Author Topic: Where do I go from here? Possible career change - how to prepare  (Read 1228 times)


  • Bristles
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This is a tough one for me and I'm hoping for some outsider perspective. Despite the intro, this is a finance question.
I've been with my employer for nearly a decade, I started there straight out of uni. Long story short - without too much identifying information - it got bad. Worked too hard for a boss that berated me when I told him it was too much for one person. So I kept my head down, kept working. After one last big project, I was going to send out resumes. Well, the project kept growing, delays, unrealistic demands and I just took the brunt of the critique and kept working hard. It's the last project, I just need to finish and then get out. Well, no such luck. One day I woke up and I'd snapped. Panic attacks, nightmares, burned out, the whole shebang. Didn't see it coming at the time, but looking back all the signs were there.
So here I am, burned out. I know for a fact that I don't want to return to this manager, no matter how good the pay is. Maybe I'm a bit melodramatic but I'm done with the whole damn company. Problem is, I don't know what I DO want. I worked in a pretty niche field of law - getting a similar job will just mean running into the same people, just from a different perspective. I could get into a different area of law, or just a different career altogether. Or I could start some freelance writing/consulting. My self-confidence is currently shot to all hell so it'll be a while before I can see myself doing that. On top of that, I'd have to take a pay cut but I'm quite alright with that (thank god for MMM and the security it's given me!).

I have my 6 month emergency fund saved up. I will continue to get my normal salary from my current job until I decide to quit. My question is: I'm so uncertain about the future, should I beef up my emergency fund to 12 months? In case I quit and nothing else works out? Or if I want to start freelancing and I need extra cushion until it kicks off? Or is this just my nerves talking and should I stick the course?

Hoping for some wise words! Thanks everyone.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Where do I go from here? Possible career change - how to prepare
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2019, 05:45:08 PM »
Nothing wrong with strengthening your emergency fund but you also have to factor in your mental health.

Chat with friends and ask about what they do.
I recently asked a friend if I could shadow him at his engineering job. I might not make it in for a shadow day but at least I've taken a direction in checking other options.

Check linkedin and other job sites.

It sounds as if you have some options. Maybe consider taking a few weeks off to relax and then gear up for applying.

Best of luck!


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Where do I go from here? Possible career change - how to prepare
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2019, 04:42:02 PM »
Maybe get some counseling for your mental health. If you are having panic attacks and nightmares over your job being too stressful, it might be a good idea.

In the meantime, save up as much as you can in case you need to quit without notice one day and work on figuring out what direction you should go. If it truly gets too bad, quit, even if something else is not lined up.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Where do I go from here? Possible career change - how to prepare
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2019, 11:14:27 AM »
I lack wisdom, just offering ideas/perspectives.

1. Burned out, but your skills are skill useful. Do what you can to transition to good pay elsewhere rather than bad pay elsewhere.
2. Also, of course, do what you can to look for good conditions.
3. Read "Ask A Manager" for related cases.
4. Use What Color Is Your Parachute to remind yourself of what you do well and what you like.
5. Burnout --> things will look better when you rest. Do what you can to rest, even now, and during your transitions to your next steps.
6. Preparations depend somewhat on your country, its economy, the state of your profession, etc. Are you in the USA?
7. Best options depend in part on how close to FIRE you are. How close are you? What are your expenses? Would you still be saving even if you got a job at the lower end of what's available to you?
8. Anyway, best of luck!!!
9. ETA: In my opinion, 6 months emergency fund means you should address the burnout directly. Barring surprises in the answers to 6 and 7 above, making the career and self care decisions you need to make is more important than specific financial moves.
10. In other words, I interpret having a 6 month emergency fund as a financial indicator that you can survive and prosper. Putting off the decisions would therefore be counterproductive - from a financial perspective, based on what you've said so far, I assume that delaying to "beef up the e-fund" would be procrstinating, ultimately less productive than immediately addressing the decisions of what to do, where to work, and how to refresh yourself from being burned out.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2019, 11:33:06 AM by BicycleB »


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Where do I go from here? Possible career change - how to prepare
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2019, 09:15:03 AM »
Hi @Nederstash !

Maybe you've already come to this conclusion but I would suggest you leave all the decision making and thinking to later in the future. You still have a while to go on your sick leave so there is no rushing these decisions.

I know, I know, you are a good girl and you want to be prepared and ready and have thought about all the options, trade offs and consequences. Yes. But it can wait.

You are finding hard to read a book and do your grocery, right? So why exactly do you think you can make a career change in that state of mind/body?

I can understand your aversion to working with that manager and that company and wanting to have a plan ready so you don't fall right back into that life. The "this situation or nothing" is typical of burnout, apparently. Give it time and you will get a bit more perspective. Also, trust yourself that you will not allow that shit to go down again.

You are probably finding 4 months off interminable and you have 6 months of emergency fund saved, you have soooooo much time. Also, it seems you live in the Netherlands and you guys have great social security. You may get unemployment benefits, you may ask your company to work in a different department, you may sue of company for constructive dismissal, they may make you redundant, you may come back and give the finger all around until you decide to quit on your own terms. You may work in the coffee shop around the corner for a year before you decide to go this or that way.

Right now your self confidence is shot to hell because you tried hard, for very long, to go down one route. And it didn't work. So you think you are...not quite so great. But that's not true. You are resourceful. You have been taking care of yourself for a long time, it's just that, just like me, you selected to put your energy and priorities in some areas and not so much in others. Now you know how it feels to be burnout. Now you will take all this amazing brain power and social network you have and protect your mental health.

The steps and how exactly you will do that, nobody knows and it's pretty irrelavant. But I have trust in you that you will make decisions based on "how best not to turn myself into potato puree".

Good luck!


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