The Power of Quitting

Power of Quitting

I was nervous when I walked into the meeting room with my boss. Breaking up is never easy to do, even when you are the one doing the breaking up.

On my journey to financial independence, I sometimes dreamt about the day I would be able to walk into my boss’s office and quit. On particularly bad days at work, I would think about all the things I would say and that would make the hard times easier to get through.

As I sat there though, chatting nervously about work, I mainly thought about the good things about my job. It’s amazing how you are able to see something in a different light when you don’t feel trapped by it (yet another unadvertised benefit of pursuing FI, I guess).

Finally, after enough procrastination, I just came out with it – “I’m moving to Scotland.”

My boss was obviously shocked but the first words that came out of his mouth actually surprised me – “Would you consider staying on remotely?”

Not the first time

Although I was surprised that this particular boss asked me to stay on remotely, this is not the first time this has happened.

I started my career in Scotland and when my girlfriend (now wife) and I decided to move to the States, I handed in my resignation. Shortly after, I received an email asking if I’d stay on remotely at a ~20% higher pay rate.

When I worked in Scotland, I would have had to beg and plead to squeeze out an extra 1% at my annual review but here they were giving me a 20% bump to work in my boxers and a t-shirt? I obviously accepted and worked happily like that for over a year.

Not even the second time

This is actually not even the second time this has happened.

I got the second job in my career through a technical recruiter in downtown Boston. After working with a particular client for a while, I asked the recruiting firm for a raise and they said they had to “fight hard” to get me a ~4% increase.

When I left Boston to move to Vermont, I was contacted by the client I worked for and was asked to work remotely full time for over 50% more than I was making when I had to commute into the office every day!

It gets even better…

After working in a cabin in the woods of Vermont for a while, I started to go a bit crazy so I decided to apply for a job at the university that was close by so that I could get a Free Ivy League Degree. When I told my Boston boss I got another job, she instantly bumped my pay another ~20% to try to persuade me to stay even longer!

Why am I telling you this?

I realize remote working may not be an option for all of you but the important thing to take away from this story is that having the courage to quit provides opportunities you may not even know exist.

The best way to get that courage is to have enough money saved up to not need the job (even if only for a few months/years).

When I worked at my Scotland job, I would have never imagined that 1) remote working was possible and 2) I would be able to get a ~20% raise. Had I just asked my bosses for either of those things, they would have laughed me out of the office.

When confronting my bosses with the option of either going through the hiring process again and rolling the dice with someone new or offering me a more attractive work arrangement to keep me on, it was a no-brainer for them.

Speed up your journey to financial independence

How can you use this to get to FI quicker? You should work hard at your job, become a valuable employee, and then after a few years, apply for some other jobs. There’s no risk in applying for a new job every once in a while and only good things can come from it. You’ll either find another job that pays more or is more enjoyable or you could use the new job offer to negotiate better terms at your current job.

How did I respond?

The option to work remotely at my current job is actually very enticing. I’ll be able to continue doing something I enjoy (programming) while leaving behind all of the things I don’t (meetings, commuting, being trapped from 9 to 5, limited flexibility, etc.).

Since my house still hasn’t sold yet, staying on will reduce some stress associated with that and will allow me to pad my balances a bit more. I know “padding my balances a bit more” is a slippery slope but I’m confident I’ll be able to pull the plug on the remote working arrangement when it’s not fun anymore.

Also, Mr. Money Mustache’s recent post really hit home with me and made me realize that over the past year, I haven’t worried about money at all. The market’s upward march over the past few years has left me better off than I expected I would be at this stage so I’ve felt completely at ease with money and spending. For someone who has been saving so aggressively for so long, this is a new but great feeling. Staying on remotely will ensure that that feeling continues so I just signed the remote agreement yesterday and as of next Friday, I will leave the office for good but will still collect paychecks.

Speaking of MMM…I told him about the latest developments and that I wouldn’t be joining him in early retirement this month after all. He responded, “As it always seems to happen in early retirement: things end up even better than forecast.” He’s absolutely right.

How about you?

Have any of you had similar experiences with quitting? Has your career progressed faster than expected because your savings allowed you to take more risks?

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88 comments for “The Power of Quitting

  1. Kipp
    August 15, 2014 at 9:07 am

    I am happy that you found a great work/life balance in your pursuit to quit. While you may not be retired, you are financially independent which is what matters because you can quit when you want to (aka when it is no longer fun). Whether you keep the job for a month or a year doesn’t really matter as long as it is a great experience. I hope that when I build up enough savings I can use that to boost my income as well, maybe not as successfully, but even a little bit is better. Enjoy Scotland!

    • The Mad Fientist
      August 19, 2014 at 8:00 am

      Thanks a lot, Kipp! Building up my income along the way definitely helped me reach this point quicker so good luck doing the same along your journey.

