Midlife Crisis insourced: season finale – a chat with myself

Mr DIP: “It’s easy. You just send them an email with the following content: ‘bye, I’m quitting’. Got it? Done? Do you want me to write it for you?

RIP: “I know how to quit… But I told you: the doctor gave me another month. Should I say no to free money? On July 30th I’ll meet him again, tell him I’m going to quit and then I send the resignation letter. maybe I’ll consume vacation days first, it makes more sense.

Why?

Well, I don’t know. More benefits (they’d match my pension contribution while on vacation), more time, a miracle can happen…

What are you talking about? What miracle? RIP, listen, we discussed this many times. You’re simply quitting. No excuses, no ‘maybe’s, no ‘stocks are vesting’, no ‘bonus is coming’… I won’t accept any money related excuse. We agreed you need to quit.

Yes, I know, and that’s happening! I told you, I made my decision! I’m just optimizing my way out. What if I take vacation and while on vacation HR approaches me offering a severance package? Who knows! Or a miracle like ‘your team has been dismantled, you have 3 months to find a new team or you’re out’. These things happen at Hooli. Maybe I’m lucky!

I don’t understand, what’s good in the above statement? Something similar happened to my company and it was a disaster. People cried. Literally. In the office.

I know, I’m in a position where being laid off is a miracle. People in your former company who needed the job cried. But for me it would be awesome. Another 3 paid months ๐Ÿ™‚

RIP! I told you! No money related excuse! Just quit now. Send them a resignation email! Now!

I didn’t mention Mr DIP so far, but he’s been my best friend in the last few years. Former front door neighbor, moved to Austria for work related issues. Faced unemployment few years ago. He has been another wedding witness of mine (like Mr VCF), and also a holiday companion: we spent a couple of weeks together with our families last year close to Venice and they went to Croatia in July this year without us, because I had to sell my apartment in Milan on a short notice.

On December 2018, a few months before my burnout has been diagnosed (but it was already there) I literally cried at their home after he asked: “so, what are the plans for the future”. Mr DIP knows me very deeply, and he’s been a constant presence in the last several months.

He wanted me to quit, but he also thinks: “you’ll never do that. You’re not so brave“.

You’re talking to yourself! I’m stronger than you think!

 

Welcome to the season finale of the midlife crisis series!

If you stumbled upon this post and you have no idea what I’m talking about, here follows a recap for the lazies: I was going to rage-quit Hooli by end of March. Visited a doctor who told me “you’re burning out, take a medical leave”. I announced on this blog “I’m in a delicate moment of my career” in March. April and May have been tough months, full of internal struggles. I also started visiting a therapist for a short while. Didn’t experience any visible progress so I quit therapy. In June I decided to crowdsource my problems and asked friends and “strangers” for help. The more I talked to people, the more I get convinced I need to quit and Hooli and start my own venture. Thanks to my misery at work, the ideas and projects I want to accomplish on my own, and my financial security I should have all box checked.

Early in July I had an afterthought: “what if I give Hooli one last chance”? Changing role, not just team. Trying something completely different that a few friends tried and recommended? I started exploring that but felt unnatural. By mid July I dropped the idea.

Here we are now.

It’s Sunday July 14th, we’re on a train to Milan. Going “back home” to sell my flat. I’m going to sell my flat for 70k EUR. I’m also going to start coughing badly and get pneumonia.

Fun fact: during the last week of July I had two medical reasons with accompanying certificates to not work, but I still went to the Hooli new campus to relax, think, write, read, prepare for the future ๐Ÿ™‚

The Milan trip lasted few days until July 19th. We exploited our Milan trip to visit Mrs RIP family and our friends in Milan. The apartment sale has been weird, folkloristic, relieving. I wrote a doc about the strange things that happened during the sale day, maybe one day I’ll share it.

July 19th, we’re back home, in Switzerland, without a home. Soon without a job as well, without a car, without any significant valuable physical possession outside several banks & brokerages accounts. And of course a lung infection.

It feels strange, light but also unrooted.

