I Quit My Job Today!//This Whole F.I.R.E. Thing is Real

On May 1, 2014 I took a deep breath and hit the publish button. Eat the Financial Elephant was born. My first post was titled: I’M not QUITTING MY JOB TODAY!

Today, February 28, 2017 I can finally say that this blog is more than a thought exercise. More than a series of hypothetical situations, a series of what ifs. I quit my job today.

I didn’t plan to sit down and write a post, but my mind is racing.  So, in a minimally edited form here are my thoughts.

Unnecessary Fears

Unlike some people probably picture things, I had no desire to march into my boss’ office, hand in a two week notice, and maybe give him a piece of my mind or toss the finger on the way out. Instead, I was a basket case bouncing back and forth between anxiety and fear as this moment approached. I have not slept for nights.

  • Would I be laughed at by people I respect for doing something they perceived as stupid?
  • Would I be told to pack up my desk, and not allowed to leave on my terms?
  • Would they feel betrayed or angry as I shared how long I have been developing our plans to achieve F.I.R.E. and figuring out how to execute these plans without sharing any of it with them?
  • Was I really ready to leave behind a career that took seven years of school, enabled me to make a high five-figure salary, while offering me tremendous benefits and great autonomy just as I was entering my peak earning years?

How It Actually Went Down

First, I went to my boss’ office before lunch and asked if he had a few minutes to talk. We had a great discussion for about 40 minutes. Then, when we were done, I sat down and shared the news with my friend, mentor, office mate and “work wife” of the past 15 years. We also had a great talk for about a half hour. They both were surprised, but not shocked.

There was no anger, no resentment. They did both express genuine concern for me and my family. Had I thought things through? Were we sure we had enough money? Was I sure I wanted to do this? What would I do next? Was there anything that they could do to make things different?

I explained that we had spent a lot of time thinking things through, writing about our ideas, and constantly learning and evolving over the past 4 years. I assured them that I entertained many ideas in my head including approaching them about working part-time, considered offering to buy into the company, or buy out the company, or work for another company, or in a different area of practice. None were appealing.

I truly could not improve on my situation. They were great to work for and with. More money would not make me more happy. More time off or working part-time would make me less satisfied as I would have less continuity of care and less of a personal bond with patients, which is the part of my job that I still actually love and will miss.

I am certain that I am done with this phase of my life. I will probably keep my physical therapy license as a back up for a few years and may work a few rotations as a travel PT or do some fill in work if money gets tight or to pad the investment accounts, but I have no desire to go elsewhere and start over.

I have worked and planned hard to have the freedom to do things that are most important to me. I have always stated that time is more valuable to me than money. Now it is time to put my money where my mouth is.

I emphasized that I was eternally grateful for all that my employers had provided to me. I explained that if they desired, I was ready to be done as soon as they had a replacement for me, but I would be willing to work through November if they wanted me to help provide as smooth of a transition as possible. I desire nothing but the best for them going forward and want to leave on as good of terms as earthly possible. That said, I need to go.

Why This All Matters

Two and a half years after pushing the publish button for the first time, I still question how I have managed to build such an army of loyal and intelligent readers. I also question why anyone really cares about our personal story. I realize that many of you have become vested in our story and for that I am tremendously grateful for your feedback and support. I felt the need to share this news with you.

All that said, this is not and never has been about us. When starting on our journey, there were only a few blogs like this one. We honestly didn’t 100% believe they were authentic, or that this was actually possible.

We started this blog to be an inspiration to others to question assumptions and seek ways to make the best of the short number of years that we have on earth. We wanted to show that a couple of average everyday people who had made many financial mistakes and were starting with little technical knowledge of investing or financial planning could actually pull this off. We wanted to educate others and help them avoid repeating the financial mistakes we have made. Hopefully, we have and will continue to serve each of you in this mission.

What’s Next?

This day is one that I have thought about for a long time. That said, this is not the destination. Instead, it is only the first step on the next phase of our journey.

I can not put into words all that I have learned and how rewarding writing and sharing this blog has been throughout our journey. Growing and expanding the mission of this blog and serving people in a variety of ways will be a big part of my retired life. I look forward to sharing our challenges and adventures ahead as we begin to live out our “Dirtbag Millionaire” vision. I also am excited to drop the veil of anonymity and share details that we have been unable to share until this point in time. However, we a not quite there yet.

