here but not sure if I would have stayed if it was like this 20 years ago. But, one's priorities change/evolve along with the place they live. While I lament how people don't wave or say "hi" to strangers on Main Street anymore it has been nice seeing some competition between local health care providers - stuff like that.

    - While I do use my MS degree at work, it's just a job that I really don't look to for personal fulfillment. I really don't feel like I have job security, I KNOW I won't be advancing to an appreciable degree, and I question if I'm putting enough away to retire because (due to the popularity of living here) most jobs don't pay as much as they would in a "real" city. These things sometimes make me consider a change but I get paid ok for the area , am free to take unpaid leave just about whenever I want, and I've been here long enough to get a lot of vacation time too. So I work 4 days per week for about 1/2 the year (ski season). That makes it pretty easy to accept that I'll never attain my full potential career-wise.

    I think life is a balancing act. How far you chose to tip that scale in any given direction is a personal thing.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by WRM4865 View Post
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    I never understood that saying. No matter what choice one contemplates, doing A results in not doing B.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by 9W9W View Post
    People are more alike than they'd like to admit, and so I know someone else had to have dealt with the same at some point...

    I'm in my mid thirties and somewhat disillusioned with the status quo. Wife and I are living in a major metropolitan area where everything around is prohibitively expensive, and while jobs are plenty the commutes are an hour + each way. From a cycling perspective, weather is either freezing or oppressively humid. We did not put down roots or own RE, thought I do have the funds to do so and at some point it will have to be done. Whatever little family we do have here have just retired and are looking to move as well. Currently, I work in a small consulting shop. Business development are not going as expected and I'm concerned that the writing is on the wall and it's time to reassess.

    A couple of recent experiences have contributed to this soul searching:

    1. My daughter was born just about a year ago. My wife just went back to work after our first and we are now doing the busy parent daycare hustle.

    2. A friend recently got a new job at a bank in the heart of downtown. He immediately purchased a relatively expensive house with an insane tax bill, had two kids and is now commuting one hour + each way. He comes home for bath time. Not sure if he's aware, but unless his career takes a stratospheric trajectory, or he finds a lucrative side hustle, he is going to continue this grind for years to come.

    3. I reached out to a partner in a large accounting firm and found out that he's been asked to leave the partnership. When I spoke to him his voice was literally cracking as he told me how he picked up the pieces and is now a solo practitioner. I mean here's a guy, 50's who appears to have done everything right, did his time and lost it all because of not meeting sales quotas.


    Wife and I are both dual passport holders and go back to Europe often. We're thinking about going back for five years or so and just enjoying life. A couple of friends who've made the move have good positions with multinationals, are in demand because of the fluency of their English, and are pretty damn happy. Our absolute salary would take a hit but the quality of life would rise significantly. We'd get the apartment we could only dream of here, focus more on experiences and relationships, reconnect with family. Weekends in Slovakia, cycling in the Alps. Sure at some point it will get boring, but there's gotta be more than the cut throat work culture and hour long commutes here.

    Are we crazy for considering this, or are we lucky that we've had this moment of reflection sooner rather than later?

    Anyone with similar feelings at this station in life? How did you deal with them?
    Re #2: It is possible to have a high-end job downtown without a killer commute. It may mean sacrificing space, but I think the 5,000sq ft house in the 'burbs is way overrated.

    Re #3: If he's having to hang a shingle to pay the bills, then the biggest problem was not living below his means when he had the chance. Given what Big4 partners make, he could have saved enough for a middle class retirement years ago. Of course, many in such positions buy the big houses and fancy cars instead.

    That being said, if you have European passports you aren't crazy for considering moving to Europe. There's a lot more worker protections, and a lot less live to work mentality. But I would consider job hunting before you pack up your life- it will make the transition a lot more smooth if you can swing it.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by nealric View Post
    it will make the transition a lot more smooth if you can swing it.
    I appreciate your input. Can you elaborate on the above? Not sure I understand the remark about transition.