The following week I kept going to the Hooli new campus to think about the future. I had a strict plan of blogging, defining a life plan, put together options after Hooli… but I procrastinated the whole week. I read interesting articles and followed rabbit holes well documented on my Curiositips post (July 22nd).

My rational mind wanted to go in a specific direction but my brain refused. I mean… I didn’t simply slack off playing games (just a bit) or doing nothing. I consider my lifelong learning mission a very honorable one but… cmon, RIP, now it’s not the time to take The Art of Reading course on Farnam Street or to read the entire Gervais Principle series on ribbonfarm!

Don’t get me wrong, we’re talking about high quality material here… but holy crap, I’m going to meet the doctor again on July 30th and tell him “I just want to quit”… isn’t it time to make a concrete plan? Isn’t this the right time to perceive yourself as “unemployed”?

Ok, I agree, we’re going on vacation most of August and September, but that doesn’t mean my life is going to get fixed on its own. Be responsible, RIP! It’s already 4 months you’re not working!

Is there something else?

I couldn’t explain what.

I know what it is. Told you!

Back to the future for a while: yesterday I watched this amazing TEDx talk by Bill Burnett about “designing your life”, which provides a framework for life changing decision making. Immensely good. Thanks a lot reader Mike for linking it in the comments!

Please, take a look:

19:15 Bill explains how our brain reacts to choices, choice overload, and how to narrow them down. As a strategy to reduce the effects of FOMO and the “paradox of choice”, he suggests: “you won’t decide how you feel about a decision until the decision has made, so cross options off. If you cross the wrong one you’ll have a feeling somewhere in your stomach that you did the wrong thing“… And “you cannot choose well if you choose only from your rational mind” (quoting Daniel Goleman and EI). The rationale behind is that the basal ganglia is responsible for summarizing emotional decisions for you, but it’s a very old part of your brain, and it doesn’t communicate with the prefrontal cortex. You can only “read” what the basal ganglia is telling you thru felt sensations.

Gut feelings.

Why am I saying this?

Are you ready to get disappointed?

Told you…

My gut feelings were trying to tell me something, but I didn’t understand what.

Then one day, it was Friday July 26th, I woke up at 4am energized, with a single thought in my mind: I’m going to be a Reliability Engineer at Hooli. I need to try this out! I need to not leave that unattempted!

And I felt good. I felt excited by the idea.

I don’t know where it came from, but that was how I felt that morning.

Maybe it was my ego talking.

Maybe my ego wanted approval, confirmation that I can still be considered valuable, not necessary be valuable, in the field I devoted 30+ years of my life, starting at age 9, coding on a Commodore64.

Maybe my ego rationalized this way: “there’s always time to try something completely different, but there’s only TODAY to try to save your career… and take that fucking medicines for the pneumonia, you’re coughing badly!“.

I don’t know.

I went for a long walk that morning, trying to keep my unmotivated excitement at bay. I told myself “ok, but this is really last attempt“, and “holy crap, what about timing? I can’t tell Mrs RIP we need to cancel some other vacation (already canceled Croatia to sell my flat), family stability comes first now“, and “ok, in order for this to work it has to start on October 1. It would mean 6 months without working this year. Enough to recharge and try this last one adventure in my old career“.

Rationality took control and started planning, trying to please the irrational/emotional part of my brain that happens to be in charge of big decisions.

Thanks to the medical leave I didn’t consume many vacation days this year, so I can cover a full month with vacation days (depleting my budget for 2019). Problem is: we’re still 2 months far from the beginning of October. And I can’t see myself coming back to the old desk for a month (doing what?), having canceled our September family vacation and made my family sad. That was not an option.

And I need to find a team that wants me, before I leave for August vacation in Italy on August 1st. And today is July 26th!!

Panic.

WTF, panic for what? Am I setting unreasonable expectations on myself now? On the exact opposite direction of yesterday’s unreasonable expectations for my future life without Hooli?

Oh, come on!

Relax, breathe. Cough! Take medicines as well.

