When Reality Hits

by Rocky Mountain Stepmom

I’m 28, I just quit my tech job, and I never want another job again

Young person learns that jobs are sometimes boring and stupid and your
personal fulfillment isn’t the boss’s priority. Film at 11.

More seriously, should we be doing more to help our snowflakes
understand that the adults around them will suddenly stop caring about
their Maslovian self-actualization as soon as they turn 22 and hit the
workforce?

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182 thoughts on “When Reality Hits

  1. The dream is supposed to be about doing what you love, not being a cog in someone else’s machine.

    Um….what?

  2. Two thoughts on this.

    One, I’ve never liked the career advice/graduation speeches centered around “find your passion!” That’s great if your job is your passion – but for most people it’s not. You don’t want a job that you loathe and that is soul-crushing – but my advice to my kids is “find a job that you like and that is a good fit for your skills/abilities – don’t worry about if it’s your passion. Your passion can be something that’s outside of work. Hell, you don’t have to have any passion.”

    Two – our kids go to public school so I think they’ve already let go of the idea that they are special snowflakes. There are some private schools in Seattle that are amazing (beautiful campus, super small classes, etc.) – but I wonder if either college or post-college life will be a let-down for these kids.

  3. The dream is supposed to be about doing what you love, not being a cog in someone else’s machine.

    Um….what?

    exactly my thoughts

  4. This guy doesn’t seem like a snowflake to me. He left home at 18 and has supported himself for 10 years (v. a Totebag kid who will require $100K+ in college funds).

    He sounds like a typical tech entrepreneur. He will likely start a company with a few of his programmer buddies within 18 months, when he gets bored.

  5. “post-college life will be a let-down for these kids.”

    I think most employed 22-year-olds have a sudden realization of this. I know we did.

  6. Milo, I was just about to say that this person sounds JUST like MMM. Being self-employed is probably the best fit for him/her.

  7. what let me down the most when starting “real life” was the reality of little time off work

    my first job you had to work one year before eligible for any vacation, others since have started with one or two weeks vacation time

  8. “The dream is supposed to be about doing what you love, not being a cog in someone else’s machine.”

    This is how entrepreneurs think. They are not like the rest of us. This is how new companies are formed.

    BTW, I would not recommend this lifestyle to my kids, who I hope will enjoy being a cog in someone else’s machine. You get benefits and a steady paycheck by being a cog.

  9. Um, if he wants to design programming languages, he needs to go to grad school in computer science and then get a job in a research oriented company or academia. You aren’t going to find cutting edge work without a college degree of any kind. This guy may not realize it, but the computer science degree actually teaches some, you know, actual CONTENT and SKILLS that might be useful if you want to work at anything other than a total grunt job.

    Grrrr.

  10. You guys keep saying he is an entrepreneur. But he said he wants to desing programming languages. You won’t find a lot of startups centered around new programming languages because programming languages don’t make money.

    I think this guy needs to acquire some knowledge that will make him fit for more than grunt jobs.

  11. “Milo, I was just about to say that this person sounds JUST like MMM. Being self-employed is probably the best fit for him/her.”

    This is kind of meta for me, as I read this article and discussion while sitting in a conference room where we’ve spent the last hour debating the meaning (letter vs. intent) of ONE single adjective contained in a regulation.

    Talk about a cog. I’m listening to John Edwards “Sunshine” very quietly through my phone.

  12. I don’t want to dismiss the piece but even if the writer works for themselves, it will take effort to get to their old salary but working a job here and there.
    My father had his own small business and he was quite successful but he worked a ton of hours to keep the business running. He was his own boss but he did have customers to please. Unhappy customers, no business – even if you are working for yourself. You also have to grow your business and worry about the competition. The grass is not so green on the other side.

  13. Reading this even more closely – what does this guy offer to the world? He has ADD and social anxiety. He didn’t go to college. He supports a website for his partner, which is not an amazingly skilled thing to do. He worked at a job refactoring a fairly run of the mill (from the sounds of it) backend to a website, which is not a high skilled job. He didn’t like converting to a service oriented architecture, even though that is typically a reasonable move for a big unwieldy backend. He wasn’t happy that the hacker dudes moved on, and real engineers, you know, the kind that can actually work with each other and produce maintainable, well structured code, moved into the company. I guess having to actually design something that is clean is not as much fun as cobbling together crap from the Internet, which was evidently his preferred way to work. Perhaps this company actually cares about security and wanted to make their site secure?

    I see these guys (and yes they are usually male) all the time. They drift through life, unable to apply themselves enough to anything to actually make any headway. When they hit their 40’s, they are bitter and mad at the world.

  14. I will bet anything that he only knows how to code in PHP, and that he is pissed that the refactoring effort is blowing away his PHP codeblobs (and yes, that is what 90% of PHP based sites are, giant unmaintainable codeblobs)

  15. My friend was like this. He wanted the big salary, interesting work, to be left alone with enough time to pursue his hobbies. Well, you can get some things but not all. He drifted in and out of various tech jobs and had a spell as a SAHD. Now, he is back at work till he gets bored or thinks that people around him are stupid.

  16. Admittedly, my database of people I know in programming is limited to the people DH talks about, but to a person they ALL either majored in programming, or went to one of those postgrad incubator programs (kind of like a post-bac to prep for med school, but in CS instead). Seems like the programmers who didn’t graduate from college must be few and far between.

  17. A agree that this guy is an independent fellow if he left home at 18 and has been supporting himself since then, but he does seem to be a bit of a complainer. He should be thankful for the talents that let him do what he has done so far, and figure out where to go from here.

    On the topic of when reality hits, I see a number of young adults who are still not in the real world, even two years after college graduation. There is one acquaintance who is “planning” to go to med school, but hasn’t applied yet, and is living at home doing one day a week of volunteer work and working on a ski patrol team during the winter. Another is living at home and still recovering from the immense pressure of college (academic and social), and does little bits and pieces of work.

    Now the families are quite different, but both are able and willing to support these grown “kids” and don’t seem to be pressuring them to stand on their own two feel – at least outwardly. I am sure there have been some conversations at home, and maybe both sets of parents are frustrated and even embarrassed.

    When people ask about dd I still get surprised reactions about the fact that she doesn’t live at home and has a real job.

    **Question – is there a way to see all of our old comments? I feel like I am repeating myself, and don’t want to tell the same stories over and over again!!

  18. When I worked in industry, I did not know a single developer without a college degree. Not all of them majored in CS, though, but the ones who didn’t were mostly all going back to school for their MS in CS. Now, granted, I was at a software company, where the work was a bit more sophisticated than supporting a website (though we wrote our share of backend server code!).

    Where my DH works, at a hedge fund, most of the developers have graduate degrees in CS, and all from prestige schools. My DH says they won’t look at an applicant from a run of the mill program.

    One of the big changes I have seen from the late 90’s dot com bubble years to today is that now, most job postings for actual developer positions (as opposed to IT helpdesk type positions) specify a BS, “in computer science or related field”.

  19. I’m caught between a major eye roll and thinking it’s pretty brave. DH and I are typical, rule following, oldest children who have always had boring steady good paying employment. We were talking the other night about several friends and acquaintances who are now in their “second act” in their mid to late 30s after working at Goldman or McKinsey for a decade. I don’t know if we would have the gumption to start our own business but am fascinated by the friends that have.

