Is it bad that I'm only 36 and already planning my escape from the workforce? Well, to be fair, not the "workforce" entirely. I don't mind working at all.
My problem is that I'm tired of the responsibility that is involved with my job. You see, I can never leave my job entirely behind when I go on vacation or for the weekend or even for the night. It is always there. Now, with all of these smartphones and e-mail and all that, everyone always expects you to be responsive immediately. It's not only annoying, it's intrusive and a huge pain in the ass. Oh, but I guess I should be thankful that I make so much money for my annoyance, and that my tax burden is likely to increase by the end of the year for my annoyance. And I should be patriotic and not mind. Whatever. The shit I have to put up with on a day to day basis is increasingly becoming less worth it to me, and thus my countdown to retirement. I've started to calculate how much money I feel I need to retire. The biggest obstacle is my mortgage. Once that is done, I don't have a ton of expenses, other than my property tax and Direct TV bill, and I can get some bullshit job (punch in, punch out) to cover those, and simply live off my savings for the rest.
I now remember fondly my days working at Wendy's when I punched in, punched out, took orders, made food, closed the store, and that was the end of things. Now when I leave work, I wonder what e-mails will await me in the morning (unless I check them from home or my phone), or when I get back from vacation. Opposing counsel always waits until the last minute at the end of the workday to send some scathing e-mail. When they are on the west coast, I don't get it until at least 8 or 9 p.m. here. Also, there's nothing quite like coming back from vacation to 500+ e-mails to go through, all of which are urgent, despite your Outlook Out of Office notice. I particularly love attorneys who e-mail me innocently initially, so I know they got my Out of Office notice, then e-mail me again later demanding a response by the end of the day, when they know I am out, and conveniently don't copy any of the other attorneys on the case on the e-mail, who might be available to respond. That's always a great situation to deal with.
At any rate, it's possible that I'm glamorizing my previous experience at jobs that didn't carry over at the end of the day. Everything always looks better in hindsight, and I recall getting annoyed with the Wendy's job also. But still, it was different. There is something nice about just doing what you are told, and not having to make any difficult decisions.
My job always carries over, and there are always difficult decisions to make, which now, as a partner, I have to make. There are always deadlines, always something else to worry about, always fees motions and bills of costs to worry about, always clients to worry about, proving your case...it's always something. I'm more venting than complaining, I guess. I'm reading too many Huffington Post article comments about how the "rich" (which apparently I am, since I make over $200K a year) are lazy and greedy and sucking the life out of the middle class. And I sit back and say, really? Am I doing that? As far as I can tell, this year I'm paying well into the six figures in overhead in order to pay the salaries of all of our paralegals, secretaries, clerks, and associates. That's income I made that is not going into my pocket, but is going into the pockets of these "middle class" people, of which I apparently am not. And they help me and do a good job, so I don't mind paying their salaries. They are all a necessary part of our business.
But at the end of the day, this responsibility and stress simply is not worth it. Nor does it seem worth it when probably I'm going to have to pay more of it to the government, since I'm "rich." At this point, I'm staying right where I am, though, because this job will give me the option of retiring early, and I really am quite good at it. I could quit and do something else, but the fact is, the money here is more than I can make anywhere else, and this is what I am good at. So, I figure if I can just deal for about 10 more years, I might be in a position to leave this world of responsibility, smart phones, e-mails, and all that, and just take a step back. Because I kind of want to just take a step back and simply not have to make the hard decisions. It's hard to make the hard decisions, because sometimes you make the wrong decision, even with the best of intentions. And I'm really tired of dreaming at night about work. I just can't get away from it.