It’s Official: I’m Leaving My Job. What’s Next?

December 14, 2018 was my last day working at my job of 8 years. Here’s a look at why I left and what I’m planning do do with my time.
Adam

Written by Adam on December 3, 2018. Updated April 24, 2019.
14 min read. Financial Independence, Personal. 49 comments.

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 🚨 Big life decision update. 🚨

After almost 8 years at Code School and Pluralsight, I’ve decided to part ways. It’s been one hell of a ride from a small group that could fit in a hot tub (or a ping pong room) to a 1,400 person publicly traded company.

I honestly can’t put into words how amazing the experience has been. I’ve been fortunate enough to work on things I’m interested in with passionate, caring, growth-minded friends. The amount I’ve grown in this time has been character-defining for the type of person I want to be in this life.

adam observation peak zion
Me at the top of Observation Point in Zion National Park last month.

Just look at these two heartfelt write-ups from the experience from earlier this year for what I mean:

There would be too many people to mention to list everyone who’s contributed to making this experience awesome. 8 years means a lot of people – many that have moved on to other amazing things, others I see every day.

I’ll still be around at my current job for another 2 weeks before my last day on December 14th. I’ve been working to transition my role to someone new with my manager for the last 3 months, so hopefully, everything can go smoothly.

I gave 3 months notice for leaving my position. I did this because I genuinely do like where I work, and want the best for my coworkers. It hasn’t all been public knowledge, so I haven’t shared it here (although I might’ve spilled the beans to a few people in person at FinCon).

When I made up my mind to leave, I spent a lot of time thinking about how to do it. Should I give 2 weeks notice? Should I try to get a severance or payout of some kind? What does the handoff look like for projects I’ve invested so much of myself in?

I read through all of Financial Samurai’s book, How to Engineer Your Layoff (although I didn’t add that one to my Goodreads list right away). It helped frame the conversation and open up some ideas on how to approach a job transition in a way that’s more win-win for both the employee and the employer. There were some tactics discussed there which might have made me more money, but at the cost of relationships. 

To preempt the same few questions, here are some answers for you:

Why Are You Leaving?

There’s no “one thing”. People are great, the company is great, money is great. The biggest difference is I’ve struggled to wake up every morning feeling as excited as I used to be. I want to find something else where I can feel that way again. I don’t think I’ll ever find something quite the same, but I do want to try looking and see.

Over the last few years, I’ve been in a lot of roles. I was an engineer (full-stack web), Engineering Manager, Engineering Director, Course Author, Technical Director, Course Director, Product Director and a Product Manager. All of them were chosen out of necessity for what work needed to be done – and I’d happily fill the role to try something new. In that time I got a ton of exposure to many different areas of a growing business and learned what parts I enjoy the most. 

The roles I enjoy the most are at the intersection of programming, content and product creation. I love doing all 3 of those. Having the ability to ping back and forth between them when I’m tired of one area and need a break helps them all stay fresh.

Working at a small company you wear a lot of hats. Working across all three of these areas isn’t uncommon – especially in the ed tech sector.  The larger a company grows, the more narrow roles often become, with experts in each. Those like me who want to be deep in the creation have trouble – as we don’t scale as well. Ultimately this is good – as it means things will live on with the right people in the right roles. Unfortunately it means some people who eschew mastery are left looking for other challenges.

The Financial Side of Leaving

We’ll obviously have a big shift in cash flow thanks to this change. It’s going to be… difficult.. seeing my account balances go down rather than up as we draw from them.

Part of leaving on this schedule is due to the stock grants I have. With roughly $1 million in stock, there’s a question of what I do with it. It’s a high enough amount that just selling it outright doesn’t make sense for tax purposes. Holding onto it while continuing to be employed leaves me at the mercy of blackout dates for when I can buy or sell company stock too.

This put me in a bind. Either I could stay and only sell during active trading windows, or leave and have more options open to me. Being an employee also restricts some protective measures that aren’t available if you’re an employee of a public company (like protective puts).

All of this to say that by leaving now I might make more money than if I stay. Time will tell.

