Author Topic: Semi-FI Career change... how do you do it?  (Read 4679 times)

dividendman

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Semi-FI Career change... how do you do it?
« on: August 24, 2014, 01:57:23 PM »
Hi everyone,

Basically I don't enjoy my job but it pays a lot. I have ~500k saved up in investments (index funds) with 100k of that in 401k/IRA type accounts, no debt, and, if I moved back to my home town my yearly expenses would probably be < 25k.  Anyway, so here is my dilemma: If I stick it out in this tech job (managing engineering teams) which is away from friends and family I am banking 100k+ per year... but I hate it.

I want to move back home and work part time maybe in some type of entry level position in finance or at a bank since I enjoy that kind of stuff so I don't really have to use my savings to live off of and they can just grow. Basically I want to quit my current gig and go home and do that but I can't bring myself to just take the plunge.

Has anyone done this? What was it like? Any regrets? I'm 32 and single with no kids and I think my degree (in math) is good enough to transfer to entry level positions in banks/finance maybe with some additional certifications or something. But I also don't know if I can just give out my resume and get a job like that since my resume is all techy stuff and has been managing large teams lately, I really just want a part time gig in the finance world - will people think I'm overqualified/not qualified even for entry level positions? These are the things I think about.

Giving up such a high salary is so hard, especially since if I just stick it out for a few more years I should have million (which was my goal at 25 when my NW was zero, to have a million by 35).

Sigh, every day I go into work and am just miserable but I'm really good at it and will definitely go up the ladder and make even more... to what end I don't know. I also work a lot, like 10-12 hours a day which sucks too but I'm not one of those people who can just slack off at work, I'll try to do a good job even if I hate it.

sandandsun

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Re: Semi-FI Career change... how do you do it?
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2014, 03:22:49 PM »
I'm in exactly the same position and have decided to stick it out for at least four more years, but likely eight (I pretty much gave myself that 4 year out in order to be able to stomach staying in the position long term)... That has helped me- having an ideal quit date and a 'good enough' quit date in the event I am just too miserable to make it 8.
I'm interested to see what advice you get... I'm sure there are many others on this site who are sticking it out in a job they dislike because of the pay and how it impacts years to FI...

wizofloz

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Re: Semi-FI Career change... how do you do it?
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2014, 03:41:35 PM »
I am getting ready to make a similar leap. I'm also 32 but have a wife and two kids. I quit a job I hated making 150k four years ago to be home more often and I took a job making about 110k. Four years in I can't stand this job so I've decided to run my own business. The main issue I have had with my previous employers is the managers and the way the company treated employees. It remains to be seen if this is a good idea or not but worst case scenario I would just go back to work somewhere if the business doesn't work out.

steveo

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Re: Semi-FI Career change... how do you do it?
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2014, 03:44:40 PM »
I think you should stick it out. I am paid well but not great and I am nowhere near your financial situation however I am also married with 3 kids. For me personally it makes sense to save enough to retire for good.

dividendman

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Re: Semi-FI Career change... how do you do it?
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2014, 03:56:44 PM »
Thanks for the responses - though I was hoping more for "Yeah, totally do it man! You can get a part time job at a bank/financial institution and your life will be marshmallows and rainbows forever!" :P

Sandandsun - I was thinking that at first too, just stick it out. Then I started thinking... how many 4 year intervals do I have left in life? 15 - if I'm lucky. Do I want to spend 7% of my remaining life at this? And this is the age where we can still enjoy a lot. Then I started thinking... let's say I had a million... then what? I think I'd still do the finance gig route since I find it interesting. I don't know.

Steveo - yeah, I will probably stick it out for another year, but I think if I could get a fairly well paying part time gig (like 20k/y working 20hr/wk) I would probably jump now. I just don't know how to make that transition. I agree that if you have a family and more responsibilities it's much harder to even contemplate what I'm doing unless you are really at your FI number.

Wizofloz - you are my hero! I don't think I can just up and create a business like you did, mostly because I'd be concerned about capital outlays (of course this depends widely on the business venture).

