Finance Stoic 13 – Life is good

We control our reasoned choice and all acts that depend on that moral will. What’s not under our control are the body and any of its parts, our possessions, parents, siblings, children, or country—anything with which we might associate.

—Epictetus, Discourses, 1.22.10

What can I put outside my circle of control? 

I can put the troubles and concerns of others outside my circle of control.

While I can be a sounding block for them and ask the right questions, I ought to not take their burdens onto myself.

Yesterday was a phenomenal day.

Speaking of circles of control, you may recall my first article, where I said I had received feedback that I would not have an option at work that I was pursuing.

While I was going to say it was bad news, my new stoic training has me realizing that news is neither good nor bad, it is simply news.

Yesterday, two great things happened regarding the four options that are available:

  1. I had a compensation conversation with our president that could see me reaching FIRE at a high level within five years
  2. I met with a managing partner for another company in our industry for a role that would be a step up in scope and responsibility and offer me the challenge that I seek in life

Recall, if the Universe [God] is all seeing and all good, then what happens to us, regardless of how we would otherwise label it, ought to be good.

When I had the hard conversation, I was hurt, winded, deterred.

I realize that in the first article I said that more doors had opened, but I did not realize how strongly I felt about that.

Realizing that I have an outside date, in this role, of five years, has me feeling ecstatic about my position and comfortable having the compensation conversations because I don’t need them to go a specific way. That is, even if I don’t get a material raise in the negotiations, I ought to still be able to walk away in five years.

Further, I am actually quite enthusiastic about the new role that I am talking to people about. With this role, I would be challenged in a way that I haven’t been challenged for a couple years and have an opportunity to grow, potentially exponentially. The only thing I don’t yet know is what compensation it might pay.

Financial independence thoughts

Stay strong.

Shit happens.

Overcome the shit that happens.

Okay, maybe that was too trite? Thoughts?

How do I explain clearly why I feel that way?

I got my first job in grade 8, which was 28 years ago, and I have never been without a job since.

Neither, have I really taken a step back in my career over that 24 year period that I have been moving from job to job.

  1. farmhand
  2. McDonalds
  3. laborer
  4. server
  5. teller
  6. big 4 firm
  7. controller
  8. director
  9. CFO

In that time frame, there have been a ton of rough stretches, but there has also been specific commonalities:

  1. tenacity
  2. curiosity
  3. a growth mindset
  4. a willingness to do what it takes

I won’t lie, there has also been a desire to prove myself that I have found overwhelming in my life. Growing up, I would say that our family was lower middle class and it created a desire in me to prove that I was as good as other people were. It didn’t allow me to ever say I want a work life balance or you’re asking too much of me. It meant that I would basically sacrifice my health altogether to get the job done and prove myself to whoever I reported to so that I was eligible for a promotion.

Where is this going? How does this tie to financial independence?

One of the more challenging things that I have seen since becoming a senior manager, whether at the firm or in industry, is that millennials tend to want the following:

  1. increased titles
  2. increased salaries
  3. more challenging work
  4.  more variety in their work
  5. an improved work-life balance

What I cannot understand is how someone could expect to achieve all five of these things at the same time?

My personal philosophy has always been the opposite:

  1. give me more work
  2. give me more challenges to solve
  3. allow me the opportunity to prove myself
  4. given my performance on these things, let’s talk compensation or role available
  5. I won’t think about work-life balance at the moment, instead I will consider it when I FIRE

Where I am going is that I think if you have the right mindset, you are curious, you are hard working, and you are always pushing to be better, then opportunities will come whenever you need them to come. Regardless of how the world might appear in a specific moment, with sufficient time, you will attain what you deserve.


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