Retiring From My First Job

First of all, I have to admit that I was pretty touched by the many sincere and concerned comments after this initial post about how unhappy I was in my current job and how difficult I found quitting it. I never knew there were this many “silent” readers of this humble blog and many came out to provide encouragement.

Thank you so much for the many useful advice!

And for those of you who have been waiting the past few weeks for updates on my employment status, here it is:

I have quit my job.

It was a whirlwind at my workplace the moment I tendered my resignation. My immediate supervisors were pretty surprised/shocked and apparently, they hadn’t seen it coming. There was a bit of disappointment and sadness but thankfully not as much as I had initially feared.

I had also decided that honesty was the best policy and told them I was quitting without having anything else lined up. That didn’t turn out too well as this was what most people had presumed:

He can’t really be quitting without a job! There’s a good chance he might retract his resignation if we can give him something “better”. Yes, that’s it! He’s just waiting for HR and higher management to make him an offer.

Chat sessions became the norm over the next couple of days as many sought to persuade, entice and reason with me in a bid to retract my resignation. I admit to being swayed by some of the offers. Even though I ultimately rejected all of them, I am genuinely grateful that I was regarded as a valued employee in this organisation.

On hindsight, I guess it could have been easier for all of us if I told them I was leaving due to an IRRESISTIBLE offer from Goldman Sachs.  😉

Things slowly settled down over the next couple of weeks and people came to accept my decision to leave the organisation. In the end, I didn’t even use a single day of leave to shorten my notice period. Kudos to my bosses for maintaining a positive working relationship with me so much so that I didn’t even mind delaying my last day to complete my outstanding projects.

All in all, it turned out that my initial fear of quitting this job was nothing short of absurd. Seriously.

I still have a couple of days to go before I gain back the freedom that was available to me 3 years ago. Objectively, this is a pretty good organisation to work for. The workload’s actually pretty manageable and apparently, I can do a really good job at it.  🙂

But too bad I don’t really enjoy working there. You can label me an irrational idealist but I really want to do something that more often than not, I can look forward to every morning when I get out of bed.

I admit I am taking a big risk, giving up a stable, higher than average paying job in the public service. But I guess an even BIGGER risk would be to settle for less and ending up like this:

The lyrics really resonated with me for the past year and this song has helped to give me much needed courage to make this big decision.  😛

Interestingly. the next few months will provide me with an opportunity to test out a semi-retirement lifestyle. I am looking forward to having all the weekdays to myself to pursue all my “personal” projects.

Hopefully by then, I would have landed something “more suitable” for me. Afterall, I ain’t mentally or financially ready for a full-fledged semi-retirement or even retirement.

I will definitely be writing more often as compared to the past few months. Stay tuned for updates!

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54 thoughts on “Retiring From My First Job

    1. My 15 HWW Post author

      Hi PIB,

      Thanks for wishing me good luck! No promises but I should be free to do kopi soon. =)

  1. cheekykoon

    Hey bro! Congratulations on quitting your job! I said that 10 Years ago to my supervisors and I’m still telling them I will quit one day. I’ve designed a path for myself to follow. I only got 7 years to go to retire at my current income from my investment. Telling myself to hang in there. Mr money moustache and retirement extreme gave me great inspirations it is possible to retire at 30 or less with less than a million.

    1. My 15 HWW Post author

      Hi cheekykoon,

      I understand that what some people really want to do might not pay anything at all. Therefore, slogging out at the current workplace and maximising income to retire earlier is a better strategy compared to what I did.

      Good luck to your goal and seems like you are on track to retiring much earlier than conventional retirement age. =)

  2. naro

    All the best! Its good to take a short break away and enjoy for a while in between jobs.

    Go to the gym in the morning and then an afternoon swim, especially with the recent bout of hot weather. its quite refreshing.

