Sunday, 30 April 2017

Consolidating My New Chapter of Life

Hello all friends and readers, I am back from a 6-months blog vacation! *Warning, this is going to be a lengthy post.

My 2nd child born on 9 March 2017! Now, with my elder daughter, they actually formed a word "好". For the benefit of my non-chinese illiterate friends, it means "good", with the characters of "female" followed by a "son". Obviously, I can't plan for the genders so please don't ask me for tips. Thank you for making a complete package for me, a lovely wife, daughter and son! Although 4 was not my auspicious number, now it becomes the auspicious Fantastic 4!


So, what is now? Who is going to take care of them? Can we cope with 2 children at infant care and childcare, with no maid and parents support? Should we employ a maid? Do we also need a security guard given that my children are so adorable? ok, security guard may be exaggerated, but the cuteness isn't. haha.

Unfortunately (fortunately maybe), I have requested my boss for 2 weeks of annual leave followed by my 2 weeks of paternity leave. It was not approved. Hence, I negotiated for 2 days of leave for 3rd and 4th weeks and they reluctantly approved it after months of considerations.

In addition, I have requested to change my working hours from 8.30am-6pm to 8-5.30pm so that I can pick up my children on time by 7pm, I have negotiated 2 days of annual leave after paternity leave during the 3rd week as my wife gave birth 2 days in advance. I have also requested to take 1 week of annual leave during September so that we can wait for the child to turn 6 months old before going to the infant care centre.

All the above, have been rejected! Reasons? Because my assistant was not feeling well although she was back to work, hence, manpower is fluid and not possible to approve any of my requests. Hey, how will 30 minute different in working hours from 8am instead of 8.30am affect the manpower planning? there is no reduction in working hours. There are my annual leave anyway. I seriously have no idea how they think.

The 1st day upon my return from my 2 weeks of paternity leave, there were deadlines extended several time until my return. They expect me to perform miracles within 1 working day. Then, they start to comment on my accuracy of works. They even wrote a formal document on why all my requests can't be approved. Some of the reasons are definitely just to fill in the blanks.

Things was actually going well with my bosses before my wife is having my 2nd child, and things get sour after my requests kick in. Suddenly, they are displeased with my performance after i was unhappy with them rejecting my requests. Unbelievable.

My priority is always my family. If I seriously want to climb the corporate ladder, i would have at least earn 20% more of my current salary, at least, at some other places. Of course, I can't tell them this.

I don't blame them, but I felt insulted when they wrote a formal document about these. Was this like a warning letter or document in case of dispute? Yes, obviously I told them i was not happy about their decisions.

And, I tendered resignation, after considering that my family may be better off with me being a stay at home dad. We will have problems coping with this kind of employer's support. Yes, this is my first time resigning without a job. Especially in such a lousy job outlook we are having now. I know.

Plus, It is more challenging to care for 2 children at home than to work full time. Trust me.

Here, I gave up my Financial Independence plan in 3 years time to care for my family well being.

I had a "perfect plan" that my family can FI by 37 years old, and now, we are extending it to 39 or 42 years old, latest, to make up my shortfall.

It was not an easy choice. I struggled internally for weeks. I don't have enough money to last me for a lifetime yet and here, I am trying to be a heroic Dad! I am reaching the winning post soon!

Fortunately, I spoke to a few of my trusted friends, and I have sorted out my thoughts. At least for now. I may go into depression if I couldn't sort out my thoughts as quickly. So, I guess I am safe for now.

Yes, I can't follow through my perfect plan, but this is the decision to my best ability. I doubt I will be happy staying here. I may develop mental health issue for that 3 years income. What the point of having money if that is the case?

Can we measure happiness purely from the perspective of money? I was told that there was a blogger telling people not to start a family until one is FI. If this is told on my face, I would ask the person to go and fly kite, because human being may go into existence for that reason. How many people can give birth in the 40s or 50s? Old man marrying young wife? Perhaps. But, that ruler of measuring a relationship by money itself is a joke. You mean i can auction off my wife, son or daughter for a price? You must be crazy. I know there are some people who could and I am not in position to judge. But this person can't be me.

