Rethinking Your Career? Yes, You Have Options

These past few months have required all of us to make adjustments to our normal daily routines, no question. But for many of us, these past few months have also created an opportunity for reflection about how we envision our lives and how our jobs integrate with the life we wish to lead. Perhaps this period of self-reflection has led to the realization that sitting in a car for 1.5 hours every day driving to and from work is wasted time which could be spent strengthening our relationships with our family, improving our overall health, or increasing our knowledge about topics which interest us. Or maybe this brief separation from workplace drama and politics has us dreading the day we return to the office. Maybe you’ve discovered a passion and want to devote more time to turn this passion into a new career.

Now, certainly not all of us will feel this way. Before I started FivePoints Financial Planning, I was always envious of those who enjoyed their jobs, enjoyed the people they worked with, and felt a sense of purpose in their work. But for those who do feel unfulfilled or dissatisfied, know that there are options. Sure, these options may take a few years of planning before coming to fruition, but nothing worth achieving is ever easy.

One of the many reasons which prevent people from pursuing other opportunities is uncertainty. The human brain is wired to seek for certainty in everything that we do. One of my favorite quotes comes from Daniel Crosby in his book ‘The Behavioral Investor’ where he states “To strive for certainty is to doom oneself to mediocrity.” While this quote is more closely related to investing, I believe it applies to our everyday lives as well. Just because you earn a decent salary, good benefits, job security, etc. doesn’t mean you need to relinquish yourself to this role if you are not satisfied with what you do. There are always other considerations which come into play, but with thoughtful planning you really can achieve things you may think are not feasible. 

For example, let’s assume a scenario where you decide to take another position closer to home which will reduce your daily commute, decrease your daily stress, and increase your time available to spend with your family, but comes with a 25% reduction in pay. Tough decision for sure. But if by taking this new role you feel a sense of purpose and belonging, and are able and willing to work longer because you enjoy what you do and are no longer counting down the years until you can stop work completely, in effect you have reduced the amount of withdrawals you need to make from your savings in retirement which means you may not need to stash as much into savings in the first place! Many people have no desire to fully retire and never work again and thus the option to work part-time doing work we enjoy can increase our personal levels of work/life satisfaction both now and in retirement, whether that be 5 or 25 years from today. Even if working longer is not a desirable option, by simply avoiding ‘lifestyle creep’ you could realistically make this hypothetical change with little to no long-term effects.

This article should not be construed as ‘you should quit your job today,’ but rather serves as a reminder for folks that while you may feel stuck, there are options and opportunities to improve your life without making significant financial sacrifices.

For questions on how to financially navigate a career change, please feel free to reach out to us via our website.

Andrew Langdon is a fee-only financial planner based in Peachtree City, GA serving clients in the Greater Atlanta area.  FivePoints Financial Planning provides financial planning and investment management services to young families and pre-retirees who are looking to achieve financial freedom.  Services are offered on a project or ongoing basis.

Disclaimer: This article is provided for general information and illustration purposes only. Nothing contained in the material constitutes tax advice, a recommendation for purchase or sale of any security, or investment advisory services. I encourage you to consult a financial planner, accountant, and/or legal counsel for advice specific to your situation. Reproduction of this material is prohibited without written permission from Andrew Langdon, and all rights are reserved. Read the full Disclaimer.