What career advice would you give?

Discussion in 'Career Advising' started by GopherT, May 7, 2016.

  1. GopherT

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012
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    I know this is not engineering but it seems to be a theme that some of us may face as out careers approach retirement. I was wondering if anyone here has already faced it or if you know anyone with a similar experience.

    My neighbor is a banking "executive" about 55-years old. He thinks of himself more as a troubleshooter and business development guy but, after talking to him, it seems he has worked in most every part of banking. Branch manager, regional director, something with loan management, he's created loan "packages" and refinance programs and credit card programs, implemented various software systems, you name it - mostly for a regional bank (20+ years).

    The concept of special programs has been centralized at HQ a few years ago and He doesn't want to move out of this area (western PA) to go to HQ about 300 miles away so he is kind of stuck doing various internal consulting / mentoring / quality projects. He hates it all because it seems like make-work that does not get implemented, just his analysis and reports and an occasional trip to HQ for presentation to management.

    He is constantly looking for a new job - back to a branch manager or regional director type job. The catch is, he can't find a job that pays anywhere close to what he is making today (salary plus benefits). The jobs that are interesting to him are paying $30k to $50k less than his current package. Some is cash and some is 401k match and some is other like medical. Anyhow, that is a big chunk of change and he is just in a funk - does he ride the bench while the ride lasts - until he retires or his employer give hime a package or shows him the door. Or, should he find something that makes him feel successful and interested and engaged? He just finished paying for 3 kids to get through college so he is not flush with cash but, kind of on the cusp of willing to live with unhappiness for the money but, at the same time, unhappy.

    Any advice? Experience?

    I suggested accelerating the mentoring and to get a hobby.
     
  2. JoeJester

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    Apr 26, 2005
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    He can volunteer at SCORE. He might find that to his liking while he awaits his retirement.
     
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  3. Lestraveled

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    May 19, 2014
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    Important points:
    - When does his retirement package mature?
    - How long will it take him to put enough money in the bank for him to live well for a minimum of 6 months?
    - How much debt does he have and how long til it is paid off?

    I suggest you tell him to build a spreadsheet model of his financial life that runs til he is 95. This will be a great tool to find out if a plan is viable or not.
     
  4. #12

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    Nov 30, 2010
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    Bored to death with little to do and way overpaid?:eek:
    How awful!
    Tell him to suffer in silence, keep up his gym visits religiously, and start managing his real life before he gets the dreaded Gold Watch.

    My point is, Banking isn't his real life, it's his job. No matter when or which way the bank job progresses, or doesn't, it won't be long until he has to develop his own reasons to stay interested in life. Everybody gets hit with changes. This lucky guy has plenty of warning that change is coming and his worst problem is a toss up between being bored and getting paid too much.

    Maybe you should slap his face and wake him up.

    I think @JoeJester had a great idea!
     
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  5. Lestraveled

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    Good point #12
    Does this guy have a life outside of his job? Does he have hobbies? Wants to travel? Learn how to pole dance?

    If he uses his house just to sleep in and get ready for work, then he should stay working. Dying at his desk is OK if he has nothing better to do.
     
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  6. #12

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    Same to you.
    If reality hadn't jerked me around so severely, I would have been happy to hyper-focus on my job until my wife left me and I died with a calculator in my hand. This is the kind of person who wakes up at his retirement ceremony and goes home to put a bullet through his head. Fortunately, reality did jerk me around, and I was forced to learn how to interest myself in life a long time ago. If I have a job, great. If I don't, I will take my car apart and find out what makes it tick. Anything to keep life interesting!

    God save this banker. He's about to get jerked by reality and the best part is that he can see it coming.
    If he believes his real life is about banking, he can emulate Warren Buffet.
    If he has a secret desire to explore Europe, the opportunity is approaching.
    If banking has become boring, he can, must, find other things to do.
    You can't just go home and wait to die...or you will.
     
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  7. GopherT

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012
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    @Lestraveled , I don't know anything about his personal finances. I was more of a listener than an interviewer because I didn't feel that close - we haven't had a significant conversation since our kids were small.

    I told him to stick it out at the current job as long as it lasts - as @#12 said, he should suck it up. I suggested a hobby when we were talking last night but he thought hobbies fell into one of two categories. His response was, "I don't like golf and I don't have the patience to paint toy soldiers." I did not even consider suggesting volunteering - good idea @JoeJester. I'll drop him a note.

