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  1. #31
    meepster's Avatar
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    I did. I used to work in a big law firm, killing myself with 80-hour workweeks. After a year of that, I decided that no amount of money was worth what I was putting myself through. So I walked away, and decided to focus on chasing my dream of being a pianist and composer, and use a part-time law practice to support that.

    I now have a patent law practice that I do from home, and an active music career - I have a few performances coming up this month, two big concerts in July, and festivals and other concerts throughout the year. I'm working on a couple of new CD's, getting booked for festivals as a featured performer - good things are happening for me musically. The nice thing about my patent practice is that it can all be done online - so even when I go on tour, I can take my work with me and not miss a day.

    Amazingly enough, I am actually making a living at all this. I can't believe it myself, sometimes. And because I am my own boss, I get to arrange my work hours and my workspace however I like. I am typing this from a standing desk that I set up for myself, for example. When I worked at a big firm, one of my coworkers ended up having spinal fusion surgery at the age of 29 because her workspace was so unergonomic and she was too afraid to ask for a better setup. Her experience was one of the major motivators for me to look for another way of making a living.

    Self-employment is not all beer and skittles, and this particular method of self-employment involves a steep learning curve and a lot of hard work. But I would still rather work hard for my clients than for a boss. I don't like having a boss. And even though patent law is "work" for me, it's work I enjoy - I get to talk to crazy inventors about their crazy inventions, and write about them for the Patent Office. My clients are creative and interesting people, and their inventions are often quite entertaining.

    I don't think I could go for the "extreme early retirement" - I like working, and feeling useful. I get antsy and unhappy when I have nothing to do. With my own practice, I build my work life on my own terms.

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by econ View Post
    Personally, I'm just hoping I can find a way to work 20-30 hours a week and make like $30K+ working for myself, doing something that I enjoy. I honestly think I could live that way forever.
    I agree completely - good luck finding your 'something'! I think that's the hardest part for me...which something to choose.
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  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by econ View Post
    I read some posts on a blog where a guy exactly did that (can't remember the name, but maybe that's where you go the idea). It's definitely an interesting concept, and can surely work. Personally, I'm just hoping I can find a way to work 20-30 hours a week and make like $30K+ working for myself, doing something that I enjoy. I honestly think I could live that way forever.
    It's funny how hard it is to find part-time work at a proportionally similar compensation rate to what you would get for a salaried full-time position. As a newly graduated engineer the only work you can find that pays is non-negotiably salaried, full-time, in an office. For some reason this is the default for everyone, even though given the choice I think a significant portion of people would work 60-70% as many hours for 60-70% the pay and be happier for it. I would certainly appreciate the opportunity to do my job about half-time and be able to pursue my own projects and self-education on the rest of the time. That's a lot of what I end up doing on the weekends but there's never enough time to get projects finished in a reasonable time frame or enough uninterrupted hours to really get into the creative process.

    As for the blog, you're probably referring to Early Retirement Extreme: — a combination of simple living, anticonsumerism, DIY ethics, self-reliance, and applied capitalism . I just read his book.
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  4. #34
    econ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uncephalized View Post
    It's funny how hard it is to find part-time work at a proportionally similar compensation rate to what you would get for a salaried full-time position. As a newly graduated engineer the only work you can find that pays is non-negotiably salaried, full-time, in an office. For some reason this is the default for everyone, even though given the choice I think a significant portion of people would work 60-70% as many hours for 60-70% the pay and be happier for it.
    I totally agree. Often times, I think people have to get creative to make it happen (starting a business, becoming a contractor or freelancer, doing something random -- like in my case, potentially teaching English abroad). Honestly, I don't even hate working 40 hours a week as much as I hate sitting in a cubicle for set times doing the same work. If I could set some of my own hours, do a couple jobs at once, etc., I may work 40-60 and not be bored lol.

    And yes, that blog is the one I was talking about.

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by meepster View Post
    I did. I used to work in a big law firm, killing myself with 80-hour workweeks. After a year of that, I decided that no amount of money was worth what I was putting myself through. So I walked away, and decided to focus on chasing my dream of being a pianist and composer, and use a part-time law practice to support that.

    I now have a patent law practice that I do from home, and an active music career - I have a few performances coming up this month, two big concerts in July, and festivals and other concerts throughout the year. I'm working on a couple of new CD's, getting booked for festivals as a featured performer - good things are happening for me musically. The nice thing about my patent practice is that it can all be done online - so even when I go on tour, I can take my work with me and not miss a day.

    Amazingly enough, I am actually making a living at all this. I can't believe it myself, sometimes. And because I am my own boss, I get to arrange my work hours and my workspace however I like. I am typing this from a standing desk that I set up for myself, for example. When I worked at a big firm, one of my coworkers ended up having spinal fusion surgery at the age of 29 because her workspace was so unergonomic and she was too afraid to ask for a better setup. Her experience was one of the major motivators for me to look for another way of making a living.

    Self-employment is not all beer and skittles, and this particular method of self-employment involves a steep learning curve and a lot of hard work. But I would still rather work hard for my clients than for a boss. I don't like having a boss. And even though patent law is "work" for me, it's work I enjoy - I get to talk to crazy inventors about their crazy inventions, and write about them for the Patent Office. My clients are creative and interesting people, and their inventions are often quite entertaining.

    I don't think I could go for the "extreme early retirement" - I like working, and feeling useful. I get antsy and unhappy when I have nothing to do. With my own practice, I build my work life on my own terms.
    That is truly awesome, and in a lot of ways you're my hero lol. Although I don't have an interest in law and don't know how to play the piano, the fact that you've taken life by the balls and lived on your own terms is incredibly honorable.

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by econ View Post
    I totally agree. Often times, I think people have to get creative to make it happen (starting a business, becoming a contractor or freelancer, doing something random -- like in my case, potentially teaching English abroad). Honestly, I don't even hate working 40 hours a week as much as I hate sitting in a cubicle for set times doing the same work. If I could set some of my own hours, do a couple jobs at once, etc., I may work 40-60 and not be bored lol.

    And yes, that blog is the one I was talking about.
    Another thing I see some people do is start the position full time, then once their value is proven in the workplace cut back hours a bit.

    I don't work very long hours in my job. Because of my autoimmune disease, I get exhausted very quickly. So far, I have been very, very lucky to find employers who are willing to gamble on me.
    Using low lectin/nightshade free primal to control autoimmune arthritis. (And lost 50 lbs along the way )

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  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by jammies View Post
    Another thing I see some people do is start the position full time, then once their value is proven in the workplace cut back hours a bit.
    Good point.

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by econ View Post
    That is truly awesome, and in a lot of ways you're my hero lol. Although I don't have an interest in law and don't know how to play the piano, the fact that you've taken life by the balls and lived on your own terms is incredibly honorable.
    Aw, thanks! Freedom is important.

  9. #39
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    I gave up a 6 figure income.
    Last edited by Billings32; 06-04-2012 at 05:51 AM.

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by jammies View Post
    Another thing I see some people do is start the position full time, then once their value is proven in the workplace cut back hours a bit.
    That's something I hope to do when we get a few things paid down. I can basically drop a day from my work week, but it would be a permanent change to my position. Luckily I'd still get bennies at a full time rate.
    Seven Trees Farm - diversified subsistence farming on 1.25 acres.

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