  20. Mooshi,

    This kid has really struck a nerve. Does any of it have to do with you viewing him and those like him as a threat to your business?

    How dare he go out into the world without getting his ticket punched by a fully accredited institution of higher learning!

  21. The few young people I know are off the parental payroll. One started as a teacher and took to dance in her late teens. She ended up as a yoga instructor and still pursues dance as a hobby.
    The kids who had a hard time finding decently paying jobs were those with no college. A relative dropped out of college and was doing something similar to the writer of the article but realized he was getting nowhere, so went back to college and now has a good job.

  22. Rhett, no it is because this guy is insanely entitled. He has all these grandiose dreams, but he doesn’t appear to want to work hard enough to achieve them.

  23. If he is able to design and market a new programming language and have it be a success, more power to him. He may, though, want to acquire a little bit of expertise in compiler theory, and perhaps design of programming languages (which is a standard university course btw, but if he can’t sit through a course maybe he could buy a book on the topic?). He might want to attend OOPSLA to find out what the other programming language people are up to. He could do all of this without getting his ticket punched, but it won’t be the most efficient way. You don’t learn a lot about programming language design off stackoverflow.

  24. He has all these grandiose dreams, but he doesn’t appear to want to work hard enough to achieve them.

    He’s semi retired in a paid for house at the ripe old age of 28. He’s already accomplished a pretty grandiose dream.

  25. Some recent conversations in our house:

    1. Busy and/or stupid school work – Why do we have to do it? Answer – every job has stuff you think is boring and/or pointless, however, it is part of your job and you are expected to do it as well as the stuff you think in interesting and/or has a clear impact. So, consider this practice.

    2. Motivation/Attitude – why does it matter? (This came out of the CIT training a few weeks ago – apparently it was stressed more than my kid thought it needed to be.) Answer – It is much easier for an employer to work with an employee who has a good/positive attitude on the job and has some level of internal motivation. If this comes naturally to you – great, if not – fake it until you make it, because otherwise it will be harder to get ahead with that employer.

    3. How do I know what my passion is, and what if I can’t make money doing it? Answer – Reality is that your job is your means to pay for the things you need/want in life. Passion is a loaded word – the key is to find a good fit. Fit is a combination of (1) the work you do – do you like the actual tasks, (2) the environment you do it in – that is a combination of location and organizational culture, and (3) who you do it with – that is your co-workers, bosses, and potentially customers. Nothing is ever perfect, see #1 among other things, but if fit is good overall, you will be fine.

  26. When I finally got a real job (i.e. one with a salary and benefits rather than one that paid by the hour), I was thrilled. It was a definite step up from the starving student lifestyle I’d been used to in college and grad school. I’ll never forget realizing I could now afford to move out of the group house I shared with 3 other people into a nicer apartment that I shared with just one person.

    Austin – totally agree with point # 3 (and your other points as well). I feel very lucky that I have a job that is a really good fit for my strengths, that I find to be meaningful, and with great colleagues. It’s not my passion (because my passion is sitting on my couch with a good book while eating bon bons). I hope both my kids find a job that is a good fit for them.

  27. “He’s semi retired in a paid for house at the ripe old age of 28. He’s already accomplished a pretty grandiose dream.”

    I kind of agree with this. There’s got to be something he can do for $60k per year that still leaves enough time for hobbies. Remember, Nevada has no state income tax. Of course, if he were a woman–and he may be–he could get pregnant, stay home, and there would be no reason for all this handwringing and navel gazing.

  28. Milo said “There’s got to be something he can do for $60k per year that still leaves enough time for hobbies.”

    Yep, I am sure there is, but it is likely to be too boring for him.

  29. “Of course, if he were a woman–and he may be–he could get pregnant, stay home, and there would be no reason for all this handwringing and navel gazing.”

    That is the solution that several of the men on DH’s side have followed. Except that only a couple of them actually have kids. This may be why this post irks me so much – because I know so many guys like this in real life.

  30. Sounds like someone wants to do what he wants to do when he wants to do it. A lot of people think being self employed means total freedom when it really means that it is all on you and clients and customers can be demanding.

  31. something that irked me, if this person is working 40 hours and has no kids, that still leaves tons of time for their on the side projects.

  32. This may be why this post irks me so much – because I know so many guys like this in real life.

    You know so many self made semi retired 28 year olds?

  33. “Except that only a couple of them actually have kids.”

    Lol.

    But, seriously, so many of our discussions go back to a common theme: we’re a very rich society, and you don’t always need to work in order to stay warm and fed. Labor force participation continues to decline, and if we just celebrate productivity, we could be happy about this. Instead, we make it into a problem at every angle.

  34. something I’ve learned is that the busier I am, the more productive I am and waste less time, which makes sense.

  35. I mean when I have very little spare time, I am less likely to waste it watching TV re-runs or the like

  36. “You know so many self made semi retired 28 year olds?”

    Well, at the time he wrote this, he said he had only been in this situation for a week. And despite his claim that he is happier, he doesn’t sound very happy. He sounds kind of angry, in fact. I wonder what he will be like when he is 45, the partner has left him, he hasn’t made it as an author, his little games went nowhere (because that is the fate of 99% of those little games), and his PHP codeblobbing skills are totally out of date so he can’t get hired. The reason I am saying this is because that trajectory is a lot more common than the Steve Jobs trajectory (and really, Steve Jobs put a lot of work into his company)

  37. “this person sounds JUST like MMM”

    I’m not sure if it was already mentioned, but one of his links goes to MMM.

    He does sound like a complainer and entitled, but there is some substance behind his words.

    ‘what let me down the most when starting “real life” was the reality of little time off work’

    I don’t remember it being such a big deal for me, but my H and I felt this for our oldest when he started his first real job. It made us a bit sad, but we didn’t mention it to him.

    Austin, great points! Motivation/attitude can be so important. And your job is how you make a living not necessarily your passion, but you shouldn’t hate it. However, I do find that too much pointless school work seriously detracts from academic learning, so there I may differ with you a bit.

  38. Mooshi,

    Assume for the sake of argument that he has, like MMM, enough money to live in modest comfort. Would it still bother you so much?

  39. “our kids go to public school so I think they’ve already let go of the idea that they are special snowflakes”

    Maybe it’s the type of public schools around here, but not only private school kids think they’re special.

  40. ‘what let me down the most when starting “real life” was the reality of little time off work’

    Hum, I worked all through high school and college and that work included weekends so having weekends as an adult when I moved to my second post college job was a big step up.

    Did most of you have multi weeks of downtime in high school and college?

  41. Mooshi, I like the tips for freshmen, but the #1 emailed NYT article this week is about how many people are changing careers to go into coding.

    I was reading an opinion piece yesterday in the NYT, and the first comment was from kaleberg. It is a strange feeling to think I know this person when reading the comment, but of course I don’t really know kaleberg at all.

    There are people like this guy in finance. I met so many “kids” that were surprised at how it really works inside these banks.

  42. I don’t remember it being such a big deal for me, but my H and I felt this for our oldest when he started his first real job. It made us a bit sad, but we didn’t mention it to him.

    I know! Although I always resented the lack of time off for myself, too. But thinking about how DSS now will have maybe 2 or 3 weeks off every year. I didn’t say anything to him either, but I was sad too.