I’ll be writing much more about this in the coming weeks. Why not join my mailing list to be notified?

What will you be doing next?

I’m not leaving for another job – or looking for one. I’ve been extremely fortunate with finances (which I overshare here on my blog, so you might know already), and am in a position where I don’t need to work (maybe forever? Markets and time will tell on that). For now, I’m aiming to pursue other passions and see where they take me.

No, but what will you actually be doing?

Well, it’s December so that’s obvious:

  • Finishing Red Dead Redemption 2
  • Rewatching LotR
  • Rewatch all of the HP movies
  • Skiing
  • Realizing skiing is really just a day of cardio in the cold
  • Repeat in January

But really, I’m not sure long-term. I’ve been thinking a lot about what my perfect week would look like. This exercise helped highlight what I want to do and put them in very realistic terms. Time is finite – even if you’re not working. Even if there are a ton of things I want to do, it comes down to what do I want to do first. For me now, that includes some time unwinding, followed by time creating things.

I want to try growing Minafi into a business. I want to program more. I want to cook more. I want to hike more.

I’m hoping to slow down a little and be able to do this while also being present more and spending more time with friends. I want to play more board games. 

One thing I do know is that I want to write more here on Minafi. I also want to explore more about how I can bring unique value to the investing space that only I can bring. In other words, how can I use my skill set and interest in programming, content, and product to create things that resonate and are memorable?

Minafi Must be Raking it in!

Believe it or not, most FIRE blogs don’t make money – Minafi included. I share how much money Minafi COSTS me each month on my income & expenses page if you’re curious. Right now it’s just an expensive hobby costing a few thousand a year (after hosting, services, travel, education and more).

There has not been a single month where Minafi has been in the black since starting it. Part of that is because I love trying new services, learning what works, and exploring ways to grow a site. All of those things cost money. I’d love to get to the point where income can fund experimentation, education and maybe some of my month-to-month personal spending.

View from my computer at my office
A view from my desk in Orlando around sunset.

I’ve loved working at a startup – solving problems fast that provide value to people, shipping and iterating. All through my 20s and 30s, I’d come home from work energized about what I was working on. More times than I can count I’d just keep programming once I got home, creating something I could be proud of.

I can’t wait to use that energy to continue creating here on Minafi!

One point to clarify here too: I’m not leaving to work on Minafi. I’m leaving to do many things – with this passion being one of them. I have a feeling some weeks it’ll be my primary focus, while in others I’ll dive deep into another side project or passion.

I have an addictive personality. When I get into something I can’t let it go right away. I see this as a good thing! Coupled with time I’m interested to see what happens.

Does this mean you’re FI or RE?!

Maybe? Yes? No? Let’s take this one term at a time.

Does this mean I’m financially independent?

Here’s how I define FI:

Financial Independence: The point in which you don’t need to make money for the rest of your life.

My definition of FI

That seems black and white, but knowing you’re there is hard! Will your spending increase or decrease in the future? What about health concerns? Market returns? Family support? There are a million things that could go wrong that make it unrealistic (in my opinion) to ever confidently say you’re FI without a huge buffer or a solid cash flow.

I’d put my current financial situation as a solid in the maybe, but probably not column for this given our current and future spending.

  • Mrs. Minafi is currently continuing to work, so yes.
  • Given our yearly spending in 2018 (which may top $100k), absolutely not.
  • If we reduce our spending to $80k next year then maybe.
  • If we reduce our spending to $65k next year then probably.
  • If Minafi actually makes money someday then yes.
  • If Mrs. Minafi stops working then maybe.

We have somewhere around $2 million saved up now, but these last 2 years have been a killer on our budgets. Getting married, going on 2 honeymoons, fixing up and selling a house, moving across country and then traveling a bunch more apparently does that. I foresee (and hope!) that our expenses will level out and drop in 2019.

A big part of this is a major windfall recently that I’ll be writing more about in the coming weeks. For those following me on Twitter, it was also the day I lost my sunglasses.