Calvawt

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Re: Semi-FI Career change... how do you do it?
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2014, 03:58:48 PM »
As a Chief Financial Officer, I usually will consider someone with a math degree for finance positions (same with Economics).  They teach the skills that make successful analysts.  I have a financial analyst right now with a math degree.  He really gets the technical analysis piece and we have been teaching him the accounting side over the last year with good results (being a hard worker helps too).  If you play up your skills and managerial experience, you will easily land a finance or accounting gig. 

I would suggest you take a course online to get familiar with debits/credits and accounting terms if you are not already comfortable with them.  The ability to understand how transactions affect the income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow is critical.  It also helps to be able to read those statements and see highlights/concerns at a glance.

Bottom line, I say go for it if you are not happy.  It looks like you could easily handle it financially.  Good luck!

Cassie

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Re: Semi-FI Career change... how do you do it?
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2014, 03:59:27 PM »
As young as you are I would stick it out a few more years to reach the million.  then you can move home & take your time finding a p.t. position that you would enjoy doing. 

Suit

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Re: Semi-FI Career change... how do you do it?
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2014, 04:07:05 PM »
You mention that if you move back your expenses would be less than 25k a year. If you can get it down to around 20k per year, you've probably got enough now but if you want a buffer or to spend close to 25k a year, why not work until you have $625,000 and then call it quits rather than wait the full 4 years to hit $1 mil?

RichMoose

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Re: Semi-FI Career change... how do you do it?
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2014, 04:07:40 PM »
As young as you are I would stick it out a few more years to reach the million.  then you can move home & take your time finding a p.t. position that you would enjoy doing.

+1

larmando

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Re: Semi-FI Career change... how do you do it?
« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2014, 04:08:29 PM »
Just apply and see if you can get the job you want, and if so change.
If you hate where you live *and* your job, what's the point in staying, if you would be well off anyway in another situation?

SondraRose

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Re: Semi-FI Career change... how do you do it?
« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2014, 04:13:02 PM »
Go for it!  Life is too short to do something you hate.

I have changed careers several times and never regretted it.  Now 51, semi-retired, semi- FI and working as a life coach from home...or anywhere on the road, if I so desire.

dividendman

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Re: Semi-FI Career change... how do you do it?
« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2014, 04:23:24 PM »
Thanks again for the responses.

vawt - very informative. I took a look at your blog and read several posts already, it's very good! I know you just started blogging your journey but I really do hope you keep the blogging going! You mention that you consider folks with math degrees - have you ever taken someone who has transitioned from a non-finance field? How do you suggest people approach that shift? I am thinking of doing the Canadian Securities Course by correspondence and then moving back to Canada once I complete it and save enough money. Then start applying to financial institutions. Risk management seems very interesting to me in particular. I will definitely brush up on all of the basic accounting/balance sheet/income statements before I make any change.

Cassie + TuxedoEagle - yes, that is the safest route, however, I thought I could get to happy faster by doing the transition sooner.

Suit - Yeah. My plan is to not spend any of my savings and have my part time gig in finance pay for all of my living expenses. Making that transition is tough. I've interviewed so many people and been an interviewee myself for my various tech positions. I was always very confident because it was within my sphere - I am an expert, I've never not been given an offer. I'm not trying to toot my own horn, I'm just saying confidence does matter. I'm not sure how to take my hefty tech resume and tailor it to different career path with a much less experience level which will also show in interviews I'm sure.

larmando - very good suggestion. I might just take the try and apply and see what happens. If I fail to get interviews, try something else.

SondraRose - thanks! How did you tailor your resume/interviews to find positions for which you weren't experienced? Is it the usual "focus on soft skills" advice or something else you did to successfully transition careers?

Weedy Acres

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Re: Semi-FI Career change... how do you do it?
« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2014, 04:32:24 PM »
I was in a similar position at your age: well paid in a job I did well, high savings, single/no kids, but realized that wasn't what I wanted to be when I grew up.  The first step is figuring what you want to move TO, which it sounds like you have.  I did the same: I didn't want to crunch numbers all day, I wanted to run a factory.