    1. My 15 HWW Post author

      Hi naro,

      Building up my fitness is definitely one of my “personal” projects. But I guess I prefer to swim in the morning and then hit the running paths in the evening. =)

  3. Melting_starz

    Congrats! Take ur time to find the next one and you will land into something good! 🙂

  4. Jared Seah

    Hello 15HWW,

    Ah! To be young again!

    You are definitely not fragile nor afraid to take risks 😉

    But then, the longer we procrastinate, the bigger the mana burn on our soul.


    1. My 15 HWW Post author

      Hi SMOL,

      Yes! I feel so much younger already thinking about the near future of not having to go to work every weekday. Turning back the clock?

      This is probably the biggest risk I have ever taken. Took the well-treadled path all my life and largely curbed the rebellious streak well enough to do all the things expected of a good and smart kid.

      It was always a matter of time before something like this happened.

  5. gagmewithaspoon

    congrats! i really like the song and the MV. mayday rocks. imho, it is easy to get jaded in any job that one is in, even if there is an initial passion. like a relationship, important to keep the passion alive and not be consumed by the day to day mundane events. and always, don’t have the thoughts that i am ONLY in this job / relationship because there is no other choice. nothing kills the spirit faster than the victim mentality! and i am very happy for you that you have consciously made a choice to move on!

    1. My 15 HWW Post author

      Hi GMWAS,

      Yah, I love MayDay too although I was pretty late to the scene. Was more shallow following the songs of more poppy idols previously. =)

      Your comment is really insightful. Guess it really didn’t “help” that I felt somewhat trapped in the job. Will explain more another day.

      I understand that it’s impossible to be passionate about your work everyday but struggling to identify with the deeper meaning of my current job didn’t help matters.

      The decision was made as I assessed that there was a much higher probability of me being happier doing something else. =)

  6. B

    Hi 15hww

    Ahh I am so envious of you.

    Make use of this time to complete your personal target or achievement you have set for yourself. You will come back fresher moremotivated and stronger 😉

    1. My 15 HWW Post author

      Hi B,

      Nothing to be envious about as you seem to be in an even stronger financial position than me. =)

      This is likely to be a short break (at least that’s what I hope) and I will cherish it.

    1. My 15 HWW Post author

      Hi Small-Time Investor,

      Thanks! Indeed, I have decided to take a leap of faith to do what I think would be better for me in the longer run.

    1. My 15 HWW Post author

      Hi Uncle CW8888,

      I definitely value freedom over comfort. Thanks for your encouragement!

  7. Musicwhiz

    Wow Goldman Sachs, heard they are a solid employer! Congrats! But hopefully you will find better work-life balance cos I heard they work people pretty hard (most investment banks do).

    Hope to see you writing more often, not just about your job but also on personal finance (and perhaps more on investing)!

    1. My 15 HWW Post author

      Hi Musicwhiz,

      My bad for not making it clear in the post. There’s no job offer from Goldman Sachs but what I meant was that it would have been easier for my supervisors to take my resignation if that had happened. They wouldn’t then be wondering if some fault lies with them. =)

      This short break is potentially a window for me to learn more about value investing. I would impress myself if I could write posts that’s half as good as yours!

  8. SnOOpy168

    Welcome to the club of semi-retirees.

    Why semi & not full ? Honestly, I didn’t want to shut the door 110% and that 99% of my friends & peers just couldn’t accept that I walked out of an expat posting. Had my fund, full paid my humble HDB & build a small portfolio of passive income tools. I think I liked to take a break and zip about in Jetstar/Tiger/AirAsia. Go sleep till 11am without anyone (except mom) calling and have long newspaper reading session by the kopi tiam. No prob, no guilt.

    1. My 15 HWW Post author

      Hi Snoopy168,

      Thanks for your warm welcome. Too bad I am not financially ready to make it a permanent thing though.

      What you have described does sound appealing to me and I will continue to strive for it!

  9. Gerald

    Quitting without a job is a bad bad bad move.

    Singaporeans tend to overestimate their ability. Nowadays with so many foreign talents competing for jobs, you will regret your decision.