      • Mighty Investor
        May 12, 2017 at 6:38 pm

        Mad FI,

        Great article. My sister has had this happen several times as well, where she tried to quit and they sweetened the offer. I do think this is predicated on you having skills in very high demand.

        The other major tweak I would suggest is to always try to negotiate a leave of absence rather than full on quitting and burning bridges. You never know if you will like the new phase until you try it, and having a fall back in case things don’t work out means you are managing the risk/reward scenario as effectively as possible.

        I just found your site and am looking forward to exploring further.

  2. Camille @ Challenge Mantra
    August 15, 2014 at 9:14 am

    Congratulations on everything! When my husband and I moved across the country, his company was happy to let him work remotely, and he got a promotion and 20% bump shortly thereafter. I’ve been too nervous even with a recent job offer to even try the same… one day when I have the confidence to do it, I’ll keep this in mind.

    Congrats again on FI :)

    • The Mad Fientist
      August 19, 2014 at 8:03 am

      Thanks, Camille!

      I imagine you do good work and you’re obviously very personable so I’m sure your employer would bend over backwards to keep you there. Even if you don’t have complete confidence, I’d say it’d still be worth testing the waters after a few years because the payoff can be huge!

  3. Eric
    August 15, 2014 at 9:15 am

    Congrats on achieving FI and on this new opportunity that fell into your lap! Something similar happened to me when I handed in my resignation to move on to a position with another company.

    One thing I’ve always wondered, though, is why/how you have been able to publicly blog about your intentions to quit your job in the near future without your employer finding out about it.

    • The Mad Fientist
      August 19, 2014 at 8:14 am

      Hey Eric, although my blog may be pretty well known in FI circles, it is actually very small in the grand scheme of things so I figured it’d be very unlikely that anyone I worked with would just stumble upon my blog and find out it’s me.

      I did have a very nerve-racking day at work one time though because an article I wrote got featured on the front page of both and The article contained a picture of me so I was petrified when I went to on my office computer and saw my goofy face staring back at me! As I said, I don’t worry about anyone finding but I’m sure my bosses and most of my colleagues read either Forbes or Business Insider so I was really scared someone was going to see it. Luckily, I don’t think anyone at my work did (I had a couple of friends in London and San Francisco see it though so they were quite surprised to find out about this secret Mad Fientist life I’ve been living on the side).

      • Eric
        August 19, 2014 at 9:06 am

        Yes, that article with the photo was specifically what I was thinking about. Glad to hear it all worked out in the end and you were able to maintain your secret identity at work.

        • The Mad Fientist
          August 19, 2014 at 11:24 am

          Yeah, that was definitely a close call I think!

          • DS
            December 30, 2016 at 8:38 am


            I know this is was a comment in 2014, but I thought I chip in anyway. I don’t think reading about your side job is a problem with employers unless it’s a conflict of interest. You are helping a lot of people become financially independent which is contributing to the greater social good. You are also managing your finances like a business which your employer probably admirers–they also are seeking profitably. You become more valuable, not less, so I am not surprised they do anything it takes to keep you.

  4. Chris Fuller
    August 15, 2014 at 9:25 am

    This rings so true!

    I’ve been using this to my advantage since I’ve noticed. On my path to FI, the backup money gave me enough confidence to tell my boss that I cannot continue to work under our current arrangement. A bold move for someone with no back ups – but I had about 2 years living expenses to cushion me from the worst.

    I suspect you know what happened. I was offered 2x the pay, literally. I accepted and scaled down my work considerably – and I am now focusing on other things in life.

    It’s all about realizing your boss and you are equal, and you’re both helping each other out. In many cases, they need you as much as you need them, and sometimes more so! Don’t let your boss take advantage of you just because you need money. If you’re giving someone your limited energy – it should be worth it to you.

    • Chris
      August 16, 2014 at 6:25 pm

      Well said Chris.

    • The Mad Fientist
      August 19, 2014 at 8:17 am

      Wow, I thought I did good getting a 50% bump but 2x is incredible!

      I completely agree that, in most cases, your employer needs you as much or more than you need the job. It wasn’t until I began interviewing candidates myself that I realized how hard it is to find good employees. It’s natural to think everyone is better than you at things but in reality, the opposite is probably true.

      Congratulations on using your FU money to get yourself into such a good gig and well done for having the guts to do it!

  5. Free
    August 15, 2014 at 9:54 am

    3 weeks ago I told my employer that I regretfully resign. 3 hours later the owner of the company calls me from his vacation abroad and tells me to write down what I want and he’ll make it happen.

    I’m in the process of changing my future because the money I socked away made it easier to stand up for what I wanted. It’s all because I had the fu money.

