Posted by Tim Stobbs on June 14, 2013
For not being in a supervising position I have take a substantial amount of training regarding leadership skills. Why? I’m interested in the theory and practice of leading teams or groups and I’ve been lucky to have bosses that are willing to cut me some slack on taking training that isn’t directly related to my current job.
Yet during a recent training session I came to an important conclusion: I don’t want to be a supervisor…ever. I want to be a leader instead. Huh?!? What’s the difference?
Well that got cemented in my mind when I did a group exercise on what is leadership and what is a supervisor. The list of the supervisor items where: paperwork, reporting, managing people issues, performance management…you get the idea. Meanwhile the leadership list included: inspiring others, developing others, driving change, and realizing a vision.
At that point I realized I like leadership, but I have no interest in the actual day to day work of a supervisor. I’ve watched way too many people that those jobs and question if it was a good idea or not. Also I’m blessed to be in a company where you don’t need the title to lead something. People are mostly assigned work on ability and workload in my particular work group. So I’ve already lead things without a title and I’m completely ok to continue that.
Perhaps the hardest part of the realization for me was letting go of my ego. In my head I had always thought I would likely work up to the first step of the management structure, but now that won’t be happening (by my own choice). I’ve been told by several people that thought I would make a good supervisor, so letting go of the dream has required some work on my part.
Yet in the end, I think this will be best. I really do think I would be unhappy in a supervisor position, so after six months of thinking about this dream: I’m letting go.
So what was the last thing you thought you wanted, but found out in fact you didn’t want it? How did you move on?
Posted by Dave on June 11, 2013
This is a guest post by Dave, who is also looking to retire no later than 45, but unlike Tim has no kids and doesn’t want any. Dave is from Ontario and is working towards his CGA certification.
Last week I read a “prepping” (think zombie apocalypse) blog, where one of the writers wrote about ways to get your spouse more involved with bunker building and food hoarding. The same could be said of people who are much more militant with their finances than is socially accepted. I’m not sure how organic a change in thinking it would be to go from a conventional retirement date of 65-70 that someone would normally expect to leaving the workforce 20 years early.
For my wife and I, our retirement goal changed after I had done a significant amount of reading and decided that I didn’t really want to work until my late 60’s – I would prefer to retire as early as possible. My wife and I talked about this subject for a long time. My preference was to retire as early as possible, she didn’t really care, she just didn’t want to have to “feel poor” (by not being able to buy clothes when she wanted to, or go on vacations, or have other stuff).
Working out the numbers, we felt that 45 was a good number to use as a goal for retirement. Age 45 would allow “fixed” expenses, plus a bunch of (mostly unnecessary) fun expenses, which would make both parties involved happy. I can retire early enough that I will hopefully be able to do the things I want to do, while still spending close enough to a “normal” person to not drive my wife crazy.
In some ways, early retirement would be easier to do as a single guy with as low of living standards as I have. I could live in a room in a house and save a much higher percentage than I currently am. I wouldn’t have a house to pay off, and could probably have exited the workforce at 35 or so instead of 45. The problem with this strategy is, I like women, and there would be very few of them (in my admittedly small sample size) who would accept this lifestyle as normal and see me as a dating prospect.
I really don’t see any way that I could have “talked” my wife into accepting a lifestyle where we don’t spend the majority of money that we make. If she was a huge consumerist, this plan wouldn’t work. I also don’t see a situation (with my spouse) where we would completely split our expenses, with me saving a huge portion of my money and her living paycheque to paycheque. There would be some animosity between the two of us at some point, which I think would sour our relationship quite a bit.
The compromise we came up with works for us. We don’t want to fight about money, and our plan has allowed us to worry very little about it over the course of our relationship. We have a decent amount of money saved, and know that most major expenses we have covered. We don’t have stress at the end of the month when bills come in, we know that we should have a pretty good nest-egg for retirement, and we have enough money to do some “fun” stuff.
Would you go it alone if your spouse wasn’t on board with an Early Retirement plan?
Posted by Tim Stobbs on June 5, 2013
Over the years I’ve come to a conclusion. I’m the most happy when I’m being me. Fighting to be something I’m not isn’t helping me or anyone else. So when I took a recent training course at work I got to do a personality test: The Life Styles Inventory which produced some fairly interesting results.
To go after an early retirement goal does require certain personality traits to do it well. So to demonstrate this I’ll show you my particular results. There are 12 categories the inventory ranks you on and the rank is percentile of the population. In my case my most dominant trait is Achievement at the 80 percentile which is all about enjoying a challenge, thinking ahead and setting goals. Sort of obviously useful trait for an early retiree want to be. My secondary dominant trait is Humanistic-Encouraging at 68 percentile, which means I like to encourage others and I’m willing to take time for others (not surprising I’m writing a blog to help you retire too, eh?).
What I also found interesting was how low some of my scores were, such as Approval (the need to get approval from others, 7%), Conventional (following established methods, 5%), Dependent (on other people, 8%), Competitive (10%) and my personal favorite Power (the need to control or manipulate others, 5%). Keep in mind these are percentiles so for example 95% of the population is more conventional than me. Or if you prefer you can invert these to say: I don’t care what other people think, I’m unconventional, independent, a team player and I believe power should be wielded for the common good and not your own interests. While not all of these are required for an early retiree, I would suggest lower scores in Approval, Conventional, and Dependent are a good idea. Early retirement by definition is a unconventional act and being able to be your own person regardless of approval of others is highly useful. Also being independent is useful since you often have to learn new skills with little guidance. (As a side note I wish I had these results years ago to realize why I had a short career as a politician…I did what was in people’s best interest because I cared not because I give a damn about being re-elected).
I also had some scores with a moderate rating like Affiliate (ability to have social bonds, 37%) which is fairly important to get along with others. My Perfectionistic score was 15%, so I like things to be good, but I don’t panic about perfect (I would caution not having too high of a score here otherwise you will never get past your financial model for your retirement). Then my Oppositional score was 33%, so I’ll argue with you to ensure you are on the right track, but I don’t pick fights and I’m not overly defensive.
Am I the perfect early retiree?…NO! I just have certain traits that support that goal. I, like just about everyone else on the world, do try to be a better person. My one target area of growth was my Self-Actualization score at 60%, which is about letting go and accepting things for what they are (not what you want them to be). I try to do better at this, but I fully admit I dwell too long on things. I have to practice being a cork on the sea and moving where the tides take me a bit better.
Which personality traits do you thing makes a good retiree? Which one would you like to be better at?