Temp jobs in retirement? Why I’m going back to work!

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Ladies and gentlemen, I. Am. A walking, talking … oxymoron. 
I’m an early retiree, a FIRE blogger, and I’m going to work a temp job! 
Also I wrote a song about it: 

Some people call me the millionaire cowboy
Some call me the Lebron of FIRE
Some people call me Senor Landlord…
Cause I write… of a money… amplifier. 

~ Senor FIREescape (If you haven’t caught on you’re supposed to sing along to “the joker”) 

But in all seriousness, I never thought I’d say this. I accepted a job offer, and in some insane way this feels like an early retirement victory

Yes. It’s possible that I have lost my mind because early retirement is kind of my shtick, or at least that I shouldn’t WRITE about taking temp jobs in the same place I wrote about NOT working, but it will all make sense when I unpack it. 

This is all about why working a temp job for another year is a perfectly reasonable thing to do even when you don’t need the money. 

But first, a little back story. 

If you don’t know me, I’ve been early-retired since 2018 living off:

This fall 2020 my job asked me if I want to come back full time for 18 months. And I said “sure”. 

Let me remind you, I’ve always been very open about the fact that it’s good to have some sort of ties to a job during retirement. The gist of is that you get:

  • An immunity to any retirement fears 
  • Only do the cool parts of your job
  • A sense of purpose
  • Work friends
  • Extra money to do fun stuff with
  • Work perks

And don’t get me started on how awesome work is when you don’t need it. Sure, a job can be stressful but all that stress disappears when that job is optional or planned to just be temporary. 

And the stress is even more gone when you didn’t need the job in the first place.

Temp Jobs for financially secure people:

Worst-case-scenario: I get fired? I’m back to where I was when I started. Oh well. 
Which means: I have no consequences. I can do what I think is best without tiptoeing around any issues. I can freely be a bull in a china shop and not worry about what I smash while at work. 
(Mind you, I’m already good at what I do. Don’t be a bull when you’re still a little calf.) 


Why is working a temp job a victory for my FIRE method? 

I’ve already mentioned that I work one day a week. It’s good for the reasons I mentioned above, but here’s the real reason I love it – I like improving myself. While working, I kept improving myself, my technical skills, my leadership skills, and my network.

Now through my new super skills and access to my work network, I have this opportunity in front of me. 

My company is actually expanding during covid, and they asked me to take on an 18-month gig to help roll it out. Also, it will pay a lot!

(I know. Maybe it seems unfair that some people are cleaning up during Covid, and if you feel that way, read my guide on getting financial privilege so you can fall in this camp with me.) 

Truth be told, I asked for a 3-days/wk deal, but couldn’t negotiate it.

Going back to work? Here’s how to take on a victory mindset!

Here’s the thing about work.
Don’t look at work as something you have to do.
Make it do something for you.
Figure out how to use it to further your goals.

Still bummed? 

Okay, so if my victory mindset shift didn’t do it for you, maybe you’ll cheer up after some practical steps. 

If you’re like me, and considering working more when already wealthy, do this:

Only take the temp job you really want

Well duh. No one wants to be miserable, right?

But you don’t need the job to live. So be very very picky. If it’s not perfect, make them make it perfect. Negotiate the crap out of it until it’s just right or just walk away. Otherwise, before you know it, you’re doing all the crap tasks like chasing paperwork while everyone else has fun tobogganing outside. 

In my case, the role I’m taking on sounds very exciting and the pay is more than I’ve ever made before. (Though I know, most of my readers make more…whatever doctors and bankers!) 

I also know it will be hard, but it’s exciting and within my skill set. 

Plus if it gets ultra sucky – I know there’s an endpoint! 

Remember you always can quit (again) 

So my job is temporary, but yours can be too. Because you can always leave. 

A job is just a job. Don’t make up some drama about why you have to stay. 

You’ve done it once, you can walk away again. In fact your exit should be even more flamboyant the second time around. Or at least easier. You now have experience doing something most people only ever do once. Retiring! 

Feel better? 

And this is all true regardless whether you’ve tasted the sweet taste of FIRE or you’re still on your way. It’s all about how you look at it! 