    To your other points: mid-market firm, five years in. I completely agree on the mansion in the burbs. It's basically a question of should I explore opportunities elsewhere if it's a door that's closing soon (as child reaches school age).
    Last edited by 9W9W; 1 Week Ago at 01:57 PM.
    "That pretty much sums it up. I'm 43 and my max is ~178-180. If that HR chart was mine or Froome's, we'd be on the verge of death. But for you it probably looks like a normal workout." -TLG

    LOLOLOL

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by 9W9W View Post
    I appreciate your input. Can you elaborate on the above?
    Big companies will often pay household moving expenses and assist in your housing search in the new country. It could add up to tens of thousands of dollars in savings plus a lot less headache of having to arrange everything by yourself. You also get the certainty of knowing you will be getting a steady paycheck after you move.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by nealric View Post
    Big companies will often pay household moving expenses and assist in your housing search in the new country. It could add up to tens of thousands of dollars in savings plus a lot less headache of having to arrange everything by yourself. You also get the certainty of knowing you will be getting a steady paycheck after you move.
    We are intimately familiar with the cities we were thinking about and fluent in both languages, but yes, certain offers [Amazon, BNY, big4,consult] do provide relocation assistance, private health care, etc. This move is predicated on me landing a position first, which I feel good about.

    This is basically a question of should we take this opportunity to do what we've been both chatting about seeing as how the door will slowly close as my daughter reaches school age, at which point we may want to find ourselves back here.
    Last edited by 9W9W; 1 Week Ago at 02:47 PM.
    "That pretty much sums it up. I'm 43 and my max is ~178-180. If that HR chart was mine or Froome's, we'd be on the verge of death. But for you it probably looks like a normal workout." -TLG

    LOLOLOL

  16. #16
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    And now, a comment from the wrong side of the tracks.

    I envy that you have a choice to make. If I could leave a six-figure job in the big city to live in a tiny flat somewhere in Europe, I would. If I could sell my 3000sf home and move to a quaint little cottage in the mountains, I would. If I could leave the big-city firm and start my own little business in a peaceful small town, I would.

    I'm not crying for myself, but the fact is that I have very little, so I have very little to give up in search of other opportunities (yes, I could walk out of my small apartment and dead-end job to be a hobo, but that's not my point).

    You seem to have those opportunities available to you. But having a choice between A and B at all seems to be a win either way, and maybe choosing which win you want will make the choosing easier.
    ​Huzzah! I've figured out how to put something in the little box under my posts.

  17. #17
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    Hands down, GTFO and go live in Europe!!

    My husband is an expert-level skier who wants very much for me to get to his level as well, but as long as we live in the NYC area, it ain't happening (assuming it's even physically possible in middle age.)

    Before he took this current job, I told him we should move out west, even Canada, to be closer to mountains and all that great stuff. But the iron's hot, and he's striking for financial reasons. Which is good too.........

    No matter where you live, there will be pros and cons. If you don't have any roots or other reasons to be here, AND you have freakin' dual citizenship, I don't even know why you're debating this!! Especially with kids- quality time is that much more important.

  18. #18
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    I am an engineer at a relatively low level in the company I work at. There has been some moving around and developments lately that have resulted in higher level positions becoming available. I have applied for none of these. I like the company I work for and the role I'm currently in meshes well with my life. There is a lot of pressure on me to move up. Taking one of these other positions would mean a bit more money, but a lot more work and longer commute. I can pay all my bills now, and do all sorts of fun stuff with my family, and don't want to give any of that up. That seems lost on a lot of people. Aside from that, I won't give any specific advice, but there is more than one way to measure ones success.

  19. #19
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    Of course, the other side of the coin from throwing caution to the wind and going for it, is financial freedom. If you are conservative, and live below your means, you don't have to work until you are 70yo. If you spend all your resources having fun now, well, you are gonna be working for a long time.

    I struck a balance, I had fun and helped others but I was fiscally frugal. I drove used cars, and took fairly inexpensive vacations, I camped on cycling trips instead of doing credit card touring. That coupled with a good paying job allowed me to retire at 55yo.

    Quitting your job to become an artist sounds great until you are 60, living in a one bedroom apartment in the hood, with no means to pay for your medicine.
    "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." --A. Einstein

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigrider View Post
    Quitting your job to become an artist sounds great until you are 60, living in a one bedroom apartment in the hood, with no means to pay for your medicine.
    Of course, we've all also heard stories like this one that happened to my dad's wife...

    Postal carrier for x years, planning to work just a couple more to net the bigger pension before taking on a travelling lifestyle, then...

    Attacked by a pair of Dobermans resulting in a broken back, near paralysis, and surgery after surgery just to allow her to sit upright in a Lazy Boy. My dad is now a housebound fulltime caregiver.

    Strangely enough, my dad's own retirement from surveying (at 55) came shortly after being "grazed" by a car on a highway project.

    I always used to roll my eyes when my college friends would make some "irresponsible" choice prefaced with "I may be dead before I'm 40" but there is something to be said about at least considering the possibility. For my part, I'm thinking more and more that a good strategy is to work as little as possible but for a long time.

