My Financial Story – Chapter 8 – Dream Jobs Left

This is the eighth and last chapter in my financial story series.

In the previous chapter I showed you how I became rich moneywise. Here I’ll show you why I’d like to become rich timewise.

July 2020 Update: the series is not over! You can read about the dark side of my Hooli experience on chapter 9a :)

Disclaimer: This chapter will be different from the others. This post is not about my past or present, but about my ideal future(s). If you only care about facts, you can skip this one.

So, I’ve been extremely lucky so far: I was born with some skills and a lot of curiosity. I’ve escaped the poor neighborhood where I was born and I got a master degree. I’ve done whatever job I dreamed about and I’ve been traveling the world. I’m finally in the top 0.07% of the world by income!

Am I in the top 0.07% by happiness?

I don’t think so. I can’t complain about my life today, but I’m sure I can improve it by a lot.

I’m not talking minor, incremental improvements. I want to take a giant leap, a paradigm switch.

How my life is today: I wake up, go to work, come back home usually between 6 and 7pm, when 70+% of the day is gone, and then – in the few hours left – eat, cleanthehouse, read, write, play, makelove, kiss, hug, visitfriends, dochores, doerrands, study, dreamaboutplayingtheateragain, gotogrocerystore, attachitemstomyendlesstodolist, followmypassions…

How about Weekends?

  • Saturdays: wake up usually a little bit later – unless we have a trip planned in that case the whole weekend acts as short adrenaline boost to make my Sunday evening suck even more – do chores, maybe take a walk, try to relax but still feel the work-related stress, go biking or swimming, meet friends, have dinner together.
  • Sundays: wake up later, finally feel temporary relaxed, take it easy, meet other friends, spend time with Miss RIP, start complaining that the weekend is over at around 5pm, watch a movie together or play boardgames with friends, pretending you don’t have to go to work tomorrow.

stonehouseIt’s not that bad, is it? Well, it can be improved.

It’s like having a giant stone in your house that takes 50% (70% in weekdays, 10% in weekends) of your living space.

You can adapt and live in the remaining space, but you’re lying to yourself if you say it’s as good as it can get.

So, let’s imagine we can remove the giant stone, that we could go for that long uninterrupted picnic. Let’s pretend that you can design your own future and money are not an issue. This is one of the main questions one has to ask themself to find their passions. What would you do? I don’t know yet what I will end up doing – you don’t know how you’d adapt to such a change – but what I do know is that I have tons of passions and dreams I would like to devote more time to.

They are not mutually exclusive with the classical notion of “work“. Following these dreams may actually end up in another career step or somewhere else, where money are not at the centre.

Here’s my unsorted list of next dreams:

I dream about launching a startup, creating the next big thing.

I like coding, I made a career out of it! I still enjoy telling a machine what to do and watch it doing what I told. I like software engineering, i.e. the process of transforming ideas to computer programs/apps. I like the creativity behind software design and algorithmic solutions. I like to dream that my idea will revolutionize the world and help so many people out there. I like to try to be in charge of the entire thing and to switch from “coding in my basement” to “being invited to a TED conference because my idea is worth spreading”.

I dream about contributing to space exploration.

I’m a big fan of human space exploration and astronomy in general. Well, physics in general. Actually science in general. What about philosophy (if science can be considered part of it) in general? I’ve spent more than a year studying and watching videos about Big History (the history of everything). If you’re interested as I am, I recommend you to start with the Microsoft sponsored Big History Project (take a look at this TED talk by Professor David Christian, plus few more links). I love that these days space exploration is a popular topic with not only Nasa planning to take a trip to Mars, but private companies like SpaceX.

I dream about teaching Big History.

Yes, BH is a topic I love. It’s everything essentially. I would love to see BH taught at every school. If you’ll let your mind explore the infinitely big and the infinitely small, you’d see this small green and blue ball we all live in for what it is: our shared home. Fights, racism, even borders will be insignificant. BH is my religion (joking, FSM, ramen!) and I would like to see it widely spread.

I dream about getting lost in science.

A generalization of the previous point. Science. I would like to study (and eventually teach) pure and applied science. I love Chemistry, Physics (and their intersection, physical chemistry), Math, Biology. I’d spend a lifetime on Khan academy, Coursera, Edx and on actual books. Why? For no specific reason, just because I’m curious and I’m a learner. Knowledge is both my leisure and my luxury.

