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Pessimism of the Intellect, Optimism of the Will

Archive for May 2010

Response to Financial Samurai’s “The Dark Side Of Early Retirement”

with 5 comments

Sam, who blogs as Financial Samurai, recently posted on The Dark Side Of Early Retirement. I originally intended to post a short response, but the content grew more than just a response.

Meanwhile other people started responding with their own blog posts to that OP, so this is my take on the matter:

Vanakkam Sam-san,
Hate to sound cynical, but was this post written to get more hits? I jumped here from ERE.

All arguments usually have a “premise” on which the entire thing hinges on. Your’s unfortunately hangs on “being glib” and that’s it! Very sorry, but that’s the truth.

Let me merely take one single point and argue against. I leave the rest for another day (or for someone else to take up. Indeed I see Jacob from ERE has posted a reply of sorts, to your “2) Easier way out” point).

1) Haven’t found the right job.

  1. Firstly, form a picture of Maslow’s triangle – then read on. Your blog readers are routed to your site through SEOs, cross-posting and word-of-mouth. In other words, the readers are urbane, savvy, literate seekers who are “aware enough” of such concepts as “financial independence” and “early retirement”, “what is the point of it all”, etc. You are “Preaching to the converted (soon to be at least)” so to speak. So methinks, your readers have a clear vision on “what to do” with their lives. And there is no “dark side” there, mate! Now, moving on:
  2. World population is 6,818,700,000 [May 2010]. Even if we halve the population number for “employable age”, how many of the world’s “employable” can find the “right job”, ever? South-East Asia has the bulk, i.e., it is the densest populated corner in the World. It is also home to the world’s “grunt work”, i.e., all the things that “Urbania” consumes, come from here. Do they have “right jobs”? Like hell they do! Do they read your post? Most likely not! Do they even aspire or think of “Early Retirement”? Hmmmm, an interesting thought. Don’t you think?
  3. Even if such a thing (right job) exists, can we fulfill the whims and wishes of all? How long does one keep “looking” for it? Remember, a day lost from your life is a day lost. Here’s an interesting thing from India for readers:
    Reality is, the largest employer in most “booming” economies is healthcare (nursing and tending the ‘nouveau riche’ sick), hospitality (preening and pampering the rich) and construction (dirt, noise, sudden-death)… None of which is one’s idea of “right job”. I quote: “Santosh Parulekar of Pipal Tree Ventures, a social enterprise which trains disadvantaged youth to work in the construction industry, is blunt. ‘Our brochures show pictures of exactly what is steel fixing and bar bending – it is a field job. Otherwise, boys join and then drop out saying they don’t want to do this kind of work.'”
    Sad truth is: The vast majority want jobs in air conditioned offices, with ‘officer-like’ qualities, working on computers, shifting papers and “supervising” someone else. No economy/country can provide this to EVERY ONE of its aspirants. For, the simple truth is, there just won’t be enough such jobs EVER. So, if one gets a job that fits all of the above should one just “count your blessings” and “hang on” to it?
  4. The other interesting point is Population density and its cousin, Urban Density. Not all parts of the World is inhabitable ([sub-]Saharan, nordic, siberian, mountains, water-scarce, etc.). And where it is inhabitable there will always be “not enough (good) jobs to go around or not enough (good) people for the jobs that go around)*!
    (*)So, do we chill out and curb our lifestyles and opulences? No! We call people in when it suits us and expel them when it doesn’t (Happens everywhere – even in India too)!

Please let’s not delude ourselves about “finding the right job” in order to “fulfill our worth”. With 6 billion in the globe and rising don’t bother about fulfilling your “worth”. Try and enjoy your “being” (snide remarks about exotic vacations notwithstanding). By the way, what is one’s worth? Read and decide for yourself. Caveat: This can happen to anyone!:
The famous Joshua Bell experiment.
Pearls Before Breakfast

It’s an old epistemological debate, older, actually, than the koan about the tree in the forest. Plato weighed in on it, and philosophers for two millennia afterward: What is beauty? Is it a measurable fact (Gottfried Leibniz), or merely an opinion (David Hume), or is it a little of each, colored by the immediate state of mind of the observer (Immanuel Kant)?

The Post Wins 6 Pulitzer Prizes

Final comment:- Next time you feel like posting such “antidote” posts, sleep over it until the thought passes or matures fully. If it still doesn’t, then please read YMOYL by Joe Dominguez (or something else similar. This one came to my mind first!). If it still won’t pass, please go for a long walk/run until the thought does leave you for good!

I think that’s enough of my own “Harrumph”!

Written by Surio

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