The Job Experience, MegaSoftwareCoSupport: Year #11

Fighting the Horde Again

I wish 'hide' was an option

Could we put in a third menu selection for ‘Hide While Continuing To Collect Paycheck?’

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?

Overtime

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.

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10 Responses to The Job Experience, MegaSoftwareCoSupport: Year #11

  1. Dwayne Hoover says:

    When you were getting towards the end here, did you ever consider the option of simply working PT but extending the journey to FI by a few years?

    • livingafi says:

      Absolutely, I’d much prefer to work part time. Problem is that I don’t think it’s possible on the IT/Engineering Support side of things. Sometimes strict programmers/developers can manage this sort of arrangement, but organizations only have FT positions available for support — my guess is that this is because of rigid availability requirements. I’d love to hear from any readers that think I’m wrong or can share ways to go about making it happen though.

  2. Steph says:

    When I was a wage slave it was in an open plan office, I actually would have loved a soulless cube. I began to really hate some people as I just couldn’t get away from them and I wasn’t allowed headphones to help me concentrate above everybody’s voices. Introverts and open plan offices (4 people to one bank of desks) are not a very good mix. Sometimes I would pretend I needed to make a private phonecall so I could go into an empty office and sit there in peace for a few minutes.
    At one point everyone was offered voluntary redundancy and I took it and ran. It was enough to pay off our mortgage as our house was v modest. The year after I left (I was pregnant by this point) I bought another small house and renovated it and sold on for a nice profit. I haven’t really worked since having my daughter but knowing how to live frugally is very freeing and gives us as a family so many more options. A bit of a rambling comment, sorry.

    • livingafi says:

      That’s really tough. I didn’t get into it in this post but my cube was right next to sales at Mega and those guys were also on the phone constantly, very loud, and frequently talking about very obnoxious non-PC things that really get under your skin. It’s great you were able to responsibly get away from that job and spend more time with your family, very cool. “Voluntary redundancy.” Love that corporate-ese.

  3. Good stuff, sounds like the next update will shed light on what makes FU money so important. Even better if it’s FI money! Real world issues (and vacations) have killed my blogging lately, but I need to get revved back up. Lots of interesting things going on.

    • livingafi says:

      I’ve had some of my own real life things going on as well (mom moved to senior housing last weekend, had to clean out a house of clutter and list it. More than ‘clutter’ actually but that’s another story.) Family’s first, though, much more important than blogging or my day job. I have been looking forward to more details on your lifestyle inflation posts, though. Get em out, please! 🙂 BTW, yeah, if you enjoy reading about incomprehensibly awful jobs and insane people, you’re going to love Year 12 but hate the final entry (Year 13-present), because I found another really nice place to ply my trade.

  4. I eagerly await Cthulu-119, the radioactive isotope of vanilla ‘Thu.

  5. Tom says:

    In retirement, I’m finding those home improvement and maintenance costs creep in more frequently than I would have expected. Little things here and there – and some bigger ones. I try to adhere to a pretty low budget, for now, so those costs tend to upset the cart a little despite primarily doing the work myself. Not sure these will ever go away completely – it’s always something.

    When I first had an opportunity to occasionally work from home back in the mid-90’s I had a very difficult time getting much work done, due mostly to lack of motivation (and probably because the technology for working remotely wasn’t what it is today). Funny aside – I was making a long distance call one day from home and dialed 9, then 1, for an outside line (as if in the office) out of habit and accidentally hit 1 a second time. Imagine my surprise when the cops showed up at my door and insisted on walking thru my apartment to make sure no one was being held against their will. Wonder if this has happened to others. Years later I found myself to be much more productive working from home and actually liked it (mostly) despite living alone. Yes – I have loner tendencies so it was easier for me to tolerate. I loved waking up early and getting right to work. I was paid by the hour so it was perfect for someone trying to build a stash. I was never paid 1.5x for OT – that would have been sweet.

    I worked on an extended project that required driving 6.5 hours Sundays and Fridays (I hate flying) and living onsite during the week. Most all of my communications with various teams was done thru phone and IM. 95% of folks I worked with daily were in far flung cities. Even folks in the same office used IM – even if they were in the next cubicle. Weird to have that kind of culture where people got irritated if you stopped by their desk to talk instead of using IM. So it was sort of ludicrous to have the company pay my expenses when I could work just as easily from home. Luckily we convinced management of that fact after the first year. On the plus side of IM – we would attach cool little emoticons and I had an awesome collection before I left that job. It was always pretty awesome when someone sent you a new one. (Sadly, this was one of the few positives on my own personal job from hell.)

    • livingafi says:

      Thanks for the stories — the accidental 911 call sounds like it spiced your day up pretty good.. Here’s hoping you’ve moved on from your own job-hell experience by now!

  6. A W S says:

    Interesting observation in regard to working at home. Especially today. Some of us are working like that from March 2020. Never been better whilst climbing the corporate rotten ladder. No office politics and empty smiles. Tons of money saved commute but more important to this is the most valuable commodity- time that is saved. Goodbye commute. Good luck ya all.

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