Dead Man Walkin!

About six weeks ago I transitioned to part time at my job. Not 32 hours a week, not 24, but I went down to 20.  I’ve been FI for quite a while now, but I frankly don’t have the cajones to fully retire and leave my job. I’ve been there for 22 years, I have tons of great colleagues and friends, and great benefits. And mainly I need to keep my healthcare plan, especially since no one can predict what will happen politically in that arena in the coming years, much less the coming weeks.

But I was burnt and I hated my last position as Director of a department of over 60 people. I’ve come to realize I’m just not a great manager since my heart isn’t in it. Self-realization is wonderful when it comes, even if you don’t like the results.

So I bought some of my freedom back.

This is me with bigger ears










I’m still early on in this semi-retirement, and it’s been a fascinating experiment. I’ve been working two 10-hour days per week, with the other five off. Basically it’s like a normal work-week schedule in reverse. In sum, it rocks. After working full time for over 26 years straight, being home and not on PTO status feels weird and dirty all at the same time. I don’t miss the bullshit at work and I’m starting new things, like this blog.

But even though I’m mostly loving it there is a certain part of me that is hesitant. I was a Director, I worked my ass off for 22 years, stayed late when others left, busted my ass, and got ahead at a relatively young age. I didn’t do it to get rank or status, I did it because I loved the mission of my job. I was contributing, I had the ideas, I was a player. But at the same time I knew I was not a ladder-climber. My attitude was, as long as I’m intellectually stimulated and am contributing, I’m happy. I gave up promotions twice to do a cooler job. That was me.

But why the hesitation?

One of my favorite blogs is Our Next Life. Actually I think it’s my favorite. Tanja just has a great way of expressing these squishy-type things about FIRE in her writing. This post actually was one of my favorites. Now I never considered myself a gold-star seeker, I received numerous awards in my career that I purposely skipped out on the ceremony for. So I’m not big on the external motivating factors, but the internal ones – the ones Tanja calls “self-drive self worth”, well that might be another story. Or at least I’m finding that out now. There is some sort of weird void in my brain already in this semi-retirement. That part I don’t like.

We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Meetings! (until we do)

So working 2 days a week is great right? Mostly yes, sprinkled with some no. Typical conversation I now have with colleagues over an issue

Me: Hey I was catching up on email and I saw that the blah-blah meeting went well

Colleague: Ha, well yeah until so-and-so derailed the whole project the day after by missing his deadline.

Me: Oh, I didn’t see that.

Colleague: Well, yeah, sure. You were out right? Sure. (with a look that combines disgust and jealousy)

Me: Wow, that sucks. Well, what can I do to help get it back on track?

Colleague: We’re having a meeting Thursday to go over options, can you come?

Me: Well, I won’t be in

Colleague: (stares, gets ready to spit in my face but thinks twice… wanders away)

So yeah. In sum, my irrelevance grows every day.

Looking In At The Meetings That Deep-Down I Still Don’t Want To Go To #It’llJustBeAnotherWasteOfTimeAnyway #ButWhatIfTheyHaveDonuts?








Part of me is okay with that, since I know this semi-retirement is the first step to fully getting out. But part of me thinks that in some ways, doing a full “screw you guys, I’m going home” (please use voice of Cartman..)  retirement like Tanja from Our Next Life would have advantages. Some aspects of the semi-retirement have a ‘walking dead’ aspect to them. My colleagues now know that I’m not really serious about my career anymore. As someone who has always prided himself on not caring too much what others think, I’m finding that maybe I care more than I thought.

Damn self discovery.

But nothing is perfect, not even missing bullshit meetings. Because the effect is that I’m slowly becoming a work-zombie. A semi-dead man walking.

I’m Not Dead Yet!
#HolyGrailReferencesAreTheBest #DamnThatDudeIsBig








Even the people who don’t visibly want to spit on me seem to be treating me a bit differently. It’s almost as if they’re saying to themselves “yeah, I could tell you about that meeting but I know you really don’t give two shits”.  To some of them, I’m kind of a dead man walkin’. Of course I’m being a bit over-dramatic here in the name of attempted humor, it really isn’t that bad. But it’s definitely different, and bit uncomfortable sometimes.  But hey, I had the last two days off and I got some serious miles in on my bike, so life is goooooood!

I’d love to hear from you. Have any of you gone part-time and had similar experiences? Chime in!

12 Responses

  1. I imagine going part time to be as you described, especially the meeting BS, but I also imagine that I would be way more productive in a two 10-hour work day situation verses sitting at my desk 40 to 50 hours a week dreaming of the 2 day workweek!!!