    Trust me.

    SG Wealth Builder

    1. My 15 HWW Post author

      Hi Gerald,

      Most of my friends mentioned the same thing as you.

      Guess from the HR point of view, quitting without a job might give a negative signal to potential employers.

      I don’t know if I am overestimating my abilities but I do have plans in place and hopefully Murphy’s Law will not strike to scupper all of them.

  10. Jasmine

    Hi 15HWW!

    Wow I love your guts! I wish I can do that too! Am somehow in the same situation, stuck in a well paid but in a job with little challenges.

    Hope you’ll find something awesome too! Let’s catch up if possible?

    Jasmine Ye

    1. My 15 HWW Post author

      Hi Jasmine,

      Think the most important thing is knowing what gives you a better chance to find more fulfillment? Once you know that, then some things become possible with a bit of planning.

      Thanks for your well wishes and just drop me a mail if you’re interested in coffee. =)

  11. Kyith

    why is it i see more and more examples of these happening around me. definitely not a healthy sign.

  12. Charles

    I’m quite shocked to read you have quit your stable n high paying job.

    I guess I can be considered a silent follower of your blog and as I read your posts over the past months, I found so many similarities in our outlook, beliefs, habits n philosophy.

    However I can say one key difference between you and me now is you quit your job. I have toyed with that idea many times over the years but I have never taken such a leap of faith

    I have quit to start my own biz for 6 mths before returning to corporate world in 2006. And I also took a 5 mths sabbatical away from work to travel last year. Now I’m back to the daily grind and inching towards a 15HWW like you

    Based on my past experience, if u r half like me, I’m confident this break will do you good. Make full use of the break to discover yourself. Get out (or online) n connect with more people, the more u expose yourself to ideas n options, the better the decision you will make.

    All the best and looking fwd to hearing about your plans in the coming posts

    1. My 15 HWW Post author

      Hi Charles,

      Thanks for dropping this comment. I was once also a very silent reader of blogs as I wasn’t sure if my comments would value-add at all. But after starting this blog, I really value comments, especially insightful ones like yours.

      The fact that you have actually started a business before means you must also have quit without another job lined up. So not so different after all? =)

      I plan to maximise this break and test out a semi-retirement lifestyle. Instead of wondering how much my expenses could reduce if I wasn’t so unfulfilled or unskilled (cooking etc), this will be a real experiment. Hopefully it won’t last too long though. =p

      You appear to have a pretty great job now. Able to take a 5 month break and also the possibility of a 15 hour work week? Wow.

      All the best with your current plans and hope to interact with you more often here!

  13. gagmewithaspoon

    Hi Kyith, curious – what are you thoughts on this? I have thought about whether the younger generation are “lazier” compared to the past and why are we not working harder. what i think is – the younger generation should build upon what their forefathers have – not by slavishly working hard, but working smart and taking calculated risks. entrepreneurship comes about when the person does not care about the risks involved – and that happens when (i) you are so poor that you can’t get any worse (ii) when you have a comfortable amount to sit upon. Since some of this generation has that, then perhaps that is what they need to do to propel Singapore forward – be an entrepreneur. you can’t work harder than the foreigners from developing countries – you just don’t have the same drive.

    1. Kyith

      wow i am surprised to find this post here. i almost missed it since i dont subscribe to comments. I am not sure if you are refering to our generation as weak. i guess you should say they are different, they are disillusioned with corporate and the old norms.

      whether he strikes out on his own is another matter. if he doesn’t, then your term of being lazy might be valid.

      end of the day no one survives 45 years more being idling and not having an aim. thats a fact.

  14. JW

    Congrats! everyone needs a recharge!

    To those extremely risk adverse nay-sayers, don’t be jelly. I mean this guy here is under 30, no commitments, have a decent portfolio, and live well within his means. I don’t see a problem if he wants to take a break to recharge.

