For the record I am NOT leaving my job. I have no plans on leaving my job. Certainly, there are things I don’t like about my job, but who doesn’t have that problem. Besides I kind of have a golden handcuffs situation at my current position. I have been promoted as high as I can go and I make a decent living doing so. If I were to leave it would have to be the right situation.
However, what is the right situation? When is it time to leave your job?
I was talking with a faculty colleague and he offered an excellent mantra that I think a lot of us should follow. You know it is time to go when: You HAVE enough or You have HAD enough.
I’ll be honest that short phrase kind of blew me away. I had never thought about it like that. And in 8 words I think he basically summed up, at least for me, when it is time to leave your job. So let’s take each one in turn.
What Does Having Enough Mean?
For me, having enough is about a specific number that you have in your head about how much you need to retire or reach financial independence. We all will have different numbers. I have put out what my specific financial independence number is, but it is different for different people. For some people it is a about having FU money. For others it is about a specific retirement quotient. You can find out what your RI:Q is here.
There are different formulas for figuring out your number. A big formula in the personal finance community is the 4% rule. In essence, if you take out 4% of your investments your money should last you all of your days. The 4% rule comes from the Trinity Study done in 1998 where 4% of monies from your investments should be enough to last you your entire life.
So if you buy the 4% rule (and I do) then how much money do you need to have. Well, you would need 25 times x. The x part is the key here. Is it 25x your income or 25x your expenses. For a lot of people it is expenses. If you spend $30k a year then you need to save $750,000. However, if you earn $50k a year then some people say you would need $1.25 million. Personally, I calculated my FIRE number based upon my expenses, not upon my income. When I hit that number that will mean, for me at least, I have enough.
That doesn’t mean I will stop working, but I think it will make life easier for me. So a question all of the readers have to ask themselves is what does having enough mean for you? What amount is it?
What Does It Mean to Have HAD Enough?
The good thing about the first part is that you can shoot for a specific goal. However, the 2nd part of the above mantra is a bit more difficult. I mean we all have problems at our jobs. But how do you know when you have HAD enough?
For me, this semester has been tough. I am tired. I am burned out. I feel like I have had enough, but I don’t HAVE enough. And the truth is I like my job. I like my students. I just took on WAY too much work and am not managing my time well. Plus, unexpected expenses (e.g. the bathroom, car repairs, and the like) have thrown my budget out of wack and causing me to loose a little sleep. I don’t know when the next shoe will drop. I am not hearing good news. I feel like a rat in a wheel. I felt like this before. And it has just gotten worse.
I don’t think I have HAD enough with teaching or even my current university, but I know I have had enough with the current semester. I wanted it to end 2 months ago and that is unusual for me. Typically, I am happy go lucky throughout the fall. I love the fall. And there is just something about the last 2 months that have been bad.
Financially, things have been chaotic. Personally, things are fine. Mrs. ROB and I are in a good place in our marriage (at least I hope so). We are still working on being parents and maybe that is part of it is as well.
But I think the idea of having HAD enough is really when you start looking for exits to the door. When you actively try to stay home in bed or whatever and not go to your specific place of work or work in general then you probably have had enough.
I have never had that situation. I like my work and I like the place I work at and the people I work with generally, but the last 2 months I admit have gotten me imagining white sandy beaches or a ocean front home with a rocky shoal in front of it or sitting in a cafe in Reykjavik or Prague. I have HAD enough of this semester.
So I think the idea of having HAD enough is a bit trickier. I mean most of us go to work to live, not live to work. I am lucky I get to do both. So knowing when I have had enough might be a bit more difficult and it can be for others, particularly if you need the income to raise a family and the like.
For the readers out there: When do you HAVE enough and what would it mean to have HAD enough?