    Great post – Thanks for sharing,


    • Accidental Fire says:

      I do really like the two 10-hour day setup. And I work them right next to each other so I can get long streaks of time off. I also adds the benefit that when I’m ready to turn back on to work mode, I have two days straight to focus my brain that way, vice a back and forth.

      Thanks for the compliment Brian!

  2. Damn Millennial says:

    That’s awesome think it would be great to work a 20 hour schedule. I think my real goal though is to find something I can be in love with and want to work 100 hours a week! Is that a real thing though?

    • Accidental Fire says:

      It is a real thing, but from my experience it’s fleeting. I used to have that situation way back in the day, I would sometimes go in on weekends or work on projects at night simply because I enjoyed it and it was cool. I used to say “I can’t believe they pay me to do this!”. But it didn’t last, the higher ups made changes, some of my great teammates moved on, and all of a sudden it was work again. From what I’ve read, many others have had the same thing happen. The perfect job does exists but it won’t last.

      Good luck and thanks for the comment!

  3. WealthyDoc says:

    Thanks for writing this. I can relate. I will be living it more soon. I gave my medical career everything I had for 20 years. It was the growth, stimulation, and contribution that drove me. It resulted in my being a plugged-in physician leader. Looking back it was way too much. I’ve been cutting back a lot. In January I will drop my three medical directorships in order to go to three days a week. I too am FI and don’t see the point in killing myself, but will likely feel the loss of influence soon.

    • Accidental Fire says:

      Great to hear – you earned it! “Loss of influence” is a great succinct way to put it. My industry is very high-tech and since things are always changing and innovating so fast, it’s the influencers at my job who have the power. You have to have the best ideas, and know which direction to go with new technology. I’ve been an influencer for along time now, but it’s clear that being around only 20 hours a week is not gonna allow me to hold that status. It’ll be a slow erosion, but an erosion nonetheless.

      Keep cutting back to the level you feel comfortable. I’m trying to find that zone now. Who knows, I might go back to 24 hours to be there 3 days a week but right now I can’t see more than that.

      Thanks for the comment and good luck!

  4. Jason says:

    Totally can relate. I went part-time 6 months ago with 6 months notice to my boss so he could easily fill half of a position. Well no one was hired and all my co-workers had to do pitch in and do my work. I had alot of frustration and anger i had to deflect to my boss for not hiring anyone. Has been awkward and more stressful at work but its started to finally smooth out when we hired some more help. Totally worth it however with my 2 day work week i hardly feel like im at work:)

    • Accidental Fire says:

      Jason, somehow your comment got marked as spam so sorry about the late reply. I hear ya, the awkwardness is real on many levels. For me they hire a replacement, but things are still weird.

      I don’t care though, I’m enjoying life!

  5. thetaorunner says:

    I am pushing hard to get to FI freedom. The many changes in medicine as a field, and my predilection for medical director positions have contributed to my interest in an earlier exit. I aspire to the “two ten hour days a week” plan.

    I did not save enough for my four children’s college costs. We plan to get each a loan free four year degree and the first cost $65,000 despite a merit scholarship. The second, now a HS senior, will cost $85,000. The third and fourth will likely be in the $100,000 range.

    By fully funding my 401K every year since age thirty (minus 2001-05 when I made a mistake and thought it was precluded by a pension plan) and earning a pension worth as much as my social security, my portfolio is on track to produce enough income that at my age 62, with the pension and social security, I’d have reached FI…but 62 isn’t very “early”.

    Right now I’m making the most money per year in my life and putting the max in a 401K and a SEP-IRA on my moonlighting money. I’m hoping to move the age 62 earlier by downsizing my house and expenses.

    I believe you are correct about stress shortening lifespan and as a geriatric psychiatrist, I’ve seen its effects on health and functional longevity. I think I can get to two 10 hour days in about two years (I’ll be 55 then) after we sell the McMansion and pay off the retirement cabin in NC (21 acres on top of a mountain).

    With no mortgage, I can work less and climb and hike more. Cheers and congratulations to you!

    • Accidental Fire says:

      Thanks and congrats to you as well! You’ve obviously put a ton of thought into your plan and to me it looks like you’re killing it. Putting four kids through college is no small feat. Have you considered state schools? (or maybe what you quoted was state schools)

      Either way, climbing and hiking more is a noble goal – said everyone always!

      Good luck and thanks for the comment and telling your story!

  1. November 19, 2017

    […] Like me, Accidental FIRE is FI, but not yet RE. Like me, he’s enjoying a part-time schedule. How’s that going? He’ll gladly tell you in Dead Man Walkin’! […]

  2. November 19, 2017

    […] Like me, Accidental FIRE is FI, but not yet RE. Like me, he’s enjoying a part-time schedule. How’s that going? He’ll gladly tell you in Dead Man Walkin’! […]

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