That’s right. Aside from all the normal things everyone gets from work, I’m also getting 2 BONUS VICTORIES! 

Victory #1. It gives me something meaningful to do

I know. Lame. 

But sometimes you need a bit of extra meaning. Like… right now. 

Covid is a bit of a bummer. 

Up until a few weeks ago I went outside and played with my kids every day. Swimming. Playgrounds. Forests. That’s because it was summer. 

Now winter’s coming, and I’m worried. There are fun things you can do during the winter here in Canada, but the usual things might be off the table. 

  • Travel? I wish. 
  • Go to friends’ places? That’s now taboo. 
  • Tobogganing? Sure… but not when the sun goes down practically after lunch
Get this reference?

If I time this right, I can work while everything is lame and boring anyway and hopefully be back to my virtual retirement when things are awesome again. And then REALLY have some fun. 

Victory #2. It gives me experimental money. 

I have a process. 

  • Save very aggressively and cut all the unnecessary crap out of my life. 
  • Get up to $1M-ish and then outsource everything I don’t enjoy
  • Stay frugal on the rest

This process got me to my awesome quality of life which is now well past the $1M mark. Basically, I don’t do anything I dislike.

“Oh no, the floor is covered in spaghetti? The walls too? AND the windows?” Time to call the cleaner! 

Don’t judge me. I have toddlers.

Don’t get me wrong, being frugal is still important. I’ve just provisioned money for cleaners. I still don’t spend money on things I think are stupid and I usually pass on any big expenses. (No matter how much my wife tells me we need a Tesla.) 

But I do love experiments. 

It’s in my bones. 

And now I can do some funky money experiments I haven’t thought of before just to see how things pan out. 

Before, I would have never allowed myself to just “oopsie” away $150K, but now I have leeway to get into some risky adventures. They should at least yield some awesome articles!

Adventures like… 

Experiment #1. Invest in this blog. ($50K)

I’ve been running this blog like a hobby because I like writing about finance and the thought of making ordinary people into millionaires makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. 

BUT I’m not making any money.

So I figured, if I’ll be spending time and money, might as well do it right. I want to see what I can make out of this if I actually invest in it. 

Mostly, I’m planning on expanding into the YouTube-o-shere, but the thought of editing videos makes me want to puke… onto my laptop. 

I’m also investing in courses, software, designers, editors, and an assistant.

Experiment #2. Start a small company ($100K) 

I’m a tech nerd and I have things I want to design and sell. What kind of things? It’s super hush-hush top secret. 

But I’m interested in both how far I can take it AND how hands-off I can be by launching a company and throwing a bunch of money at it. 

I basically want to be that nerd in the basement that’s actually super awesome but pay someone to:

  • Market 
  • Kickstart 
  • Finalize the designs and 
  • Make production runs. 
But first I need some experimental money

Does that sound like a lot of work? Duh. That’s why I need a temp job to get lots of money to pay people! 

Experiment #3. Buy an apartment building ($120K or whatever is left.) 

Real finance talk. Covid made financing hard for me and my goal of finishing off my real estate experiment with an apartment building. Rates might be low (although they’re higher for commercial real estate), but banks are picky. It really helps if I have “proof of income.” Pfft. 

But anyway, I should make around $270K over the course of this stint. If I just add that money to my apartment building owning goals, I should be able to get an extra $1M’s worth of apartment. 

And at about 8% cash flow, that means an extra $40K/yr in cashflow!

I know it sounds like a good deal, but mostly I just want to know what owning an apartment building is like. ;) 

Further reading from a like-minded friend:
Financial independence and entrepreneurship

TL;DR – I’m taking a temp job in retirement! 

  • But it’s still an early retirement victory!!! 
  • Get new meaning out of work
  • And treat the new money like an experiment. 

And truth be told, I forgot what it was like to get a real paycheck. It’s kind of fun, I can see what all the fuss is about :P 

But that begs the question, and I’d love to hear what you think:

  • What’s your “employment story” right now?
  • Entering the Youtube-o-sphere… good idea? bad idea? Tips?
  • Do you have any “money experiments” you want me to try?
  • What the heck will you be doing this winter? Seriously. I need ideas!

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