Why we set career goals

Because we are aggressively pursuing financial independence and the ability to permanently quit our day jobs at relatively early ages, it might seem silly that we set goals for those day jobs. Today, we’ll talk about why it’s important for us to be successful in our careers and how excelling at our day jobs actually helps our financial independence journey. Ms. Vine’s 101 tasks list includes several career focused goals. When that list wraps in June, 2020, her next list will probably include another set of day job milestones she’d like to achieve. Why? Are we not all in on this financial independence thing?

The first reason we set career goals is the unknown future. The closer we get to Financial Independence Day, the more confident we are that we’ll leave our careers behind. But there are still something like three hundred weeks as of this writing left until we expect to reach financial independence as of this writing. Many factors could accelerate or slow that timeline. And of course, there are the things–health issues, accidents, job loss, to name a few–that we can’t plan for. The market’s performance could also affect our plan. So because we can’t know for sure whether we’ll be ready, willing and able to wave goodbye to those careers as anticipated, we continue to pay attention to those day job related milestones.

The second reason is that it makes our day jobs more fun. As others have noted, most of the journey toward financial freedom is waiting for your savings to sufficiently compound. That doesn’t require much attention and it isn’t very interesting to watch on a daily basis. If we just showed up to the office, wanting things to stay exactly the same for the next two thousand days or so, things would get pretty boring. Having goals to aim for and milestones we’d like to achieve helps the days go by faster and enriches our work experience. We’re both spending more of our waking hours working than doing anything else, so it makes sense to optimize that time through goal-setting.

The third reason is that it may increase our earnings. Setting goals and performing well makes it more likely that we’ll get promoted or have other opportunities to earn more income. Every raise is a chance to accelerate our financial independence timeline. Not only are we happier (generally) when we’re doing a good job, but we’re also more likely to get paid more. With every new opportunity that comes our way, we’re still considering the big goal of financial independence, so we might not accept every better paying job that comes our way. But those offers are nice to get and also improve our job security with our current employers.

These are are three of the main reasons we haven’t turned our backs on our day jobs just yet. We still devote plenty of energy and focus on growing those careers in a way that feels reasonable given our timeline and goals.

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