No. of Recommendations: 14
To all those who may be facing many, many years of work prior to FIRE:

I agree with Kauai67 [52259]. . . to a point.

Workers soon recognize there is a “profile” for management. You can, for the most part, change yourself to fit that profile, yes, you can even act stupid. I never got it right, so after a long time, gave up trying. When you leave the ranks of the climbers, you adopt the teachings of the masses, to wit,

keep your mouth shut. . . suck up. . . don't piss off your boss. . .

But the real danger is that you'll internalize all this to the extent that your self-worth, self-esteem and job satisfaction take a career-long downward spiral. How many of us, when we were young and new to the job, couldn't believe how cynical and negative the old-timers were? “I'll never be like that,” we promise. While I accept Kauai67's observations as true, I suggest you consider go a step further.

Blessed/cursed with a strong work ethic, I tried to do good job, work that I was proud to put out, whether or not it was recognized. I didn't put much effort into fitting the profile. The result was that I had a reputation for doing very good work and being able to handle what ever was thrown at me, with a minimum of supervision. This makes you very valuable to management. In any company or organization, someone has got to get some work done or produce something. That's not management's job, so they will have to rely on a few workers to do that.

Consequently, over time, I was frequently picked to work the most difficult, complex, challenging cases. And I got a hell of a lot of job satisfaction from it.

Did I work harder than many of my cohorts? Yes. And management? Absolutely.
Did it keep management from screwing with me? Hell, no.
Did I know many of them were probably chuckling about the idiot doing all the work while they goofed off? Sure.
Did I get extra pay or benefits for my efforts? Nope. “Employee of the Month/Year?” No, a lot of that kind of recognition is political, too.

Do I feel bitter, pissed-off, unappreciated, under-compensated, un-recgonized? Sure, I have felt that way at times when I was working, but never since retiring or even the last few years of my career. As I look back now at almost 30 yrs of that work, I'm happy with the choices I made and glad I didn't re-invent myself to conform to someone else's profile. I wouldn't trade all my years of experiences for years of "managing."

It's hard to maintain your individuality when you're part of a large organization. I did, but I paid a price for it, in terms of $$ and “status'. Others who chose the profile route retire from management w/ bigger pensions. I'm happy and probably they're happy, too.

Everyone has to make the choices that you can live with over the long haul.
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