    And yes, Rhett, I had tons of downtime in high school and college. In the summers I usually only worked part-time.

  43. “And despite his claim that he is happier, he doesn’t sound very happy.”

    Yeah, that is kind of what got me. He strikes me as a MMM type who still expects the working world to cater to him; there’s almost a sense of betrayal that his employer repeatedly put the business over geek theory. The “supposed to” rather tells all, doesn’t it? The guy just needs to recognize that businesses want cogs, and he is the anti-cog — no one’s “right” or “wrong,” it’s just that they want to make money, and he wants to design cool stuff, and so the best result is to do what he finally did, recognize that what the company offers is not for him, and just walk away and find something else.

  44. Yeah, Mooshi, would you please comment about that coding article? So I am surrounded by very bright, educated people, and the ones who work with computers usually have PhDs in something like physics or astronomy or engineering or, yes, CS. So they would call those grads of the coding academies “code monkeys”. It is not my impression that “code monkeys” make six figures. If they do, why aren’t the companies outsourcing that to Asia? isn’t that just exactly the kind of thing you’re supposed to outsource overseas? And do you need a link to the article?

  45. For the most part (and yes there are exceptions) those people who graduate from coding academies will be doing the same grunt codeblobbing that the guy in this article is complaining about. And when the next crash occurs, they will all get laid off, just like in 2000. The ones who have real knowledge will survive, just like they did in 2000. My DH survived the 2000 crash and the 2009 crash, which both triggered large layoffs at his companies, and despite being in an age demographic which should have made him a target, because he actually knows things that are valuable that most other people do not know.

    Either that article or another that is similar profiled a guy who ended up in a data science job after a few months of coding academy. I showed that to my DH, who has recently taught a course in data science and who hires such people at his company, and he was baffled. He couldn’t imagine what this guy could possibly be qualified to do. I suspect the guy is probably supporting a webserver for the actual data scientists.

    I also shudder to think of all the poor engineers who will have to clean up the code that those coding academy people produce. The horror.

  46. I was very organized about schoolwork even though I did a lot of it, so one of the hardest things about the real world for me was having to work “emergency” nights and weekends because someone else missed a deadline or moved the goalposts. I was always able to get the schoolwork done without an all nighter.

    As a management consultant and junior lawyer I worked a lot of late nights, full nights, and weekends, and canceled a lot of vacations. But I was paid well, and I wasn’t there because I thought it was my calling.

    One of my relatives just left academia after a long post doc for a corporate job, and is having a hard time doing a 40 hour week with a boss. I’m terribly unsympathetic because said relative is always home for dinner :)

  47. In high school I had lots of downtime over summer break.

    In college I worked part time and took class in summers, but it still somehow seemed like I had more time off. I guess I had more options to travel time-wise (but less money to do it). I wish I would have taken advantage of some of the time to travel back then.

    Also in college I could schedule my classes around my night-owl routine (but not work). It was nice. Compared to high school, even with working part-time, college was easier to manage.

  48. high school was 8-3 (35 hrs a week) plus tons of extracurriculars on top and lots of homework for the AP and honors classes.

    college class time was 12.5 hrs a week

  49. I thought it was a she from this article, but the private blog is deliberately gender bending and obfuscating. Mooshi, his stuff is mostly written in Python – I don’t know what that means at all.

    I have a lot of respect for a self made person who owns a house (or at least a share of a house) outright at 28. What grated on me is the idea that work for an employer, which pays the bills, is some sort of impingement on one’s natural right to picnic whenever one wants. However, self employment with an entrepreneurial focus is ideal for such people. Rental real estate is not a bad backup for him, but maybe having to respond to tenants would be too much of a constraint. No kids to feed, so what do I care how he puts his life together.

  50. I suspect the guy is probably supporting a webserver for the actual data scientists.

    He’s a University of Illinois math major with a 3.31 GPA – is there nothing a company could do with someone like that?

  51. DH has his MBA and is currently enrolled in one of those code academy type things. he is putting together a website for the class .

  52. Mooshi,

    It’s interesting that your advice would have been for Mr. Minton to take as much math as he could. Which he did. With that he ended up a waiter at the Native Foods Cafe. Your advice would have been that the coding academy was a waste of time. Yet, that was the bridge that took him from waiting tables to a 6 figure professional job.

  53. “so having weekends as an adult when I moved to my second post college job was a big step up.”

    Ditto. I was the anti-Sky — I did well in school by dint of my true superpower: cramming. I wrote very well under pressure, and I was much better able to see the superstructure/logic at the end of the term than if I dutifully read everything as it was assigned. Which meant most of my studying/writing occurred over the weekend, in time for Monday classes. My first few months on the job I was actually jumpy on Sunday afternoons, with this horrible feeling that I’d forgotten something critical, until I realized that I didn’t *have* any homework any more.

    OTOH, the biggest physical adjustment to me was just plain old office hours. My preferred schedule was no class before 11:30 and getting to bed around 2:30-3:30 — we never even went out before 10. So just getting up and in to work by 9 AM was freaking exhausting. I definitely remember the come-to-Jesus aspect of that part of entering the “real world.”

    And, yeah, I did in fact marry an engineer who spent his college years waking up to study right about the same time I was going to bed, and then birthed two kids who refused to sleep past dawn. Karma’s a bitch.

  54. I bet, in Mr. Minton’s case, the undergrad math degree was at least 75% the reason he got the job. The 3 month course probably just allowed him to put the right key words on his resume and once it was flagged they saw his background and he was hired.

  55. I’ve only been on my job for about 4 months, and I already feel that way. I had a huge argument with my boss yesterday and said to him (after explaining something elementary twice in our argument) “Forget it. I’m going home. This is ridiculous.” As I type this, I’m anticipating being let go. I hate the feeling. I hate staying at the office hours after I should be able to leave over stupid approaches/tasks my boss imposes. I’m tired of dumbing myself down. I also need to pay bills, which makes it all worse. Reality isn’t very nice after all. Turning my hobby into a career is beginning to look like a mistake. While I was attempting to write my first chunk of working code as a 12 year-old more than 12 years ago, I never anticipated feigning interest in anything computer-related on a daily basis.

  56. “should we be doing more to help our snowflakes understand that the adults around them will suddenly stop caring about their Maslovian self-actualization as soon as they turn 22 and hit the
    workforce?”
    (Fast forward now if you don’t want to read something that’ll be long.)

    OK, so my kid isn’t 22 yet; he just turned 21.

    On the upside, like the Father’s Day card he got me said, no one’s in jail (or drug-addicted, or has any real disability issues, and I truly believe none of he or his brothers has knocked anyone up). And he is a really good, hard worker when he’s working for the almighty $. Clearly extrinsically motivated.

    But not when it comes to book-learnin’. As a result he finds himself 3 years removed from high school with about 1.5 years of transferable college credit, maybe, having been academically booted out of the same college TWICE for lack of progress/unacceptable grades.

    So he’s got a summer internship (minimal stipend that covers commute costs) in the field he proclaims he wants to work in and he’s working retail 30-40 hrs/wk at about $9/hr to make actual money. But that internship will end in a month or so (they don’t know he’s been booted out of school) and he’ll be in the position of being unable to say “degree expected 20XX” on his resume unless he’s actually pursuing some degree, somewhere. –there’s actually a related AA degree program at a CC he can go for and complete, probably in a year, IF HE ACTUALLY MOTIVATES– so odds are he’ll not get a follow-on internship/part time gig with another place since he’s now just one of the (many) people with a high school diploma and “some college”. When everyone’s looking for a degree. He realizes this.

