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I retired early but now I need to get a job

Early retired, so how come I need a job?

I thought things were going well. I thought I'd figured out the recipe for a successful early retirement...a good routine, doing some exciting things and keeping on top of the finances.

So it was a shock to discover that I need to get a job. What happened? Have the finances fallen apart, am I bored, has one more year syndrome snuck up with a job opportunity too good to turn down?

Actually, none of those things, instead something simultaneously far simpler and more complicated. Sally (my wife, in case you're new here) pronounced "David, you need to get a job!". Fateful words that were spilled hot on the heals of "you know what your problem is". Ouch!

So why does Sally say I need a job? In a nutshell, because she thinks I'm bored. Her evidence: I keep coming up with stupid (her word...although she denies it) ideas which she sees as proof that I have too much time on my hands and therefore I'm bored. Her solution, I should get a job.

My vegan idea...the straw that broke the camel's back

The trigger was telling Sally I was considering transitioning from my current vegetarian diet to a vegan/plant based diet (I'm still deciding¹). She's added this to my previous decision to be alcohol free (I'm not saying for ever), my camper conversion plan, and no doubt some other things. It seems she views the vegan idea as the straw that breaks the camel's back

Sally believes that I'm depriving myself with these choices. She can't understand why having got to FIRE through working and saving hard, I would choose to go without things instead of enjoying the benefits. Following a vegetarian or vegan diet means missing out on food that I've previously enjoyed, going without alcohol is abstaining from something fun, and why would I want to do a camper conversion if I can afford to stay in a hotel?

While I understand her thought process, that concept sounds too traditional and unimaginative to me. Work hard, save hard and get to enjoy the fruits of our labours. Oh, and remember to have 2.4 kids, buy a bigger car and a bigger house with all the paraphernalia that keeping up with the Joneses entails. In essence, live life according to the rules that society and the marketing guys and girls tell us is normal.

For most of my life, that's what I've done. I've followed the rules. But now I'm enjoying looking at some different paths and realising that those rules and norms can be limiting. So while Sally thinks I'm coming up with stupid ideas because I'm bored, I'd argue the complete opposite. Becoming financially independent and then retiring early has somehow woken me to opportunities beyond traditional or normal. While Sally sees some of my ideas as "stupid", I see being intrigued by alternatives and thinking through some moral and ethical questions as an exciting part of my new found freedom, not something I do because I'm bored.

I've spent most of my forty seven years until retirement being programmed to follow society's norms. Now I'm questioning whether every part of that programming makes sense. Where it doesn't, I can consider re-programming to something that feels better. For now, this includes questioning whether I need alcohol to have a good time (surely not), whether I feel it's ethical that an animal has to die or suffer for what I eat (applying my conscience, it's difficult to answer yes to that), and whether converting a camper really will make me young and good looking!🙄

I must confess that even thinking about adopting a plant based diet seems a little daunting (I love cheese and chocolate!). But whether or not I go that route, I take Sally's occasional exasperation about my "wacky" ideas as proof that I'm exploring outside the lines. I'm happy that I am and hopefully, deep down, Sally understands my rationale. No doubt I could have considered these things before, but it's only since retiring early that I've found the headspace to think about what and why I do things and question if it makes sense. I love that, and believe such introspection and inquiry is the opposite of being bored, and there's no way I'm going to let a job get in the way of it. Sorry Sally, I ain't going back to work!

¹ Separate from this blog post, I'm still working through the vegetarian or vegan diet decision. I understand why the YouTube or Netflix documentaries I've come across push a significant agenda or bias but I'd like to also see something with a more balanced/objective approach. If you have any suggestions, please could you let me know in the comments...thanks😀


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10 commentaires

Hi Michelle, I agree that when one person or the other wants to do a different thing, be it retirement or work, then that can make things more challenging. I guess the early retirement option stands out as that's the new thing in the relationship. As I mentioned to someone else, I think the fact that we worked in an expat location adds to the challenge as a consequence was that we moved away which added yet another change.

I do feel that I can put your mind at rest and let you know that Sally is not being tee-total by default.

Interestingly, I met someone today who works for a major supermarket in a team developing new products. He…


23 août 2020

Hey David

I think it's harder when early retirement is driven by one of you, not both. For us it was always very much a team thing with mutual dreams of travel & time. So it's just been exciting to go out and make those happen after pulling the trigger two years ago.

I think it can be a little unnerving to see your partner change so much but it's great Sally feels confident enough not to have to go along with all your experiments, sign of a good relationship! Things like vegan & no alcohol can be surprisingly tough on the partner who might miss sharing sitting down together and share a nice bottle of wine occasionally. It leaves…


Thanks for the link to the article. It contained some interesting points, although it seemed that some of them were going in opposite directions. As to the organic foods, I sometimes get them and sometimes don't (probably mostly don't if I'm honest). It's all quite confusing with different views based on what agenda the publisher is trying to present. And sometimes the writer might be writing about food safety this week and space travel (not sure where that example came from🤣), so I sometimes wonder about their expertise. I guess I'll keep trying to educate myself, but sometimes I'm a slow learner🙄


My husband is a little concerned with my latest experiment, which is intermittent fasting, so I get the spouse issue. I have never experimented with being a vegetarian or vegan. I have read some interesting articles about the effects of food demand on foreign countries though. Here is one you might find interesting.

Also eating only organic (I don't know if you do that) has contributed to deforestation. Organic methods are simply not productive enough to produce the food we need without cutting down forests for agriculture.

Also sometimes I just give in to marital politics...


My thoughts behind my vegan idea are quite close to yours. In some ways I'm surprised that I've got to this point as it's not yet three years ago that eating meat seemed to be the normal thing to do. I went vegetarian as a bit of a wellness experiment, but conscience crept up regarding animal treatment which recently has caused me to question if I should be doing more than just vegetarian...hence the vegan thinking.

I've been mostly following a vegan diet for the past 2-3 weeks. What have I found so far? I drink green or flavoured teas without milk and use oat milk in my coffee and porridge, so no issues there. I love cheese, and this…

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