“A bad manager can take a good staff and destroy it,
causing the best employees to flee
and the remainder to lose all motivation.”
Last time, I talked about a major decision my husband had to make: Quit his job and let our savings rate take a hit, or find less toxic employment. His job was slowly killing him, and our quality of life was suffering. He didn’t like either of the options we discussed, so we created a third option: Buy a second laundromat.
But having him quit prematurely is a bit risky. The whole thing could fall apart, our savings rate would tank and our early retirement plan would be in jeopardy.
But we realized it is no longer about early retirement, or savings rates or laundromats. It is much bigger than that.
He needs his life back.
But as I promised, I wanted to get his perspective on this whole quitting thing, and what finally pushed him from…‘I can last a few more years’…to…‘I can’t last another day’.
Let’s dig in.
Me: So, it seems like your job sucks. What went wrong?
Mr. Nickels: Have you seen the movie “Horrible Bosses”? That title alone should clue you in. Plus, working 50 to 55 hours a week is taking up too much of my life. And I have no time to have a normal life. I could deal with the hours and the shift, but combine that with the dismal working conditions and it’s no longer worth the money.
Me: If you quit your job, what are you most looking forward to?
Mr. Nickels: Regaining my life.
Me: What scares you?
Mr. Nickels: Being responsible for the destruction of our early retirement plan. I am basically retiring, but I don’t want to delay your freedom.
Me: What do you miss the most with your current job?
Mr. Nickels: Well, since I’m married to you, I have to say spending my evenings with you. I hate going to bed 4 to 5 hours before you do. I feel like I miss a lot of family time.
I also miss running. Before I took a job starting at 3am, I would run in the mornings before work. You know I love running on the American River Parkway. It’s less than a mile from our house, so many trees, and of course views of the river as I run. I can’t safely run at two in the morning and by the time I get home, I am usually exhausted. How many times did you catch me dozing off while on my computer? (Me: That is true. You know those cute videos of kids falling asleep at the kitchen table, and they face-plant into their spaghetti? Replace the spaghetti with my husband’s MacBook and you can imagine what I’d witness on a daily basis.)
Me: Why are you so worried about our early retirement plans?
Mr. Nickels: With a second store, we can pretty easily replace my income, but originally I wanted to use the extra income to build our retirement accounts that much faster. I just don’t want our plans to be in jeopardy. I do believe we will increase our income even more when we start advertising, but as with anything financial, it’s not a sure thing.
Me: What caused the shift from ‘I can last a few more years’ to ‘I can’t last another day’?
Mr. Nickels: It was actually a few things, really.
We had just come home from our cruise to Alaska. It was Sunday night, and I was dreading going back to work. Actually, there isn’t a word I can use to really describe it. ‘Dread’ is the best I can come up with and I felt it all the way deep down in my gut.
I’d spent a week of quality time with my family; no stress, no boss, no early hours. Just knowing I had to go back to work was giving me a dull headache.
The feelings were starting to creep in…
He described how he was closing in on the finish line. He’d reached his million-dollar mark and was getting ready to pull the trigger and quit his job. He was looking forward to what the next chapter of his life would look like, and how he planned to spend his work-free days. He’s only 41!
And while his post made me deeply envious, it was also severely depressing. Don’t get me wrong; he’s my friend and I couldn’t be more happy for him. But it highlighted my own situation, making me think…“I can’t do this for another 5 years. It’s not fair to my wife, my health, my kids.”
I decided to comment on my friend’s post:
His reply “…and I’ll bet it arrives sooner than you think it will…” turned out to be almost prophetic. We didn’t know it at the time, but he was right.
So…with a taste of freedom, a job I hated, and a friend’s announcement of imminent retirement all occurring within a 72-hour window, I couldn’t take it anymore.
Something needed to change.
So I quit.
I gave my two-week notice, and on Friday, August 28th, I turned off my computer, pushed in my desk chair, and left work for the very last time.
The purchase of the second laundromat continues, and we should be closing escrow in a few weeks.
We’re taking a leap, and I couldn’t be happier.