Early retiree or hesitant employee?

I called it quits last month at my last job.

Since then, due to the buoyant US job market, I have been getting LinkedIn messages and outreach emails almost every single week. This is despite me having been too lazy to update my LinkedIn profile, which means these recruiters probably think I am still at my old job.

Ok, I am also hesitant to update my LinkedIn because I am not sure what to put there.

Maybe one of the following?

  • Early Retiree - June 2019 - present

  • FIREd with FU money - June 2019 - forever

  • Retired early and don’t talk me out of it - June 2019 - not sure

Just kidding, that’s not going to happen. I am still sane.

To be honest, some of these roles that have been sent my way are pretty attractive in terms of either job scope, company name, potential remuneration, or all of the above. A couple even came from ex-colleagues who heard I had moved on. Some were short term consulting gigs or contract roles.

As I pause to consider some of these attractive opportunities, I wonder if taking on side gigs means going backwards and giving up my FIRE (financially independent retire early) status. Even though I am keeping my identity anonymous on this blog, I had started it to keep me focused on my path to FIRE and to share insights on this path. Taking on side gigs turn this FIRE status reduces it to a barista FIRE or possibly ex-FIRE status. Does that betray my original intentions for starting this blog?

Deep down, I know I love doing interesting work. I wanted to reach FIRE so that I had the choice to not work and to walk away from bullshit corporate politics. I earned the choice a few months ago and I took the plunge. I can’t say I have not looked back since, because I am now considering if any of these streams of opportunities would be interesting work, or enable me to meet and learn from interesting people in the industry.

After giving it much thought, these are the points that keep bubbling up to the surface:

Pros of going back to work

  • Meeting new people who may become mentors or friends for life

  • Earning additional income which can be used for more travel (which I love) or pumping back into investments

  • Adding interesting companies to my resume (just in case I need it in the future)

  • Keeping myself active and relevant in the fast-moving tech industry

  • Miscellaneous company benefits and perks such as free lunch and health insurance

Cons of going back to work

  • Can’t be sure bullshit politics won’t be worse at the new gig

  • Keeping office hours, commuting and dressing for work

  • Reporting into a boss who may or may not be terrible

  • Have to postpone or reduce time planned for my post-retirement hobbies

  • Low tolerance for bullshit at work leading to lower resilience or commitment

Besides the above, I also browsed Glassdoor reviews of whether these companies had work-life balance and LinkedIn profiles of people I might possibly work with. It was easy to start nitpicking at little things and reduce the perceived attractiveness of the roles. All this choosiness made me start to wonder if I would be an employee with a lower commitment level, knowing that I did not need the job financially.

Has financial independence made me into a hesitant employee with low commitment levels? Or is that the millennial blood in me doing its magic? I can't be sure. Till I decide, I will have to keep guessing the end of this story and try to weigh my choices.

Did you go back to work after retirement and did you enjoy it? Share your experience with me in the comments below.