I dream about revolutionizing the educational system.

I don’t really believe in politics or revolutions to change the world. I believe education is the key to improve the society. I believe current education system is bugged. I got interested in Montessori educational system. I still think there’s room for an educational revolution here. I like the vision of Sir Ken Robinson (link, link, link) and I’m here to announce I’ll found the “why school“, where kids are encouraged to ask questions and go looking for answers!

I dream about becoming a professional writer.

I love to write. I can’t judge if I’m good at it, but I love doing it. I’ve always kept a journal, I’ve written stories, I’ve written trip reports and software design docs. I wrote a live RPG story, a couple of Dungeons&Dragons settings and few poems (that I’m not very proud of). I love to think of myself writing essays or copywriting or I don’t know, the only thing I know is that I’m getting passionate about it. I have tons of role models here, essentially all the blogs I follow (Leo Babauta, MrMoneyMustache, FinancialSamurai,…), but one above others for his writing passions: James Altucher. One of his posts made me dream very high. This blog is an attempt to get better at it!

I dream about reading for the entire life.

I have a problem: I really love to read. The problem is: I buy more books than I can afford reading, given the limited amount of time I can devote to it (train rides, travels and maybe half an hour every night just before falling asleep). I love sci-fi and I’m lucky enough that there’s never been such an incredible production of very high quality sci-fi books! The Martian, Ready Player One, The Expanse series, The Silo trilogy, The Fourth Realm trilogy… I love reading popular science books, like Penrose’s, Einstein’s, Hawking’s, Susskind’s,… or self help books like Dyer’s, Goleman’s,… No, there’s no end to the list.

I dream about traveling slowly around the world.

Who doesn’t? I guess it’s the first answer that comes to mind when asked “what would you do if you win a lottery?”. Well, I never liked to be a tourist: I’m a traveler. I don’t care about visiting place X I care about going from here to place X, in the slowest way possible. By bike, by foot. Maybe hitchhiking a little, or local trains. But feeling the distance needs to be the main dish. Slowly and cheap. Maybe sleeping under the stars, or in a tent or couchsurfing. I need to feel like I’m doing something frugal, sustainable, social and fun. I’d do that forever. I’ve had some amazing experiences with bike trips (south of France, Donauradweg) and hike trips (Basilicata coast to coastItalia coast to coast and I’m planning to walk the Appian Way for a week in October 2016). I need to do more of that. Role Models here are Rolf Potts, Paolo Rumiz and obviously David Henry Thoreau.

I dream about volunteering in poor regions of Africa.

I see myself building that school or library or hospital. Or better: teaching math to kids and have their mothers pay me with small gifts, food and smiles. Or help them learn coding and be creative. That would be a life worth living on its own. I’ve met few people who did that, none regrets it. I can do more than simply support charities like Roomtoread, like I’ve been doing in last few years.

I dream about becoming a farmer.

Yes! I love nature, I love self sustainability, I love frugality (even extreme) and I love healthy food. Why not become a social farmer, a farmer 2.0? I’d live in an ecovillage or cohousing (I’ve written about it few days ago), I’d ask for help on wwoof and helpx, I’d sell my products via sustainiverse or via local ethical purchasing groups. I’d open the farm to kids, it may even become a teaching Farm. I’d have wine and artisanal beer tasting evenings in my cellar, while playing boardgames. I could become an ecological activist and fight to preserve the environment (but not saving the planet). If I close my eyes I’m already there!

I dream about exploiting sharing economy.

While living in my ecovillage/cohousing, if becoming a farmer is too much for my tired and old limbs, why not host tourists with airbnb? Why not cook for them with home restaurant services like Gnammo or Bonappetour (hint: a killer app is needed here, too much fragmentation). I like cooking pizza and pasta and like every average Italian I’m reasonably good at it. Come and taste RIPcousine!

I dream about owning a boardgame café.

I love boardgames. I’ve spent an incredible amount of time playing. I’ve been at conferences like Essen Spiele, Lucca Comics&Games, Modena Play,… I’ve attended play marathons like Gobcon Lagna for 4 years in a row. I love Agricola, Caverna, Terra Mystica, Dominion and so on. I’d love to own an activity where people can come and play games, relax, make new friendships. I’d sleep there if needed.