Until I am officially done with my job, whether that ends up being a few more weeks or several months, I remain committed to the “Less but Better” philosophy and will continue to take my own advice and do my best not to be a “donkey”. I will not be retired until I am retired. Until then, I will honor my commitments to family first and my employers and patients to whom I have committed to serve to the best of my ability. The blog will remain a side hobby when I have time.

Thank you to all of you who have supported us, helped us, inspired us, and been patient with us on our journey as we celebrate this day!

48 comments on I Quit My Job Today!//This Whole F.I.R.E. Thing is Real

  1. Oh wow, CONGRATULATIONS! Thanks for sharing the details of how it went down with your boss and “work wife.” I too daydream about that moment and know full well I’ll handle it in my own subdued manner. I can’t (but will) wait to see what’s in store for the next phase of your journey! 🙂

    1. Thanks Zed. I was surprisingly nervous to initiate the conversation, but it went as well as you could possibly expect. I am sincere in my praise for my employers and I tried to express that gratitude and make the transition as easy for possible for all parties as that was extremely important to me.

  2. Congratulations! You have definitely inspired me and helped me see a possible, alternate reality to the typical work-retirement flow. I look forward to reading about the next phase of your journey.

    1. Thanks Travis. Sorry we missed you in Utah, but I am pretty certain that our journey will be bringing us back in your direction soon. Cheers!

  3. Whoa – this seems a bit out of no where (unless I missed something as we followed along) – what caused the decision to “go for it”?

    Congrats x 100 by the way – absolutely awesome and very happy for you!

    1. It was a bit out of nowhere. We originally had decided to be done by May. Then were hedging back and forth considering June 30. As our plans to sell the house, move west, build a bigger cash cushion, etc had us going with multiple scenarios and dates, we were both getting overwhelmed and I was getting very antsy. We eventually realized that there was no urgency to have a quit date, but I needed to get things out there to get it off of my chest and get the ball rolling so we decided over the weekend to just do it and kind of put the ball in their court to allow for a smooth transition and good vibes. So far so good. Not sure who they’ll find to replace me or when so that is still up in the air, but it feels good to not have to keep secrets any longer.

      Thanks for the support!

  4. Whaaaaatttt!!! The best news! So happy for you! I’m especially excited, though not surprised, that your work folks were supportive. You know that’s something we think about a ton. Can’t wait to hear all about what comes next for you guys, and especially for the big unveiling!

    1. Yeah, I’m really not surprised either as they are truly good people, but I tend to build things up in my head more than necessary. That said, I guess I didn’t know until I did it. I have to say as I’m sure you can relate to that it felt as though a ton that I’ve been carrying on my chest keeping all of these secrets has now been lifted. More on our plans soon. Way more ideas for posts and things to share than I have time to sit down and write at the moment.

    1. Thank you! I am glad it went as well as possible. They have treated me tremendously for almost 15 years, they deserve at least that in return. As for your journey, keep plugging along. Compounding is a funny thing, as it really does feel long and slow in the beginning but once the ball gets rolling you just have to stay out of the way.

  5. Wow! This is awesome! How exciting for you! I’m definitely curious to hear how the transition phase goes and keep following your journey. I loved seeing this post today, as tomorrow is one year exactly since I told my boss I was quitting at the end of the school year. So I’m reminiscing about how nervous I was to actually say those words and know this was a reality. Obviously my situation is different as I am on hiatus to raise kids and plan to go back to teaching or some other job in a few years, but I’m glad I got to have the experience of actually walking away from a steady job on my own terms. There’s someone so freeing about that. Congrats to you the EE family!

    1. Thanks for the encouragement. Getting out now, even being slightly less than our ideal FI number is extremely exciting as we will have more or less of a year with our daughter before she starts school. This was a huge motivator for us to do this! If we were further from the goal, I think that we would have done more what you have as this time with little ones is fleeting and you only get one chance to do this thing that so few parents realize that they can do.

  6. I am so happy for your decision. You of all people, have given more thought about your retirement plan than any body I know. You and your family will do well and ALL of us wish you happiness! -Ed

    1. Thank you my friend! I am very sorry to have missed you a few weeks ago and am looking forward to connecting with you soon as time ceases to be such a scarce commodity in our lives.
      Cheers!

  7. Congrats! That’s awesome news. I’m glad everything went well for you when you pulled the plug. Funny how we build something up in our minds and become afraid of what their reaction will be and then it turns out just the opposite. I do that all the time. I think it’s normal for people to be a little confused and curious when it comes to early retirement. Glad to hear they were supportive and you got to have some good conversations with them.