    Ever the natural sales guy, he talks a good game. But I always come back to “what’s really changed about you that makes it likely you’ll actually do the schoolwork now?” Of course, there’s no answer.

    He understands and we’ve agreed that since he’s not actually in (other city) for any particular reason (like, say, attending college classes, since the AA degree can be had online), there’s no reason for DW/me to pay rent. So he’s going to have to cover that beginning next month. Which, at the current rate of income = about 40% of his takehome.

    Bottom line, he’s now entered the school of hard knocks. Has to work enough to pay the rent, cover living expenses except for groceries (if he moves/moved back in with us — ok with me, not so much for DW* — we’d pay for those, so we’ll continue that), and go to school, and try to find some kind of related experience, even if uncompensated for ~10hrs/wk. We won’t let him end up on the street, but we (I especially) want him to really feel it. It being “you’ve managed to get yourself into this situation, now deal with the consequences.” (one of which is he can’t come to me for college expenses up front any more; I’m taking the employer-based approach of reimbursement @ 100% after the grades are delivered. I’ve learned some stuff along the way, too)

    Things could truly be a lot worse, and I realize that. So I’m not too broken up about the situation…I’d like it a whole lot better if he were 30 units from graduation, rather than being as close to the college starting line as he is…but wish in one hand and spit in the other…

    I know, well at least I think I know, things will eventually work out. We’re out some poorly spent $$ in retrospect, but not enough to really impact us. Thankfully.

    SO, MY MESSAGES TO ALL YOU WHOSE KIDS ARE STILL PROGRESSING WELL THRU HS AND LOOKING FORWARD TO COLLEGE: LIFE IS NOT LIVED LINEARLY -AND- COLLEGE IS RIGHT FOR EVERYONE, JUST NOT AT 18YO FOR SOME (MANY).

    *mostly because she feels there would be too much household tension if he weren’t meeting our (her) standards for pulling his weight around the house, working well enough at school, working enough at something remunerative, or gratis, if it were a directly related internship. Or, most correctly said, if he weren’t visible enough in his attainment of all of those to meet her requirements.

  57. I had quite an easy time adjusting to the work world because I spent my college years as a commuter student in my parents house where they work up early in order to be open to customers by 8 a.m. (my Dad) and leave for work by 7.30 (my Mom).
    What I resented most was that I could only take two weeks off as vacation time in a year, regardless of how many extra hours I worked. One of my managers (who I liked and worked well with) gave me a hard time because I went one day over for the year when requesting time off in November. I made a mistake in estimating how much time I had left but I told him he was being petty and if he had an issue with it, I could borrow from the next year. He backed down.

  58. Rhett – the NYT article refers to a particular coding school that seems to be very selective. It has a pipeline to certain employers. It attracts smart youngish people. (If one of my kids were considering coding school, I would suggest this place to them.) But I don’t agree with the description of mid 20s young adults who enroll a few years after they finished college at 22 or 23, moved around, did various jobs for a couple of years in food service or retail as career changers. They are also not proof that x major in college does not lead to employment – engineering, accounting, and certain other majors with a certification and special skills should lead to conventional employment upon graduation in a non recessionary economy, but most other majors require some leg work, or lots of targeted internships, or simply a desire to settle down – a lot of recent grads are perfectly happy to work at odd jobs or other forms of the gig economy for a few years.

  59. “OTOH, the biggest physical adjustment to me was just plain old office hours. My preferred schedule was no class before 11:30 and getting to bed around 2:30-3:30 ”

    This, I had one class at 9:30am freshman year, never again. Always started my day at 11am in college

  60. winemama – I did that my first semester in college (classes starting late) and I hated it! Everyone else was going off to class, so I was awake, but it was very hard to study in the morning.

    I was much happier with classes in the mornings and an occasional afternoon.

  61. I missed that he was a math major, which is actually probably his ticket to the data science job. But how did he do a math degree without a single programming course? Our math and physics majors all come over to us to get 2 semesters of programming in.

  62. Fred – hang in there. I support 100%. If the Totebag had been around when number one son was going through all his stuff I could have shared our blow by blow. Mine had more issues than yours – wasted money I did not have at the time, his general college degree finally achieved at 29, spotty work history and authority issues, his self taught tech/telephony career, but lo and behold his suburban mansion, lovely family, and in demand skills at 41.

  63. my sister was a math major, I think the only computer class required then (late 90’s) was a basic excel class. that is all I had to take for accounting.

  64. Fred–Thanks for the update on your son. Best of luck to the family and I hope he finds something that “clicks” soon.

  65. I can see accounting, although we actually get a lot of accounting majors too. But math is different. First of all, computer science largely developed from math, and there are deep connections between the two fields. At many smaller schools, the two majors are in a joint department. There are many who would argue that studying some computer science is important to understanding certain branches of math – that good old computational thinking thing. It is the same in computer science – we require certain math courses because they contribute to understanding computer science. And finally, there is the practicality aspect. Most people with a degree in math are going to brush up against computing in pretty significant ways in their careers. They are likely to have to program in R or SAS or god forbid, look at old Fortran code. If they go into K12 teaching as many do, they are probably going to have to staff the CS courses at the school. So for that reason, many math prorgams require some computer science.

  66. Meme, which person was writing in Python? I did a search on the disgruntled article and could not find the term Python anywhere.

    Python is a lightweight programming language that is popular among people who need to get a small programming task done. It has the reputation of being easy, though as with all software development, the hard part is not the language but the task you are trying to accomplish. It is also commonly used as a first programming language in college, or as a language for nonmajors.

    My DH has the unenviable task of trying to incorporate some Python code written by some of the traders. The traders cannot understand why they can’t just fling the Python code into production. “It works for me” they whine. They can’t comprehend the fact that a) their code is so badly written with respect to performance that the production servers would grind to a halt if the job had to be run in production and b) the code is completely insecure and won’t pass the SEC audit process. As a result, it all has to be rewritten by the software developers, you know, the people with computer science backgrounds who actually know what they are doing.

  67. Personally, I knew so many kids like him who just needed that real-world shock to get going.

    Same. It’s also the case that they just need time for their brains to mature.

  68. Milo & Rhett – that’s where I am. The real-world shock should be helpful.

  69. MMM and his family can transfer their lifestyle to another location, especially since no one has work or school to limit the time. I assume he has a reliable property manager or back up to take care of any issues at his rental real estate, and to keep an eye on his own home. He can take his pets, if any, with him or leave them with others. He doesn’t lose income by leaving since he is a rentier. And he would say that a mere change of venue and weather is reason to leave home on a trip – nobody needs a vacation from anything (other than his blog and satisfying his fans, which was at that time was getting to be a bit work-like for him) since he doesn’t see the day to day freely chosen household labor as work.

