I’ve always enjoyed that quote. It’s a quote by Jerzy Gregorek. These past few weeks have been very hard for me. A couple of weeks ago I put in my two weeks notice with my current employer. I’d been having these types of thoughts for awhile. I actually thought I was harming my reputation by staying in a role that I had mentally checked out of. My bosses actually seemed pretty understanding and didn’t really blame me; they thought I had tapped out my role after almost three and a half years. While they knew I was looking at getting a rotation to another department, in a more traditional actuarial role, nothing was materializing and I felt I had one foot in and one foot out for too long, spinning my wheels some would say. The hardest part of a decision like this is that it goes against what I told myself many times before (“don’t quit, you won’t get unemployment and a chance at a severance”) and what many people around me, that I respect, were advising.
There’s a philosopher by the name Nietzsche who posed a very interesting question: Would you be prepared to re-live your life in exactly the same way? This question really got me thinking. Most of my early years I would have said sign me up for that again, but I was slightly less sure on some of my recent months. While I’ve been striving very diligently to become financially free I think I also kind of lost the whole point of it. The end goal is to have options, and freedom over your time while you’re healthy enough to enjoy it. And maybe I’m in a position that I have more options than I think, even though I’m not totally financially free.
The reason for analyzing different investment opportunities and living with roommates was to provide me with options, and if I’m not going to take advantage of those what’s the point? We’re talking bigtime options that would potentially allow me to take aggressive risks at points in my life. What I know is that last time I lost a job I had about 25k in cash and burned through about 13k in six months. Now I have about 60k in liquid funds, with not much higher expenses, and conservatively $1000 from rental properties coming in each month. So what am I scared of?
By leaving I’m giving up a six figure job with lots of external benefits. Pay and benefits which would have led to financial independence within the next couple of years and likely the near term chance to get my girlfriend to come to America (because what girl is going to quit a job she loves to go live with her “unemployed boyfriend”). This I am giving up for a life pause/reevaluation/reset.
What do I plan on doing? I plan on studying a lot for my last actuarial exam this next month and after that working a lot on promoting and selling my actuarial goal journal. I’ll also be writing and reading a ton for my blogs and our podcast, The Brothers on Books Podcast.
While the short term pain may be tough to cope with I think the time it’ll provide me to focus exclusively on the skills I want to sharpen and how I want to frame my life will be worth it.
Would you be prepared to re-live your life in exactly the same way?