I dream about designing a boardgame.

Why not? I love numbers, statistics, balancing… I’d love to design a boardgame. I actually designed a Card game. It was fun. It was never meant to be published, it was for friends. It’s named “Il Gatto e la Volpe” and no, you won’t find anything on the internet. Design a boardgame is a challenge I need to face, sooner or later!

I dream about playing the whole time.

Did I say I love boardgames? Yes, I do! Did I mention I also love videogames? I’d like to dream about a future where I will play guilt-free for hours, even days in a row! Boardgames with friends, videogames, mostly alone. I love Strategy games, both real time (RTS) and turn based (TBS). I also love RPG and Massive whatever. I’d both play and help develop open source games like Battle for Wesnoth, my preferred open source game.

I dream about becoming a professional theater actor.

Yes, I’ve been doing that in the past and I was completely drained by it. Playing, acting is… the true essence of life. I can’t describe with my own words what it means to study something written hundreds of years ago, try to shape the character you’re playing, become one thing with them, interacting with friends on stage, entertain an audience and make them both laugh and cry. I remember it was the night after 2 fully booked weeks of both matinées (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) and evening shows (La Folle de Chaillot). When both shows were over, I felt like dying. What am I going to do next? I can’t live without acting! I want to go back then. I also want to write a monologue and play it in front of my friends. I’d love to explore the improvisational theatre too.

I dream about becoming a stand up comedian.

In acting, I’ve frequently played the Shakespearian’s fool. I think I’m good at making people laugh. And SUC is about storytelling, originality, creativity and being fun. I love StandUp Comedians like George Carlin, Bill Hicks, Louis CK, Ricky Gervais. I’d love to write a piece. Did I mention I like writing? And creativity? Hell yeah…

I dream about becoming a filmmaker.

Not only a filmmaker, I’d love to write a script, direct the scenes and play it! I’ve tons of ideas written down that are sitting on my hard disks. I love the comedy genre. I dream about becoming the next Rowan Atkinson or Jim Carrey.

I dream about becoming a personal finance advisor.

I studied a lot. My finances are in very good shape. I devoted more or less the 10k hours one need to spend on any topic to be an expert on it. I love teaching and I love helping people. I’d love to help those in financial trouble or those seeking for financial independence. I’m already trying to do it with this blog 🙂

I dream about becoming a life coach.

I spent most of my 31st year on Earth learning what was wrong with me. I went deep. I became a better person. I now now what is fear and how to beat it. What is anger and how to control it. What is anxiety and how to stop it. What is guilt and how stupid of a feeling it is. I’ve studied Emotional Intelligence and meditation techniques. Did I say I love teaching? I think so. Anyway, I don’t think I’m ready to be a life coach yet, but I’d love to get there. To help people that are struggling with their lives and can’t find their passions or get rid of unhealthy habits. My role models here are Leo Babauta, Daniel Goleman, Wayne Dyer, Derek Sivers, The Dalai Lama, Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson.

I dream about exploring my spirituality.

Like I said, I invested a lot of time in my Emotional Intelligence. I’m agnostic, I don’t believe in any God but I’m fascinated by religions and their social and spiritual aspects. I like Zen Buddhism and in general Eastern religions. I consider agnostic spirituality way more attractive though. I like the idea of Truthism. I’d like to ask myself more philosophical questions and to devote time to find the answers.

I dream about exploring my creativity.

Creativity means everything to me. My definition of “depression” is “lack of creativity”. I consider myself a very creative person. I trained my creativity every day thanks to science, games, readings and movies. As James Altucher says: “Creativity is a muscle. There’s no such thing as inspiration” (here’s another amazing post of his on how to become an Idea machine). I dream about becoming a creator. Creativity can be expressed in so many ways: from cooking to blogging, from vlogging to coding, from writing down your company’s mission statement to design an artificial intelligence. Creativity requires space and time. And disconnection.

I dream about exploring my curiosity.

