What is the best thing about being financially independent? It puts you in a “Position of Fuck You.” Once you have enough money, you don’t need a boss— nobody can tell you what to do. Or, if you wish to remain employed, nobody can tell you where to do your job without first letting you go.
Why it sucks not to be in a “Position of Fuck You.“
Throughout my entire career, I’ve been a good and obedient employee. Sure, I sometimes slack off because of boredom, as many workers do. But I routinely work my butt off to finish projects on time.
I also will never shortchange my employer. I might work only five hours in one day, but I always make sure to compensate for the lost time the next day or two, even with no extra pay— I’m a salaried employee with no overtime pay.
Sure, it helps that I love what I do and the people that I get to work with. But what really motivated me to obey my employer before becoming FI was fear. Unless you’re FI or have serious FU money, you should— everyone is dispensable— even if you think you’re a rock star at work.
If you don’t stay motivated, think about the consequences that could happen:
- Your performance suffers, you get fired, and you’d lose your income.
- The house gets foreclosed, or your landlord kicks you out.
- The car gets repossessed by the bank or dealership.
- You max out all your credit cards to dig yourself into a deeper hole.
Meanwhile, you struggle to get a new job, which could turn out to be worse than your old one. That’s how it is for many people. It sucks to have no options. Financial slavery is real.
Boss demanded I start working in the office
After 18 months of working from home, my employer suddenly demanded that we all work back in the office five days a week.
“As you know, we have recently re-opened all the US offices for fully vaccinated staff in addition to the other offices that have been open for many months. The teams that have returned to the office are excited to be back and we all are looking forward to getting back to normal as soon as it’s safe to do so.
From a planning perspective, everyone (both vaccinated and unvaccinated) should be prepared to return to the office in the coming months as we were pre-Covid once the virus situation stabilizes.”— Company memo
The only problem is nobody seems to want to go back. It has been weeks since the memo was sent, but attendance in the office is still 10% of what it had been before the pandemic.
But with one exception: my immediate boss wants me in the office five days a week, which doesn’t make any sense.
With 95% of my coworkers working abroad, thanks to globalization, it doesn’t really matter where I work. The experience is the same except maybe between my boss, me, and another co-located employee I seldom interact with.
So when my boss messaged me on Microsoft Teams at 10 am, “Hi, are you coming in today??”
My status on Teams was green and had been active since 8 am— I was obviously working from home. And yet he still asked as if he didn’t know. I can tell he was pissed because I wasn’t in the office.
“Hi, I am working from home. Umm… Didn’t I tell you about Tuesdays and Fridays?” I replied.
“Yes, for summer when schools are closed,” my boss countered.
I immediately called my boss, talked for a minute, expressing my disgust over the company policy.
I then respectfully told him, “Sorry, there must be a misunderstanding. When I asked if I could WFH Tuesdays and Fridays, it wasn’t really a request. I’m telling you that I won’t.”
I made it clear that I wasn’t asking for permission— I’m setting the rules!
“Please put it down in black and white,” he responded.
“Will sure do,” I replied.
Putting it down in black and white
After the short meeting, I immediately opened Outlook to write an email.
I started the body with the following sentence (five words in bold added for emphasis):
“This is to inform you that I AM NO LONGER WILLING to go to the office for work five days a week. The most that I can do is three days or whenever my physical presence is absolutely needed.”
I then ended with the following:
“Feel free to forward this to upper management if need be.”
I clicked Send and the message went straight to his inbox.
Seconds later, my boss’ tone on Teams changed from imposing to a gesture of tolerance:
“Thanks for the email. I don’t think they will see this as a problem.”
I promptly clicked “Like” to end the awkward conversation.
With the house paid off, no car loans, student loans, or credit card debt we couldn’t pay tomorrow, and the kids’ college fully funded, we’re rest assured that NOBODY, not any bank, person, or employer, has financial leverage against us. It also helps that my wife works, and we have enough stash of money scattered in both taxable and tax-advantaged accounts.
Having FU money is crucial– it gives you options to escape a difficult situation. But being FI puts you in a greater position of Fuck You.
I would not have been able to write the email the way it was written otherwise. I promise to let you know if I get fired.