Planes torpedoed down from the once untarnished crystal blue skies.
This now unholy planet shattered open and began oozing out the same crimson blood I held in my veins.
Suddenly, as if ‘A Clockwork Orange’ was teasing this bleak reality, you also hear the echoes of the masses whispering atrocities…”Costco stopped selling their polish dogs.”
And I knew, I knew…my childhood ended that day.
Annnnd all this because my no good, dirty rotten husbandit couldn’t land a promotion at work so I can take all that cash to buy a diamond-crusted Chanel bag for myself. >:(
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No, I love my honey hippo. Here’s the boring (real) story:
[Hippo comes home and greets me prepping dinner with a smooch ?]
“I had a private discussion with my manager today.”
These meetings occur once a month and the objective is to touch base on progress at work.
“Oh yeah? How did it go?”
(For newer readers that don’t know, my husband works in Big Tech.)
“Ehh same but he gave me a choice.”
It seems his work performance *converted to grade school letters anyone can understand* is basically a C right now.
It’s not exactly a surprise.
GUYS REMEMBER THE TIME HE THREW HIS PHONE AT ME OMG. I could gut him right now in his sleep just remembering it!!!
Hubby has not been feeling his work projects for a while now. His work gets done but it’s slow, tedious, and stressful for him. It’s not something he’s naturally good at – because it requires lots of back and forth.
He likes working alone on neverending, complicated puzzles (and yup, he’s abnormally quick at them) but he hates the other stuff that comes with the engineering role.
During the meeting, his manager gave him two options…
A) Improve his current work performance and stay on the track originally expected of him with a promotion check every 2-3 years.
B) Play to his natural strength and Mr. Manager will sniff out a specialized project he can go to town on alone. His type of puzzle solving talent at his job level definitely has an appeal. The job is safe. But…very grimly, his manager warned him that doing this means little to no clear path for traditional advancement.
“And that’s what manager said. He told me to choose.”
We both stare at each other super seriously…then busted out laughing together at the same time.
“Wait, how is that even hard???”
“I know right.”
“Yes, I told him I’m interested in B at the moment.”
“You should have screamed it at him. Why did it take him over 1 year to see that!”
“He made the no-promotion thing sound like the end of the worl–”
I interjected – “and like, who cares?!”
“Why would anyone choose to stay on A if they don’t enjoy the basic principles of work? Screw promotions. Plus if your performance sucks (reflected by missing passion) then there’s not going to be advancement anyway.”
“I guess because he took the traditional path, he automatically believed it would be an ego blow doing anything else.”
“This is terrific news. I hope he finds something for you to switch to your strengths. Promo cut, pay cut, paper cut, who cares. It would be the biggest blessing of my life right now if you started to LOVE your work like I love mine. It’s all I ask!!! You know how I feel about the concept of ‘work.’ I wouldn’t do any of this shit (ie. working on my deep life projects) if I wasn’t naturally drawn to it for fun.”
“I know :)”
“Seriously make it happen – work your manager and find your thing. We have to get over the concept of survivorship and rat race. Something frivolous like a promotion shouldn’t entice people to give into work they’re not interested in. Life is short!!*
He isn’t a big talker so I just replaced his speech with smiley faces. That’s what he was doing the whole time I was ranting anyways.
Perhaps he was afraid that I was going to tell him to step up to the challenge of (A) or be disappointed he’s only an average performer at work. I could sort of smell his relief when we both agreed on B instantly.
I don’t think I would ever push him to do something he doesn’t want to do. It’s clear that I think the WORLD of my husband in almost EVERY way.
I know he’s incredibly talented when applied to something that suits him – his brain is just wired for certain tasks that 99.5% of people find difficult. It’s up to the people like me (and his manager) to seek out the best environment for his applicable skills.
As long as he’s got something to work on that brings a smile to his face, I’m good with that.
OK, that’s all for today. I hope you found the morals behind our talk tonight agreeable. You don’t even have to be financially independent to see that right?
What’s the point of climbing up the career ladder if you dislike that ladder? My hubby works for an awesome company but it doesn’t change our plans.
Anything near $300k for most fairly frugal people (without kiddos) means they’re pretty much good and set to make money the second choice. From there, you should start building your own escape ladder.
I know I would rather be happy working for a little longer than miserable and nonchalant working for the years to come just for a promotion!
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Dave @ Accidental FIRE says
Wow, this fits right in with my last post about middle management. It seems that our work culture in America assumes you want to advance for more money – regardless of how crappy the job is or makes you feel. He chose right, so don’t gut him. Let him go another day 😉
I agree; no gutting, please!
You’re using a semicolon? yyyyyou pretentious bastard ?
Oh man, I love this discussion. I remember having a similar chat with my husband about five years ago. “As long as you love your job and are fulfilled, who cares about being promoted?” I mean, job happiness is a BIG part of his overall happiness. It’s one of the reasons we were so stoked he could keep his NH job and do it remotely when we moved to NC. When you reach the place of “enough” you don’t have to be so worried about that promotion ladder. Congrats to you both.
Meow meow thank you meow meow :3
freddy smidlap says
something similar happened for me about 8 years ago in my huge company. they chose about 10 people for this big “flavor of the month, rah-rah, gonna change the world” program. i applied for it and didn’t get it, being beaten out by a couple of h.s. graduate stooges. fast forward 8 years and most of the people selected for that program did get promoted and half of them are fired or so burned out they resigned. be careful what you wish for.
the few of us who are still goons just sail along.