    Now I can dare to dream up the career I want regardless of wether this works out or not.

    • The Mad Fientist
      August 19, 2014 at 8:24 am

      That’s great! Although it’s very tempting to steal a few beers, tell everyone to go fuck themselves, and then jump down the emergency chute (like this JetBlue flight attendant did), the opportunities that arise after graciously resigning far outweigh any pleasure you could take from telling everyone what you really think. I’ve been particularly lucky that every time I left a job, I was leaving because I was moving away so there was no hard feelings about me getting another job somewhere else or something (which definitely helped lead to the remote gigs I picked up).

      Having a blank slate to craft your perfect career is an incredible result so well done for accumulating enough money to make that happen!

  6. Mrs. Frugalwoods
    August 15, 2014 at 9:57 am

    Sounds like you’ve struck the ideal balance! Mr. Frugalwoods and I have definitely advanced in our careers and increased our salaries substantially by our willingness to move around for jobs. We’ve lived in 5 different places over the past 8 years, increasing our salaries each time. Our solid base of investments certainly acted as an enabler since we were never concerned about what we’d do if one of our jobs didn’t pan out (they all have so far).

    My husband may work remotely for a bit after we retire early (in 3 years or so), but he’s quite anxious to leave it all behind. He’s a programmer too and I know he does enjoy the work–just not the management & office politics that it entails. Not sure my job would offer me a remote position (or that I’d take it), but you make an excellent point about the incredible leverage you wield by not needing the job. Thanks for sharing this!

    • The Mad Fientist
      August 19, 2014 at 8:27 am

      Yeah, moving around has been one of the best things that’s happened to my career I’d say.

      I’m excited to get away from all the same things that annoy your husband so I’m sure he’ll enjoy working remotely for a bit. Three years ago, I was very ready to call it quits but as you near the point where work is optional, you find you don’t mind it as much so maybe he’ll feel the same way in three years.

  7. postconsumerlife
    August 15, 2014 at 10:08 am

    I left my advertising job and have been working remotely as a writer for eight years. I was working my ass off as a freelancer, so I decided to set some boundaries. I stopped saying yes to any job that came my way–an easy trap for a freelancer to get caught in. I said no thanks to anyone who couldn’t pay me my full rate (the small businesses that only had a little spend, the friend of a friend who needed a website). I stopped meeting in person (which took a lot in travel time and fuel costs for no pay) and just told clients that I no longer meet in person.

    Basically, I figured out how to do the least amount of work for the most amount of pay. The crazy thing is that I work about four hours a day in the early hours of the morning, before my kids get up, and still make six figures. FI is about three years away, when I will stop work completely and travel with my three kids.

    I could not have had the courage to set those boundaries and end up making more money if I really needed the money and felt like I had to take whatever anyone was willing to pay. Ironic, huh?

    • The Mad Fientist
      August 19, 2014 at 8:34 am

      Using your FI money to craft a career that provides the most amount of pay for the least amount of work is an excellent use of resources!

      I forget where I read it but someone was talking about how business owners should just “fire” their most pain-in-the-ass clients/customers and then focus more on the others and obtaining new ones. Not only will you be happier and less stressed but you’ll probably make a lot more money eventually. That sounds like exactly what you’ve done. Had you spent everything that you earned and had a bunch of bills to pay every month though, there’s no way you would have the guts to do that though. Great stuff!

      • Nicole
        August 24, 2014 at 8:20 pm

        That bit of wisdom sounds like Timothy Ferriss in his book 4-Hour Workweek.

        • The Mad Fientist
          August 26, 2014 at 11:23 am

          I read that book a while ago so that’s probably where I read it. Thanks, Nicole!

  8. Justin @ Root of Good
    August 15, 2014 at 10:34 am

    Somehow I suspected that might happen! :)

    It can be pretty hard to quit. I think you did the right thing honestly, and you can probably craft your working relationship however you want to in terms of hours and pay structure. If you enjoy what you do and are good at it, I think the rewards of working can be as great as the joys of not working. And extra money (up to a point) is always awesome.

    I’ve actually taken up a couple of very very part time freelance writing gigs that fell in my lap that pay about 10% of what I used to make full time, but also only take a day or two per month at the most. And it’s something I love doing – writing and sharing the data from my cerebrum for the consumption by the masses. I love that “feeling of accomplishment” of having a freelance piece accepted for publication. I spend a couple of hours writing something awesome and putting my own spin on it and BOOM it’s out there. I also get to work from home (or wherever in the world I find myself) in my wife beater and whitey tighties, so there’s that, too.

    Any idea when you might pull the plug for good? Or are you a more “take it a day at a time” guy (like me)? Great position to be in I must say – not needing the money but able to work on your terms. Congrats!