If you were to ask how confident I am that I wouldn’t need to make money for the rest of my life, I’d say nearly 0% – as in I’m not confident in that at all. Sure, we might be sitting close to a 4% withdrawal rate on our savings based on our budget, but there are other things to take into account:

  • Stock markets are at a relative high as measured by the Shiller CAPE ratio
  • Our spending of $100k is too waaay high for our savings.
  • It’s unknown how much we’ll lower our spending in 2019.
  • I have some fo the worst timing in history.

As for timing, here’s what I mean:

Day i gave notice
My net worth over time as tracked from Personal Capital

Sure, my account value was that high, but I knew it was highly dependent on a very volatile company stock. Seeing my account value that high did get me to reflect more on what I want out of my career and my days. If anything that gave me more confidence to make life changes – even after the drop.

The same bad timing hit just as I decided for some reason to write about Bitcoin last year.

Day i wrote about bitcoin
Bitcoin price over time before my Coinbase review in December

All this to say that I suck at timing things. It’s also the reason why I favor minimal investing over trying to time the market. 

Does that mean you’re retired?

Everyone seems to have their own definition of what “retired” means. Here’s how I define it:

Retirement: The point at which the vast majority of your time is flexible and in your control.

My definition of retirement

You can be retired but not be financially independent. Take this conversation from Office Space:

Peter Gibbons: I’d relax, sit on my ass all day, I would do nothing.
Lawrence: Well you don’t need a million dollars, to do nothing, man. Just take a look at my cousin, he’s broke, don’t do shit.

Conversation from Office Space

My definition of retirement matches that. It’s a lack of obligations. It’s the availability to do things.

Everyone has their own definition. Here’s mine:

  • If you volunteer at an animal shelter a few days a week are you still retired? Yes
  • If you take a part-time job are you retired? No
  • If you write on a blog occasionally, are you still retired? Yes (even if it makes money)
  • If you’re working to turn a blog into a business, are you retired? No

My definition of retirement has a focus on intent. If you’re doing something for fun without a long-term commitment that sounds more like retirement to me. If you’re actively building something you’re not retired – you’re just living the dream of working on something you love!

And that’s where I (and many others in the FIRE community) fall right now. We’re working towards FI not to RE, but to create something new. I enjoy creating and investing a large amount of my time to build things. I can’t wait to have even more time to do it!

Where all of this goes long-term only time will tell.

What do you think of my plan for the future? Do you have a different definition of FI or RE?

Adam

About Adam

Hi, I'm Adam! I help millennials invest to reach financial independence sooner than they ever thought possible. Want to see what you could do to reach FI sooner? You're in the right place!

49 Comments

Congrats! That’s awesome. Can’t wait to see what you do with your site. Your interactive calculator is one of my favorite FIRE pages I’ve come across.

Thanks Jim! I love creating that kind of content. I can’t wait to have even more time to focus more on that kind of thing.

Big news! Congratulations!

Can’t wait to see what comes next for you!

Congrats! Can’t wait to hear more!

So happy for you, Adam! Many people would continue to work because they’ve got a good thing going on, and it feels safe.

I like your definition of being retired: if you’re doing something for fun, even if it makes money, you’re retired.

Thanks Luxe! Doing something for fun in a career while growing, learning and feeling safe is about it good as it gets for a career. The safety side (both physiological safety as well as financial safety for the company) are something I forget about after so many years in great jobs. Those fears have such a huge impact on mental health.

So awesome Adam! And congratulations for taking a leap of faith!

I think it’s great that you’re so honest with your timing and your fears and your hopes and your plans.

Just keeping an open mind is a great win. I’m sure you will do a lot of great things, and with the wife continuing to work, it’s really not gonna be as scary as you think. I think you’ll gain a lot of motivation to do new stuff and earn income elsewhere.

Enjoy the moment! I wish I was back in your shoes actually. Time goes by so quickly. Probably best to slowly diversify out of that company stock in Jan 2019, Given your marginal tax rate may be lower.

Good luck!

Sam

Thanks Sam! I think you’re right about slowly easing into it with my wife working be a lot easier. It’ll feel less like jumping into the deep end and more like wading into the pool.