Yikes. Sounds like that was a near miss. Not a great environment, or maybe a bit of the Peter principle going on?
Good observation Freddy!!
Someone explain the Peter principle to me…..
Your husband has got one great wife! And she’s one great writer! Just a great post. Thanks.
Joe @ Retire by 40 says
Good luck with the change. I hope his manager is really good. Your husband will be very dependent on this relationship. If it ever goes sour, he’ll be screwed. Keep an eye open for new opportunities. Don’t feel like you have to stay there if it’s not working out. I think going with B is the right choice too. I would have done the same.
We both aspire to be you guys someday but ofc you knew this 🙂
Would have been hard for him if you didn’t agree with him, and so many other spouses may not have!
We all need to find what is right for us and it sounds like option B is best for him:)
Thanks Charoline!!! Sorry I’ve been so busy lately, can’t wait to peek at you over there.
Ms. Frugal Asian Finance says
You guys sound so cute together! I’d tell Mr. FAF to take option B too if that makes him happy (although I’d also secretly hope that he’d also get promoted some day. Promotion = $$$ = smiley face hehe).
It’s sometimes challenging when everyone around you is a genius. My hubby feels almost the same way as Jared. It’s hard to see him coming home looking all depressed without any passion or interest in his life and work. But they’re lucky they have us by their sides? :p
Sometimes the spouse has to fight harder than the actual person. Marriage = what a rip off xD xD xD
Mrs. Picky Pincher says
Agreed! No use in climbing a ladder that leads somewhere you don’t wanna be. 😉
Hahaha yes miss queen of hustling!
Young and the Invested says
I’m happy to hear the outcome worked for you two. Promotions can be nice early in the career to juice the income and ability to save from a young age. After a while, however, the work can become overbearing and really take more out of you than expected. That is, unless you love it.
If you get a lot out of it, it makes sense for building your career around something you really enjoy. In the meantime, it might be a good idea to consider your options just to be safe. It’s always nice to have options: you want to get invited to the dance even if you don’t want to go.
Promotions are important early on (and hubby did rockstar those years out) but to a point, it doesn’t matter as much yes 🙂
Dr. McFrugal says
Good for your hubby and you. Happiness and fulfillment is always better than incrementally more money! I would have taken B too!
’cause we’re rockstars!
Mr. Tako says
Big Tech is a giant endless hamster wheel, and the fight over promotions isn’t worth it. If he’s got a clear path off the wheel, then definitely take it. But it won’t be easy, and his manager’s right — promotions probably won’t happen outside the standard track.
It’s probably going to be worth it though. 😉
BUTTER CHICKEN CURRY REIPCE!!#@@!!I)!_U@()*Y OMG
SC | MissFunctional Money says
THIS: “What’s the point of climbing up the ladder if you dislike that ladder?”
You guys have such a good , rational approach to life and work. I’m so happy to hear this, and wish him the best of luck in the transition! BRB going to buy a creamsicle now.
Hahahahah enjoy your creamsicle
Angela @ Tread Lightly Retire Early says
Congratulations to your husband for his non-promotion! Seriously though, I WISH more people made that kind of choice. Work can be a really good, fun thing when your metrics for success change.
Haha hooray for non promotions!
That really is awesome news Lily. The fact that you have built up a large net worth at an early age allows you to make decisions that bring the most happiness because you are not always chasing that dollar and doing something you don’t like. That is exactly thee freedom that FI gives.
Glad you both are on the same page. You are spot on that it is preferable to work a little longer at something you love than work at some place you detest
Luck helped a bit and now it’s OK to coast, nothing special besides that. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be so rational about stuff like this until I’m way older.
Mr. Groovy says
And this ladies and gentlemen is the power of FI. Once you are FI, you no longer have to choose money. You can choose happiness. Now Team FG will be considerably more happy and only save 75% of their income. Boo hoo! Love you guys. Great job.
Love you guys too!! Totally want to meet you both someday :O
Financial Orchid says
Great to hear the boss offers opts!
Is that the famous r&d X department?
In some cut throat corporate meat grinders you’re basically gone if you don’t keep moving up (banking, accounting firms). You can’t stay as an associate for more than a few years as new grads enter the company, the older guards just get pushed out and have to go elsewhere.
Other places offer more job security but low upward mobility which could lead to stagnation.
After FI, the marginal utility from increasing work responsibilities and promotions loses significant appeal. Maybe this is coming fr someone less ambitious
There’s an aspect of that here as well. There’s an expectation that a person had achieved a certain level based on how much experience they have. Being stagnant at an entry or mid level position may not exactly push you out the door as quickly as in more cut throat industries, but it makes mobility within or outside the company more difficult.
But yeah, FI helps reduce the worry around that.
Mrs. Sweetspot says
Congrats on knowing what you want. And kudos to the manager for recognizing the talent they have and how best to use it!
“What’s the point of climbing up the ladder if you dislike that ladder?” YES!! THIS!! This is my career philosophy, too! I dislike the notion that people are not successful in their careers if are not continuously climbing the corporate ladder. I think you should work towards promotions because you WANT to… not because you are SUPPOSED to. Great post!