As you can see, I’ve got things to do. I’m pretty busy for the next dozen lives. I want to follow a lot of dreams, a lot of passions. But most important of all, I know nothing (like Jon Snow) about myself. Till 2005 I didn’t bike, then I bought a bicycle and I can’t see myself living without one. I’ve been traveling with it, I go to work everyday with it. What I want to point out here is that I don’t simply want to follow my today’s passions: I want to follow the passions I don’t know anything about them yet, because I didn’t discover them so far!

I dream about becoming an amazing parent, lover and friend.

Yes, that’s probably the most important of all my dreams, the one I’m going to regret the most at my death’s bed in case I hadn’t followed. I’ll be there for my children. I’ll be there playing with them, reading for them, teaching everything I know to them. I’ll be there to stimulate their curiosity and creativity. I’ll bring kids into nature. I’ll devote time, a lot of it, to them. Same is true for my relationship with my SO and my friends. I’ll be there. I want to live a socially intense life, but not one full of bars & pubs. I do want to live in a community that I really feel mine, that’s why I dream about creating one. I strongly believe in the human and economic benefits of the social capital.

I dream about being lazy and doing nothing the whole time.

Yes, yes, yes! I miss laziness so much! I’m being too much productive these days. I feel like I always have to do something. It’s a kind of a drug. I dream about detoxing from it. I dream about living as if everyday were Sunday.

Ok, let’s stop here for now.

It’s not just what I’d do, I’d probably change the when, where and how too.

I’d go deep for 16 hours per day for a full week if I wanted to, then I may do nothing for a month if that’s what makes me happy. I’ve been enjoying sabbatical trips, where walking was my main activity and at the same time I’ve been working 48 hours straight during a Global Game Jam back in 2011!

digitalnomadI could open my laptop while on a beach in Sardinia, or a white pod in Switzerland, and coding my videogame, launching my startup, writing on my blog.

Or I can try to live where the sun is, half of the year in the northern hemisphere and the other half in the southern.

Or join a 3 months session with Hacker Paradise or coworking or working while traveling. It doesn’t feel like working does it? The sky is the limit!

I know, I’m doomed to fail on some of my dreams, probably most of them. Not even trying a significant portion of them. But I need to explore as much as I can. How to do that? I need time. How do I get more time? Buying it with financial freedom.

That’s the whole point about it. That’s why I want to reach FIRE. That’s what I’m going to do after.

That’s why even though Hooli is awesome, I won’t work there forever.

28 comments

  1. The post 😉
    All what we envision when reaching FI is so overwhelming that current work situation could feel like calm and peacefulness one doesn’t want to quit after all ^^

    1. Naaah for me it is rather: “what I envision when I’ll be FI is so much fulfilling and purposeful that compared to it my current job looks like a waste of time, despite being the best possible place where to work” 🙂

      1. Aligned like stars in the sky!
        What I meant is that to the “average person” it’d be better to stay in this comfy zone that is 9-to-5 + consumerism!

        Onward to FI life!

  2. Amazing story, man! I was looking for some investment tips for expats in Switzerland, found your blog, read the whole series of posts about your past, and was so surprised when I realized I work at the same company as you do, very likely in the same office. 🙂

    I’m a couple of years behind you, but so many things are the same: I started at Hooli with a very similar net wealth as you did, got basically the same offer, renting the same size flat for the same price, I also have a partner living with me who’s learning German and finding friends. Currently we’re saving a bit less than you were during the first years (though I didn’t include pension contributions to my Net Wealth calculations, it might get our numbers closer to yours), but now I somehow feel really excited about the future.

    Best of luck to you and Miss Rip! 🙂

  3. Great post and series RIP!
    Time.. time.. time.. we need to buy our own time.. although ironic, that’s the true.
    I have been reading you and MP, you’re inspiring me to re-take my stockmarketkpunk.com blog and talk more about my Swiss investments. (that one in english)
    We do have our family blog toward FIRE but we write in spanish there. You’ll hear from me soon.

    cheers! and keep it up!
    Erik

  4. Ey! Greetings from Spain! I just discovered your blog and been inmersed in the binge reading of your story! I’m for sure bookmarking your blog, it’s an uncanny source of shared topics – passive investing, treking expeditions, etc… 🙂

    In my case, I ended up in a technology bluechip company with decent salary for a Mediterranean country (60k). No 6 digit wage, but way cheaper cost of life and the advantages of living in a rich-northern-spanish-small city. Though it’s an easy life, I aspire to reach FIRE sooner or later.

