Five years ago I wrote a post about retirement at age 50, not by choice (FIRE) but due to a layoff and age discrimination. Now I think early retirement might be in the cards.
First, my company is not doing well this year due to COVID 19. The economic situation looks dire for my sector. Even if the economy rebounds, I think reducing expenses for 2021 will be a company priority.
Secondly, I am not on good terms with my manager.
To sum it up, my boss has a tendency to focus on others’ mistakes – major, minor and imaginary. By imaginary, I am referring to anything s/he perceives as a mistake simply because s/he would have done it differently.
S/he has admitted at times that many of his/her corrections are personal preferences, which would be fine if s/he didn’t view these as mistakes on my part.
There are two sides to every story and I’ve made my share of mistakes. However I am not the first employee to have a strained relationship with this person. One of her/his employees abruptly quit one day after a particularly nasty email from my boss. Two others complained about him/her around the same time, causing a supervisor to express concern about her/his management and communicate style. S/he tried to change for a while and then slipped back to old ways.
My confidence has plummeted as a result of this strained relationship. I also have contend with a newer, superstar employee. My boss takes every opportunity to reward and praise her (via employee recognition, public praise in group emails or at meetings with higher ups, etc). I get it. She is hard working, smart, enthusiastic, and very nice. She volunteers for extra projects with a smile.
To the best of my knowledge, my boss hasn’t badmouthed me to others. However I am sure others have noticed the myriad of accolades for one and the dead silence for me and my work.
My mentor has encouraged me to prove my value at work and make myself more visible to others. I have tried on some level and it helps. However, I need to really up my game if I want a chance for a transfer to another manager or get a promotion.
But even before COVID 19, I was on the fence about advancing my career. Now that I’m working from home with two young kids, I am struggling to stay productive. I have two major projects and certainly don’t have time or desire to volunteer for extra projects. My boss is childless and not at all understanding toward working parents.
Part of me really hopes that I land a better job with a great boss. However, my gut feeling is that job searching in your 50s (without managerial experience) is a losing proposition. Another part of me wants to retire and not deal with work-related politics and bull#$!# anymore.
I don’t know if I can muster enthusiasm for any type of office job. The protests have opened my eyes to other possibilities. I could contribute my time and skills to advancing racial justice, instead of selling things to make our company even richer.
The extra time at home also makes me realize I am needed at home. My husband tries his best but patience is not his strong point. I want to grow a vegetable garden, learn to prune, teach my kids, even learn to sew. I don’t want to compete for my boss’s favor and constantly feel second best in a never-ending rat race.
Of course the final piece of the puzzle is finances. Can we afford for me to retire? If medical insurance and cost was not a factor, the answer is maybe. I need to crunch some numbers and figure out what is realistic…