It’s not a prerequisite to hate your job when you’re on the path to financial independence. I actually love my profession and love the career I have built. But as much as I find fulfillment and satisfaction in it, I’m still quite willing to close the door on that part of my life when we hit FI.
I’m a professional in the heritage sector. I worked hard to get here, with a postgraduate degree required before I was qualified and many unpaid, voluntary hours trying to get my foot on the career ladder. Out of the two of us, I have the interesting job. Whenever we’re at social functions or engagements and conversations with strangers inevitably turn to what we all do for a living, Mr. LLC always turns the conversation over to me to talk about the historical material I manage. Mr. LLC went into his profession for the money, I went into mine for the love of the work.
It’s not all sunshine and flowers though. My profession is not very well paid – above the UK national average annual salary but still well below other professionals such as doctors, lawyers and accountants. My sector is also severely underfunded, which translates into not too many job opportunities.
I entered my profession with the then assumption that I’d be doing some form of this work until I reached state retirement age. Therefore, I chose my career based on the fact I wanted to do something I found interesting and fulfilling if I was going to do it for the bulk of my life.
But then, one morning last March, we made the decision to work towards financial independence and quit the 9-5 monotony.
Wanting to achieve financial independence isn’t about being too lazy to work. Far from it. It’s about understanding there is more ways to spend your time in these all too fleeting lives of ours.
So, will I miss my job when I don’t need it anymore? Yes is the honest answer.
For me, work isn’t simply about the paycheck going into my bank account every month. It’s about enjoying what I do and helping preserve our cultural heritage not only for future generations but also ensuring we have access to and are learning from historical narratives and archival collections in the present.
However (luckily) my profession is very adaptable to freelance, consulting work, which is a real bonus. This gives me the option when we hit FI or are close to doing so, to branch out and carry on doing what I do in a different way. I also have the option to give my time freely to community groups or underfunded institutions who need someone with my expertise and knowledge but can’t afford to pay.
Reaching FI isn’t about walking away from a career I feel trapped in or don’t get fulfillment from. It’s simply about using my time to explore the world and enjoy my time on this planet in different ways. To travel off-peak. To go hiking on a Wednesday afternoon. To learn a new skill or a new hobby. To slow down and savour the importance of just being, without a deadline or pointless staff meetings. Or (let’s be honest) having to work with people you just really don’t get on with. I want to spend the bulk of my time with the people I love most in this world.