  70. Rocky – he renovated the guest suite of a reader in exchange for free boarding.

  71. This related HuffPo blog caught my eye earlier this week:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ravishly/6-things-i-wish-i-had-never-told-my-children_b_7868104.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000010
    I feel like I’m being a bad mom by being honest with my kid (age 8) about these issues while teachers, other parents, and society in general is telling her the 6 things this mom says she wishes she had not told her recent high school graduate. I know I’m not alone (thanks to The Totebag and a few well-selected friends), but it is good to see my approach validated in writing. My DD might think I’m the worst mom in the world right now, but I hope that someday she will appreciate my not having handed her the world on a silver spoon.

  72. since he doesn’t see the day to day freely chosen household labor as work…he renovated the guest suite of a reader in exchange for free boarding.

    I’m fascinated by his internal “what constitutes work” accounting system.

  73. Imagine hosting MMM. He’d be looking askance at your excess toothpaste use or driving to the store when you could bike.

  74. HM – I’ve had that same thought when I first read the blog post. I’d be happy to host the MMMs in Nowhereville for free labor, but…

  75. Fred, I’m really sorry to hear that your oldest has fallen off the wagon again. I’ve been following his career with interest since my oldest, at 5 years younger, has similar swings in performance (and hides the downswings as long as he can).

  76. @Milo – my friend *seems* very like MMM but doesn’t have the same discipline. He redid his own condo but it took years as he moved on other projects before finally finishing it. MMM may not have a conventional job but he has the discipline to be successful his ventures.

  77. SWA – right there with you on that article. It is interesting to me though that my Mom who had a similar philosophy in raising us kids, has told here grand kids all of those things. But then, I think that is the job of a grandparent ;)

    Fred – Thanks for the update and for what it is worth, I hope I would handle it similarly – and given extended family history, certainly may have to.

  78. To the actual post, I don’t think there’s any real substitute for actual experience to teach young people that the work world is really only interested in getting the work they’re paid to do out of them, not in their personal development.

  79. Fred, thanks for sharing. I think many of us with older kids can relate to your situation. Totebag kids are “special” and I enjoy reading about them here, but the reality of what can happen often hits us hard if we’re not prepared for some the ways our kids go off track. My youngest is doing a gap year, and almost every time I’ve mentioned it to a parent they gush and say what a great idea. Mind you, many of these have seen the 5, 6, 7+ year college trajectory of their own kids or their friends. I can relate to your wife’s view of things. When your kid is doing something like this, it’s very hard to live with it day to day. Sometimes separation is better.

  80. What makes you think the author is a male? The author only uses the word partner and at the bottom is “Follow them on Twitter @eevee.”

  81. This is what the Huff Post blogger mom writes:

    Please, please do not just float around in this world and expect to get what you want by being your cute little self. Also, know that sometimes you will bust your ass and no one will notice but you. Hey, this leads us to the next one…
    4. Hard work pays off.
    Except when it doesn’t. Occasionally, the hardest work and the most diligent efforts yield the most dreaded result: nothing. Life is unfair sometimes. You have to work hard anyway, because no work ALWAYS yields nothing.

    And her advice sounds remarkably similar to a few “laws of the Navy” written by a British officer and poet at the end of the 19th century:

    If you labour from morn until even,
    And meet with reproof for your toil,
    ‘Tis well, that the gun may be humbled
    The compressor must check the recoil.

    Count not upon certain promotion
    But rather to gain it aspire;
    Though the sightline may end on the target
    There cometh perchance the miss-fire.

    If ye win through an African jungle,
    Unmentioned at home in the press,
    Heed it not. No man seeth the piston,
    But it driveth the ship none the less.

  82. Eevee is a Pokemon, and the author referred to having run a Pokemon fan site as a kid.

  83. Fred, my brother followed a similar path. A stint as a dishwasher at Chilis in Dallas helped him renew focus (and as I’ve mentioned in here before, the realization that no girl he’d ever want to date would be interested in a non-student Chilis dishwasher.). When he went back, it was certainly with a renewed commitment. He is quite successful, when not unemployed, now. I agree that college at 18 is not for everyone. I think other countries have it right with the focus on the gap year.

  84. Fred – for whatever it’s worth, my brother (who is very smart – perfect SAT scores) flunked out of college freshman year. He then spent several years living with my dad (mostly watching tv; teaching himself some programming skills; and bike racing). At one point he spent a year going to a program to become a car mechanic. He generally screwed around until his early 20’s when got a job at UPS loading/unloading boxes that came in from the nearby airport. He only got the UPS job because my father finally kicked him out of the nest. After about a year of working at UPS, my brother decided he didn’t like the type of lifestyle or work that is available when you don’t have a college degree. He went to one of the UC schools and got his bachelor’s and then master’s degree in mechanical engineering in about 3 years. He’s definitely someone who did not take a linear path – but is now doing pretty well.

  85. Seattle,

    What do you think the problem was? Personally, I know of two types who flunked out and later rallied.

    1. Started college and totally shut down, didn’t leave their room, didn’t make friends, didn’t go to class, etc.
    2. Started college and there was just so much fun stuff to do and so many distractions they couldn’t focus on what needed to be done.

  86. I don’t know anyone like MMM. He and his wife, according to a Nightline interview,
    jointly averaged 134K a year – probably pretax – for ten years of working from 21 to 31. They saved 2/3 of takehome – by saved I would mean bought investments and bought other leveraged real estate with 2/3 of takehome pay, but he may count paying down the mortgage ahead of schedule as part of the amount saved. They “retired” in 2005 at a market peak with a self reported 600K and a house paid for. They then proceeded to lose a lot of money (possibly mostly someone else’s, since a friendship was lost at the same time) in a failed custom home building hobby venture. He did a little carpentry for pay, I believe refurbished, flipped and downsized his home at least once. Did he report the barter value of his free rent in Hawaii as taxable income – I wouldn’t publicize it widely if he didn’t.

  87. A good friend did the short path to nursing – a two year CC program and was working full time before she was 20. Almost a decade later, she finished her BSN so she could go to law school. Law school and the bar were successfully passed and (based on her background, I suppose) she had no difficulty finding legal work. After two years of that, she has suddenly decided that she just can’t handle working 8-5 every day. She is back at nursing, working 11a-11p Friday, Sat, Sun and Mon, every other week. No early mornings, 10 days off, and a salary not so far from entry level legal work (though there are loans to attack now).

    I get very frustrated by DHs inability to take time off (and I have brought it up on here, so I won’t rehash). I had lots of time off in high school and college, but no money to do the exciting things I dreamed of. Then there was a period of no time or money. Now I have all the money I need, and the time, but a partner who gets 10 days of vacation per year.

  88. Rhett, there is at least another type of college flunkie, but maybe not one you’ve seen. That’s the one who is overwhelmed by college-level work, and who doesn’t have the background and/or work ethic needed to succeed. Sometimes they drop out forever, but sometimes they go back later with more maturity and stick it out for a degree.

  89. Meme – he’s divested himself of actively managed rental properties, after selling his 2600 sf house and moving into something half the size. I think he’s traveling a bunch with the blogger meet-ups and conferences and no longer wanted to be bothered with the landlord headaches.

    I’ve known people with his savings and investing mindset, but nobody who swore off paid work so early. One of his regular commenters is a retired sub officer who, I’ve gathered, did exactly 20 years and took his pension. He surfs in Hawaii every day. His wife only works to fulfill her Navy Reserve obligations (one weekend a month, two weeks in the summer), so that will bring a second pension when she’s 60-something. And their one daughter is a Navy officer, so no college costs.