    • The Mad Fientist
      August 19, 2014 at 8:40 am

      I’ll just take it one day at a time, I think. I’m sure I’ll reach a point where it’s not fun anymore but considering how busy I’ve been the past few months with work, finishing my master’s, getting ready to move, etc., just working remotely without worrying about any of that other stuff is going to feel like a nice break so I imagine I’ll enjoy it for a while at least.

  9. Jon
    August 15, 2014 at 10:37 am

    Bravo, Brandon! Cake and eat it too…well played! As I currently reside in Las Vegas, I liken your situation to a poker game. You’ve acquired enough chips that you’re willing to play any hand without much fear at all. You can call other’s ( your boss in this case) bluffs and possibly build your chip “stack” even higher. You can also walk away from the table on a whim. Congrats…and thanks for the inspiring story.

    • The Mad Fientist
      August 19, 2014 at 8:47 am

      Nice analogy, Jon! There’s nothing like throwing your weight around when you’re the chip leader and this situation definitely feels like that a bit. As you said though, if it stops being fun, I can just cash in my chips and do something else (maybe join you out in Vegas for a bit of fun at the poker tables, haha).

  10. Justin @ Root of Good
    August 15, 2014 at 10:38 am

    Oh, one more point. Mrs. Root of Good walked in to her boss and asked for 3 months paid time off under their official sabbatical program (that no one ever uses). They gave her 5 weeks off this year and at least 2, maybe 3 extra paid months off next spring (if she makes it that long). The power to quit and being a highly valuable employee pays off for sure! So she’s hanging on for now with a nice paycheck, ability to telecommute when she wants, and a couple extra months off each year. So much win!

    • The Mad Fientist
      August 19, 2014 at 8:51 am

      Whoa, nice work Mrs. RoG! What is it that your wife does again, if you don’t mind me asking?

      • Justin @ Root of Good
        August 19, 2014 at 2:48 pm

        She works for an investment bank in back office support for their trading programs. In operations, not IT.

        • The Mad Fientist
          August 20, 2014 at 8:24 am

          Wow, are those generous sabbaticals common in that industry? Pretty excellent perk!

          • Justin @ Root of Good
            August 20, 2014 at 2:29 pm

            I don’t think they are common at all. The official company policy offers a 3 month sabbatical paid at 80% of regular pay and you gain eligibility every 6 years. When my wife requested the official sabbatical, the boss’s boss and boss’s boss’s boss (who had to sign off on the request) looked at her like she had two heads. No one actually takes the sabbatical. I guess they would be too scared to damage their ever upward career path!

            She drops hints occasionally that she’s planning to retire early very soon, and her coworkers know about me and my blog. So I think they are on notice that they have to bend over backwards to keep her on for the time being. Her thinking right now is to put in notice at the end of 2014, so she may not even take advantage of all that free extra time off next year. Leaving money on the table for sure, but you have to decide to quit (no matter what) at some point.

          • The Mad Fientist
            August 26, 2014 at 10:30 am

            That’s really excellent and you’re absolutely right that most people are probably too scared to take advantage of the sabbatical!

          • Justin @ Root of Good
            August 26, 2014 at 1:17 pm

            Mrs. RoG just told her boss that she “probably won’t be working past the end of the year” so it’s semi-official. She left the door open just enough to let them change her mind. I’ve suggested she have a price in mind that would encourage her to stay. Like 30-50% more than she’s earning now. Great position to be in for sure!

          • The Mad Fientist
            August 27, 2014 at 10:08 am

            It never pays to close a door completely. Definitely let me know if her bosses come back with a nice offer!

  11. Jeff
    August 15, 2014 at 10:45 am

    Congrats brandon – this is an awesome update, and gives me hope for what I can do when my time to have “the talk” comes up. I totally understand you feelings about leaving the job – I just switched in june and even though I was more than bored at my old job, it was still a pretty good gig with solid benefits and good enough pay.

    How many hours/week did they ask you to stay on?

    As jim collins says – the power of FU money will open many doors.

    I think my first comment got caught in spam :(

    Also, I saw you on the list at fincon – would like to connect.

    • The Mad Fientist
      August 19, 2014 at 9:07 am

      They asked me to stay on full time so I’ll be working around 40 hours per week.

      How are you enjoying your new job?

      I’m sorry your first comment got caught in spam. I hope that doesn’t happen often but since I currently have over 13,000 comments sitting in my spam folder, there’s no way I could manage all of that manually so I use software to do it instead. Apparently that software isn’t perfect so I apologize.

      It’d be great to connect at FinCon so I look forward to meeting you down in New Orleans!

  12. Joe (arebelspy)
    August 15, 2014 at 11:07 am

    That’s awesome Brandon, congratulations! It is nice how things work out so splendidly when you line them up right.