    Keep in touch and thanks for sharing such a valuable information.

    1. Hi Garbatella (you sure you’re not from Rome?? there’s a neighborhood named Garbatella!)

      Thank you for stopping by and for your nice words 🙂

      Good luck with your FIRE journey, I may ask you for an interview when I’ll start my “Early Retirement in XYZ” series.

      I guess 60k EUR is luxury in Spain. What’s your saving rate?

  5. Hi MrRip!

    Yeah! I actually studied a couple of years in Italy and lived in that neighborhood 🙂 Feel kind of nostalgic about that time of my life. It was like and oasis in the the middle of the chaos that Rome is.

    Count with me for an interview! It would be great to have a map with details of “how to get an early retirement” in each country. Because in the end local environment is the key… Let’s say for instance about the public pensions: although is something that we all know will shrink, it is still an important stream of money. And my understanding is that contrary to logic, in Germany getting 14 wages of 2k€ as public pension is something impossible while in Spain many middle class workers receive that.

    Regarding the saving rate, is not that easy. I mean, getting external income is the only way…

    1. You’re welcome 🙂
      Fun fact is: if I reread this post today I find that maybe 50% of what I considered to be “next dreams” are now obsolete and new things could be added.
      That’s why I have zero fear of running out of projects and dreams when I’ll be early retired!

  6. Did you walk the Alpine way eventually?

    We plan a 3-4 months now in Sri Lanka, starting November. We don’t like being tourists but more the experience of living like a local. And I’d definitely do more of slow traveling on a bike somewhere. My dream is to bike from Alaska to Ushuaia in south-south America.

  7. I spent most of my 31st year on Earth learning what was wrong with me. I went deep. I became a better person. I now now what is fear and how to beat it. What is anger and how to control it. What is anxiety and how to stop it. What is guilt and how stupid of a feeling it is. I’ve studied Emotional Intelligence and meditation techniques. Did I say I love teaching? I think so. Anyway, I don’t think I’m ready to be a life coach yet, but I’d love to get there. To help people that are struggling with their lives and can’t find their passions or get rid of unhealthy habits. My role models here are Leo Babauta, Daniel Goleman, Wayne Dyer, Derek Sivers, The Dalai Lama, Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson.

    May I ask what exactly you did here? I’m in my 31st year and interested in doing the same!

    1. Hi Nick, thanks for asking!
      I started to write a lot, mainly journaling my feelings and asking myself questions.
      I did what I now know it’s called philosophical meditation (https://www.theschooloflife.com/thebookoflife/philosophical-meditation-2/).
      I stopped devouring technical books on C++ and Game Programming (still own dozens of them) and switched to psychology and philosophy (well, mainly politics and ideal society. Wouldn’t call philosophy now).
      I also put my health in the center: I biked and ran so much that I lost 26kg in 6 months, putting myself in best shape ever of my life.
      Then I focused on doing things I loved, like theater acting (that was on hold for 3 years), playing guitar, bike traveling and multiday hiking. All of that while still working.
      It was a time before smartphone and social media, 2008-2009, we were still on charge of our attention. And if you remove the bullshit tame wasters, the amount of time you have for yourself (especially after a break-up) is astonishing.
      I sometime(s) miss that freedom level.
      By doing what I loved and becoming a more interesting and funny (and in good shape) person, my “single” status lasted just 6 months.
      In retrospective, I should have fought for it to last a bit longer 🙂