Your off the cuff take on how to diversify the company stock is very close to what I’m thinking! I might even end up selling it as far into 2020 depending on the price and protective puts. There’s something comforting about holding a little bit of stock long-term in the company I’ve put so much of myself into. That sounds a bit more emotionally driven than most of my investing, but holding 5% of my portfolio in company stock wouldn’t break the bank.

Congrats on taking this leap of faith! Can’t wait to see what’s in store for you. 🙂

Congratulations! So interesting to read through your thought process about what has happened and what could happen in the future. It sounds like you have endless possibilities ahead. I look forward to seeing where your next adventures take you!

Woohoo! Good luck to the new adventure! Also… totally tongue in cheek but you can’t be retired if your wife works, according to the IRP. You do what you makes you happy!

Instead of retired, I guess I can just tell people I’m a “stay at home blogger”. That sounds much less sketchy.

Congratulations! I’m sure you’ll figure something out. For now, just relax and chill out. It’s a big change from working full-time.
To me, I’m retired even when I make money from blogging. The amount of work I’m doing is much less than when I was an engineer. It’s a hobby with benefits. 🙂
Enjoy!
Oh, good luck with the company stock. That’s a lot of money.

Remembering to relax is good advice. I have a tendency to schedule way too much. Trying to not do that will be a challenge.

Based on the numbers you’ve shared for hours spent blogging, you seem to be hitting a nice balance where you’re not stressing yourself out by putting too much on your plate. Have you had any struggles with that in the past that you’ve had to overcome?

Congrats, Adam! And it looks like we know who to blame for some timing things now… 😉

Haha, I know right. Maybe I can use this to my advantage and just do exactly the opposite of what I think I should do?

Glad to see another member join the cohort. I’m a few months into year 7 and it feels great.

I hear a lot of people poo-pooing the markets based on CAPE. But that is a backward looking metric. By the 2 year forward PE, the market is still historically cheap! I’m staying long but raising cash just in case.

That’s a good way to think about it! I have to admit when it comes to specific timing I’ve never looked too deeply. Now that I’ll need to start selling funds, it’s a good idea for me to brush up on these.

Dude, I am happy for your adventure!

Congratulations on quitting your job! I really like your way of thinking about your new life. My wife and I are currently on a mini-retirement to see what life is like when you don’t have to go to work every day. We are normally hyper-effective people, but to be honest our biggest challenge in the beginning was that we simply became too lazy. We had a lot of good intentions, but somehow we just ended up getting quite little done (which is also nice for a while though!). Now, we have started planning our days a bit more careful to make sure we get things done and relax at the same time, which is working great – and we have the flexibility to move things around. We started with a long list of one-off and recurring things we wanted to do, and now we are slowly moving through it. I guess our lesson was to just plan a little to make sure time is spent wisely, and I think your ‘ideal week’ is a good starting point for that 🙂 good luck with the first time off traditional work. Looking forward to following your journey!

How long are you on your mini-retirement for? In talking with a number of people I keep hearing that the first month (or even the first 3-6 months) are all just getting out of a rhythm, followed by more time to get back INTO a routine.

Setting those goals and creating your todo list sounds like a way to get some small wins. As someone who values achievements and gold stars too, I think have a few of those would be a good way to feel like I’m moving forward too.

Awesome post! Go fuck yourself 😉

I most envy your ability to finish RDR2 now. I haven’t even found the time to buy it yet.

Haha thanks! I’m a bit scared at how much time it’ll take to complete it, but it’s been a ton of fun so far.

Congrats Adam and I’m so excited for your next adventure 🙂

Congrats dude! The world is your oyster, make it what you will 🙂

I love this post – well done on leaving the job, you must have had a slight time delay on the 7 year itch!
Have a great time skiing – it’s something that we love to do too (although with kids now, it’s more expensive than ever!!!)
I was thinking of FIREing in the middle of next year to enjoy the summer months – but maybe firing in winter is better – it makes you realise that your life is not just a holiday.

Good luck and keep us posted!

Whew yeah, skiing is far more expensive than I thought. $750 for a seasonal ski pass + gear is what it’s looking like for me. FIREing in the summer could mean a lot more time outdoors at least!

