I’m Quitting My Job And Retiring by 40

I have writer’s block.  When something is bothering me, it completely stops my ability to write anything at all until I get it off my chest.  I struggle with how much of my own life to include on this blog that doesn’t relate to finance.  After all, this blog is about my journey out of debt, but I tend to toss in little anecdotes about my life as well.  Hey, I’m human. So, I’ve had this thing stuck in my throat for weeks now, and it made me lose my voice.  I figure, it’s time to let it out.

I’m quitting my job.

There, I said it.  Such a relief.

You might recall that I changed jobs about seven months ago.  I was looking to slow down and do something more tailored to my personality.  I agonized over my decision to leave my previous employer for the better part of two years before deciding to take the plunge and leave at the end of November last year.  I began my current job the first week of December and immediately wondered if I had made a mistake.

There were so many things wrong with the company that I wondered if I had jumped into the proverbial fire.  But, change can be difficult for some people, so I thought that perhaps, for the first time, I wasn’t adapting to change very well.  I thought that I needed to give the company a fair assessment and figured that I would have a better view of the company by spending at least six months evaluating the company and my position.  Almost to the day of the six month mark, I called the VP of HR and told him that I was ready to quit.  He was shocked, I guess.  Shocked enough to insist on calling me at home to discuss my grievances at length.

Usually, I try to be as politically correct as possible, but hell, what was I going to lose? My job? So I laid it all out, as plain as day.

The company is growing at a rapid pace, and its growing pains are clearly evident.  However, the pervasive culture is that of, I’ll call it, “the good ‘ole boys club”, and it stinks.  Employees are treated like serfs, expected to come in, keep their noses to the grindstone and leave at the end of the day.  The turnover rate (the rate at which employees either quit or are terminated from one year to the next) in some areas is nearing 30%.  That is virtually unheard of, especially with the job outlook as it is. Instead of trying to evaluate the root cause of the problem, the assumption is made that the company is not hiring the right people.

But the main problem is that the senior managers have come up through the ranks in this company with no outside access to management training.  While they are making good financial decisions for the direction of the company, their lack of management training has created an environment of low morale, except within the executive team. These guys have known each other for decades, and in their eyes can do nothing wrong.

Personally, my job isn’t hard.  I’m learning a lot and adapting quickly.  My evaluations (constant and annoying) are all positive. Glowing, really.  So, when I called the VP of HR to tell him that I was going to quit, he was taken aback.  He decided to call me at home to hear what I had to say, unfiltered.  When I laid out all of my grievances, he was not surprised.  He began work with my employer approximately nine months before I started, and had run into some of the same problems that I encountered.  He spoke very frankly to me about some of the problems that he was trying to fix.  But, we both knew that culture change would be the only way to combat the problems with that company, and that takes a massive amount of time, and buy-in from senior managers.  That would not happen any time soon, and I don’t feel like suffering through the problems with the company to wait for the change.

Through our conversation, the VP stated that he liked my work ethic and the way in which I tackled problems.  The feedback that he has received from all levels of management from CEO down had been positive, so he was loathe to lose me as an employee.  Instead, he offered me a better position in California.  I like, live, love and work in New York City.  While I like Los Angeles, I don’t want to leave my family to live there…nor would I ask them to move with me just for a job.  I flat out declined the offer.

Since our conversation a month ago, he has checked in with me on a weekly basis, and even offered me another position in the Atlanta area, but again, I am not moving.  I will give him credit for trying to address some of my issues, but I know that he is pushing a rock uphill, and it will be a long battle.  I did offer to give the company more time, but here I am a month later and I know, without a doubt, that with or without another job, I’m leaving.

I am slowly planning my escape, but I plan on giving the company a decent notice of at least two weeks.  They can do with that time what they will.  My friend, Sam from Financial Samurai would think me an idiot for leaving without negotiating a separation package.  I don’t know how willing they are to negotiate, since, as I work in a particular area of HR, I get to see all of the separation packages and agreements for everyone in the company.   Either way, I’ll try to take the advice of Sam’s book and engineer my layoff.

The other thing is that I am really an entrepreneur at heart.  I’ve been working for others, trying to fit my square peg into very round holes and it just doesn’t work.  I just don’t fit in.  I had a conversation with one of two people who I consider to be mentors, and she said that sure, I could work in the corporate world, but at my heart, I would never feel satisfied.  When she asked what I would ultimately like to do, I said that I want to work for myself. When she asked for a timeline, I said that I would need at least 5 years to prepare.  After all, I have this whole debt thing to pay off before I move into something for myself.  I’m 34 now, so 40 sounded like a nice round number.

