And it’s over.

Today was my last day.

 

It’s been nine years, two months, and now I’m done.

 

What. A. Ride.

 

I just got home about an hour ago, and it’s beginning to sink in. That giddy, fidgety feeling full of smirk. Hang on just a second, let me delete that 4:50 am alarm clock from my phone.

 

Okay, I’m back.

 

I can hardly believe that I’ve managed to save this much cash, and the amount of stoke is off the charts.

 

I need to get off the computer. There’s plenty to be said, but I’ll get to that later.

 

Here’s to a new direction.

The phone call

Friday. 12:18pm. Salt Lake City, Utah.

My manager’s boss’s boss calls me. The head honcho. It’s about my requested leave of absence for 10.5 months.

“I’m calling you back, just like I promised. I spoke to Human Resources and your manager about the time you requested off. HR looked at the numbers, and between COBRA, and other things, they are unable to give a “sabbatical” type leave of absence in this situation. If you feel like you really need to do this, you’ll be leaving on Very Good Terms. If you want to come back, just give me a call and I’ll see where I can place you.”

“Thanks, Boss Man”, I said. “I appreciate you trying to work out a solution for me. And I’m really glad that we’re on Very Good Terms, because that was my intention throughout this process. Since the leave of absence couldn’t be worked out, I’ll be handing in my letter of resignation on Monday.”

The conversation ends after an exchange of pleasantries, and the whole thing is over in less than three minutes. And that’s that. I’ll hand over my two week notice tomorrow.

Should be fun.

Enough’s enough.

I lasted almost a year. The stateside position, a.k.a the Dream Job, has literally put me to sleep. It’s so boring. Intellectually under-stimulating. Dangerous even.

What kills me is that it’s literally a waste of my time. I leave the house at 5:10am and don’t get to the job site until 7:15am, after eighty-five miles of highway and mountain pass driving. Granted we carpool fifty miles of the trip, but that hardly makes up for anything.

After about ten minutes of equipment set up and checks, I’m back inside making a delicious cup of coffee from my AeroPress. Hurry up and wait.

By 9am, most often later, we’re taxiing for takeoff. Maybe I’ll get an hour of flight time.

Or, maybe not.

By 3pm we’re debriefing a training mission I had very little to do with. But I accomplished a lot that day. One day I spent the whole day researching airport transfers from Geneva to Chamonix. All day. I wrote up a nice compare / contrast document to share with my travel buddies for our upcoming trip. Other days I simply read library books off and on as the noise level allows. My colleagues were busy finding the end of YouTube, headphones optional.

Time to drive 85 miles back home. Rinse and repeat.

Meanwhile, there is a strong Meetup.com presence here in Salt Lake City. One of the groups I like does weeknight hikes that start around 6pm and end well after 8pm. Considering that, legally, I need eight hours of uninterrupted rest in order to fly the next day, I would miss out on these great group hikes. Most of them, anyway. That’s just one example of something I’m trading for money.

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The trailhead is less than three miles from my apartment.

 

So is a few hours of flight time per week worth the trouble?

No, no it’s not. Enough’s enough. Time for a leave of absence.

“I’m not inclined to grant this request…If vacation time off is not enough of a break there are few options that are viable” my manager said in reply to my unofficial inquiry.

Hmm. Okay then. Things are getting a little more serious now. He’s on vacation himself, so we won’t get to chat until after mid May.

Cue the FU Money! Let’s plan ahead for my voluntary termination. Clearly it’s time to move on, but there are things to get in order first. 

Set aside cash for living expenses.

For the first time ever, I sold shares to fund approximately one year of living expenses. About $30k worth.

Enroll in marketplace healthcare

My work benefits stop on my termination date, so I’ll need to enroll in marketplace healthcare. A quick look at healthcare.gov shows I can get a bronze health plan for less than $250 a month, and dental around $20 per month. These costs are very similar to COBRA, although admittedly my employer sponsored healthcare is far superior. Nonetheless, I’ll enroll in new coverage after I get the official termination date.

Roll over 401k to Vanguard

This will be super easy. And as a bonus, lower overall investment costs! I can’t wait to do it.

Review and revise the Super Plan

I’ll review and update the numbers, plan, and makes some overall adjustments.

So is this me starting early retirement, or simply me needing a change? What’s the plan?

It doesn’t seem like a good time to test the sequence of returns risk, but I’m also not stuck on not ever working again. I just don’t want to work in the same soul-sucking capacity of this last year. I just started a 1 year lease on a sweet apartment, so I’m going to stick around town until it is up around April 2018. During that time I’m going to continue living like my initial 3 months off. Paragliding, trail/road running, meeting new people, and focusing on my health. It’s similar to Option #2, but without a leave of absence.