Way to do, Adam! I’m happy for you, man. Incredible savings effort and the stock to boot! The skiing, hiking, movies, and growing a business (there’s so much joy from this pursuit) is my kind of FI. That’s pretty much what I’m doing + kiddos. As for definitions, I think everyone should push their finances to a place where Monday mornings become an optional thing. At that point, you can truly discover what directions you want to take your life. I’d love to hike, ski, or even build something with you one day.

Thanks PT! I have a feeling there will be a number of days I wake up in a slight panic thinking I need to head to work – similar to the feeling that happens on Sundays every once in a while.

Building something together sounds like fun down the line!

Congratulations!! And you know, even with all those disclaimers, you know the retirement police are coming for you 😉

Haha I know! It’s only a matter of time before they track me down and realize I’m setting goals, have tasks and aren’t sleeping in until noon.

Congrats on ‘retiring’! Whatever that might look like for you. And thanks for oversharing all of your numbers too – it’s actually really interesting 🙂

That’s good to hear! I’ve been on the fence about sharing so many actual numbers rather than percentages, or more vague approximations. Good to hear it’s coming off as useful and not boasting/gloating. That’s one of my biggest fears/concerns in sharing numbers.

Woot congrats! I’m excited for you Adam.

Also—products products fun products!

Do it.

🙂

Haha, I’ll keep that in mind. Creating a product would be fun, but choosing the right one is hard. Saying yes to working on a product means saying no to a LOT for a very long time. I’ll have my eyes open for a product though! I have a few product-lite’s that I’m thinking about here on Minafi that would be more one-off, small, fun features than full-blown things too. Always on the lookout for neat new ideas though – especially ones that help people get into investing.

Way to go Adam.Congrats and wish you the best. Like what I always tell people, you’ll know when you’re ready. Please keep us posted.

Thanks Bernz! I’ll definitely keep writing about what comes next. I’m curious about that myself haha

Big news, congrats Adam! Can’t wait to hear how this all pans out. If you ever find yourself in the LA area, definitely hit us up.

Ohh, will do! Mrs. Minafi and I were thinking about a potential Disney trip sometime since we loved going in Orlando. I wouldn’t be surprised if we find ourselves there sometime in 2019. If you’ll aren’t on a crazy adventure of your own around then we should definitely meet up!

Congratulations! Interesting write up. Wishing you the best as you explore all the possibilities before you.

Hi, I was in your shoes 11 years ago. Left an awesome job after working there for over a decade. Left at the height of the stock market right before the financial crisis with millions in stock options. Promptly lost millions during the crisis. I diversified out of the stock over many years, If I kept every share until this year, I’d be worth $300 million, not to mention the millions more I would have picked up if I stayed employed these 11 years.

I hope everything works out great for you. I suggest you write down very clearly why you left and why you sell each share. So that the future you understands what you did… 😉

This is really good advice Joe, thanks so much. With so much going into those decisions, having a log to refer back to makes sense. Being able to look back to know this was the best-informed decision at the time could be valuable if the stock ends up going to the moon and I sell while it’s still only in the trees.

Thanks for sharing your story. 🙂

Congrats! On to the next chapter…

Great story – can’t wait to see where it goes!

Congrats and good luck. My wife and I are technically FI in that we can move to our condo in Costa Rica, and RE in that we don’t have W2 jobs anymore, but we are trying to figure out how to build the right passive income streams to maintain our lifestyle and pay for tricky things like supporting our college age child for awhile, and healthcare!

Sounds like a very similar goal to me on the income stream side. Supporting a kid in college is a huge expense (I imagine). At least that means that the end of college is right around the corner.

I am often most intrigued by the “why” behind people leaving the business world and their 9-5 job. The “why” question is what people are the most afraid of it seems – myself included!

I really like your response to that question in stating that “The biggest difference is I’ve struggled to wake up every morning feeling as excited as I used to be.” That’s huge and it resonates with me.

I want to be able to wake up and be passionate about what I’m doing and feel the excitement of progress, creativity, and impact too!

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