    1. So true that it is easy to get caught up in worries. As we’re getting close, we have been having many conversations like do we have enough cash, are we doing right by employers, are we choosing an area with the best schools for our daughter, are we sure we want to move away from our families and it all creates undue stress. Ultimately we know that nothing is permanent and not making a choice to do something is also a choice with its own set of consequences. Thus the decision to just start the ball rolling.

  8. Congratulations again, and I’m really excited for you guys! I’m really excited to read more and find out your plans going forward. I’m a bit envious of the time you guys will have together as a family, and being able to work out your situation that’s best for you, not driven by work, daycare, school, traffic, etc…

    Way to go and good for you for making that decision to just get it out there. Nice one!

    1. Thanks! We are really in quite an excellent situation. While Mrs EE will continue to work, it is about 30 hours and all from home with very limited travel consisting of a week every couple of months. We are going to go from feeling that every moment of our lives is dominated by working, commuting, housework, and other commitments to actually having room to breathe and start playing offense to do the things we want, versus defense to fight for every free moment we can have. It just makes sense to us.

  9. Congrats! I know you have been waiting for this day for a long time! It’s very exciting. I can imagine all the thoughts running through your mind, as this has become “real”.

    I too have moved this direction, though not to the degree you have. I told my supervisor at our clinic in December that starting this past January I wanted to cut my hours in half. After a little back and forth, she told me they wanted to keep me and would work with me to make this happen. Working part-time and having more moments with the family is really where it’s at!

    1. Thanks Dave. I’m curious to hear about your experience if you want to reach out to me in the contact section. As stated in the article, there are elements of my job that I really do love and I also thought about going part-time b/c I’d be lying to say that I have no reservations about giving up a job that is so financially and personally rewarding. This is more of the reason that I plan to hold onto my license for a while than truly being worried about our finances. However, I found that I was trying to take a day or half-day a week while burning through vacation time and it definitively made me more stressed, less connected to patients and co-workers, and less satisfied. Maybe if having a part-time agreement and working much less consistently I would like it more, but I don’t know that I would.

  10. Woohoooo! Congratulations on quitting that 9-to-5. You’re my hero. 🙂 It sounds like you had a fantastic experience at work, and that certainly makes it more difficult to quit. Hopefully I’ll have a crappy job when I achieve FIRE so I can go out in a blaze of middle-finger-flinging glory–it would make a great blog post, after all.

    Again, congrats! I hope you get to retire soon. Don’t let them convince you to stay longer than you’d like, too!

    1. Ha ha, thanks! I have a 4 y/o and I don’t even think I’m her hero in the phase she is currently going through so that is pretty cool to know that someone feels that way. I did have a very good experience in having chosen a rewarding career and having found a great company to work for. I certainly do not hate my job or company, I just feel that it is not anywhere near the most important part of my life, yet it eats the lion’s share of the time so it is time to try new challenges and adventures. Thanks for your frequent encouragement and support.
      Cheers!

  11. Congrats! I informed my company awhile ago and have an exit date of June 30, 2017. I’m beyond excited.

    1. Too cool. As of about two weeks ago, that was actually the exact date we had in mind. I left it more open ended as I don’t have a true urgency to be done, so much as having things out in the open and being able to talk to people and be me rather than living this double life. It feels good!

  12. Congrats, EE!!! Very happy for you, Mrs EE, and little EE. I am impressed at the manner in which you went about it. Very classy. I would expect nothing less.

    Enjoy the feelings and excitement of where you are and where you will be for the next transition period. Our transition to Ecuador was not exactly the same, but it felt very surreal for me (and still does some days). It was one of those “I need to pinch myself” type experiences, because it was very much like a dream. But even the practical reality after is exciting, fun, and full of childlike energy. So, I wish you much of that and more!

    Keep us infirmed!

    1. Thank you so much! With everything going on, we have been trying to largely disconnect from the blog, my writing and reading other blogs and just really doing some deep thinking and a lot of talking. One of the exceptions is your new “Open Road Carsons” blog. While we don’t want to do exactly what you’re doing, we’ve talked a lot about how inspiring it is to watch you two have this idea, develop a plan and actually do it. We know that we need to do the same. We get so caught up in worrying about money, whether we’re doing the right thing by everyone else, etc that we get stuck in analysis paralysis. I think that before blogging I would read about other people and think I could never do this or that. Having met and spent a little bit of time talking with you and Kari, and then watching what you all are doing as a family has inspired us to actually live out our own dreams and visions and quit worrying and thinking about them so much. Thank you my friend!