I’m going to try this path, and if it won’t work for either timing, or lack of a hiring manager willing to hire a half-broken nonstellar-performer like me, or lack of an actual team that I’d like joining… then it’s over. But at least I tried.

I think the odds of the stars aligning are still below 20%.

But that’s a great improvement (is it? Time will tell). From 99% quitting (end of June) to 90% (mid July) to 80% (end of July).

I spent the day in the office, laser focused on this project. Reviewed internal teams structure, identified candidate teams, checked open positions, took a look at the teams’ mailing lists and public team documents, sent a bunch of emails, scheduled 7 consecutive meetings on the following Monday July 29th.

I never felt more productive since… since I don’t even remember when.

At home, in the evening, I’ve explained what happened today to my wife, ready to be kicked in the ass. To my surprise, she understood.

We agreed that it’s either October or nothing. And I still only have 3 complaints points. And let’s be honest… October is 3 months away from yet another windfall of stocks vesting and yearly bonus.

Let’s get cynical: what’s the worst that could happen? That I realize that even changing role wouldn’t lead to an improved quality of life? Ok, then I’d quit in January 2020, and for the inconvenience I’ll get compensated ~120k CHF in salaries, stocks, bonus and pension contributions over the next 4 months. Is this the end of the world? I don’t think so.

It IS the end of the world, because you will never quit.

On Monday I had my meetings with hiring managers. Luckily my pneumonia was almost completely healed. An entire day meeting teams working on interesting projects. I was able to sustain the entire day in meetings, while 4 months before I’d fall asleep after 20 minutes while in a meeting. Being 4 months away from work recharged my batteries, I didn’t expect that. I felt motivated to investigate 3-4 more teams, but time was scarce.

The day after, on July 30th, I met the doctor. I just told him the truth, exactly what I’m writing here. If you send me back to work on August 1st I’d just quit. I feel motivated to make a change, but if you send me back to my old team today I wouldn’t know how to handle this, and I’d simply quit. I’m negotiating with other teams, and I’m excited about it. But August is coming, many managers are going on vacation, it’s hard to close the deal. Do you remember a month ago? I told you “I just want to quit, I don’t want to work here anymore“. Today it’s different, I want to try. But I need more time.

The doctor gave me another month of medical leave.

First problem solved. Odds of staying at Hooli increasing from 20% to 50%.

During my August Italian vacation I kept communicating with the hiring managers, applied for 3 positions, got quickly accepted by 2 teams. Third one was too slow evaluating many candidates and I didn’t have much time. I’d meet again the two managers (plus a third one who showed up spontaneously… they’re hiring like crazy) and tech leads when coming back from my vacation. I need to close the transfer during the last 10 days of August. Easily doable.

Now the odds of remaining are 90%, if we want to be pessimists.

The No Deal Hooleave is getting cornered.

I met again the two candidate teams once back from Italian vacation, and finally picked one. I picked the most structured one: a team working on the reliability of a core piece of Hooli infrastructure. A lot to learn!

I’ll begin this new adventure on Monday September 30th ๐Ÿ™‚

End of August, I met the doctor again. Told him “I have a team“, and I’m going to start the new adventure in October. He still gave me 50% medical leave for September “try going back to work part time in the old team and see how you feel… if it doesn’t work, take vacation“. Nope, I’m taking the other 50% of time off consuming vacation days. I planned to take vacation anyway, it doesn’t hurt to consume less paid vacation. I’d still have ~10 vacation days available for the remainder of the year, i.e. for Christmas. Amazing outcome!

Before you ask: I don’t think it’s unethical to go on vacation while on medical leave. My medical condition, call it mental health issue if you want, actually does encourage you to take some real time away from home. In the end it really worked: I’m still a Hooli employee and happy to try this new adventure. Win-win.

I’m writing this while in Portugal, probably going to hit the publish button a few days before the end of my medical leave and the beginning of the new adventure. The September vacation has been incredibly good for my health, my family, my mood, my blog – I’m writing like crazy.

