When can I "hang up the towel" at a well-paying job and pursue my real passion?
Context: I am a senior in college tracking towards a full-time offer from a well-established investment firm after graduation. While I am excited, grateful, and feel relatively prepared (business major for the past four years and have interned in finance) lately I've been feeling the pressure on if I should instead follow my "true" passion since childhood: writing. Assuming I don't need to become a novelist, but would be fulfilled with simply a more creative occupation like a marketing assistant, creative coordinator, etc - my question is this: At what practical, financially stable point can I "throw in the towel" with my finance job in order to pursue a career I am much more passionate about but will pay much less? Is this advisable in the first place? Thanks for any advice! #business #career #finance #creative #art #marketing #entry-level
Another thing that folks often don't consider is the fact that when you do something professionally, it may not be as fun as you thought. Usually the pressure of the business aspect takes its toll on what you love doing. My advice to anyone in this situation, is to not feel like you need to choose one or the other ... but you can find satisfaction in making some good money and doing what you love - but those two things may not be completely intertwined. Life is a balance. But if you hate what you do for a living, by all means look for an alternative ... life is too short.
Toby recommends the following next steps:
Here's the thing: if I'm reading your situation correctly and you're getting ready to take an entry-level analyst job at an investment firm (I'm guessing investment banking?), I'm not sure how much of a work-life balance you can expect to have as other commenters have suggested. Have you talked with current employees in the job you'll be entering? It's not uncommon for IB analysts to put in 80+ hours per week.
If this is the case and you don't have the time and energy to pursue your love of writing, are you still okay taking this job? Keep in mind, you don't have to do it forever. My impression is that most IB analysts move on after about 3 years--either to get an MBA, switch into other finance roles, or take their savings and start that avocado farm or launch their own custom muffler company or whatever else their passion project is. Of course, others love the life, get promoted faster than you can say "due diligence", and continue working 80+ hour weeks for their entire careers.
You may fall into that first group. If so, you know finance, so do the math! :) What sort of lifestyle do you want to have? If you can't get that right away from writing or by switching to a new job, how much do you have to save and invest to give yourself some cushion as you adjust? How long do you have to work in IB to save what you need?
Right now, you may feel that you're staring down the barrel of what may be a few really tough years. If I'm reading wrong and you're not pursuing IB, early career finance roles are tough. It's okay to not be sure. It's okay to say "you know what, no way" and decline your job offer. (Think carefully before you do that though if you don't have another means of supporting yourself right away.) But I also think that you don't know how you'll feel about something before you try it. Make a plan to bail, but give it a try.
I hope you find peace in all of this as it can certainly be difficult. Talk to others around you and try not to get in your own head too much.
Best of luck. Take things one day at a time and everything will work out.
"I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don't want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love" -- Jim Carrey
A job for money can always be a backup plan if you decide you don't want to pursue writing in the long term. Life is long and you can change careers as many times as you want.
If you do want to be financially secure first, you can always write on the side to build up your skills. For example, I've done National Novel Writing Month where I wrote a 50,000 word novel in 1 month, just for the sake of practicing my writing. It was fun, but I didn't try to publish it. Writing is always an option as a hobby and a job!
This is a good question. If your Monday to Friday job is not your passion. Then see if you can work on your passion in your free time.
I worked in morning news for years. I enjoyed it But it was not my passion. Sports and comics are my true passion. Finally after a few years of looking for a job in sports I found a part time sports logging job. After a bit of talking with my supervisor I was able to work both jobs.
My supervisor agreed to allow me to work both jobs because neither job was a conflict of interest. I also agreed to only work the sprts job once or twice on weekday nights and once on the weekends. But if my day job needed me at anytime that was my priority.
So my advice is to find a part time job that relates to your passion. It's never too early to try and find a passion job that makes you happy.
Never give up. Finding side jobs is not difficult. You just have to look for them.
I've debated this a lot. It really depends on what you value in terms of your professional and personal life. Some questions to consider first because I don't have all the context here:
1. Are you able to work on your passions on the weekends?
2. Are you satisfied doing both? Are you able to do both?
3. Would you be able to finance a full transition out of finance? Timeline?
4. Is there value in working in finance that is transferrable based on your values and personal/professional goals?
I think in general it comes down to your values, priorities and tolerance for risk/ambiguity.
Balancing passions, and careers is something so many of us do. One thing I'll say is that it is possible to pursue your passion, outside of your "day job" or wherever it is you spend your 9-5 hours. Almost every one of my colleagues in the world of technology sales have passions they pursue outside of work, and often their work helps to enable them to truly pursue their passion fully. In fact a few point out that they're favorite thing about working, is being able to not only follow their passions, but constantly find new things to be passionate about!