It will be meaningless if we look at things, everything, from the perspective of money. There are things that we need to embrace, regardless the financial consequences. There are things that will distort financial planning at its best. It is happiness. Unless, you tell me that you can laugh all day looking at the dollar note doing nothing. Yes, if it is a 1 million dollar note, i will, but not for more than 1 day I guess.

For the same reason, we maintain certain lifestyle, as long as we can afford. No point to achieve FI if we can't enjoy our journey. I am not saying my happiness derive from spending money, but inevitable, most things will still cost money.

I am not playing a solo game, where each player will need to tackle the same boss alone. Yes, we are talking about a family, where each of us play a different role, and we just can't use income vs expenditure to measure our existence.

I learnt to :

1) Embrace adversity and build resilience from it
2) accept that most people don't really like their job, but it pays the bills. And that matters. Most people are positive and will love what they do, and not naively looking to do what they love for a living. As long as they don't hate the job, why not.
3) stay positive at all times
4) stay flexible and amend my plan accordingly
5) enjoy what I have now, and positive about what I going to have

In summary, I may have 4 outcomes:

a) I found a full time job that is able to balance my family needs and work for another 3 years
b) I found a job only after 1 year when my son turn 18 months and enrolled into a childcare centre, and work for 2 more years
c) I can't find an ideal full time job and I pursue my procrastinated interest of being a tutor/teacher. Or other part time or freelance jobs. Don't get me wrong, I am not ranking being a freelancer below a full time job. Potentially, a full time job will yield me better return in the shortest timeframe, and it can be a teaching job too. It takes time for me to build up this new skill too.
d) I am forever unemployable and wait for my wife to achieve FI for my family in 5-8 years time. Forgot to share that my wife loves her job

Whatever the outcome is, there are advantages and disadvantages. It will be another lengthy post just to talk about these. So, I will skip for now. My preference is definitely a, b, c, so that I can be financially more independence but I shouldn't beat myself up if I can't. It is not easy to embrace uncertainty. But life itself is an uncertainty. So here is when "enjoy what I have now, and positive about what I going to have", kick in.

I learnt that being positive is the key to happiness. Nothing changes, only my mind that has changed. What is the hurry of achieving FI if the journey is as good as post-FI itself? Of course, it is not the best outcome that one could plan for practically, but it could be a blessing by disguise. Learn to appreciate the advantages of each outcome, and not the disadvantages of the alternative outcomes.

I nearly forgotten to live my life now after this incident. So, who am I?

I am frugal daddy version 2 in the making.

31 comments:

  1. Reverting to single household income is trade off to having more more money. Someone has to take care of our children so either it is outsource or insourcing. Net financial impact may not be that bad after factoring better children care and home cooked meals. We know what our children are eating.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We will never know which is best for them, outsource or insource. But everyone will have better memory and i think that matters

      Delete
  2. for what it's worth, i think you made the right decision. Your employers were betting that you needed them more than they needed you. They lost.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is what i thought too. Having worked a decade, i feeling uncertain about leaving workforce without sufficient money yet. I guess it is normal

      Delete
  3. Frugal Daddy,

    Quite an interesting turn of events I must say!

    Its never a good sign when leave application can be "rejected" even when we've given enough notice...

    Isn't management about resource planning and co-ordination?


    Love the way you can still see humour in your "perfect planning". Can laugh at yourself means you are on even keel now. Namaste.

    Now you have experienced first hand our 5,000 years of Chinese wisdom:

    计划赶不上变化


    Plans are mere tools to assist us. We shouldn't be "enslaved" by them.

    Whether you call it your dream, vision, or ikigai, it does not matter. The silver lining of this episode is that you have clarity NOW what's important to you.

    Better this than to discover 20 to 30 years later you have achieved all your goals, only to lament you have neglected what matters the most to you...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I always know my priority but i lack of courage and the trade off doesn't sound practical. No one will know whether i made the right choice but i have to believe i have done my best. Until now i am still trying to come to terms with giving up my job. What i have give up is a job, not life.

      Delete
    2. i can't say anything except this.

      i had without a job many times in my working life.

      Voluntary and involuntary.

      Here, i still O. K.

      And i like to share this prayer again.
      "No one reacts to things as they are but to one own's mental images. It is not what happens to me in life that matters. But how i react to what happens".