    Actually, come to think of it, DW’s uncle followed this path pretty closely.

  90. That’s the one who is overwhelmed by college-level work

    Certainly that must happen. But, isn’t that mostly because they chose too challenging a school and/or program?

  91. Milo – that modern one with the waterfall that “helps filter noise from passing boat traffic” – huh? Don’t buy/build on a lakefront property if you’re bothered by boat noise. But yes, very cool. I’d be happy if my folks would just put in a mini-fridge so that we don’t have to lug coolers or go up & down every time someone wants a drink.

  92. The taps video was great. I will play it for our scouts on Veteran’s Day.

  93. “I’d need to learn the trumpet.”

    You’d need to play taps really slowly for it to take two minutes.

    I was a bugler. In elementary school, I’d play every day, every other week, when the flag was raised in the morning, and again when it was taken down in the afternoon.

  94. Don’t buy/build on a lakefront property if you’re bothered by boat noise.

    What if you both enjoy boating and are bothered by boat noise.

  95. Well for you and the kids, yes. You probably wouldn’t want to be there with little children anyway – too much worry about them falling in! I imagine it as a retreat for you and your DW.

  96. ‘what let me down the most when starting “real life” was the reality of little time off work’

    With my first employer, we regularly hired kids right out of school. Very few of them started right after graduation; we’d have a flow of new grads through the summer, starting in July. A lot of them did the backpacking in Europe thing.

    I started about 2 months after graduation. I put off most of my interviews, then made about a 2-week swing to a bunch of companies for interviews, then spent about 6 weeks at home, waiting for responses, sleeping late, going to the beach, helping my mom with home projects, helping my dad re-roof the house, and deciding which offer to accept.

    “Did most of you have multi weeks of downtime in high school and college?”

    I didn’t. In HS I had a PT job that went to FT whenever school was out, and I always had jobs during summer and winter breaks in college.

  97. I started about 2 months after graduation.

    Graduated on Sunday, started work on Monday.

  98. When I first read RMS’ intro, I expected to read about an entitled twit, but I thought the guy had a pretty good handle on reality. E.g., moving to a low COL city, and not quitting his job until his partner’s business is off the ground.

    I think he’s burned out from staying at a job he no longer liked, but kept at for the money. I think he’s got a lot of life skills that might take my kids some time to learn.

  99. I was asked to begin work May 9th (a few days after graduation) but I was able to move it back to May 23st. I was happy to have those two weeks. FYI – I didn’t remember those exact dates – I had to look up the Mondays in May that year!

  100. My brother didn’t follow a straight line through college, and he is happy and living a fairly typical life right now. Several of his friends died in Pan Am 103. He seemed ok when he went back to school, but he was depressed for that second semester and didn’t do any work. He moved back home, and he eventually graduated from college. I think it took another 5 years until he got his degree, but he always worked during that time. He learned a lot about real jobs – he was a waiter, busboy, car sales person, etc etc. He always made sure that he was working even when he wasn’t in school.

  101. A lot of kids don’t flame out, they just don’t do college well at a young age. For some, college is a necessary and to them evil rite of passage. It still takes time even after a degree to get on the adult track.

    My son could do the work (Nat’l honor society in high school, honors grad eventually from college). He didn’t drink or do drugs particularly. He always liked money and learned about showing up for work to get paid in high school. Not so much success at dealing with arbitrariness in the workplace. He just didn’t like school, didn’t like BS or authority, didn’t have any particular course of study he wanted to follow. If I had been well off, he would have piddled around, gotten some sort of degree after 5 years, and then spent 5 years trying out various things. I was pretty broke then, newly on my own, freshman year he was okay, but I pulled the financial plug after two successive diffuse light course load soph 1 and soph 2 years at different schools. I had three more to educate who appeared to want it. He went to work at various tech jobs, had lots of bad luck, then back to work, then got laid off in the 2001 recession and realized he needed to punch his ticket with a bachelor’s degree, and so he got it done on his terms. His luck turned when he started dating his wife, they both decided to get away from their families to figure out their lives on the left coast.

    My husband’s son is the super loner type. He didn’t even really go to high school – correspondence degree. He started college at 20, didn’t like it after straight A freshman year. Went to another college at 23, didn’t like it after one semester. Finally at 26 bit the bullet and graduated summa from flagship state. He doesn’t have any experience of or desire to work in the regular corporate economy. Lives in mom’s basement, drives a cab. But he has a nice girlfriend and so he wants to figure out how to be her peer – that may do the final trick.

  102. I don’t recall a summer after HS that was completely stress free. I was always waiting for the exam results on which the next stage admissions depended. I would have loved to do early admissions and be done by December with the rest of the year spent coasting along (I know, it is so not Totebaggy :-).

  103. Louise, I’m encouraging DS to figure out, over the next year, if he has a definite #1 college choice.

    If so, he can apply early decision, and if he gets accepted, he might be able to enjoy his senior year a lot more, and we might be able to take the money we save in application expenses and go skiing during that winter break, which he would not have to spend applying to a bunch of schools.

  104. “I feel like I am repeating myself, and don’t want to tell the same stories over and over again!!”

    Don’t worry about it. I do it all the time.

  105. “Don’t worry about it. I do it all the time.”

    Same. We’d totally run out of things to say otherwise.

  106. Another is living at home and still recovering from the immense pressure of college (academic and social), and does little bits and pieces of work.

    Do you think he might have been better off at a less demanding school?

  107. It is interesting – everyone’s anecdotes are about guys. None about girls. I wonder why that is and if there is anything we can do differently.

  108. Cat,

    I think it’s two things:

    1. Guys are more prone to this type of behavior.

    2. It stands out more if a guy does it.

    The daughter of an affluent family volunteering while she interviews affluent suitors is commendable. The son of an affluent family volenteering while interviewing for a SAHD job is a disgrace.

  109. Rhett – actually it is a girl, and she did not go to a demanding school. She is the type that can’t handle the normal amount of pressure without becoming stressed. Sorry, I was being sarcastic with the “immense pressure” phrase – I should have put it in quotes!!

  110. I see a lot of the underprepared flameouts that CoC mentions. Sadly, those are the ones that I think are least likely to get it together later on. And that sort of flameout affects guys and girls pretty much equally. I have seen plenty of female students flunk out because they are simply illiterate.

    There is another scenario that I believe is actually the second most common one in my experience. That is the guy with obvious ADHD who hasn’t identified himself to the disability office, and almost certainly has gone off his meds, probably selling them to other students. Not only have I seen plenty of my students in this situation, but I also know of two sons of friends who flamed out badly this way. Neither kid has gotten his life back together yet. One lived at home for a couple of years after his disastrous freshman year, at a college know for working with ADHD kids, sporadically signing up for and then flunking out of CC courses. Eventually his parents sent him out west to live with a relative. He took a phlebotomy course but discovered there really aren’t too many jobs in that field. I think he lives with the relative now and works in fast food. The other kid quit to pursue his passion as a stand up comedian, and lives at home 3 years later.

    I went to a seminar last year at our school on kids with ADHD, where the expert giving the talk said that college is the most dangerous point for kids with ADHD.

