So, I’ve been thinking about what to tell people once I leave formal work. This isn’t easy. Retired and Financially Independent come to mind immediately, but I cannot use either:
- Retired: I hate hate hate this word. It has too many connotations. This comes up on Google image search:
- Financially Independent: I can’t use this either. Some folks in my extended family are not well-off and this term implies that I have lots of money. A family member once told me that ‘I must be rich’ because I had an iPhone. If they know that I have money, they will ask for that money.
What to do then? Obfuscate! Deny! And Lie!
I invented new terms to describe early retirement. Feel free to use them when your nosy neighbor or curious cousin asks you why you’re at home at 11am on a Wednesday drinking beer in the garage wearing your pajamas. Brace yourself readers.
Strategy #1: Sexual Innuendo!
Make others uncomfortable by spewing terms that sound like sex. Conservative Uncle John will quickly steer the conversation away from your employment status (or lack of it) when you unleash one of the following:
I’m practicing an Alternative Workstyle. Don’t judge.
I don’t have just one job. I have many and love them all. I consider myself to be Polyworkarous.
My relationship with work is Non-Traditional at the moment.
Strategy #2: Entrepreneur!
I quit my job to become an entrepreneur!
If the questioner dares to ask about what your entrepreneurial intentions are, make up a good story based on their age:
- If they are older than 50: Tell them it’s computer stuff. Then start blabbering on about microchips, internets, flux capacitors, GPUs, CPUs, FUs and URLs. Don’t worry that the words are pure gibberish because they wouldn’t understand even if you were making sense. When their eyes glaze over, you’re home free.
- If they are younger than 30: Tell them that you’re going to become a woodworker or paper weight designer. Then go into extreme detail. Within 2o seconds, they’ll be bored out of their mind. Again, watch the eyes.
- Between 30 and 50: Tell them that you plan to raise guinea pigs for profit. If that doesn’t deter them, ask them if they care to invest in Guinea Pig Palace. If they say ‘yes’, they are insane. Run.
Strategy #3: Outright Lies!
I can tell you about my job, but I’ll have to kill you. Now, where did I put those missile launch codes?
For extra effect, carry around a briefcase handcuffed to your wrist. Nervously dart your eyes around the room. If anyone pries, look at your phone, utter a profanity and announce that you must leave immediately. Run to your car.
I quit work to find myself.
Start talking about new-age nonsense like cosmic consciousness and auras. Tell them that your spirit animal is the dung beetle. The questioner will quickly regret ever asking about your job status and will most likely never talk to you again.
I quit my job for an incredible opportunity! Let me tell you about Mr. Money Marshmallow, this new multi-level marketing company I signed on with!
I hate MLMs. So do a lot of people.
I’m on hiatus!
Don’t tell them that the hiatus is forever.
I asked my hilarious buddy, Physician on Fire to help me out with this post and he came through with strategy #4.
Strategy #4: Redirection!
Take a straightforward question, and give a perfectly sideways answer.
“So what do you for a living?”
Living? I can hardly call it living when these artificial sweeteners in this Diet Mountain Dew are eating me from the inside out. Do you know what they put in these cans? This liquid could survive eleven nuclear wars!
“OK. Ummm… you do realize that you’re holding a beer, right?”
My great-grandmother strangled Nazis with her bare hands so you and I could drink beer and not bier, so I suggest you take your line of questioning and save it for the Reinheitsgebot.
“How are things at work, Mr. 1500?”
I don’t know about work, but let me tell you about this workout routine I’ve been doing. It’s called P-90-xxx. See these pecs? And these strong thighs? And maybe it’s just me, but things seem to be a bit more pronounced in the… ummm… nether regions.
“That’s neat, but I’d rather not look. So how does P-90-xxx work?”
It’s a DVD series. An equal mix of cardio, resistance training, and porno. Very motivating.
“That would explain the enhanced, eh… bulge. You really should wear something more than boxer shorts out here.”
With this type of redirection, do you think the original question was quickly forgot? Does the pope shit in the woods?
The Readers Speak
And finally, here is what the readers had to say about one of my questions from last week:
I like using the term ‘prolonged sabbatical’ to characterize an extended leave from your primary work…
Mrs. PoP coined a new term. I like it, but I’m not sure how to pronounce it:
Maybe your FIRE is closer to FI(S)RE, Financially Independent, (Semi-)Retired Early…
Thank you Reader gwenith42 for telling me what I should already know:
You know how MMM advocates a ‘low information diet’? Same basic thing… I know it is easier said than done, but you truly have to try to ignore the idiots, the desperate, and the deliberately malicious… They offer you no value and you are squandering your emotional energy on them versus all of us who cheer you on (blatant plug for more fun & useful posts, don’t waste energy on the trolls, lol, it’s not frugal)
Maybe you could go with “Professional Hobbyist” to describe yourselves to others.
Randy from laundromats101 (awesome site for laundromat investing!):
I would call it “semifreedomized”.
Mrs. BITA writes killer comments:
What is a better word than retired?
I propose Patron.
“What do you do?”
“I am a patron of the arts” (Look appropriately snooty here and you don’t have to mention that the artist that you now patronize is yourself).
Finally, Reader Steve from Arkansas had this to say:
I can attest to two things: work is more fun when you don’t need the income and it is still fun to earn money even if you don’t need it.
Wow, I can totally relate to this. I LOVE to earn and invest money. Sending dollars off to Vanguard every month makes me smile. There is probably something wrong with me, but so be it.
Ask the Readers: Gifts!
Tis’ the season for crowded malls, forced gift giving and awful car commercials:
I enjoy almost everything else about the holidays, but I don’t enjoy the gifting part for anyone over 12. Of course, if you wanted to give me a new Tesla, I’d make an exception.
Answer one or more of the following:
- Do you still do gifts? In not, how have you been able to wean everyone else off the practice?
- How do you make it not awful?
- What color Tesla are you getting me?
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