Her advice was that I should continue to climb the corporate ladder and make as much money as possible to get out of the rat race, but still have something to fall back on in case I changed my mind five years from now.  Considering that my friend Joe has always thought of retiring by 40 and effectively did so a bit early by handing in his two weeks’ notice recently, I have a template to go by and don’t think that I’ll change my mind any time soon.

Don’t forget, I once was an entrepreneur and know what the challenges entail.  I’ve done it and failed at it and can do it again.  You can read more about that in my article for H&R Block.  I’m not afraid of trying a second, third or fourth time.

So guys, that’s it. I’m quitting.  If I don’t mention it in the next couple of weeks it’s because I’m busy plotting and planning.  I’ll let you know when the deed is done, and we’ll figure out where I go from there.

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46 thoughts on “I’m Quitting My Job And Retiring by 40

  • Having been in a similar situation, about the same time as you got into yours, I can say that I know how you feel. I quit, took 7 months to do my own thing, and then took a new job that I like quite a bit more.

    People look at losing/quitting a job is the end of your life/career. It’s not.

    Congratulations on making the decision. As I recall, that was one of the hardest parts! 🙂

  • That is definitely big news. Sounds like they have management in place that is great at the bigger picture stuff, but they have nobody to manage the little things. A good company has to have a mix of both.

    I can’t wait to hear how things go moving forward. I’m sure you’ll find nothing but success!

  • Good Luck and you will be fine!! I had something sorta like this happen to me and I have not regretted it since I took the plunge. I even tried to help the company become aware of managers who were not tried in that capacity but I dont think anyone ‘really’ listened.

  • I always say that if you are not happy then to go. We all work with people who complain that they hate their jobs but do nothing about it, you are. There is no amount of money that can hold someone to a job they hate unless money is more important than happiness. I bid you luck but you won’t need that because when you have the strength you have you will stop at nothing to get what you desire. Cheers Mr.CBB

    • I’m miserable and dread going into the office every day. Whenever they want to fly me around the country I jump at the chance just so I’ll be out of the office and book a seat as far away from my colleague(s) as is polite.

      • Sounds pretty bad! In a way though I’d almost rather have a terrible situation than a middle of the road boring, sometimes annoying and sometimes OK job (which I think is what most people have). At least it makes it easier to pull the trigger and get your ass outta there.

  • Good luck on a new adventure! I bet it also felt good being able to air your grievances in the open without anything to lose, it is nice to talk with such openess!

    Look forward to seeing where you go next on your journey! Raises glass in toasting another chapter being written……….

  • Sandy,

    Good luck in your new move! Please do try and engineer your layoff instead of quitting. In NYC has a 3 month salary severance minimum according to the WARN Act. That’s good money, as is unemployment benefits!

    Sam

    • Maybe I need to check out the book but I am confused the applicability of WARN? Isn’t that for layoffs and not someone looking to stop working?

  • Sandy,

    Good luck in your new move! Please do try and engineer your layoff instead of quitting. In NYC has a 3 month salary severance minimum according to the WARN Act. That’s good money, as is unemployment benefits!

    Sam

  • Sandy,
    Hope you find a better fit. I know it’s tough to keep working for others, but sometime you gotta do what you gotta do. I’m sure you can do it in 5 years. You’ll be in a much better position with the rentals by then. Good luck!

  • Sandy I can’t imagine you not fitting in anywhere from our brief meeting so I am going to blame them :). I have been working for myself for years now and although it’s a roller coaster I am not going back to ft employment anytime soon and ever if I can help it!

    Good luck! I’ll be watching to see how things go!

  • I’m so jealous. I hate my job, boss, and commute. I’m not quite ready to make the leap without something else lined up, but your story is inspiring.

  • Congrats Sandy! That’s awesome and you must be feeling so liberated. I’m sure you went with your gut and intuition, and doing that never fails. Whatever happens now is meant to be, and I’m excited for you =)

  • Congrats Sandy! That’s awesome and you must be feeling so liberated. I’m sure you went with your gut and intuition, and doing that never fails. Whatever happens now is meant to be, and I’m excited for you =)

  • I think it’s great that you were so honest. It’s too bad that we can try on jobs to see of they will be a good fit! I’ll be right here watching where you end up next! I have friends who have gone to school for 4 years for a degree and then realize they don’t like the jobs that go along with that degree. Good Luck on your new venture!