  21. #21
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    Thanks for contributing to an interesting discussion thus far!

    I have noticed that a couple people stated that increased responsibility comes with longer hours. I haven't found that to be entirely true in private industry. I suppose if you are in services industry, law/acc firm, you have business development duties. As a consultant (of sorts) I visit various companies and have had the opportunity to observe cultures, a few days at at time.

    If measuring by time in office, the VP's don't necessarily clock out any later than the management or director crowd. Although, the increased pressure to preside over a successful meeting of many moveable parts IS there.
    "That pretty much sums it up. I'm 43 and my max is ~178-180. If that HR chart was mine or Froome's, we'd be on the verge of death. But for you it probably looks like a normal workout." -TLG

    LOLOLOL

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by bilbo View Post
    I can pay all my bills now, and do all sorts of fun stuff with my family, and don't want to give any of that up. That seems lost on a lot of people. Aside from that, I won't give any specific advice, but there is more than one way to measure ones success.
    Definitely. We were never overly materialistic people, but enjoyed having nice things. You'd never find me at the mall overpaying for crap I don't need. However, the last two years have been an exercise in hedonic adaptation and a life education to boot.

    There is no throwing caution to the wind. I wouldn't go unless a good offer which I feel comfortable with would be on the table. The impetus for wanting to move was to give my daughter the same start we enjoyed, and have some fun doing it. The only easily identifiable financial setback would be the inability to save excess higher us-income. My hedge against this would be to purchase US real estate which would allow us to a) pick up the phone, tell our tenants the lease is not being renewed, repatriate and reestablish (whether this makes sense to you or not depends on your local housing market) or b) supplement retirement with US RE, albeit with a large heaping side of geopolitical/currency arbitrage.
    "That pretty much sums it up. I'm 43 and my max is ~178-180. If that HR chart was mine or Froome's, we'd be on the verge of death. But for you it probably looks like a normal workout." -TLG

    LOLOLOL

  23. #23
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    I can give you my 0.02, FWIW.

    My boss is retiring and my employer is interviewing replacements (my own situation is TBD). Recruiting is not going well. The main problem is candidates with a short tenure at a string of companies. One in particular left this area for a while and then returned because their child is special needs and couldn't get appropriate treatment where they were; the candidate took the first job he could find. Depending on the industry and employer, people may excuse a peripatetic life. We don't.
    It's Mueller Time

  24. #24
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    I live in a town that was once considered to be a hardship post in diplomatic circles (Washington DC). The job market was bad when I got out of school and a research job in DC was about all I could find. I took it, telling myself I'll stay a few years, publish some papers, and get a job as a college professor somewhere like mom and dad. I remember riding home on the metro at the end of the first week. Everyone looked tired, some people reeked of BO ... and I thought god, I can't do this for my entire life.

    Well, 25 years later and I'm still here. I've learned that making the best of it beats whining. I live in the burbs in an over-priced 2500 sf house that I've owned for almost 20 years. I couldn't afford to live there if I had to buy it now. I've been a bike commuter for over 20 years (got 5170 miles last year). It beats the hell out of being jammed in a train car like a sardine, or sitting in traffic. Yeah, the weather isn't always ideal, the traffic sucks and there's too damn many people, but I consider myself lucky to have worked four different and interesting jobs over my career, married a nice woman and had two sometimes tolerable kids. At this point in my life, traipsing off to Europe isn't an option I'd consider. Nor has it really ever been. My wife and make good money and are maxing out or 401k's. I've gotten as high up as I care to go in my job ranking. The next step is a lot more headache for not a lot more money -- doesn't pass the benefit cost test IMO. I don't work weekends and walk out of here around 5:00 everyday. Life in the rat race doesn't have to be intolerable if you don't want it to be.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by dir-t View Post

    I always used to roll my eyes when my college friends would make some "irresponsible" choice prefaced with "I may be dead before I'm 40" but there is something to be said about at least considering the possibility. For my part, I'm thinking more and more that a good strategy is to work as little as possible but for a long time.
    Your career and philosophy is much closer to mine than you would think. I always felt like if the only thing I did was go to work during the week, I was living life wrong. You gotta have some fun! Don't get me wrong, I had a couple of stints where I worked crazy hours for a month or two. I am talking 80 plus hours a week. But, I enjoyed those times because there were lives in the balance depending on what we were doing. I did climb the corporate ladder to just below the threshold of where I would really have to suffer long hours and high pressure.
    "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." --A. Einstein

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