  111. Reading some of the comments about kids who have problems in college, maybe I should cut her some slack, but she didn’t seem to be in a situation of undue stress (school paid for, liberal arts college that offered lots of support, didn’t have to work). I guess you never really know what people are going through, but her situation didn’t seem to be so dire that she was unable to pull herself together and look for a job after graduation.

  112. DS had what may turn out to be a beneficial experience this summer. He was working as a TA in a science class, and partway through, the teacher was changed, from one who he really enjoyed working with, to one with whom he had issues (e,g., passive aggressive, rusty with material ).

    It was the first time he had to work in conditions he did not enjoy. We talked about it and I think he handled it OK; he talked to another science teacher up the chain of command, and other than that just did his best to keep the students on track.

  113. In the home country, sons who were not on the educational track were put in some job where they had to show up either at their father’s own business or the businesses of people they knew. That way there was no sitting on the couch, they gained some experience, got a paycheck. My Dad had several guys whose mothers brought their sons and then these ladies would check in to make sure their sons were actually showing up for work. I cannot recall any guys who were unemployed and totally flamed out. My Dad was always happy to receive a wedding invite a few years later.

  114. Cat – the college dropout in my extended family, one year older than me, who I don’t think ever went back to school, is female. Ironically, she was the one among her three siblings who was supposed to be the brainiest. Her brother, on the other hand, who always struggled with school and was thought to be learning disabled, is now a very young SES. (Insert joke about federal employees.)

  115. One of the female cousins on DH’s side dropped out after one semester at a directional state U. She is now in her 30’s, wit several kids and has worked a series of grunt office jobs. She complains endlessly about her jobs. She is looking again because her current job in a law office is too much work for too little pay, in her opinon. Recently, her mother was telling me about her woes, and I suggested that maybe she should go back and get a paralegal degree, or a health administration degree (she also has worked in hospital offices), so she could bump up her pay. Her mother just laughed and said that would never happen. The reason this relative puts up with the jobs at all is because she has the kids to support – baby daddy is even lazier than her and doesn’t work at all.

  116. I wonder how much of this parental support comes out of guilt? We have a friend who was raised to study what she wanted, it wouldn’t matter as her primary duty would be to raise her professional husband’s kids – like her mother had. For whatever reason, that’s unlikely to happen.

    In other cases the kids are battling the genes their parents gave them – also guilt inducing.

  117. The females in my extended family who have been in and out of school or have had trouble launching are deemed exempt from the obligations of self supporting work by being classified as artistic/sensitive/altruistic or depressed/bi-polar. Some of them have real mental problems, some have never really been made to feel that they have to structure their lives as if they will have to be responsible for putting a roof over their own heads, etc. Most of the over 35s of my acquaintance whose lives are financially propped up by parents are women.

  118. “But, isn’t that mostly because they chose too challenging a school and/or program?”

    Eh, not always. There’s also the absent-minded-professor/immature/probably undiagnosed ADD kid who is whip-smart but just never learned to study because he never had to and then got shot out of the water in college. And then, because of the immaturity, didn’t deal with it and either shut down or started drinking, sometimes with a side of depression.

    Which, in one form or another, basically describes all three brothers on my side. Had the brains to do the work, went to appropriate colleges for their abilities, but immaturity/lack of study skills got in their way, until they finally grew up enough (or, in one case, had the same female encouragement Meme described to straighten up or else).

  119. “self supporting work” – the way I see it in my area, upper middle class girls though given a very good education are not encouraged to take difficult majors in colleges. There is deep down the thought that they will marry at an income level where they can afford to stay home. There were two women who returned to their parents after a divorce but neither of them took up any self supporting work. I don’t they received big alimonies either. I waited for the day, when either of them mentioned a job, but the day never came.

  120. No one will be surprised that I think having a paid-for house and retiring from your tech job at 28 is a strategy, not a failure.

    I think this person makes a compelling argument for the universal basic income. Provided (s)he avoids having children, (s)he could supplement a UBI stipend with occasional paid gigs and live in Las Vegas quite nicely.

  121. “I think this person makes a compelling argument for the universal basic income. Provided (s)he avoids having children, (s)he could supplement a UBI stipend with occasional paid gigs and live in Las Vegas quite nicely.”

    Isn’t this person more of an argument against UBI? .

  122. The dream is supposed to be about doing what you love, not being a cog in someone else’s machine.

    Um….what?

    What’s wrong with wanting to do something you love? The problem is when people won’t accept that reality is much different than the dream.

  123. we follow MMM’s savings guidance, at least percentage-wise. we just didn’t retire when we were supposed to, and we spend/drive too much.

    If I were to buy a boat, DW said she would want a way to take it to different places on vacation. So this is the truck I want. No frills, seating for five, nicely used and discounted, good condition, low miles, and a cap to keep all the luggage dry. It would be our third car, and driven very little, overall. I wonder what Mr. WCE would say.

    http://lynchburg.craigslist.org/cto/5125180043.html

  124. More seriously, should we be doing more to help our snowflakes
    understand that the adults around them will suddenly stop caring about
    their Maslovian self-actualization as soon as they turn 22 and hit the
    workforce?

    This is part of why I’m a big proponent of kids getting crappy jobs while they are in HS and/or college. After you’ve flipped burers or stocked shelve or whatever, an entry level office job isn’t so bad.

  125. I was surprised when I opened the picture of MMM. I just never pictured him looking this way because I had a totally different image in my mind.

  126. Rhett – yes, she works for a non-profit, and her dad is a teacher. She is an only child to older parents, and probably was treated as a special snowflake.

  127. Finn, couldn’t society support 4 or 5 underemployed programmer types for the cost of one institutionalized Medicaid recipient?

    Seriously, you’re right that I think UBI would further undermine returns to a college-professional job lifestyle.

  128. I was surprised when I opened the picture of MMM. I just never pictured him looking this way because I had a totally different image in my mind.

    I pictured a big handlebar mustache.

  129. I did college in 3 years and graduated that summer. I was already working full time and continued to work full time at the same job for the remainder of the year. I did have a couple weeks off before starting next full time job. I wish I would have taken time off for the Europe thing or big road trip but I had my own apartment and had to pay the bills.

  130. I did the math on the Frugalwoods and their current gross pretax is about 275K, with take home after 401k of 14K a month. They manage to live on about 3.5K a month, mostly mortgage and taxes. They bought shrewdly a dowdy single family on the edge of the last ungentrified neighborhood in Cambridge and plan to rent it out when they decamp to the farm. Since babywoods is on the way, and there are no health expenses listed, I assume they have gold plated employer coverage as well. They eat out twice a year and wear several sweaters in the house in the winter. They have minimal auto expenses as city dwellers. It clearly can be done, if your objective is to use 12 years of youthful high wage employment and a frugal lifestyle to allow you to maintain the same frugal lifestyle for the remaining 55 years of adult and old age life.

  131. I like the Frugalwoods, but I don’t believe they’re as extreme as they seem to fancy themselves. Their story is a cliche, only with updated terms and a few esoteric hobbies listed. They want to move to the country for a slower pace of life. They’ll do some freelance writing . Did they never see Funny Farm with Chevy Chase? This was common enough to be parodied three decades ago. Similar types might have bought a bed-and-breakfast; they want to build AirBnB cabins. There’s nothing unique here.