  13. Congrats. For 18 months my wife and I have been reading F.I.R.E blogs. We found your blog early and continue to enjoy your journey. It is these blogs that inspired us to purposely plan what we desire from our working and personal lives. Much like you stated, we started a blog to help us keep on the path and inspire others to examine their situations. This isn’t some fantasy. It been awesome sharing this journey with my wife and kids. Since we got control of our money instead of our money having control of us we: paid off almost all of our debt, my wife now stays home with our little kids, she is pursuing her dream of writing, and I’m now in a position to continue pursuing my dream of being a counselor educator college professor. So I sincerely thank you for playing a part in this journey for me and my family. I hope our paths cross someday to say thank you in person.

    1. Wow. Thank you is I think all that I can say to that. Sincerely, thank you as that is what keeps me going. As for meeting up in person, making connections with like minded people is something that I’ve had limited time and opportunity to do up to this point, but something that I want to do a lot of in the future as time is more abundant in our lives.

  14. Congrats on starting a new journey. It will be great. I look forward to read your experiences in retiring into something.
    And kudos for the way you offer help to your colleagues in the office. One day, I imagine to become free like that as well.

    1. Thanks AT. And thank you for being one of my most consistent and long running supporters on this journey. It is truly appreciated. Your day will come, but I think that we’re both kind of figuring out together that if you start right now building a life that you love and can be happy with that when the day comes, there is excitement but no real great urgency to make the change b/c you have already found how to be happy which I think deep down is what starts us all on this journey.

    1. Thank you and thanks for being one of my most vocal and long running supporters. Not sure how you ever found us way back then, but sure glad that you did!
      Cheers!
      EE

  15. Congrats! It’s so inspiring to see people reach the “promised land”. Eventually our day will come too and I can’t wait for it. The great thing is that you are in a field where you can realistically go and pick up shifts whenever you want to be able to pad the bottom line without making a full time commitment to it. That’s a huge plus to be able to fall back on, although I hope you never have to. All the best.

    1. Thank you JC. Glad you found it inspiring. I think that the first generation who did this like MMM, ERE, Mad Fientist were inspiring in that they demonstrated that this can be done and showed us how. However, as stated in the article I almost viewed them as some kind of super persona and wasn’t 100% sure they’re stories were even real as their paths seemed too perfect and didn’t represent my own. I think the value in the explosion of this next generation that we are part of is to show the whole journey with real mistakes, faults and vulnerability and then see us actually come out the other side. I am excited to see how we and others continue to build on this and maybe start to change the way people in this country live is a true grass roots effort, so keep plugging away on your own journey as well!

  16. Good for you EE. Sounds like at least your work situation wasnt too bad but its really a personal decision for each of us. I actually dont mind working (and making some money) to a point. The problem is it really takes up all of your time and energy. Its hard to have quality time in your life when you are trying to fit it in on nights, weekends, and vacation time. It all goes by so fast. It seems like you are spinning your wheels just trying to keep up all the time. If you have a good situation and love your job – great. But otherwise I wouldnt want to devote my life to some half-assed corporation that doesnt treat you right until im 60 just for the money. With smart choices, frugality, and investing it can be done and isnt that complicated. I’ve enjoyed your blog and perspectives. Keep up the good work.

    1. Wow Arrgo, you pretty much summed up my life perfectly in one paragraph. I agree that I do not mind working, and actually like many aspects of my job. It is just that I also like many other things as much or more and it doesn’t make sense to devote 60% of my waking hours 5 of those days to working and commuting to try to cram everything else into the other 2 days and a couple of weeks of vacation. Glad you’re enjoying the blog and thanks for the feedback.

  17. This is my first time here, but definitely not the last. I wish I found your site much sooner, but I’m happy to have discovered it now.

    Congratulations to you! I am excited to follow along on the next chapter.

    1. Glad you found us Cody. Thanks for taking the time to comment and hope you’ll continue to chime in.

  18. Totally awesome! Congrats!

    This post is an encouragement to me as I pursue my own journey. Thanks for sharing! And I wish you all the joy and satisfaction, growth and success on your next phase of live.

    Blessings.

  19. Congrats on an amazing accomplishment! I’ve always assumed that some bloggers are a bit paranoid that their employers wouldn’t be supportive of this type of decision (…though who can blame them…). I’m glad that there was no drama with your co-workers in having the conversation.

    All the best,
    TJ

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: