Could you do it?

by Darrell Hagan 2 replies
I have a longtime friend who recently retired from Jeld-Wen Corporation after 42 years of service. He's in his early sixties and, knock on wood, in good health.

He's lived alone for about 18 years now after several failed relationships and 5 marrages. He has no kids. He had a substantial 401K and so paid off all of his debts. He rents a nice 2 bdm. apartment for the unheard-of-these-days price of $265 per month, water & garbage paid.

His retirement income totals about $2k/mo. and he is sitting on about $65k left from his 401K after expenses.

He and I disagree on something here.

My friend really likes to brag about his retirement and how he planned for this for most of his life. He forgets that I've known him for about half of his life and seen him at his best and his worst. I strongly disagree that he "planned" all of this. Knowing him as I do, I say that his life's events and a bit of luck are what got him to where he is. Which brings me to the point of this post:

While I don't think that he had a plan, what my friend did do was to show up and work hard at the same job for 42 years, which is commendable in itself. He often had to work 10-12 hour shifts, saw many coworkers come & go, and had to do exactly as he was told, good or bad, for all of that time. And he could have been fired or laid off at any time.

Could you do it? I don't think that I could. First, I'm in my mid 40s now so likely wouldn't live long enough to enjoy retirement from such a job. Second, although I'm certainly no stranger to working for someone else and can do so, I just never was very good at it. Much better at directing my own efforts.

While my friend has the advantage of guaranteed monthly income, was it worth it? 42 years of his life spent workin fer da man? I know for sure that lots of people on this very forum make much more than 2K/mo. and are (hopefully) socking away good retirements.

My friend doesn't see my IM activities as a serious job, even though I easily support myself & my wife. He's old-school and thinks that if it ain't physical and you don't drive to it everyday then it ain't real. He thinks that I've made some bad decisions by going "the other way" - getting into IM and working for myself.

I've been self-employed since 1995.

Thats the big disagreement. I know that some people simply aren't cut out to work for themselves and thats fine. But if I'm going to put in 42 years, I'd rather at least try to do something I enjoy and am good at. My friend thinks that I need a "real" job.

So what about you? If you had to quit IM and landed such a job as my friend, could you do the same thing, day in and day out for 42 years?

I just don't think I could.

- Darrell
#main internet marketing discussion forum
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  • Profile picture of the author dbh
    Funny. I thought more people would weigh in on this.
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    • Interesting.

      I am completely money-motivated. At least that's what I used to think. What I realized long ago is that if you paid me a $1 million salary to do a job I didn't like doing, I wouldn't last a week.

      If the 'work' isn't intellectually stimulating, I'm totally incapable of doing it on any sustained basis. For any money.

      I'm also very 'entrepreneurial'. If I don't have the latitude to do things the way I feel they should be done, even an 'interesting' job won't keep me very long.

      I've worked for a Fortune 500 corp. at the executive level, with a salary of $175k. This was in an area I actually enjoyed. I barely lasted 2 1/2 years.

      I've now been full-time "IM" since 1998. Most of the time I make about what I made as an executive. Sometimes I hit a 'home-run' and bank a sizable chunk. Sometimes I go through 'droughts'.

      On balance, I make what would be considered a 'great' income. And I'm my own boss, free to follow my own path, for better & worse.

      I couldn't see doing it any other way.

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