  132. As to the frugalwoods, MMM and the 28yo in the OP…I don’t know how I’d fill my dance card NOW if I were to retire. Maybe I just enjoy work, probably because few days/weeks it’s start-to-finish nose-to-the-grindstone. Probably closer to Rhett’s idea of a high enough compensation (both in absolute $$ and) compared with the effort required.
    Not there yet moneywise, assuming I’ll live another 35 years, anyway.

  133. Late to the discussion, but I think choosing a college that has the guidance to launch students into careers can go a long way in preventing aimless unemployed 20 year olds living at home. Some schools are a great at launching students into grad programs. I can think of a big state school in the midwest that does this very well. Several of my friends that went their for undergrad but didn’t immediately go to med or law school ended up rooming around the US looking for employment and the “dream” job. And many years later still unhappy. Other schools have great career counseling centers, and stress opportunities to join clubs for their majors. These clubs provide connections to internships and a general understanding of what life after college can and will look like.

  134. I won’t even show DH the Frugalwoods blog, he would make that our plan.

  135. I get pretty tired of all the frugality blogs. Here’s my deal: Every year, I want to see my stepson and his wife in Boston. We need to see DH’s parents and sisters and extended family in Indy. I want to see my old friends in California. And ideally we’d like to go on trips like the one to Glacier that’s coming up. So yeah, I could live in the basement and eat drywall and steal the neighbor’s electricity. But I don’t want to live like that. I want to travel and see my loved ones. And I suppose I could take Greyhound, but I won’t.

  136. Fred/Rhett –

    The thing I don’t get about the F-150 is just how expensive the luxury trims get.

    It makes perfect sense that a base Camry costs $22 and a base F-150 costs $30–bigger, more powerful, can tow 10,000 lbs.

    But you can load up the Camry with leather and screens and a few other electronics (mostly inexpensive for the manufacturer) and bring it from 22 to 35.

    Put the same leather, screens, and electronics in an F-150, and I’d expect it to go up by the same $13k (35-22).

    But no, they decide they want it to go up by the same PERCENTAGE, and it becomes $60k, when it should be $43k.

  137. Rocky – it’s all about ratios and percentage saved, not absolutes. Like with the truck.

  138. The problem I’ve always heard with Greyhound is the riff raff.

    I wonder if there’s a market for buses at a higher price point. What about buses that model themselves after an Amtrak sleeper car? Same coach, one aisle down the right side, six or seven private bunk rooms per bus. Private, enclosed seating during the day, fold-down bunks at night.

  139. I would honestly be afraid to take a Greyhound bus trip but I’ve lived a sheltered life :)

  140. I used to take Greyhound from Indy to Chicago and back. If by “riff-raff” you mean Latina women and children, then yeah. I never had the slightest trouble with anyone on the bus. I even had some interesting conversations. Of course it was only about 3 hours each way.

  141. I forget RMS that your DH has family in Indy. My sister lives in the area so I’m up there a few times a year. I know you’re visiting family when you’re there, but let me know if you ever want to grab a beer. Indy has some good micro brews.

  142. Megabus and similar are nice IME, with relatively comfortable seats and free wifi. I’ve taken the NYC-DC trip, and you can’t beat the price. It’s been many, many years since I’ve taken Greyhound, but my memories are about dingy stops and raggedy riders. Being Latina myself, that’s not what I mean. :)

  143. RMS, Bolt Bus is cheaper than Greyhound here, I think. My Dad might ride it here from Portland so I don’t have to pick him up at the airport. Lots of college students ride it or Greyhound and I’ve been thinking of riding it to visit a friend in Seattle for a weekend. It would let me take care of Baby WCE, who often screams in a carseat.

    winemama, Mr WCE cuts my hair. I’ve had it done otherwise, including at the nice spa in town when Mr WCE won a gift card at work, and I can’t tell any difference. I may change eventually, but that involves making an appointment and ensuring childcare for the kids. I’m frugal, but it’s the lack of hassle more than the frugal aspect that makes me do it this way. He has a good eye and is coordinated- he can solder chips at 88 pins/inch.

    Milo, one reason I was torn about MMM’s analysis of trucks is that Mr WCE bought a used Silverado (60k miles, farm truck, still had hay in the back) in grad school for not too much more than my Dodge Shadow. (My dad wanted me to have a reliable vehicle for driving cross country in that pre-cellphone era.) We drove it to ~190k and it only left us a few times, mostly due to starter motor issues. My Shadow was totaled at ~103k but wouldn’t have hit 190k. Gas mileage is poor on trucks (our current truck is diesel) but if you’re not driving many miles, you may not care. Mr WCE’s Dad chose a truck camper because he wanted to haul a camper and a boat, which you can’t do with a tent trailer.

    t recently discussed “storing” a vehicle with USAA and we can reduce our insurance on the jeep DH inherited (which he doesn’t like to drive after hunting season when it’s rainy) by 75% if we tell them we’re storing it and don’t drive it for at least 21 days. We have to put it in regular insurance status when we use it. They tell me I can change status online, though I think they have to do it the first time. You might consider this for your truck.

  144. Will do, wine.

    Oops, sorry Grace. I hope it was evident that I meant that Latina women and their children actually aren’t riff-raff. These particular folks are lower-income, and I think Greyhound has good deals for children, thus its popularity.

  145. CoC – can you edit the last paragraph of WCE @ 1047. I’m sure you know what I mean.

  146. WCE – I’m a Honda man, of course, so the only reasons I was pricing Fords at all were 1) we recently watched “Unbroken” (kidding!); and 2) I expected that there would be better depreciation on the domestics.

    But really, that doesn’t seem to be true for Fords and Chevys any more, either. You don’t get under $10k unless it has WELL over, say, 125,000 miles. So if that’s the case, I figured I may as well look at Toyotas Tundra. Same inappropriately linear depreciation, but at least it’s a Toyota.

    We’re not doing anything this year. I’m just getting a feel for the costs.

    That’s interesting about the insurance. But would it even matter if you’re only carrying liability?

    And do you think that the truck camper will continue to accommodate your family of six?

  147. Milo, I think the people who buy trucks often prefer American brands. Trucks seem to be less popular on the coasts, where Toyotas and Hondas are popular.

    You should call to check on “storage” rates if you plan to use your truck only part of the year. Liability is most of our insurance cost (given low accident rates in our states with very bad injuries/deaths when they occur- lots of deaths in my county this year) and I didn’t ask for a breakdown of comprehensive vs. collision vs. medical vs. personal injury protection, just noted that “storage” reduced our rate by ~75%. We have higher than state-mandated policy limits. Your state may have a very different accident profile, with fewer deadly crashes and more fender benders.

    We’ve been camping once as a family of six, when the blog discussed WDW and other nice vacations. I will admit to a bit of envy, since our budget allows only for “trips”. The overhead shelf will accommodate a sleeper up to 110 lb, which the boys likely will hit about the time they enter high school, and then Baby WCE will be old enough to sleep up there. We’ve also talked about getting a tent for the boys and Mr WCE to sleep in, since it’s rarely really cold when we camp as a family. (Elk hunting in the mountains in November usually involves snow, for which our existing camper is ideal.) I’m too cheap to buy another camper, given that our teenagers may not want to camp, but I could lose to Mr WCE.

    You will note that *I* will not be sleeping outside in the cold at night… I’m no fan of gender equality.

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