Step 2 is determine the different options for achieving that new goal.  For me, one was just switch over and get an entry level manufacturing supervision job.  The other was get an MBA and use that to change careers.  I decided the MBA made more sense, and researched the 2 schools that worked the best for my career change. 

And then I waited, not sure on when I should take the plunge.  Man, it was hard to leave the golden handcuffs.  I lucked out because as I was dithering, my employer did a restructure that eliminated our department.  Woo hoo!!!  6 months severace, baby.

I think I had about the highest pre-MBA salary in my class.  And I'm likely about the only one that took a pay cut after my MBA (still 6 figures, though).  But I was deliriously happy in my new career.

Many here are saying stick it out and then "retire."  I say, if you want to continue to work after FI (and I did), life is to short to stick with a crappy job.  Happiness is what MMM is about.  It's not all about life begins after full FI.  It's about save like a maniac so you have options at any point in your life and can pursue your dream.

So back to you.  It sounds like you've got the skills you need, you just want to side step over to a different ladder.  I would start job hunting, doing a couple things:
1.  Develop a good story that connects the dots.  How has your career path led you to what you want to be now?  Tell that story well, because employers won't see it on their own.
2.  Dumb down/adapt your resume to tell that story.  Don't scare them with how much you make now.  In the interim between losing my job and starting b-school, I decided to go work some minimum wage factory jobs, to get a feel for what it was like from the floor level.  I went to a couple temp agencies and told them what I wanted to do, and they looked at me like I was from outer space.  So I changed my resume and went to a couple more with a new story.  Instead of "Director of Dept X" I just listed my job as "Dept X" and my duties as "general office."  I said I wanted to make stuff instead of sit at a computer, and that was compelling enough to get me a couple temp gigs. 

Go for the marshmallows and rainbows, it's totally worth it!

Calvawt

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Re: Semi-FI Career change... how do you do it?
« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2014, 04:35:21 PM »
Thanks for the blog plug!  I really enjoy putting my thoughts down on paper these days.

The financial analyst I hired to work in the accounting department actually came from an insurance company where he did nothing accounting/finance related.  It was obvious his work ethic was exceptional and he had a former boss that also works for me that recommended him.  I would have interviewed him either way, though.

You can hire from a resume or you can hire for the right fit.  Sometimes you get lucky and find both.  This particular guy was the right fit for my team.  You can teach them journal entries, fixed assets, etc, but you can't teach work ethic and team spirit.  Once I realized hiring for fit was a good course to take, I have been much more open to interviewing people with a different resume.

I also hired someone with a math degree at a former company.  It was a similar situation, but he had some relevant experience for that particular role.

If you have a field of interest, definitely join that area's certification organization.  You can take some online classes or work towards getting that professional designation for risk management or whatever it is you want.  The Canadian Securities Course will probably have lots of study material available.  Getting a designation is always a good way to get your foot in the door if you don't have lots of experience. 

Being exceptionally prepared for interviews like knowing lots about the company and having several questions ready to ask are good things.  Being upbeat and conveying a hard working mindset always help.

Either way you could probably get a job right now as a financial analyst at the right company.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2014, 05:07:20 PM by vawt »

dividendman

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Re: Semi-FI Career change... how do you do it?
« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2014, 06:07:11 PM »
And then I waited, not sure on when I should take the plunge.  Man, it was hard to leave the golden handcuffs.  I lucked out because as I was dithering, my employer did a restructure that eliminated our department.  Woo hoo!!!  6 months severace, baby.

Woody Acres - Haha, yes, I am secretly hoping this happens to me to kind of give me the shove I need. It's very unlikely though. I will take your advice on 1. and 2. that you mentioned. It's also heartening to see other people who have done it. I considered the MBA route too. The investment is quite large and I'm not looking for a full time position, at least not at first, but perhaps it's something to reconsider.

vawt - good to hear. I need to "dumb down" my resume like Woody Acres has suggested so I get considered for these roles. I will definitely join the requisite organizations before I make the switch. Ideally I won't make the switch until I have the new job in hand (or is that just putting another barrier into taking the plunge?).