Have I retired?

Mmm, an interesting question as I talk to ex work colleagues and meet strangers on my travels. We compare notes on workplaces and work in general. Some common themes are appearing making me want to make my retirement more permanent.

I don’t think I am retired YET as I am looking at work options, I have not dismissed returning to a workplace. I even had a job interview last month. But I am getting disillusioned with the workplace, especially the role I was performing and that view is growing as I hear more stories of the workplaces around me, as I seek places to work.

My recent job interview was a red flag. I didn’t have a good vibe about it as the agent was unable to provide full info on the job role. The company matched my business sector and ticked some of my requirement boxes. My CV was of interest to the employer. Well…. It turns out, when interviewed, that I did had some subject area experience but I felt it was a loose fit. The role to be performed was ‘sensitive’ and would involve staff restructuring and job losses on successful completion. The project was critical path, it needed to be completed by a fixed date. No slip allowed. The clock was already ticking. I would be expected to run this project where there would be team conflict and resulting staff loss – so a lot of stress and pressure then! Running a team of reluctant participants. NOT WHAT I WANT IN A JOB!

The project would result in the participating team members being made redundant at the end. It was an automation project and the company had already started to seal those cost savings into future business plans but hadn’t got the solution in place and the job would involve getting that solution in place ASAP to fit the date.

It was being offered as a permanent job but given the project, I couldn’t see it being the case. I could see it ending once the work had been completed. The timescale was within 12 months so they could legally dismiss me with no pay out and I would have no comeback.

A bad role, surprisingly enough I didn’t get it. It may have something to do with my responses to some of the questions as the role become more clear in the interview. I had no intention of continuing the selection process. I had jumped out of a frying pan and was not interested in landing in a hot fire! My blood pressure is down to normal, I don’t want to go back to high blood pressure and the fear of medication to reduce it.

I just don’t seem to have much luck on the job front as my network has been depleted. It’s not what you know but who you know these days and I don’t know anyone as they are retiring or downshifting. I am not sure I want to go back to what I was doing based on recent interview experiences. I used to enjoy the work, it was creative, fun, dynamic and I worked in teams that gelled – no conflict or fear. It has changed, the creativity has gone and there is more fear, conflict and pressure, I don’t want the stress and burnout any more. The conflict workplace is not for me. I am fed up of being in meetings where the attendees almost physically fight each other when they disagree.

I don’t want to be working in a individualist place where team is a loose term and competition and conflict is rife as people try to retain their job and fear dismissal. I think this was becoming the case before the pandemic but the pandemic has pressed the booster button and it is rapidly spreading into more and more companies. RIP a friendly ‘team’ workplace.

Is it just me or is the workplace becoming less human? We are expected to work like robots, be available 24/7 and work on projects that automate and ultimately remove us from the process.

Role on Atlas ! We just need universal wage and we humans can retire for good.

I am classing this time as an adult Gap Year … at the moment … but maybe this will change to retired.

Monthly Update – Aug 21

Image by tigerlily713 from Pixabay

August is over and its been another good month where I can enjoy the sunshine and get out and about. I have got myself some LF test kits for COVID and have started testing myself now I am out and about. I have tested negative so far and will continue to check for symptoms as the UK opens up and people ‘relax’ and the opportunity for catching the virus increases.

My net worth is remaining steady. Dividends have started to appear in my account and although they are not as great as previous years, the income is good to see. That’s a big relief as I was beginning to worry that I would start eating into my capital and so I have been monitoring my outgoings to keep within budget.

Income

On the income front, the share dividends received this month have helped to increase my passive income. I won again on my premium bonds too, this month it was £50 so that is nice tax free income to receive.

My shares have fluctuated again in August but I am just holding them and watching for the dividends to be declared. Any dividends will be split between investments and monthly expenses. I can’t sell any more this year without incurring CGT. I have no immediate need to sell them so will slowly release them over the next few years.

I have received a few ISA dividends this month too which have been auto invested in more units which has helped to improve my ISA balance. Watching this track upwards after last year is a positive feeling.

I have continued to try and find some online work. The sites I use have again been slow this month. The Summer months are poor but I have managed to nearly reach my monthly target. This money will be used to cover expenses and enable me to avoid taking profit from my ISA.

I have started to ponder getting some part time work. Now that the UK is opening up the job market will hopefully start to pick up and maybe I can find a stress free job. I don’t want to work in a stressful job environment any more. My last role was so stressful and bullying it was literally killing me and I feel so much better for leaving. I can tell from my job interviews that my stress levels start to increase at the thought (fear) of another bullying workplace and my blood pressure rises. I have managed to avoid blood pressure medication so far. I have managed to increase my fitness with the cycling and walking I am now able to do in what would have been office hours.

Month End

I feel grateful for my FI fund and it is supporting me well. I can continue to ponder my long term options and in the meantime enjoy some recreational activities. I am feeling more relaxed as freedoms start to appear. Maybe I am starting to feel the benefits of FI freedom. I hope this can continue and I can class myself as finished with the workplace for good.