      With the above i use it as my "Anchor for Life".

      For me, i found it is a very powerful anchor to use when my ship meets a storm.

      For better or for worse, i can accept the outcome.

      i can carry on living as normal as possible.

      There is still joy in living.

      Shalom.

      Delete
    3. Wisdom indeed. This will take a lifetime to practice.

      I intend to stop working in 3 yrs time. Amazing how vast difference this 3 yr made.

      Thank you, your message is powerful

      Delete
  4. Wow, that's really brave of you!

    You'll be fine :)

    Gambatte!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I also in dilemma whether want to stop working for a while. Had told my boss that I would like to work part time if my health condition worsen but she told me that I am coping well with my job. Of course I feel blessed that they are give me a lot help and support during my absence and lesser my work load but still let me enjoy full pay.

    I am struggling Everyday and waiting for dialysis to start but still feel blessed that I still can live as per normal and works as per normal.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Think thru and don't make a decision while u r not feeling calm.

      I wish u speedy recovery n thanks for sharing your experience

      Delete
  6. More time for kopi and talk :)

    life is definitely not just about more money. It is about having enough, and knowing when enough is enough.

    Recently, there were a few incidents reported in the papers of people who passed away unexpectedly (car accident, goal post, skateboard). We have no idea when our last day is. So live well so that when u are living your last day, there will be no regrets :)

    Have faith, all is well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha, you are right. I am still finding strength to be faithful on my decision

      Delete
  7. Awesome frugal daddy!
    That's a big sacrifice for your family!
    I believe it will all turn out well .

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi FD,
    Life is full of " uncertainty " where we will need to deviate from our original plan sometimes...and also is " unfair" as what Bill Gate said..." Life is not fair,,, get use to it" ,,,especially those challenges and irrational things we face in corporate world...
    Well, as what u mentioned,,, there will still be many options to choose from if we hv " a determined and open minded ", keep moving on !!
    Cheers !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes keep moving. I need to quickly close this chapter and open a new one. Thank you

      Delete
  9. Congratulations! I'm sure everything will turn out fine for you and your family.

    In particular, I like, and can identify with what you wrote -

    "It will be meaningless if we look at things, everything, from the perspective of money. There are things that we need to embrace, regardless the financial consequences."

    Here's a High-5 for ya. Push on!

    Kevin

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank kevin. Money is important but the purpose of having the money is more important

      Delete
  10. Good decision to leave your job! Will make same choice tomorrow due to unapprecaitive employer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please stay calm n make a decision only whwn you are very certain. :)

      Delete
  11. I guess that your previous bosses' unreasonable behaviour is the trigger point for you to leave your job. You must have also considered carefully before deciding to resign here.

    Meanwhile, you can use this time to fully recharge yourself, picking up new skills you were not able to do so while at full time work previously, exploring new options and many more!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Don't worry. When one door closes, another door will open.

    It's is sad that a lot of people are worrying about the future and not enjoying the present. Take a step back and decide for yourself what is important to you.

    ReplyDelete
  13. FD,
    Stay cheerful and wish you peace as u stay faithful to thy decision. Your situation is like taking a sabbatical leave but an indefinite one. I sense your uneasiness but at the same time, am optimistically confident that your money matters will somehow sort out. Things will not stay the same, especially with growing children. Enjoy the lovely moments. Money accumulation and FI are human concepts in capitalistic societies like ours. They r transient but not human and family relationships, which r lasting n worth living for. U r right to severe association with unappreciative employers who do not value human relationships. May the force be with you. Carpe diem!

    ReplyDelete
  14. FD,

    It is my first time reading your blog. What is your definition of FI?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you :)

      my definition of FI mean money will not run out till 100 yrs old or more at 2% growth and 1% inflation. Either no drawdown of capital or have to, at current lifestyle

      Delete
    2. FD,

      Very high expectations - "till 100 years old". Include other 3 family members as well? May the force be with u and your family.��������

      Delete
  15. re-reading this again. All the best to you! it is a very very tough decision to make, but i believe, family before career and mental health before family. my mantra anyway. It is a balance that we all seek.

    ReplyDelete