Yes, I sometimes second thoughts my decision, but it’s normal I guess. It’s been 6 months without “working”, I have no idea how it will feel to come back to a standard working schedule, let alone the on call weeks where I should be available within 5 minutes from being paged, 12 hours a day for 7 days, twice per quarter. It would be tough, but I’m here to not leave this unattempted.

I know for sure that I want to keep my passions alive. Blog, write, read, study, spend time with my family, keep my health under control. Because I know this is temporary, and in a few years (at most) I’ll be moving to the next chapter of my life, again. Because I know I have very low tolerance for bullshit, and enough financial safety to cut this thin cord on a whim.

In the meantime we’re going to relax a little bit our financial situation, allowing ourselves to raise our standard of living. While the new Hooli setup works, we’d try to live more comfortably. It would probably mean that as soon as I raise the quit flag we’d have to face few financial downshifts: either leave Switzerland within 3-6 months, or find a new well paying job, or switch back to a more modest lifestyle, or have much more financial security, or start my own business… Ok, not today.

How to “raise our standard of living”?

Just 2 steps for now:

  • sending our daughter to child care 2 days per week (920 CHF/Mo) starting from November 2019.
  • maybe looking for a bigger apartment (expected extra 1000-1500 CHF/Mo), probably not in the immediate future but in early 2020, if the new Hooli setup passes the December/January checkpoint.

These actions would raise our monthly expenses from the current 5k CHF/Mo on average to 7.5k. Saving rate would drop from 70-75% to 50% and FI in Switzerland would move toward infinity. It’s ok for now.

Mrs RIP employment situation is also to be defined. She wants to try her own projects in the world of child and pregnancy care, and maybe reapplying for unemployment after the summer break. We’ll see.

These are the facts.

Disappointed?

I am, a bit.

I’m not, I already knew. I told you, you will never quit your comfortable job. You’ll increase your standard of living, spend more, need more… like everybody else.

Time will tell my friend.

I’m just the orchestra director of my crazy brain and all the players who move levers and react to signals within it. I’m doing my best to be who I think I am, to do what I think I like doing, and to take care of the people I love.

Is my midlife crisis over?

Of course not.

I’m procrastinating on it. I still plan to jump on my projects one day not far in the future. But I want to quit Hooli without regrets, peacefully. Not as a quitter. I’m buying myself more time to think about next steps, and more time to grow my nest egg. Our lifestyle inflation actions are well thought: our daughter child care won’t last forever and a bigger apartment is something I deeply value anyway.

I still think I’m getting closer to what I want to become.

Well… What do I really want? Who am I? What’s the meaning of life? What is Happiness? How much do I know myself? Is this a question one can really answer? The more I grow and learn, the more I know that I know nothing. Like Socrates, and John Snow.

But I still think I’m getting closer to what I think I want to become.

From the outside, everything seems chaotic, random, deeply inefficient. I think it’s not.

Mr DIP is laughing at me, but I feel I’m moving in the right direction.

I wanted to quit in March, but I decided to resist and I got 6 months of time to recover, during which our net worth grew by 120k EUR. Win-win.

I’m going to stay at Hooli, get stronger, triple check if I’m still a Software Engineer, leaving nothing unattempted in my old career, and get another 120k EUR in the next 4 months. Win-win-win.

I’m going to be listening to my body signals during this new adventure, and I’m not willing to let myself slip into misery again.

I’m shaping myself and getting ready for my next life.

Another TED talk I watched yesterday is this one by Robert Greene, one of the best writers of our time, about “how to transform yourself”:

16:48 he unwinds his reasoning and says “the way to transform yourself is through your work… through our work we can actually connect to ho we are, instead of running away. By entering that slow, organic process we can change ourselves from the inside out in a way that is very real, and very lasting. This process involves a journey of self discovery.

His working history before becoming a bestseller author is studded with 50s minor jobs that shaped his character and contributed to his first huge success: The 48 Laws of Power.

I think there’s still a piece of Mr RIP that needs to be shaped in the Hooli forgery. I’ll know when it’s time to say goodbye ๐Ÿ™‚

On the other hand we have the awareness thatย time is not infinite, and I might discover there’s no time left to act on my personal projects, on my dreams, my ikigai, my top of Maslow pyramid.