    • The Mad Fientist
      August 19, 2014 at 9:22 am

      Thanks, Joe! I can tell some people at my work are thinking, “Brandon is so lucky he is able to work remotely.” To them it looks like luck but I know it’s because I worked hard to, as you said, line everything up to make it possible.

  13. Cyndy
    August 15, 2014 at 11:16 am

    Wow, such inspiring stories all! I work for a small, family owned business. I don’t think they could offer me a big raise or telecommuting even if I were to tell them I’m quitting. But since I’m in a good place financially, I recently asked to go to a 4 day week and they accepted. Amazing how much tolerable this has made my work week. Maybe I will eventually threaten to leave and finagle them down to 3 days. I like the idea of easing into retirement slowly.

    • The Mad Fientist
      August 19, 2014 at 9:32 am

      Congratulations on getting down to a 4-day week! Easing into retirement is a great idea, I think. Every time you step down to less hours, it will be exciting and feel like a relief so you’ll be able to enjoy it multiple times, rather than just once if you quit altogether.

  14. Patricia
    August 15, 2014 at 11:20 am

    I always but 150% effort into everything I do. The first time I wanted to quit, my employer agreed to pay for my MBA and give me a raise to stay. I purposely did my thesis in an area I knew that organization and others needed help. That caught the attention of headquarters who asked me to come there for 6 months to test it out. I refused to move, so they flew me in as needed while I worked out of my home. 6 months turned into 3 years and then I tried to quit as the travel was too much (loved the job though). So instead they gave me a great project literally at my doorstep (I still worked at home), and another raise. 2 years later, I became FI and did quit with a now very generous pension based on all those higher salaries and opened my own company for fun. My previous employer occasionally contracts with me at almost 3x my last salary, I have contracts with others, teach university (thanks MBA!), and sit on various national and international committees. Life is good. As I am FI I only work when and on what I want.

    • The Mad Fientist
      August 19, 2014 at 9:42 am

      Now that’s some great planning and an excellent turn of events! To me, your story highlights the true benefit of pursuing financial independence and also why MMM’s quote rings so true. Things turn out much better than you even expected because rather than hop on the first opportunity that arises, you are able to turn down things that other people would think you were crazy for turning down and then an opportunity you couldn’t even imagine pops up and you’re able to take advantage of it!

      I’m really loving all of these stories so thank you everyone for sharing!

    • Ryan Miller
      February 6, 2017 at 9:51 pm

      Patricia, your career sounds interesting. I’m so curious as to what you do and what you studied for your MBA?

  15. Steve
    August 15, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    Thanks for sharing your experiences on how having “fuck you money” or more politely, financial independence, can open doors and opportunities that you never imagined existing.

    I plan to work into a position at my current work that becomes indispensable (ex. if I leave, I take the knowledge of how important functions for the organization work) so that when it comes time to quit, perhaps there will be opportunities a la Mad Fientist that arise.

    As always, thanks for the cool reads!

    • The Mad Fientist
      August 19, 2014 at 9:55 am

      That sounds like a very sound plan. Definitely let me know what happens when you tell your bosses you’re going to make a move (if you’re indispensable, I’m sure it will turn out fabulously).

  16. Dr. Doom
    August 15, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    It *is* hard to quit and I don’t blame you for putting some serious thought into it, given the sweet new offer proposed by your employer. I’m confident that at some point you’ll terminate for good, but only when the time is really right and you’re 100% sure about it. On my 2nd (and almost certainly final) year of OMY myself, and overall I don’t regret it. Padding can be a slippery slope, but at the same time, additional funding hedges against risk and provides a greater array of options for your future. All the best.

    • The Mad Fientist
      August 19, 2014 at 10:03 am

      Yeah, this was just too good of an offer to pass up but I’m sure after a while I’ll want to break free completely. Glad to hear you don’t have any regrets.

  17. Carlos
    August 15, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    The important thing is you put yourself and your plans AHEAD of your job and your job offered to accommodate your priorities. That’s wonderful. As long as you keep that perspective you’ll know when to let go of the paid work. Congratulations!

    • greg
      August 15, 2014 at 8:48 pm

      yes, this ^^^. I’m interested in hearing how such feelings around staying on evolve as I foresee that in my own future …

    • The Mad Fientist
      August 19, 2014 at 10:07 am

      That’s a great way to look at it, Carlos. As long as my job can accommodate my priorities there’s no reason not to keep it (assuming I still enjoy the work).

  18. Michael
    August 15, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    I’ve had my own business for ~25 years. Never made a lot of money, but I love being responsible to only myself. Missed the camaraderie though of working with others. So I got a job a few years ago, they gave me a new vehicle, tools and training for 2 weeks.