  8. Hi RIP,
    fellow Italian here. Today I binge-read all your posts on you personal story. The one about your childhood hooked me in (especially because it felt so familiar and thus real to me). The one about your teen years and your studies made me feel really close to you, as I am strong in Physics and Math (got a Bachelor in the first and a Master in the second), but above all because my true passion is programming, and I am trying hard to pursue that (I am at my first year of job, working as a Data Scientist at a small company in Germany, but I feel suffocated by the lack of time that working full time imposes on me and by the dreadful daily realization of being “too late” for shaping myself as a 10x software engineer like you). My childhood dream was to become a game developer, but I was unlucky not to be exposed to programming until I got to the university. That’s why your post on your gamedev experience made you earn my deepest respect and admiration. I dream of knowking what you know, of having the time and the occasion and the environment in which to learn, read about, and practice C++, code design, computer graphics. Your post about your research experience made me cry, I found it beautifully written and full of emotions. Lastly, this post about your future plans and desires was, line after line, matching everything that I desire (those things come in a round-robin fashion in my mind, and go, hitting the wall of reality). Chapeau for your piece, I found it almost poetic. What surprised me was that yours is a list that excites you, a list of tangible possibilities that you taste and you know you will try. For me instead it is the fuel and the core of my anxieties, since they are too many, and they are all too far and unrealistic.
    Is it just a matter of point of views? Or is it because you are on FIRE while I have just started to build my (iron) cage? Or is it a difference due to age and training? (you mention explicitly that you spent a year overcoming your anxieties once for all. I have been into self-development for 2 years now and it only got worse.)

    Please let me know what you think!
    I would have so much more to say and to ask, from life advice to career to game development, but I don’t want to flood you!
    Keep up with the good writing, your words are gold!

    P. S. I don’t know if you have already started the path of board game development, but I have been developing board games since I was in high school, I have 2 (pretty innovative) games on the way to publication now, and lots of projects I would like to develop and publish but I don’t have the time and the discipline and the financial freedom to pursue. Some of them involve a hybrid use of physical components and mobile applications. Maybe we could share our ideas and combine our skills in the future!

    1. Like a famous Japanese philosopher once said:

      Jokes apart, I recommend you go checking out the one I got inspired from when I started my blog: https://livingafi.com/2014/06/13/the-job-experience-tech-support-year-1/

      Want to know something maybe you won’t believe? I really want to rewrite “my story” posts, I can see how old they are and how badly written I perceive they are now 🙂
      Something else you won’t believe? I don’t perceive myself as a “10x software engineer”! Impostor syndrome go away!!

      About your concrete question: my list of things I want to do is also scaring me (and it’s growing), but I’m aware of the two lists of Warren Buffett, and as soon as I decide to put a tombstone on my software engineer career I’m going to do my two lists as first step. Contrarian to what you might think, getting close to FI increases my anxiety about my “dream jobs left” both because now I’m on charge of my future (can’t blame others) and for arrival fallacy. Each one of my “dreams” turned out to be much better in the form of a dream than in reality. That scares the hell out of me when I dream new “dreams” 🙂

      P.S. boardgames development is my DEFINITE dream, we need to talk!

      1. Ciao! Scusa il ritardo nel risponderti ma ho avuto (e ho) molto da fare. Spero vada tutto bene! Riguardo al discorso giochi da tavolo, non ho molto tempo libero da dedicargli, ma magari qualcosa si può provare comunque a tirare fuori! Fammi sapere qual è il modo migliore per metterci in contatto (immagino tu abbia la mia mail, da questi commenti. Quindi, senza che rendi pubblica la tua, puoi contattarmi! Public key encryption!)

  9. Another Italian here… and I really binge read your story today!
    The Hooli part was awesome, but this part was crazy familiar!
    I’m not a programmer (although I am a nerd chemical engineer), but I really love science, physic, big history (love Hawking, amen), board games (and card games), RPG, videogames, educational styles (I dream to create a new kind of school too!!), nature, etc..etc..etc…. It was like to read my dreams!

  10. Hi Rip!
    I know this post is old and maybe you’ll never read my comment but I’m going to try.
    I’ve read the whole (hi)story (actually I binge-read) and I’ve loved it a lot, you are a good writer.
    I’m a 20-yo Italian guy (as you are), I’m studying mechanical engineering (almost as you did) and I feel very close to most of your passions and dreams, except the working ones: I don’t really like to code (speaking of coding, I’m studying for “elementi di informatica” exam xD ).
    In the next days I’m going to read your financial story to learn more about the topic of investing my savings.
    So… That’s all.
    See you in other comments,
    Bye.
    P.s. sorry for my poor english, I’m working on this. 🙂
    AN

  11. Hei RIP,

    I love this post, it’s very inspiring to me.
    I’m wondering to know if you have any advice on readings about “find a way to make order in your mind and complete tasks” (not an easy topic, I know :D)

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