I have always been a fan of the phrase “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results”. The quote is frequently misattributed to Albert Einstein, but it is more likely its source is an Alcoholics Anonymous group from Knoxville, Tennessee. Regardless of the source, I think it holds some truth.
Compare that with the other quotation that I like that, coincidentally is another misquote of Winston Churchill: “Never, never, never, never give up”. The actual quotation was from a speech he gave at his old school in 1941 and is “…never give in, never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense.’
These quotes are particularly poignant for me as I find myself at a point where I have been striving to achieve FIRE and made some excellent progress. I have suffered a set back (the loss of my job and seeming death knell for my career change) and now I’m looking to see if I can do anything differently or better. And also, should I simply give into my good sense and stop wasting time pursuing things that will never come to be?
For many years I’ve been attempting to change career by studying and applying for roles in another field. I’ve had interviews and got very close, but this year, it simply didn’t happen (again). The news landed in the same week as my redundancy so it’s been a bitter pill to swallow.
It makes me think I need to do something different.
I know I don’t like the industry I’m in (construction) and I know I’m not alone in that feeling. I have many reasons, but the primary one is it is often the first to collapse at any sign of trouble in the economy. Everyone in the industry is in constant fear of what is happening right now, all the time. I have, for the second time in a relatively short career, been on the receiving end of this trouble. During the 2008 financial crisis, I ended up working overseas in the Middle East for way longer than I wanted to be. A 6-month posting which I thought would be fun, turned into 3 miserable years as there was no work to return home for. Now I’m looking at a long search for a job which may not exist.
Strategically, I am involved in building office buildings and apparently, they will become obsolete as more people work from home. I can’t see offices becoming entirely redundant, but certainly the demand for new ones will drop away and therefore there will be no need to build new ones.
Pursuing FIRE has opened my eyes to a vast array of other occupations and ways to generate income. People far smarter than myself are doing interesting and better-paid jobs than I could ever imagine existed. A quick read through the r/FIREuk subs in Reddit will enlighten you on this subject.
If I am to walk away from an industry that makes me quite unhappy, and a dream career that seems like it will never come to be, what should I do?
People say that you should follow your passions and this probably as good a place as any to start.
I like food, coffee, beer, cars, and travelling. I also like exercise in the form of hiking, cycling and skiing. I also like blogging! I’ve never considered trying to make money from these things, and normally these are the things I make money to spend doing! I’m quite a basic creature.
Using a process of elimination, I have come to think that maybe setting up a brewery might be a good idea. I did a brewing course last year (with this in mind) and found it fun. By the time I get it set up, things will be open and lots of competitors will be out of business.
I might try and get a contract role in my existing industry and set up a brewery on the side.
I also have an idea for a market place website which could take off (sorry I’m not sharing this idea).
I could also set up a consultancy doing what I am doing now but keep the profits. This doesn’t seem like a great idea mainly because I don’t like what I’m doing. But maybe it is a good idea because I know what I’m doing, and I’m viewed as being reasonably good at it. Running a business might be better than working for a business.
Is this the time to start these ideas? Feel the fear and do it anyway? I can’t make my mind up on which option to follow.
There is of course getting another job in the same field and feeling the same later on.
One thing I do know, at the moment things feel pretty bleak generally. And to use another quotation misattributed to Churchill: “The darkest hour is just before the dawn” (A version of the proverb was recorded by Thomas Fuller in A Pisgah-Sight Of Palestine And The Confines Thereof, 1650: “It is always darkest just before the Day dawneth.“)
I know this will pass and I will emerge stronger and maybe as the owner of a business.
Incidentally, if you are interested in why quotations are frequently misattributed, it could be due to the Mandela effect.