    I was miserable. I told my wife I wasn’t happy and wanted to quit. No problem. I drove the car to bosses house, told him I was sorry, and I quit.

    After walking out of his house, I literally jumped and clicked my heals. I was happy. I’m one that was just made to never work for anyone. (And that was after working 2 weeks. How people do it for years, I only have the greatest respect for you.)

    • The Mad Fientist
      August 19, 2014 at 10:11 am

      Michael, good to hear from you again! It’s been a while. I hope you’ve been doing well.

      Working for others definitely doesn’t come naturally to me either but I’d say I got used to it after doing it for so long. I used FI to break free from it but I have a great respect for the entrepreneurial types that can do it before they are completely set financially.

  19. Big Guy Money
    August 15, 2014 at 4:52 pm


    Obviously we are FAR behind you despite being about the same age due to a decade plus of poor decisions, but my wife and I have already seen some of the early benefits of FI living even though we’re nowhere near pulling the plug.

    Long story short, early last summer my wife’s employer put us in an awkward position that would compromise what we felt provides value in her employment (the ability to be home for our kids when they’re home). We ended up asking for an exception to their ridiculous corporate rule. When they refused, she resigned and found another, better job in the school system that works even better with the kids!

    The kicker is, if we wouldn’t have paid off our consumer debt and started on this FI path, we wouldn’t have had the flexibility in our monthly cashflow to make a decision from a position of power.

    Definitely interesting that you’re continuing to work for money – nothing wrong with that. It’s the CHOICE that’s awesome!

    • The Mad Fientist
      August 19, 2014 at 10:34 am

      Great stuff, Big Guy. It’s amazing how soon after getting on the path to FI do you start reaping the benefits.

  20. Rich Life
    August 16, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    My emergency funds has allowed me in the past to walk from a job that was costing my health. Lucky for me I got a new offer while I was working my last days at the old job and could start at the new one in the coming week. Still, I’d have rather taken the short-term hit than the long effect which a bad job can have.

    Right now I’m alright where I am, but still looking to move up as a bigger salary would shorten my FI journey. My current company is small and thus far more limited in what they can offer me. Still, I do my best every day because I know that this will benefit me both in staying, as well as should I leave by being more prepared to do an excellent job on a daily basis.

    Good luck on your move, looking forward to reading more about that.

    • The Mad Fientist
      August 19, 2014 at 11:15 am

      Doing your best will not only improve your future prospects but it will also allow you to enjoy your work more. Why be mediocre at something when you could be good at it and do work you are proud of?

  21. CT
    August 16, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    Congratulations on achieving FI and having this new opportunity. I was surprised that you were going to quit before your home was sold – thinking that was part of the new plan from your previous post. Do you plan on working when you are in Thailand and Nepal? Hopefully this new arrangement doesn’t take away from what you had dreamed about doing. It would be nice if you only worked when your wife was working or not. Until you actually leave, this should work out well. Still looking forward to meeting you if/when you come to the Bay Area.

    • The Mad Fientist
      August 19, 2014 at 11:19 am

      I will likely take a few months of unpaid leave when we’re in Thailand/Nepal but I’ll see what my bosses want to do when that time comes. Our flight to Bangkok is booked for January 6th so we’re going no matter what!

      I agree that the ideal situation would be to work when my wife works in Scotland so hopefully I’ll be able to arrange that.

      It looks like we’ll be in San Francisco sometime during the first week of September but I’ll let you know as soon as we settle on exact dates!

  22. J. Money
    August 17, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    Congrats man! Funny how you can be rewarded for doing things that are right for your life :) I bet it’ll make it even easier the next time you quit, haha… (unless they up it by 20-50%!)

    • The Mad Fientist
      August 19, 2014 at 11:20 am

      Haha, thanks J$! Look forward to hanging out next month in New Orleans!

  23. Even Steven
    August 17, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    Congrats on keeping your job?!?! Just messing around, the idea of working remotely for many people makes more sense and is cost effective for the company and of course yourself. It also really shows how valuable you are to the company and the hard work you have put in, so well deserved sir.

    • The Mad Fientist
      August 19, 2014 at 11:22 am

      Thanks a lot! Hopefully it will work out nicely for both me and my employer.

  24. save. spend. splurge.
    August 19, 2014 at 9:10 am

    I quit with $2000 in the bank, and $18,000 out of $60,000 in debt left to pay. I was so angry at my job that I couldn’t take it any more..

    Found a contract for $90,000 the next day and cleared my debt 2 months later. It worked out for the best but it could have been horrible.

    In hindsight, instead of funneling ALL my money into my debt I should have kept some aside to be able to quit like that, but I was so focused on clearing my debt (did it in 18 months) that I didn’t consider that I’d quit. I thought I’d just suck it up and clear my debt, THEN think about quitting.