    I am not so concerned for this guy (I think he can handle it since he knows it is a problem and I don't think I was the first person he went to for advice). I only posted it here because I was actually more interested in hearing what has happened (is happening) to the technical people on here as they entered the last 5 to 10 years of their career in Corporate America.
    - Did you feel like you were "waiting to retire"
    - Did the good projects go to younger guys and you mentored
    - Did everything move on as usual?
    - Did you move up to new positions or were you stuck in a position since your mid-40s?
    - Did the company have a concession plan? Or were you the only technical person left.

    I've never really planned my career and definitely haven't forecasted what the last 10-15 years of my career will look like... until I heard this guy's story (now I'm thinking too much).
     
  8. #12

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    This guy is in real danger if that's all the imagination he has. Keyword: people. Humans are social animals. They must have human contact to keep mental functions normal. If one can get into a situation where human contact is the norm, that's usually enough, and SCORE is good enough.
    I was getting along as a Tradesman. I was the technical Nerd. Lots of math and design work. You know how that ended. Busted a disk in my back, 4 months later my partner is dead, and before I can get off restricted activity, the business has scattered to the wind. So I bought a used car and rehabilitated it. Now I'm looking for the next interesting thing to do.

    The corporation dropped out from under me, eaten by the Big Money financed, K-marts of the service industry.
    Goodman ate Heil. LG ate Kenmore. 1-800-COLD-AIR ate my market share.
    The little guys are dropping like flies and "service" is now about selling you a new air conditioner when all you need is a $4 capacitor.
    It makes me wonder about things like selling pocket knives at the Flea Market, just for something to do.
     
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  9. wayneh

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    Sep 9, 2010
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    I have some experience in this matter, as I retired just before my 52nd birthday. Like your friend, my position was moving to a new geography and for a host of reasons (a kid in high school, for instance), I didn't want to move along with it. The rock and hard place eventually met and I was out.

    Anyway, the decision was really difficult and intensely personal. I don't think there's a guidebook because every person is different. But here are a few things that were factors for me.
    1. Finances. Duh. I realized that if I worked my ass off for another 10 years and saved aggressively, maybe I'd put away X dollars. Compared to the Y I had already accumulated, that didn't seem incentive enough to make me choose 10 years of working over not working. My wife and I had worked hard all our lives to buy our freedom, and this was the moment it came down to, having the freedom to walk away. Would you keep working if you won the lottery? For me, it's always been NO. I have other things to do.
    2. Health. I definitely tried to stay healthy while working, but it's tough and there can be stress that's very hard to undo in limited time. I was pretty sure I could do a better job of staying healthy if I didn't have that daily stress. In retrospect I'd say it was true. I cook and eat better, sleep better, and can take the time to enjoy exercise instead of just enduring it. It's no easier to get off the couch, though, and it's easy to drink too much when you know you can sleep it off.
    3. Activities. I once had a boss that, if you can imagine it, was like a meld of the pointy-haired boss in Dilbert and George Constanza from Seinfeld. I couldn't wait for him to retire. One day on an airplane he said to me that he had no idea what he would do when he retired. My heart sank because I knew then that his retirement was not as imminent as I hoped. But I also wondered, "How on Earth can you be so small-minded as to have nothing to do in life but your job?" I've always had hobbies going and many more project ideas than I have time for. It's taken a while for me to realize that not everyone is like that. I've seen people drop dead within months of retiring for little more reason than they have no purpose in life anymore. I'm not one of those.
    4. Family history. My dad died shortly after his 54th birthday. If you think that doesn't affect my view of our short time on this Earth, you're mistaken. Thinking forward, I also thought retiring might give me a shot at leaving more of a family legacy than just dying at my desk. I though about starting a business for instance. I haven't really worked hard enough to make that happen, but it does cross my mind most days. I'd love to create and build something for my descendants.
    5. Family. I have one, and spending time with them is a priority. If I didn't have that in my life, work might be a proxy. But I knew my "friends" at work were not really my friends or family.

