A Taste of FI: asked to slow down to a 80% position at Hooli

Hi RIP friends,

At Hooli I have this weekly 1:1 conversation with my manager to discuss ongoing issues and career plans – as I guess it is pretty normal in every workplace. These conversations are not technical at all but more oriented toward helping your manager to help you grow. It’s one of the best things we do at Hooli. Thanks to a sequence of amazing managers I’ve learned how to be more happy and productive in these 4 years at Hooli. Btw, I’m celebrating my 4th year at Hooli, I started in November 2012. Never worked for any other employer 4 years straight!

wlbalanceAnyway, at Hooli I’ve recently changed team. It’s been 5 months now. The conversation we had a couple of weeks ago was about my struggle in the new team and work-life balance issues. We discussed about me having hard time in this new position and my manager eventually found another – more interesting – role for me within my team. I’m working on this new role since a couple of weeks and it’s going way better!

Then we switched to the work-life balance topic. Yes, I know that W-L balance is mostly bullshit, but that’s as much as I can get for now. Real W-L balance is only possible when you’re FI, since it will only be up to YOU to define the balance.

wldilbert

Anyway, I told my manager that I feel a little bit burnt out and I’d like to take more time for myself. The solution I proposed is to slow down to 80%, i.e. working 4 days per week, starting “as soon as possible”, ideally from January 2017. He understood and said that there are no personal or team-related problems on his side and that next step is to check with HR.

So, despite it’s not guaranteed HR will approve (I don’t know in which circumstances the request would not be approved), there’s a high chance that starting in January next year I’ll work 4 days out of 5.

How was I able to achieve it? Why do I want to do it? Why am I happy for it?

I’m already at 50% on FIRE street.
I negotiate with less fear. Having a lot of money helps. Having rejected overconsumption and debts brought me here, where I have choices.

80% of time means ~90% of take home pay.
For few reasons:

  • 20% less base salary would be at the highest tax bracket. If GrossAfter = GrossBefore* 80%, NetAfter ~= NetBefore*85%.
  • Stocks already granted would keep vesting normally. Stocks make 25% of my salary. That portion is unchanged. New grants would be prorated though. I heard there may be a new compensation round in December/January, so… maybe I can wait an extra month before switching to 80% 🙂
  • Other benefits are not prorated. For example, Hooli contribution to health insurance for me and Miss RIP will remain unchanged.

I wouldn’t experience much of a difference compared to 2016.
I took a 40 days unpaid mini sabbatical in April-May, which have been accounted as 1.22 months. This year, my bonus, base salary and thirteen salary are all prorated 10.78 / 12. Which is 10.15% less than the whole jackpot. And I expect to receive a small salary adjustment by end of year that would almost cover the difference.

4 days workweek and 3 days weekend is a big, BIG step toward FI life.
I’d be able to devote a full day per week completely to myself and my passions. I won’t fill it with chores or other “urgent but not important” stuff. I could ask for flexibility on which day of the week I’d take off every week. I could take a Friday and the following Monday to experience 4 days weekends every other weekend.

I’m currently saving 65-70% of my salary, I will still save more than 50% (probably 55-60%).
I won’t reach my FU Number in 40 months (as current forecasts say) but maybe in 50 or 60. But I’ll enjoy the trip way more.

I could actually go for “60% workweek” for a while.
I dream about 3 days of work and 4 days of not-work each week. I think that would be a perfect equilibrium. I plan to work roughly 20-25 hours per week on average when I’ll be FIREd. Probably alternating full immersions hackathon-like deep dives with weeks or months of work-stay-away-from-me time. I could actually afford a 60% workweek. I’d still be earning ~70-75% of my current salary and the saving rate would still be in the 40-45% range! I didn’t ask for it though. Too gross and they would not accept it.

Anyway, let’s stop dreaming for a while.

At least until this becomes real.

Happy Halloween folks!

5 comments

  1. Congratulation for taking this step!
    I asked for 90% a few years ago and since then I have one friday out of two off work. It’s great, I have never regreted it one second 🙂

  2. Mr. ETT has worked a 4 day work week for nearly a decade, and I recently left a 4 day job – my new job is full-time. 4 days a week is fantastic. You are still working a solid amount of time, but having that extra day off is so psychologically rewarding. I think after being in this new job for a couple of years I will try to cut back again if at all possible.

    I can’t tell if you are being sarcastic about weekly meetings with your manager being in every workplace. I’ve never worked for an organisation where this has been the norm, particularly to talk about career plans!

    Best of luck with HR – I hope they come through for you. I predict this will be one of the best choices you could make, despite stretching your full FI time out.

    1. Thank you Mrs. ETT 🙂
      Thanks for sharing your experiences with 4 days workweeks.

      Well, I didn’t want to be sarcastic… Maybe I give for granted the standard workplace experience we have at Hooli. Probably it’s not like this elsewhere.

  3. Hello,

    I can highly recommend working less. I have asked for a 90% position a few years ago and since then I have one friday out of two off work 🙂
    It’s so good! On my free fridays I sometimes get a haircut or go to the dentist’s, head off for a long weekend to see friends or family, do stuff I do not get the time to do during the work week or just relax and enjoy 🙂
    It gives me more quality of life for just a little less salary.

    So, Mr. RIP, go for it! You have such high savings rates, and I am sure you will enjoy these extra days off.

    1. Yeah, thank you Julia!
      I just saw your comment has been blocked by spam filter and I don’t know why. Sorry if you thought I didn’t want to publish your comment 🙂

      Thanks for having stopped by.

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