    Chase

  • I think it’s great that you were so honest. It’s too bad that we can try on jobs to see of they will be a good fit! I’ll be right here watching where you end up next! I have friends who have gone to school for 4 years for a degree and then realize they don’t like the jobs that go along with that degree. Good Luck on your new venture!

    Chase

  • I think it’s great that you have a plan B (and knowing you, probably a plan C and D as well). I’m sure you will be fine! This said, personally, I would have preferred to knock out more of the consumer debt before I took that leap.

    The rental debt doesn’t bother me, probably because we have rental debt as well. What happens with the 401K loan though?

    Good luck to you!

  • Seems there’s a lot of this going around! I think you’re wise not to stick around while the senior managers work at changing culture. Life’s too short, and perhaps nothing’s more challenging than changing a company’s culture when it’s securely embedded in management. The only way may be a complete housecleaning, and that’s unlikely to happen. And why should you wait to see what happens? Your first priority is of course yourself and your own well being, not the well being of this particular employer. Good luck!

  • Seems there’s a lot of this going around! I think you’re wise not to stick around while the senior managers work at changing culture. Life’s too short, and perhaps nothing’s more challenging than changing a company’s culture when it’s securely embedded in management. The only way may be a complete housecleaning, and that’s unlikely to happen. And why should you wait to see what happens? Your first priority is of course yourself and your own well being, not the well being of this particular employer. Good luck!

  • I hope that all goes well for you in this transition! I worked in an interesting company once where instead of the “good ol’ boys club” it was the “good ol’ girls club.” So, I was out of the club by default. Personally I like a company where you are judged solely on your performance!

  • Sounds like you are setting your priorities and going to make it work no matter what. I can’t wait to read your “retirement” post. Good luck in preparing for the next few years.

  • Such an exciting time! Once you’ve decided to quit, you can really move beyond that decision on start focusing on the “when”, the “where”, the “how”. Looking forward to seeing how this plays out for you Sandy, but I love it when people take control and do what they have to do. Nothing is worse than wasting away years of your life in a job you hate.

  • Such an exciting time! Once you’ve decided to quit, you can really move beyond that decision on start focusing on the “when”, the “where”, the “how”. Looking forward to seeing how this plays out for you Sandy, but I love it when people take control and do what they have to do. Nothing is worse than wasting away years of your life in a job you hate.

  • I understand and I am happy to read your story. I am 40 and resigned from my former job due to a lot of the good ole boys network and I was tired after 3 and a half years of being excluded and treated like crap despite the work I have done and working hard. I am so glad I did because my health is better and I am now working somewhere doing what I enjoy. The pay is the same, however I do not have all the expenses such as a house and paying rent on an apartment in another city.

  • For my health and sanity I had no other choice but to leave my job. The stress was unbearable, due to the management and leadership did not seem to care at all about how things in my department was going. I took another position somewhere else and waiting to start. I was soo sick I was sick with depression when I woke up every morning. Since I left, I have mentally improved and was able to function in life. Yes I am broke, but still have things under control. I am so glad I moved on.

  • Please, someone, give me some advice! I have been in a similar situation for several months. I work for local government in a low-level position and I absolutely hate going to work. It is making me very depressed and sick. The turnover rate is very high. The main source of trouble is the bullying supervisor. Management has slapped her hands but basically done nothing else of substance to stop her.

    I have tried to transfer departments (so many of the departments are similar to this one) but nothing better has come up yet and each day is agony. I have enough money to last me a few months (if I draw out my retirement). I would like to attend school in the fall to gain more marketable skills. I’m mid-fifties and don’t have too much else financially speaking. But, as everyone says, “life is short” and this job is shortening it even more. I would welcome any and all advice. Thank you

  • Please, someone, give me some advice! I have been in a similar situation for several months. I work for local government in a low-level position and I absolutely hate going to work. It is making me very depressed and sick. The turnover rate is very high. The main source of trouble is the bullying supervisor. Management has slapped her hands but basically done nothing else of substance to stop her.

    I have tried to transfer departments (so many of the departments are similar to this one) but nothing better has come up yet and each day is agony. I have enough money to last me a few months (if I draw out my retirement). I would like to attend school in the fall to gain more marketable skills. I’m mid-fifties and don’t have too much else financially speaking. But, as everyone says, “life is short” and this job is shortening it even more. I would welcome any and all advice. Thank you

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