    Once I no longer had to work every day, it took months to "calm down". I would get up as early or even earlier than I used to, plan my day, and run around like a type A bozo. Like anyone cared. I would wake up during the night unsure if I was doing the right thing. I would have bad dreams about unpleasant aspects of the job I had left, with regrets for not getting it right the first time through. All very much like the nightmares college students suffer for years afterwards, but with a workplace context. Now, a few years later, most of that has passed. Not all, but most.

    I've had very little regret since making the decision.
     
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  10. JoeJester

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    Apr 26, 2005
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    I did taxes the past nine years to kill cabin fever, and I'm thinking if I continue, i would do taxes for VITA a free service for the elderly and lower income.

    There are plenty of things to do. Score can also be in my future. Score is consulting work, free of course, but it is still a brain exercising activity.

    Not a corporate retirement, but I submitted my retirement papers two years before the date. I knew it was time to turn the reins to the next generation
     
  11. shortbus

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    I was forced into retirement, most of the company jobs were sent to China. Was given two choices, retire at 58 and get my pension at 60 or stay and work at 1/2 pay, lose pension and no time frame before rest of jobs are eliminated. Could have looked for another job, but no one is interested in a 58 year old that's had congestive heart failure(since has gone away) and 1 1/2 kidney.

    Took about 4 years to get out of the depression of this. But now health is pretty good and am learning electronics(slowly) with the help of the good people here. But I can see why a lot of people that retire before their ready don't live very long. It's just not all it's supposed to be.
     
  12. tcmtech

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    Nov 4, 2013
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    Heck, I gave up on the concept of me ever having any type of stable normal job years ago and wouldn't know what to do if I got one.:p

    As for retirement, I am pretty sure I will be doing something that just keeps my head above the financial water line until the day I die whether I like it or want to or not. :(
     
  13. Papabravo

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    I returned to duplicate bridge after a hiatus of 37 years.
     
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  14. BR-549

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    The hell with the career advice. Let's talk, as we have been, retirement advice.

    My depression and worry lasted about a year.

    Poof! It was just because I didn't have anything to worry about. And that worried me.

    I highly recommend a long retirement.

    That means......start early.
     
  15. Papabravo

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    We should reach out to the twenty somethings with the gospel of compounding. Putting together a Megabuck is easy over 45 years if you start in your twenties.
     
  16. tcmtech

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    Sounds great in theory but anyone who remembers their working life in their 20 - 40's should be fully aware of how hard it is to save money at that stage in life.

    I've been good with my finances all my life and even with that being able to save money for the future at that age was basically impossible. :(
     
  17. Papabravo

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    Everybody has a different experience. Some people won't plan for the future regardless of what you say to them. Some of them will and those are the ones we need to reach.
     
  18. GopherT

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    Nov 23, 2012
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    There are some very simple moves that make a huge difference to a young person that they never consider as they start their career.

    One of my favorites is, if given multiple job offers, consider salary + benefits offered but also consider the total cost of working at each workplace. Then consider the overall package.

    Working in a city means commute costs if you live in the suburbs (gas, tires, parking, ...). Time to commute. Extra expenses because you don't have so much free time (hiring rather than DIY for home maintenance and repairs, eating out more because you don't have time or energy to go grocery shopping or cook).

    If you live and work in the city, many east coast cities have local income tax (3.2% in Pittsburgh, for example) whereas most suburbs have 0 to 1% local taxes. It seems that the lack of grocery stores in the cities means going out to eat more.

    The best combination is working and living in a suburb. I have a 3.5 mile commute with no traffic. I put less than 6000 miles on my vehicles - low fuel bill, low maintenance - (one oil change per year), tires every 6 years or so.

    Also, buying a new car is quite wasteful since I put very few miles in them. I come out way ahead with a 2 or 3 year old high-milage vehicle (50 to 70k miles) and running it to the end. The last new car that I bought lasted 15 years and had electrical and vacuum hose issues under 100k miles. Engine and chassis were fine but, it was just dying of old age.
     
  19. JoeJester

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    Listen,

    I know someone who saved during her life. Next year she has to take the required minimum distribution on her IRA. I hope she can survive on 168k per annum.
     
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  20. tcmtech

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    Oh I planned. I just went a different route and invested in myself and my resources for setting my life up to not have to work and pay for things I need to live a normal average life like everyone else.
     
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