I had been planning for more than a year to go to Alaska for three weeks during May and June 2012, but since taking the Deere job I lost the vacation time that I did have and will not have any accrued vacation time until September. I work for the man.
I was in talks with a friend to do a route on Mt. Hunter and in thoughts with myself to do the Cassin or West Rib on Denali. I have a couple of friends that would probably go with me to Denali. Every mountaineer in the US wants to go there at some point. It is like the big goal that can be fathomed. Personally, Pakistan has far more opportunity in terms of altitude, new routes, and difficult routes. However, I have never been to Alaska and I have wanted to go for a decade.
This is a really interesting decision. I'm giving up on a dream to make more money. I feel like a total sell out. I feel like I am buying into the ideal of delayed gratification that we call retirement. It is a ridiculous concept, spending your most healthy years behind a desk saving money so that when you are old and not able to physically do what you did before, you have the time to do what you desire. That is part of the reason I had a hard time going to Deere. Many of the perks like 401(k) matching and pension benefits and promotions have rigid requirements based solely on years of service. Why do anything spectacular if there is no possibility of being promoted in the next year and a half?
This is enough of my whining. I am ridiculous. I make more money than most households in the US, and billions of people in the world, I enjoy more benefits and perks like clean water and not living in a war zone than billions of people can claim. I will tell you what, coaching is opening my eyes to education. Education in the US is bogus. Kids get three or four months off for the summer, they get two to six weeks off over Christmas and New Year's and a week of spring break and a week of fall break. Since beginning engineering in January of last year the only break longer than four days I have had was 11 calendar days around Christmas and New Year's, which is incredibly fortunate that Deere takes that week off, because they do not have to shut down that week. Still these kids, and my former self included, get used to these numerous vacations. I see in teachers and students that they do not understand that the world works year round. Is it better to complain about a problem or be ignorant of that problem?
In summary, I don't know what exactly I am complaining about. I chose my line of work and I suppose that I knew that engineering was a 51 week a year business. I could have just as easily chosen mountaineering. Or had I known a thing or two eight years ago I could have gone into investment banking. I can't believe anyone read to the end of this post to listen to all this whining. I'm going to make a great 1%er some day. Anyway, I'm not going to Alaska this spring, it is my choice, it was not taken away from me. I simply chose a different route.