Over the last 2 years, Mr 15HWW has, from time to time, teased me on being a one-hit wonder. I guess he was probably trying to get me motivated in order to relieve himself of his weekly writing duties.
Yea, Daniel Powter didn’t manage to produce any better work after having a Bad Day. Sorry for the bad pun.
Since I had the rare chance to take a breather from work, I decided to pen down some of my thoughts and the changes in my life.
Here’s hoping that this is a better piece.
2 years ago, honestly, I was rather worried of the “sacrifices” one had to make in order to achieve semi-retirement. Would we have to spend even less and make do with a lower standard of living? So what if you have achieved semi-retirement? What’s next?
The unenlightened me was rather weary of Mr 15HWW’s proposal.
Fast forward to today and my career has gone through a roller-coaster ride. From an SME to a Swiss MNC and now back to a VerySME. To many, it is a step backward in terms of career progression (applies to the monthly pay cheque too). However, to me, it is now a small step forward to freedom.
Yea~the taste of freedom
Spending Time On What Matters
During my short stint in the Swiss MNC, I had to travel often to other SEA countries for work. Easily 2-3 times a month and I would be away for up to a week. Which translated to about one third to half of the month spent away from Singapore. Yes, away from my dashing husband.
In the day time, it would be rushing around for meetings and trainings. In the evening, it’s back to the hotel room to clear emails or finish up that deck of presentation slides.
And at the end of the day, the question I often asked myself when I was alone in the hotel room was “What am I working for?”
Like me, Sleeping Beauty must be devastated to learn that she can only meet her Prince Charming after a long sleep
Money? Yes, a pretty satisfying figure.
Career Progression? Yes, looks like it.
What have I given up?
Time with my family.
Time to do whatever I want to do.
Time to take care of my health.
During that period, I found myself spending more to compensate.
To compensate for not spending enough time with my parents, I spent more to treat them to meals at high-end restaurants on weekends.
To compensate for not being able to do the things that I enjoy, I spent more on shopping. In doing so, I tried to convince that shopping was more fun than my previous hobbies.
And the last straw was when I spent 2 weeks in hospital.
Yes, I earned more every month. But I ended up spending more on frivolous stuff that I didn’t really value at all.
To be who you truly wannabe
When I first joined the company, other than a lukewarm welcome from my department, the overall reception was rather “cold.” You could see it in the people’s eyes. Wary, suspicious and full of dread.
You see, the department I was in was notorious for treating those beneath them like slaves. And of course, flutter to management like bees to nectar.
I was expected to conform to the department’s culture.
It is what my bosses expected of me. Yet, I really couldn’t bring myself to behave that way.
So I decided to leave.
“Hey girl, that’s reality! If you want to climb the corporate ladder, you have to play the game!”
“You are not being adaptable!”
Seriously, I believe I can be a pro player in the “Corporate Game”, if I had wanted to. But in doing so, I would have lost myself and the values I grew up with. Would it be worth the trade?
I made the decision, and I truly feel that it’s one of the best decisions I have ever made. (Besides saying “Yes” to Mr 15HWW. )
In the end, socking money away isn’t just about semi-retirement. It is also about having the option and ability to choose to do what you believe in and saying “enough is enough” when push comes to shove.
If you’re having second thoughts about why you have to save so much, I hope I have given you one more reason to think before you spend.