I gave my notice today. I’ve got a fair amount of responsibility so I offered 6 weeks. 6 weeks should be enough to transition my responsibilities and for the company to hire a replacement if they wanted. More importantly, 6 weeks would have me finishing up right after the kids get out of school.
I had been on the fence for weeks about when to give notice. The company was up for sale and it would have been financially beneficial for me to stay through the closing of the sale. Think unvested stock options that would immediately vest just prior to closing. It wasn’t a windfall but enough to stick it out for a few more months. Once all the potential suitors walked away, it was time. The only thing stopping me was… me.
Are you sure the math is right? What if you’re wrong? You’re walking away from a great salary. What if the market has a correction that’s never been seen before? What if you really find out that you like the stress? And that you’ll be bored without it? All of these questions had been circling in my head for weeks. Last night, I woke up with my head churning over these questions. I really wanted clarity. After an hour of tossing and turning, I tried to focus and get to my mental “Quiet Place.” I just kept asking myself “What do you want to do?” The answer came back very clearly. “Not this! I want to spend time with my kids before they’re too grown. I want to learn new things. I need to do something completely different!” And with that, I was out cold.
I have a lot of these middle of the night conversations with myself. Usually, they’re good. But there’s also a pretty large number of trash ideas that get generated between 2 and 4 am. After waking, I chewed on it again and knew it was good. I showered, went downstairs, and talked to my wife. She has been so supportive through this whole journey and this morning was no different. She agreed it was time to “have the talk” with my boss.
My boss and I have desks very near each other with his admin between us. When I got to work, I asked his admin for 30 minutes on his calendar. He overheard the request, smiled and said, “Do you have something to tell me?” I smiled back and said, “yes, but it’s a surprise.”
Luckily, the meeting was scheduled for the morning so I didn’t have to wait all day to spill my guts. I was sure this was the best course and wanted to get moving on it ASAP. I walked into his office and he had the same smile on his face as earlier and said, “Well?” I was sure he already saw this coming, but after telling him, he insisted he didn’t. I talked about being burned out. Tired of fighting the same inertia in the company. Tired of staffing plans and org charts. Tired of being stagnant. I’ve been offered other opportunities in the company but they all come with the same problems, the same stress, the same corporate BS. He didn’t push back on any of those since I know he sees them too. The only thing he really pushed on was “how do you know you’re ready?” That’s when I knew he was on the same track. We spent the next 30 minutes validating my thesis that I was ready.
I’ve read enough other FI blogs to know getting offered a sabbatical was a possibility. Thanks to Living A FI’s Quitting Series, I had my responses canned should the opportunity arise. I planned to take the offer if it came up. And sure enough, it did. He even offered to pay for 5 weeks of it which gets me an extra month of benefits too. I thought it was a nice gesture even though if they laid me off, I’d get 7 weeks. Seems backwards but that’s just part of the corporate charm. My boss is so convinced that I’ll get bored with all my free time that he wants the company to be my first option when I decide to go back to work. I was extremely up front that I had no intention to come back and I wouldn’t be checking email during the time off. I agreed to answer questions since I’d do that even if was taking another job. I looked at it as a no-risk test run. Since he clearly knew my intentions, I consider it a Win-Win. We agreed to call it “Try Before You Buy” but he didn’t want to use the “R” word. What’s he afraid of, a mad rush of copy-cat retirees heading for the door?
In the end, it all seemed so orderly and calm. I kinda expected a little more drama but was glad this was handled very business like. I was also glad to be getting some real time, 8 weeks, to calm down and ease into it. No strings attached.