Kicking off your career in finance, you may find you get a bit more freedom to write about whatever you choose to write about, at the pace you choose to work. Also, remember that a career is a journey. The world is full of brilliant creative people, who didn't become full time writers, artists or musicians until much later on in life! There is no "correct" path in the career space, and that is also true in the creative space.
Just remember, whatever you choose to do, keep writing and doing the things that bring you joy in life.
In order to let the baton get off your hand, you need to decide whether financially or mentally you are ready to run the next leg of the marathon. As one grows in time, wisdom prevails and helps you determine whether the next mile would help you achieve your life goals.
Start off with a mission statement; how do you want to be recognized at your retirement age (if you dont want to retire, do you have plans).
Then work backwards & plan to run different legs of the marathon.
Most importantly, life goals are independent of career goals. Both hit cross roads or they run in parallel. Determine where does your passion fit, whether in your career or parallel to your career; i'm sure you will find answers
Cheers and All the best!
Hope this helps and good luck!
Hope this helps!
I would encourage you to pursue something fulfilling early on. If that is not possible you should look into how much money you want to save up while you are at you high paying job. You are fresh out of school so I would not expect a huge amount of money without some experience. Look into the FIRE movement, maybe you can learn something from that approach.
I would encourage you to seek out other folks who share your passion so you can explore it as a hobby, have access to feedback, and keep yourself accountable and practicing, when you’re ready.
Allison recommends the following next steps:
This is a tough question and one that there is not a specific answer. However, like some of the previous answers, you have to decided when you are financially stable enough to make that transition. That being said you can still pursue your passion in our off hours.
The best option is to find a career that you are passionate about and spend your time doing that. Where ever you are most passionate is likely where you will be most successful in the long term. Just be willing to be persistent and work hard. Good luck!
That is a great question. I don't think this is an all or nothing choice.
There are careers in finance that require great writing skills.
A few items to look into are types of careers within the larger companies at finance companies such as:
internal communications, brand communications, copy writing, financial reports (Annual stockholder reports), marketing, etc.
For instance social media roles are in high demand right now.
Finding a way to combine your finance mind and your writing passion would probably bring you the most satisfaction and wouldn't require you having to "hang up the towel" and just muscle through and instead have a career you enjoy.
I have a friend who is a technical editor for technical publications. It's a niche but it works for him.
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Knowing that you have this goal, I would map out my next few years with that in mind. I would work the "safe" financial job for as long as I could stomach it. I would live at home, save money like crazy and do whatever I needed to do to be debt free. The more you can save, the quicker you can "safely" transition to living your dream.
At the same time as getting your financial house in order, I would answer all of the important questions about your writing dream and learn as much as I could about it. What do you want to write? What do you want to write about? Can I make a living from writing? If so, how would I do that? Can I write (it takes more than just skill to be a good writer)?
Figure those things out while you have the safety net of the finance job.
Also - and this is the marketer in me talking - use that time to start building a following online. Become active in the online writing communities. Create pages for Grace the writer and get out there. Post some short works and get feedback. Let people know you're out there.
In this imagined scenario, you could theoretically work for three years in finance and quit with a good amount of money saved, a clear idea of your plan to move forward and some groundwork laid to grow upon.
Since everyone else already covered the philosophical side of the question, I'm going for a different approach. Assuming you've already decided you will work at a job you aren't crazy enough until you can afford to strike out on your own, the question was, how long does this take? Let's talk money.
Because, it depends on how you manage your money. How much will it cost to "act the part" of an Investment person? Clothes, drycleaning, makeup, jewelry, car, etc? What about "lifestyle creep?" Are you familiar with the FIRE movement? (Financial Independence, Retire Early) If not, I recommend you look into it. Yes, you can save like crazy, invest wisely, and get out early.
If this is your plan, you need to articulate specific goals and action steps to achieve them. Otherwise, things come along, and before you know it, you are 45 years old, and further away than you started. Marriage, kids, house, divorce, etc. , asking yourself, "where did my life go?"
I also think you should explore some of the previous answers, which contain a lot of wisdom. I just wanted to address the immediate question. Figure out how much you need to save, and do it. But also realize that, as we get older, our inclination to take such "risks" diminishes. So, if you wait, even if you can safely afford it, you may never do it.
Wishing you the best, whichever path you choose!
That being said, you could work in your job and do writing on the side - there are many occupations related to writing, maybe there's one in the financial field as well.
That being said, if you answer I cannot live without writing and this is my superpower/talent/ambition, you shouldn't sacrifice time spent doing something else. I"m a big believer that financial gain and recognition will come in time as long as you are passionate and strict about your interests - don't take a job doing something else. Just know that it may take time but it'll happen for you!