Fighting the Horde Again
At this point, I’m sure you have a good sense of how things are going for me at Mega. I’m estranged from my old friends from StartupVille — our contact is limited. I’m learning stuff that I don’t particularly care for. My new teammates are deflated apparitions. And the work is difficult, constant, stressful, and soul-crushing.
Despite the fact that I’m absolutely cranking at all times, I can’t keep up with it.
I mentioned waaay back in these posts that when you’re really stressed out, trying to solve difficult problems, that the job creeps into everything in your life. This process starts up again.
I think about problems while cooking dinner and exercising and using the restroom and playing video games. I’m short-tempered with my wife. I ignore my parents because I don’t feel like I have the energy to talk to them on the phone as much. And I’m back to dreaming about issues. During this period of the Job Experience, it’s again common for me to wake up at three in the morning with an answer to a problem.
The bottom line is that I’m unfortunately becoming miserable again, and folks in my life are taking notice. I’m not playing guitar at night, or reading, or making as many goofy jokes.
I’m just about able to keep my exercise routine up, which keeps me sane and off the sauce, but the job is once again taking over everything.
Fortunately, there’s one silver lining to this expanding cloud of vaporous work shit. What is it?
Mega pays 1.5 your salary to put in extra hours. Given that I’m pulling 115K, my hourly is $55, so I’m pulling a bit over $80/hour for the OT.
And this is all gravy, since I’ve accounted for all of my living expenses already. The additional money goes directly into my retirement accounts.
I averaged about seven hours a week of OT over a full 12 months, which helped me to earn 30K or so — a bit over 20K of post-tax dollars. This is on top of an already high savings rate.
Also, keep in mind I was stuffing this money into the market at a time in which it was undervalued (2010) and ready to pop a bit. That 20K is now worth about 35K after factoring in market growth.
They say money is a short term motivator, but in this case, the thought of being able to FIRE earlier (or more securely) provided great drive to work the extra hours.
I ended up getting a triple benefit.
- Putting in the time reduced my workload and helped me to feel more ‘in control’ of how things were going. I closed more tickets and slept better. In other words, I felt less stressed out just doing the extra work, even though it came out of my so-called leisure. (The truth was that leisure isn’t really leisure anyways, when you’re really wired and tense.)
- My savings rate shot up.
- Because I was one of the few people staying on top of their workload, managers at work were very happy with me. This made 1:1s and reviews pleasant — practically devoid of pressure or stress. I’d ask how I was doing, and they’d just say “Great! Keep it up!” instead of “Bad, have you thought about moving to Chile and taking a pay cut?”
I highly recommend working OT to speed up your own journey to FIRE as long as it’s not driving you mad.