    Sir, come back to the work force stronger than ever, and smash it.

    1. My 15 HWW Post author

      Hi JW,

      Thanks for your encouragement. I guess what I have done should generally not be recommended for most people. =p

  15. Mike

    Hope you have already set a few personal goal and deadline for them to be completed. With more time in hand, it is quite easy to spend too many time smelling the roses. Pray you achieve your financial freedom during your break. It will be a good experience to share with the bro and sis here who are still a cooperate rat including myself. Cheers !!!!

    1. My 15 HWW Post author

      Hi Mike,

      Yup, have set some targets but nothing cast in stone yet.

      Achieving financial freedom during my break? That’s a long shot! I would be glad if the portfolio doesn’t drop too much. =p

  16. David Lim

    I resigned from my previous job in Oct 2013. Found a new job in May 2014.

    It took long time, but happy with my new job. Good location in town area.

    Fortunately, I did not get offers from those companies located in Jurong, Woodlands, Paya Lebar, Tampines, Hougang, Ang Mo Kio.

    Was getting desperate and would have accepted any offer that came along. Imagine 45 minutes drive to Woodlands every morning.

    Kept myself fit by going to the gym and monitored my stocks portfolio. But sfter a while became real bored. And my mind was getting dull from lack of mental exercise.

    When I was not working, I looked at those working people during lunch time. They actually looked happy to me. I wanted to get back to work.

    Heh, the paradox of human beings – we always look at the other side of the fence.

    1. My 15 HWW Post author

      Hi David,

      Glad you have found something you like and distance from the workplace is also a crucial factor for me. =)

      I do foresee myself having days like yours, envying others at having a job. Guess it’s inevitable? But those days should be much rarer compared to happy and grateful days since I am truly delighted at being able to set my own schedule.

  17. Mrs 15HWW

    Hi Teckpu, finally somebody asked me for my opinion!
    Actually Mr 15HWW had toyed with the retiring idea for the longest time and I’ve been preempted/ brainwashed since then :p
    Everyone’s situation is different, be it current financial status, family condition, liabilities and dependents, so I don’t think I can speak for your spouse. However, Mr 15HWW had indeed gone through much thoughts and plannings as he has not just plan A, but plan B and even plan C in place already for the future, hence I place my trust in him to do as he wishes.

    For some skeptical ones, they might say “life is unpredictable”, maybe even plan Z is not enough! Well, then all the more you shouldn’t be waiting, isn’t it?

  18. John

    I admire your courage in quitting your job. You are also quite lucky to have a supportive wife. But, may I ask how do you cope with the social pressure? Like, how do you handle questions from your in-laws?

    I am sure they would want their daughter to marry someone who can take good care of her and not the other way around. Sorry if the question sounded offensive. But it was this issue that held me back from doing the same thing as you. Society views such actions as irresponsible, particularly when we have families to take care. Even if no children, there are still parents around. Curious what are your thoughts.

    1. My 15 HWW Post author

      Hi John,

      That’s some really good questions. I am not sure if I have all the answers.

      It’s true that my wife will be supporting the household financially for the next couple of months at the very least. But I guess it helps that I am not lazing around and will be doing most of the housework?

      I really don’t know how my in-laws are taking it. I only revealed to them not too long ago and they didn’t mention much about it. I did share some of my upcoming plans with them, so hopefully it’s fine.

    1. Mrs 15HWW

      Hi PIB, usually when we eat out at restaurants, we will use my credit card but he will foot the credit card bill :p this has not changed since we’re married. But moving forward, we will be using the OCBC 360 account to pay for our bills.

        1. Mrs 15HWW

          Yup u are right! We have just received the card and will start using it next month.

          1. PIB

            Hmm, need to use 600$ and above in order to qualify for good rebates. This card is probably only suitable if all expenses are charged to it.

  19. Ben

    Hi 15Hww

    How are you faring in your semi-retired lifestyle?

    Any plan to go back to the corporate world.