After the Greene’s TED talk I checked his wikipedia page and discovered that Robert had a stroke last year and his left arm and leg are paralyzed. And he’s 60 years old. I might have my dreams killed at anytime. The opportunity cost of time spent living an unhappy life is very high, I don’t get to know how much I’ve left in good conditions. According to the regret minimization framework, the last thing I want is to not have tried living my ideal life.

A lot of material for a lifelong midlife crisis, which I think it consists in the realization that your time is limited and everything you do, every day you waste, every small talk you have, every useless relationship you keep alive… everything has an opportunity cost associated.

So… it’s still Hooli!

Like GOT, the series ended where it began.

Winter is coming, forever.

I hope I haven’t disappointed you too much.

RIP, hope is not a strategy!

Haha, good and timely observation!

Ok, I know I disappointed you ๐Ÿ™‚

But the blog is still alive, and I’d do my best to keep it as such while transitioning into this new – and probably temporary – phase of my life.

Stay tuned!

So? What’s up? Did you send the email?

Hi DIP… Well… You won’t believe what happened to me last Friday! I woke up at 5am with a single thought in my mind: I want to try this new path within Hooli! I’m not joking, I’ll start in the new team on September 30th and I’m kind of excit… DIP? Hey DIP? Are you listening to me? DIP?? I think the connection failed…

36 comments

  1. Dude, I respect you for many things but for f***s sake please stop going to the office with infections. Thereโ€™s lots of people who will have gotten sick because of you and your egoism of exploiting Hooli cafeterias and workspace. These people will have then infected their families, thereโ€™s people with reduced immunity for whom a lung infection is 100x worse. Like seriously, think of someone else than yourself sometimes. That was dumb and out right evil of you to go and spread your gems just because you felt like it.

      1. “Shouldn’t be” doesn’t mean “definitely aren’t” – you chose to risk other people’s health for your own reasons. There’s no context here to understand and no corporate bs. Just you making the call (in your, self-absorbed, mind justified) that your convenience is more important than the potential risk you’re inflicting on others.

        Would you have gone to your kid’s daycare in such state and touch common shared items with your bacteria/virus covered hands into which you’ve just finished coughing?

        If your answer is “no” then you shouldn’t have gone to the office.

    1. Btw, this kind of arguments are exactly on the same page with the corporate bullshit-ism I can’t take much more.

      “Dumb and evil” without knowing the context.

  2. Dear Mr. RIP,

    No, you didnโ€™t disappoint me. I saw you were struggling and now in the end you stay optimistic full of hope. I like that.

    In our limited life span, or probably in the entire time of our human being, staying optimistic is so important. Money is important but not that important. Life quality is more important. We need to save money but to make life better and to make family happier are more important.

    I am with you. All the best for the new adventure in Hooli!

    Regards, C.Liu

    PS: I donโ€™t know why my comments are considered spam. Probably they are all cliche?

      1. Mmm it’s complicated. In the end we just visited touristic locations. The gut feelings say no, but we’re kind of sad to leave. So maybe it’s yes. I don’t know. It’s complicated

  3. I did not dare to admit it or to write it down… but while reading about the RE thing in the last episode I had the gut feeling that this is what you should do. When you get to the point that you will leave anyways I rationalized it that it is also a good decision in your situation. I don’t know how does it feel being a millionaire, definitely a different situation to make your decisions upon.

    Still, I could not imagine leaving that huge pile of money on the table. The professional part is also a huge factor because if you will try this new role and you can fit in, even if you quit early next year (and collecting the spoils of war) you can do it without regrets and knowing something. That the love of engineering/programming/problem solving is still there, the fire of science is still burning inside you only you cannot cope with the way they are expecting you doing the job.