    • The Mad Fientist
      August 19, 2014 at 11:23 am

      Wow, sometimes it pays to take a big chance so I’m glad it did for you! Congratulation on paying off that much debt so quickly (I think I would have done the same thing).

  25. Done by Forty
    August 20, 2014 at 10:44 am

    I’m late to the party, but as a fellow remote worker who’s made more moving between companies than between them, I completely agree with your premise. There is nothing quite like a BATNA when you’re negotiating salary. When you are quitting, you are telling your employer that you have an alternative, one that’s actually better than the one you currently have. It forces the employer to improve the situation in a material manner: not the 1-5% raises that are so common these days.

    • The Mad Fientist
      August 26, 2014 at 10:34 am

      Exactly. The biggest advantage in negotiations is the ability to walk away so when you have that as an employee, you’re in a really good position.

  26. EL @ Moneywatch101
    August 20, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    Great story about quitting, I envy a bit all the raises. I guess this works best at IT technical careers, because many positions A. cannot work from home B. they will not match or bump up the pay. I quit once and the company could not match the 10K a year raise I was getting from the new job. I took the new job and didn’t look back. I hope to one day reach the non-worry stage of early retirement.

    • The Mad Fientist
      August 26, 2014 at 10:35 am

      Yeah, the ability to work remotely is one of the best things about my profession, I’d say.

  27. Kayla @ Red Debted Stepchild
    August 20, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    Wow! What a cool happening for you. I hope you continue working remotely for such a big pay increase, as long as you still enjoy your work and get time off for yourself too. I hope to in the situation one day where I can quit my FT job because I’ve reached FI and I hope it will be much, much sooner than the traditional retirement age. That’s what I’m working so hard for and trying to get my debts paid off ASAP.

    • The Mad Fientist
      August 26, 2014 at 10:41 am

      Yeah, definitely get rid of all your debts as soon as possible and then you’ll be able to start working towards FI. As I’ve mentioned before, the benefits of pursuing FI appear very early in the journey so it won’t be long until you start enjoying the fruits of your good decisions.

  28. Josh
    August 23, 2014 at 10:15 pm

    Great post Mad Fientist! I remember quitting my job and moving to California. It was quite a liberating experience and it felt good to walk away from the mundane world of government contracting. I was able to build up a nice money cushion but I am attending graduate school which will give me some student loan debt. However, the move out west was the right one and I am on track to do the things I am really passionate about. Quitting is typically better than staying in a job you hate for 30 years even if you have great benefits, including a pension.

    • The Mad Fientist
      August 26, 2014 at 10:42 am

      Couldn’t agree more. Good luck with your grad degree!

  29. Elizabeth
    September 4, 2014 at 6:53 am

    Hey Brandon! It’s been awhile. We had our second baby so I’ve been a bit sidetracked. ;0)

    So awesome that you got this opportunity and that you can play it all by ear. Really happy for you. I’ve been working remotely for 4+ years now and I love it.

    Eagerly looking forward to how things progress for you. We are selling our house right now, so I feel your pain (2 weeks left until close of escrow…ugh!).

    • The Mad Fientist
      September 4, 2014 at 4:25 pm

      Hey Elizabeth, it has been a while! Good to hear from you again and congratulations on baby #2 :)

      That’s great you’re so close to selling your house. I can’t wait until I’m two weeks away from closing! We sadly still have a long way to go though, I think.

      Where are you headed to? Did you finally convince your husband to make a move down to Chile for a bit?

      • Elizabeth
        September 5, 2014 at 4:55 am

        Good memory! He is getting more on board with the idea more every day and actually brings up the topic of retiring early. He wants more cushion and is extremely cautious, so we are continuing to work and save. It’s not too far away, but unfortunately, not as close as I would like knowing his comfort level. However, my days in the workforce are numbered, which I am ok with. :)

  30. $Bill
    September 8, 2014 at 11:16 pm

    Congratulations on the new developments and your ease with accepting a change from your original plans. In addition to your superb writing about your financial life and plans, I commend you on your consistent ability to reply positively to just about every post.

    • The Mad Fientist
      September 16, 2014 at 10:54 pm

      Thanks a lot, $Bill (great handle, by the way). Now that I’m on the road and have been traveling for the last few weeks, I’m really struggling to keep up with all the comments and emails but I’m still trying!

  31. Jeremy @ Go Curry Cracker!
    September 9, 2014 at 10:38 am


    The less you need the job, the more they need you :-D



    • The Mad Fientist
      September 16, 2014 at 10:46 pm

      Thanks, Jeremy! Sorry your comment got thrown into the spam folder, by the way. Hopefully that doesn’t happen often because I’m sure most people wouldn’t take the time to let me know (and since I currently have over 17,000 messages in that folder right now, there’s no way I’m going to sort through it to find the non-spam ones unless someone tells me to).

