Where’s the End?

I’m on the train back home from Paris to Brussels. This is my last day “on the road” (or “in the air”) for this year. I have been looking forward to this day for several weeks. While I enjoyed almost every day of doing courses and speaking at conferences, I could only enjoy my work because I knew there was an end.

The time I have at home, which starts tonight, will last for 4 weeks. Again, it has an end. After that another period of traveling will start. But the next period will be different from the period that ends now. (I will switch from training by myself to co-training with others.)

Every time I start something, I know there’s an end.

And every next period will be different from the last.

Some people have complained to me they get tired of being on an Agile team. They work sprint after sprint after sprint, for products that have no milestones or release dates anymore. They plan every week, they release every week, they evaluate every week. Basically, every week is the same.

And so people wonder, where is the end?

How is next time different from last time?

Most people need a sense of closure. They need to know things will end, and they want to know when.

My 4-month trip around the world was great. In just 4 months I’ve been to the USA, China, Australia, and a dozen countries in Europe. But it’s especially great that this awesome work life will end in about 15 minutes.

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  • http://profile.typepad.com/myagiletutor MyAgileTutor

    This applies to personal finance, too, and changed my life when I first encountered it. Often, people grow to hate working because they think of it as indefinite. “I’ll have to do this kind of work for another 45 years… and maybe longer, since I won’t have a pension, and I won’t have enough money to retire… I’ll have to work until I’m 95 and drop dead.” Even though this is finite it feels indefinite.
    This is where the notion of serial retirement helps. For example, you work 12 months and you save enough money to pay for 3 months of your family’s living expenses. This means that you can retire for 3 months (less however long you think you’ll need to find your next job). Perhaps you change your situation next time: a higher-paying job, lower expenses, fewer luxuries, and you work 12 months to save enough money to pay for 5 months of “retirement”. Then 8, then 12… it can compound, until eventually you work relatively short periods to take relatively long “retirements”.
    The best part for me: I know that, in the worst case, I have to find a “real job” for a finite amount of time… so there’s an end. This opens me up to take more varied jobs, because I never feel trapped.
    I think people generally underestimate the power this idea has to improve their lives.
    Thanks for sharing this with us.

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