    Not everyone could get used to grinding. I could not for sure. But this is not something you should be ashamed of or feeling like a quitter. You are also physically not designed to give birth and I bet you never mind that ๐Ÿ™‚

    May I say that in the worst case you will find this new role wonderful and you will discover a new definition for FIRE, the Financially Independent Reliability Engineer XD

    1. Financially Independent Reliability Engineer wins the internet for today ๐Ÿ˜€

      Seriously, I’m disappointed by your lack of disappointment!

      I was expecting something like “this is red wedding level of disappointment!!”

      1. There would be only two ways to disappoint me with this storyline:

        1) Leave Hooli just to jump ships to the one with the pineapple flag ๐Ÿ™‚
        2) Stay at Hooli, don’t go for improvement, cancel your vacation and continue grinding just to cross the Switzerland magic number.

        You wanted to quit to have a change and to work on something you like to do on your own terms and for better fulfillment. If you think about it, this move checks all these boxes. You choose this path, no one forced you to do so. You picked the team and the problem to work on. You negotiated your starting date and bent the system to make it possible.

        The thing is if you would have quit and started anything else you could get confirmation about its rightness only once you made the decision and you are doing it. You achieved this while you did not throw away the solid foundation and safety net Hooli offers to you. You can try out something new and let someone else pay for it. I see this as a win-win situation, should I be disappointed?

        I would if you say that you will remain at Hooli forever and all the plans of Mr.RIP will fading away and never become a reality. As far as I understand this is far from reality. Take this new path as a 4-6 month trial period. If you don’t like it your other plans will still be there and you will be a couple of steps closer to your goal ๐Ÿ™‚

        I have to disappoint you but this is not a “red wedding” level disappointment. More like when Arya seemingly found her home, her place, even her love than suddenly she told that “all this stuff is cool but first I am curious what lies at the West of Westeros” XD

        1. Yeah, you’re right… in the end my move is not disappointing at all. What a disappointment! I set the disappointment expectation bar too high and now you’re rightfully disappointed by that!

          Btw, pineappling wouldn’t have been that much of a disappointment, would it?

          “You choose this path, no one forced you to do so. You picked the team and the problem to work on. You negotiated your starting date and bent the system to make it possible.”

          Thanks for the quick summary, I didn’t think about it this way. In the end I’ve been intentional, even though sometimes I think I just “follow the river”. Thanks again for the nice words ๐Ÿ™‚

          See you at the West of Westeros!

  4. I’m not sure to understand your position. But since I’m not in your head, that’s normal.

    One question is still in my mind, because somehow I could learn from your situation :
    – why don’t you go find an apartment like the one you cried for ? The feeling you had, it wasn’t false no ?

    Wish you the best for the upcoming year and a long life to your recovered peace of mind, I think we can feel it through yours blogposts.

    1. Thanks Euler,
      what do you not understand? My choice? Or is it only related to the question you asked?

      About the apartment question (and more): that apartment was very expensive. 3550 CHF/Mo, it’s almost 120 per day! When I go on vacation I filter prices above 100 per night in booking and airbnb! 3k per month is a psychological threshold I don’t feel comfortable breaking. You’d say “it’s proportional to your earnings and the COL of the area where you live”, but still that doesn’t help. That’s maybe a reason why I won’t ever live in Silicon Valley, where housing costs even more than in my city, which is on top 3 most expensive cities in the world by any ranking and ever since I moved here. Plus I’m lucky my current rent is negligible, being the same contract since 12 years (I got the contract from a colleague who moved back to London 7 years ago). In last 12 years my rent was reduced 3 times from 1500 to 1385 due to interest rate reduction. Rents here are connected to interest rate. So current solution is very cheap. If I were spending 2k for a 2 rooms apartment, maybe the jump toward 3k rooms would have been easier.

      Plus: the area where we live is amazing. We’re in a park, with animals, without cars, with a river and several areas where kids can play. In 2 minutes my daughter can switch from playing with her toys at home to hugging horses, donkeys and goats.