  32. Denise
    October 13, 2014 at 10:59 am

    I work in a field that can easily replace people, so quitting does not really up the ante. I imagine that’s the case for most people. However, because I have lived within my means all of my working career, I had saved up a solid FU fund (2-4 years, not including retirement money).

    I quit my very stressful job in March because I needed decompression time and they wouldn’t let me take a sabbatical. Went on a Mediterranean cruise, then bummed around for another few months. I started getting depressed sitting around the house all day (my fiance was happily working) and started looking for a stress-free job just to get out of the house. I got a job scanning documents, but it turned into additional responsibilities because they knew I had more to offer due to my work experience. Since I was being paid at a document-scanner rate, I felt cheated so I was motivated to search harder for better work. I ended up getting a job paying about 20% more than my original job (2x more than the paper-scanning job), and getting to change industries at the same time!

    I never would have had the freedom to quit cold turkey if it weren’t for my FU money combined with the stressfulness of that job. All my friends thought I was crazy (mostly because they didn’t know how much cushion I had saved). It’s amazing how happy I am compared to this time last year.

    • The Mad Fientist
      October 16, 2014 at 4:05 am

      That’s great, Denise! It’s amazing how much power a little FU money provides. Thanks for sharing!

  33. Michiko
    November 1, 2014 at 5:09 am

    Congratulations! I can share my story too! I am an investor in American real estate, and I used to live in Japan doing freelance consulting work alongside my own investments. I decided to take a hiatus, move to China after the Fukushima power plant explosion, not happy to stay in uncertainty and fear. I was willing to go back to school to learn Chinese for a couple of years, maybe learn to work with Chinese investors for the future, you know? Because I like my work.

    I also wanted to have my child learn Chinese. Well, when we moved, I had no time to be a student, due to, that’s right, MORE clients chasing me down on the Internet. My gig was easy enough in Japan. All t-shirt and sneakers, working out of my own apartment, rarely meetings. But now? I haven’t even met most of my biggest investors since I moved. Some of them actually came down to my part of the world to see me!

    • The Mad Fientist
      November 4, 2014 at 2:01 pm

      Great stuff! Congratulations to you as well and thanks a lot for sharing!

  34. Alberto
    February 25, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    Quick question Mad Fientist.

    What in your mind is the difference between achieving FI and maintaining FI?

    I went part time for a year and took a few 40% reduction in income plus fully contributed to my 401K, HSA, and IRA to test drive my retirement budget.

    This year, I worked January and took a 3 month personal leave of absence to take care of things.

  35. Larry
    July 30, 2016 at 11:38 am

    I just turned 58 in June and can retire with a monthly pension that covers all of my living expenses, but nothing extra. I have about $1m in retirement accounts, $60k in after tax accounts, $15k in the HSA, and no debt, etc. I’d like to retire in September and contact my job back for about 2 years. In 2011, the company I work for paid a contractor $125/hr to do what I do. I am planning to tell to my manager next week that I’m retiring Sept 30 and would like to contract the job back on Oct 1, at no less than $125/hr. This will give them 60 days to work through the procurement organization to hire me back. I don’t need the money, but would like to use it as seed money to explore a couple of ideas and projects. Any advice? How much should I ask for?

    • FB2020
      September 28, 2016 at 4:14 pm


      You can try asking for a little less than $125 and see if they agree, because you have the knowledge anyway and thus have better chances.

      Its almost Sep 30 now though – I’d be interested to see what you ended up doing.

  36. Larry
    October 4, 2016 at 6:16 am

    I did retire on Sept 29. I was notified 10/3 about hiring back at $125/hr with benefits. No formal offer yet.

  37. Lady Engineer
    January 16, 2017 at 11:51 am

    Hi there!

    Wondering if you had any advice. I’m a software engineer working remotely for a tiny company (<13 people). The company hasn't been doing all that well, and in the three years I've been there I haven't gotten any pay increases and 3 people have been laid off. It makes me feel like it is not appropriate to ask for a raise. I have been looking at other jobs in my area, and for my experience I could be making at least $20k more. The trouble is, I really like my job and I am one of two people currently working on this project so I feel really guilty leaving. So my question is, should I tell my employer that I'm looking or should I wait until I have an offer before giving them the news?

  38. Alex @
    November 3, 2017 at 10:21 am

    Great article! I was really inspired by you to try out and write about my experience after reaching FI.
    I’m on the opposite side I think because I’m still working full time at my job and I’m just stuck considering if either I’m prepared or not to leave the corporate life.

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