The Key to Salary Happiness

What I noticed in my own blissfully short, 17-year engineering career.

I was typically able to streamline and optimize the duties on my job description down 20 hours/week from 40 within six month of taking a new job. Of course, I still had to sit in my office for a minimum of 40 hours/week, but I could usually read stuff of interest to me or work on personal projects to occupy the time. This effectively doubled my hourly wage.

Getting “promoted” with say a 10% raise to start the optimization cycle again was effectively a pay cut for me. That’s the reason I cycled through five different Fortune 500 companies during the 1980’s. You’ll usually make more money jumping ship with a better offer.

Eventually, I found myself retired and completely optimized at age 38 once I’d accumulated enough capital to live off the 4% rule. Once there, my annual work ration was reduced to a few hours of tax planning and portfolio balancing at year end. I just never found it was necessary to submit to the supervision of an employer to give my life a purpose.