      Plus: we’ve made so many friendships here. We can’t walk in the park alone, without meet a friend and have a nice talk. I’ve scheduled 3 boardgames evening in the following 2 weeks with friends in our neighborhood. This weekend we met our old front door neighbors who moved in a beautiful 3 floors villa in the Golden coast of the Zurich Lake, but they have none to hang out with. And no place for her daughter to play. They almost cried when we spent time together in our park this Saturday (which happened to be a farmer market day in the park, while on Sunday we had flohmarkt, a kind of neighborhood-level “garage sale”, focused on baby toys, clothes, books). We want to stay in this area.

      Plus: reacting to emotions and thinking “that’s what I like, that’s who I am” is really something I challenge everyday. Before making a permanent and expensive improvement in my life I want to check that (1) it’s revertible in case I need (2) I really really need it (3) it’s not overpriced.

      Plus: my wife loves our flat. She browse housing websites and sometimes she visits other flats… but in the end when faced by the question “all things considered, would you see yourself happier there or here?” she always say “here” from her heart. We’ve been in Portugal 21 days, 10 of which in a residence twice the size of our flat (with a dishwasher!) and we felt like we don’t need that much space. Kind of uncomfortable.

      If I’m going to be at work most of the time, I’m fine (for a while) with a cozy apartment.

      Having said all of that, if the new job passes the 4 months trial period we will look for an apartment.

  5. First of all, you have been a great resource for some of us other FIRE wannabes living in Zurich. So, keep up the great work with the blog. PS. I actually enjoy the dry financial numbers posts as well and I hope, you have some of those lined up ๐Ÿ™‚

    Having said that, I think you really need to afford yourself bit more “luxury” in your life. The way I understand FIRE is that the first thing I should achieve in life is to truly identify the expenses that make me happy and cut out all the other shit. I personally dont think I would be happy living in a tiny apartment in Zurich like you do. And from the sounds of it, neither are you guys. So, find a good apartment that improves your quality of life.

    The same can be said for other things like day care etc. Maybe instead of the crazy 80% or whatever savings rate you had until now, you will be down to 40-50%. Big deal.

    1. Hi BS, thanks for your kind words ๐Ÿ™‚
      I’ll post a Q3 (July-September) update as soon as possible, but these days are crazily intense, I’m just back from my first day of work in the new role and holy crap, my brain is exploding. But do not worry, numbers will come ๐Ÿ™‚

      about luxury… take a look at the comment above, in reply to Euler.

  6. Hi,

    great to see how things play out: get on working to get more toys:-).
    I would have done the same. but not for the toys, but for the fun to create something or at least for the hope of creating something. I managed to decouple my income from my toys. But that is another story.

    Zurich is indeed a fantastic place to live. I love it here. So on the apartment thingy: the bigger is not always the better. I live near to Zurich lake and have a comfortable 90m2 place. We might move to a slightly bigger next year, but be warned: several friends with bigger places find the following cons:
    โ€“ longer cleaning
    โ€“ accumulation of more stuff to fill the rooms
    โ€“ and (my favorite) since you have a larger place you tend to stay indoors longer, isolating yourself. It comes graduallyโ€ฆ but surely. When I was living in Belgium I was told the correlation: Belgians tend to have larger homes and be more introverted, while their neighbors the Dutch tend to have tiny places and be all the time out thereโ€ฆ everywhere. Maybe a cliche, maybe untrueโ€ฆ but I see the pattern, in Zurich tooโ€ฆ. even with myself when I had a smaller place.

    1. Loved the third point ๐Ÿ™‚

      Anyway, it’s not “just for more toys”, but while I’m trying this path we allow ourselves to be more comfortable. It’s different.

  7. Very true about correlation size/isolation – perhaps with one exception: Paris. Small apartments, people are outside, but they still tend to be quite isolated and not very sociable.

    Congratulations RIP on your new job.

    I have to say that I thought that was the best choice – never leave a (good) place unless you’re sure there is nothing else you can do/explore to make things better. And from you said, being a RE might be a good thing.

    Not to mention that, in my view, it takes at least 9 months-one year to realise whether a new job is a good fit, which for you means more stocks etc. In a year’s time you will be in a better position (financially speaking) to consider your other options.

