seven-dwarfsWhat the……?? Mr GF has gone back to work?

But am I not suppose to be enjoying the fruits of my many years sweat and toil? Not answering to the sound of the alarm clock going off at 5am, or deciding what I want to do today rather than what someone else wants me to do?

Don’t worry, it’s not a bad thing. In fact, it’s actually a good thing.

So I got a call on Friday from a guy who I’ve previously worked for on labour hire assignments. He phones me every few months to “see how I’m doing, and would I be interested in doing some more work for him”. So far it’s been the big “thanks but no thanks”.

Anyway, he’s got a small job starting Monday (today) operating an excavator digging some trenches on a new construction site for a couple of days. Could I help him out as he hasn’t got anyone else lined-up.

Well, the price was right and the work is only for a couple of days this week, so yeah, why not.

So why would I consider this to be a good thing? Why would a happily, early-retired bloke like myself want to do any more work? Isn’t that the whole point of retiring early?

Well, the reason is……because I can.

The great thing about returning to the workforce, for me, is that it’s by choice, and that’s what this thing called “Financial Independence” gives you. Choice to work, choice to work part time, choice to do volunteer work, choice to do something I’ve always wanted to do, or choice not to work at all.

I’ve previously written about my reasons for retiring early. Having to no longer put up with the early mornings, the tedious drive to and from work, and putting up with shouty, rude, disrespectful bosses who think they can treat you how they wish because they’re the boss.

And so I developed the ‘Rules of Work”.

  • No more than 30 minutes travel each way.
  • No overtime work without adequate compensation.
  • No working for rude, bully-boy bosses.

This job gets ticked off on all three rules so I am happy to take it on and since it’s only for a short time, it won’t become the drudgery that a full-time job may become. And what’s more, I can genuinely call this a side-hustle cos it’s not a full time job. 

So I’m packing my lunch box, digging out the Hi-Viz work clothes, dusting off the hard-hat, and setting off to work for ‘da’ man’ again, for a short time at least. And I may even be rather looking forward to it too.

Have I done the right thing or should I continue to enjoy my new-found retirement? Have you done something similar, given up working full time only to be drawn back with an offer you can’t refuse? 


UPDATE: I’ve finished my first day doing just 6.5 hours which is a pretty good way to ease back into it. Getting up at 5am was a bit tough but at least it’s already daylight at that time now.

My boss on this job is a good guy so can tick that box off and I’ll be back out there again tomorrow to finish digging my trenches and then backfill them after the services have been laid.

And then back to retirement on Wednesday, or rather, back to working on my new online business. So am I really retired or not? Hmmmmm…..

18 thoughts on “Ho, hi, ho, it’s off to work I go”

  1. Congrats on your new dig Martin. (See what I did there?)

    That is the ultimate version of FI – you can do whatever you want to do – and you’re doing exactly that 🙂

    I wouldn’t quite describe it as retirement, but you are 100% financially independent!


    1. Good one Tristan, lol. Yes, I can do whatever I want and doing some paid work is all about choice. However, it’s got me thinking about what retirement might look like long term as, like most people, I still have that traditional image of what retirement is. You know, joining the bowls club, going on cruises with other retirees, pottering in the garden, none of which is me. Well, not yet anyway.

  2. Nice framework for what you will and will not accept. I’m glad to see you’re taking on the opportunity. When we reach FI in the DD household, I look forward to similar types of short term opportunities.

    Thanks for sharing the story as it was actually a bit inspiring. It is always nice to see a vision of what a future FIRE day looks like.

    1. Hi there Matt, I have to say it was unintentional as I really did have no thoughts of going back to work but now that I’ve done it, it’s not so bad. I have to say that waking up at 5am is something I don’t miss. But I have left the door open to do some more short term work again in the future. Just don’t want it to become a habit. That would be too much like……work!!

  3. I say go for it. Working on your own terms is a whole different thing. It’s actually an enjoyable experience for many reasons.

    I’m in a similar situation. After being “retired” for the past year, I am looking at going back. In addition to the consulting work and a few online projects I’ve been doing on the side, I’m in the process of starting a new business. This would actually require going back into an office again. But it would be my office. We’ll see how it goes. But like I said, working on your own terms is completely different than working on someone else’s terms.

    1. Absolutely has to be on your own terms FS, otherwise you’re giving up one of the fundamentals of early retirement, and that is that you can do what you want when you want. Obviously that needs a little refinement if a client is paying you to do a job but the freedom of being able to say ‘no’ is pretty awesome. Is the office you mention in your own home or do you have to commute?

  4. Bravo! It’s all about having that F-You money that you can work where and whenever you want. 🙂 I think early retirement is all about opening up to life’s adventures–and that includes taking work when you feel like it. Work is still an important part of “retirement”–it just means money is no longer a concern and you can focus on what you truly love doing.

    1. Bang on the money Mrs PP. After going back to work for two whole days, it reminds me of why I gave it it up in the first place. But I haven’t shut the door to a bit more, very occasional part time work and my ‘rules’ will always apply.

  5. There’s nothing like returning to something to remind you of why you left in the first place. You are doing it by choice, because you can , and if it makes you a little uncomfortable, then that can only be a good thing. Perhaps instead of “retirement”, you should be thinking “rewirement” (I can’t find who first coined this term, but I think it is a much better way of thinking, particularly for FIRE).

    1. “Rewirement”, I love that term Mrs ETT. It’s so true. I have been contemplating what retirement means to me and have been struggling a bit as it still suggests being over 65, bowling clubs, and everything else we tend to associate with ‘retirees’. I don’t even like to use that term when people ask what I do because of the connotations it infers. From now on I’m going to say I’m rewired. Either people will think I’ve developed a lisp or they’ll want to know more.

  6. This is a great spot to be in. I can’t wait to dump the daily trek to work and instead watch the other lemmings do it. I would say you’re still retired and choosing to spend your time how you like. Congrats!

    1. Hey there Mr HNRE and thanks for coming by and commenting. Yes, it is a great place to be and I only wish more people would understand how possible it is to achieve. How long to go before you can pull the plug on being a lemming?

  7. Great points, getting back to work because you CAN not because you HAVE to. Going back to work must have felt like riding a bike.

    Waking up at 5am.. That’s a lot of resilience 🙂 I would never ever be able to wake up that early.. Kudos to you!

    1. Hey there FS and thanks for dropping by. I wouldn’t say it was like riding a bike. I’d forgotten my ‘get ready for work’ routine so had to double check I had everything. lunch (most important), operator’s certificates, water, safety gear etc, and coffee in driving cup. I made it through without any hitches.

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