    Also, with a young kid, wouldn’t be it an option for you to work 3 or 4 days a week? Might be a good transition to your next move or a way to prevent burn-out in your new job.

    All the best, in any event – it seems everything is there to make it work!

    1. Thanks Saramago, as you said I didn’t want to leave Hooli with doubts “maybe this other path would have worked…”. There will hardly be other Hoolies in my life, so I better squeeze this one until I can say “ok, this career is not for me anymore”

      Switching to part time is not an option at the moment. I guess I should first prove something, which means 1 year of strong commitment at least. Let’s see how it works out

      For now, I’m 3 days in it and it’s been more intense than last 2 years as a Software Engineer. Today we had to handle an outage and have been in the same so called “war room” for 8 hours before handing off the incident to a team in US. Holy shit how intense it has been. It’s like working for “medecins sans frontieres” compared to a family doctor that prescribes Aspirins for headaches. But without the meaning associated to working for MSF. Anyway, a lot to learn and experience ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Hi RIP,

    I’m really happy to read that you are feeling a lot better than before, that you’ve managed to rest yourself out and that you found a way to rotate within Hooli. I think it’s great! I wish you well for your whole burnout recovery still and I really hope you’ll feel better in your new team.

  9. I’m happy for how it turned out for you, I’m sure you’ll enjoy your new team and situation. I’m curious about one thing: why didn’t you hire a lawyer or a solicitor to handle the sale for you back in Italy? Was it because of the time window being too tight? I’m asking because that’s how I’ll be handling the sale of my apartment back in Portugal.

    Cheers!

    1. Hi Mobius, why hire a lawyer to sell a flat? Lawyer are expensive, and I don’t see the added value.
      If you mean “someone to act on my behalf” it’s more complicated. I tried with my brother in law, but I should have gone to Italy to sign some paperwork for the delegation anyway. Yes, it’s ridiculous that I had to physically be in front of a Notary to sign a “procura notarile”. Plus, I also need a delegation to have my condo admin sign a doc that says “I’m ok with condo fees so far”. Within 2 days I perceived I would have succumbed by the “Death of thousand cuts” and decided to handle it first person.

    1. My last three weeks have been… well… intense.
      Work, life, travel, daughter sick since a week. I had ZERO time to focus on my blog, and that’s not ok.
      Luckily I’m traveling to NYC for a week at the end of the month, so I’ll have time to write ๐Ÿ™‚
      Expect a boring quarterly (July-September) financial update though ๐Ÿ˜€
      Time for Midlife Crisis update will come.

      P.S. first thought after being out for 6 months and coming back: “What? All of us really have to work 5 days per week? Every week? This is not natural, I don’t know how to handle it anymore…”

  10. Hi, Mr. RIP, First time reader here and I enjoyed reading about your experience. How are you doing by the way? Are you enjoying your new team thus far (i.e. meeting your expectation) or do you still yearn to do greater things with your life? (I wouldn’t blame you for wanting the latter.) I hope all is going well.

    I’m a new mom and a new blogger in Switzerland. It’s certainly not easy to go to work while missing that precious moment to be with your baby and watch her grow.

    1. Hi Mama Bear, thank you for your kind words ๐Ÿ™‚
      I’ll write public updates on my new adventure within Hooli, but I can’t hide the fact that my personal projects are screaming in my head and demanding my time. One day I’ll stop fighting against myself.

      Good luck with your blog (I’ve read a couple of posts few days ago) and with your parenting adventure!

    1. Nice read, and yes there’s some truth in that.
      But we live in a society that wants to sell you the “YOLO, life is now” dream so much that I feel in charge of overcompensating ๐Ÿ™‚

      Seriously, finding my balance between the present and the future is my struggle. At least I’m not one who digs into the past much.

  11. Wellโ€ฆ What do I really want? Who am I? Whatโ€™s the meaning of life? What is Happiness? How much do I know myself? Is this a question one can really answer?

    Any success in figuring out the above? Iโ€™m unfortunately in a similar place..

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