Why I Decided to Make a Career Change

Why I Decided to Make a Career ChangeWell Thriftaholics, we’ve got some more life-changing news to announce to you. After 6 1/2 years at my current job and nearly a decade working in and around the funeral industry, I’ve decided to make a career change. When it rains, it pours right?!? Seriously, when we do things here in the Club Thrifty household, we really go all out.

There are lots of things that I enjoyed about the funeral industry. I was extremely lucky in the fact that everywhere I worked treated me very well. I have met a ton of great friends, and I will really miss the people who I have worked with. They are all caring professionals who truly want to make a difference in the lives of grieving people.

Yet, since we started this blog about a year ago, I’ve really grown fond of personal finance. Honestly, the idea to do a frugality/personal finance blog was Holly’s. I’d never had much of an interest in it before besides occasionally toying around with stock market games. However, over the past year I’ve really began loving this niche, which is why I’m excited to say that I’ll be moving to a career in the insurance and financial services industry. One of the things that I’m most excited about is that I will still get to help people, as that is one of the things I loved most about my current job and one of the reasons that I got into the funeral industry in the first place.

Holly and I put a lot of thought into this decision. It was a long and very deliberate process. We wanted to make sure that this career change was the best decision for our family over the long run. We weighed the pros and cons, bounced back and forth, and finally decided that we should go for it. Ask me again in a few months if it was the right decision ;)

Throughout my time in the funeral industry, I learned a lot of things. I learned many important business skills and concepts. I learned about hard work and commitment. Coincidentally, everyday I was reminded of the value of having life insurance. (If you don’t have some, get some. Readers in Australia can get a funeral plan from Suncorp or another company.)  I also learned a lot about the things that I want out of a career – and a lot of things that I don’t want. When it came down to it, I realized that what I really wanted was to – essentially – become self-employed.

Trade-offs of Working for Somebody Else

Don’t get me wrong. Working for somebody else certainly has its benefits. Yet, while working for somebody else is certainly the more comfortable route, I found that sometimes comfort comes with some important trade-offs. Some of them are:

Flexibility

Working for somebody else means that you are required to work on their time schedule. You have to be at work when you are scheduled to be there. You may have to work nights, weekends, or even holidays. You have to ask somebody else for time off. In our situation, we often needed to ask off 6-9 months ahead of time just to rearrange schedules for a 4-day weekend. It is nobody’s fault. It is just the nature of the business. However, it became clear to me that we were planning our lives around our jobs rather than planning our job around our life. My new position will provide me with much more flexibility in my schedule. I will be able to set my own hours, take vacation whenever I choose, and I won’t ever have to work overnight again. Of course, this career change means that I don’t get paid when I’m not working, so there is a drawback to that as well.

Income Potential

If you are working for somebody else, your income potential will almost always be limited. I’m certainly not complaining about how I was paid. I made a nice living. However, no matter what, my salary would always be determined at the discretion of my boss. This includes my salary, health insurance benefits, 401 (k) match, and profit-sharing – among other things. Although I am giving up a steady paycheck, I now have the opportunity to be compensated as much or as little as I like depending on how hard I work. While the steady paycheck is appealing, so is the unlimited income potential. Luckily, I also landed with a company that provides a retirement plan and a great group health insurance plan to boot.

Security

At first glance, it would appear that a good job with a steady paycheck is the most secure option. I have to admit, my job felt about as secure as it could get. However, the cold hard truth is that working for somebody else usually just gives you the illusion of security. In fact, my boss had the option of firing me at any time. If you work for a large company, just one of your superiors needs to dislike you and you could be gone. So, really, how secure is that? Working for myself means that I can’t be fired. Sure, building the business is      going to take a ton of hard work. It may be a bit of a bumpy ride to get going. Professional business start companies like Sun Document Filings can be a great asset in the initial phase.  But once I have my business  up and running, I really can’t be fired. Sure, a client or two may no longer decide to do business with me – which would be a bummer. However, I can just go out and      replace that client. That is true security.

So there are a few of my reasons for deciding to make a career change. What do you guys think? How do you feel about self-employment? Can you think of any other benefits or negatives? Let it out in the comments below!

 

 

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Comments

  1. I am still a lot more comfortable working on my own rather than for somebody else. The flexibility issue is what really entice me to go freelancing.
    Felix Lee recently posted..Help with Setting up a BusinessMy Profile

  2. I think your point about security is a really good one. There are very few jobs that are truly secure. I’ve seen and heard about plenty of really good people being let go. Sounds like another exciting transition for your family. Best of luck!
    Matt Becker recently posted..Help! I Need to Buy a Car.My Profile

  3. I think self employment is great provided you can make a steady income and also handle the decreased job security.
    Having said that, most jobs don’t come with a lot of security these days so that isn’t really a problem.
    Glen @ Monster Piggy Bank recently posted..Power Corrupts, and Absolute Power Corrupts AbsolutelyMy Profile

  4. The only 2 things that are guaranteed in life are death and taxes and you are leaving a guaranteed income.

    I am not daring and, as a single person, do not have someone to help pay the bills while the new business gets up and running so I would not do it. You have a strong partnership at home and that is probably what is helping to give you courage to make the leap to self-employment.

    Can you stop working when the time designated to work is done or will you be neglecting the rest of your life and putting all of your energy in to the new project?
    Jane Savers @ Solving The Money Puzzle recently posted..Safe Places To Stash Cash That Will Make A Few Dollars But Won’t Jeopordize Your PrincipalMy Profile

    • Actually, that is one of the major drawbacks of the position I am leaving – there really are no hours. I have had to work at all hours of the day and night. So, at this point, I can still work as many or fewer/more regular hours and have the opportunity to make more money.

  5. I think if you have a plan self-employment can be a great option. I think working for someone else can definitely be a bit demanding and DEFINITELY does not allow for the flexibility that many people desire. Excited to hear about how your career change goes!
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted..Saving Money on your Phone Bill: Search for a Cheap Wireless PlanMy Profile

  6. Cool! This is a huge jump and I wish you the best of luck with the new career.
    Debt Blag recently posted..Could the end of unpaid internships be near?My Profile

  7. Good for you, Greg! Keep integrity at the top of the list, and things will go just fine. So excited to watch as you pursue this new and exciting journey!
    Laurie @thefrugalfarmer recently posted..How and Why You Should Get Out of Debt – IntroMy Profile

  8. I think self-employment is a great way to go. Anyone who has ever dealt with a lousy boss has probably dreamed about self-employment. I think the key to being successful is building yourself a big safety net so you don’t have to panic if you have a bad first month or two.
    Michael @ The Student Loan Sherpa recently posted..Student Loan Legislation Plans: Part IMy Profile

    • Luckily, we have a big safety net, which helps. I just want to be clear that my bosses were/are great and I really respect them. I just decided it was time for a change.

  9. I can’t wait until I make my career change. Practically counting down the days right now!
    Michelle recently posted..Life Updates and $3,287 in Extra IncomeMy Profile

  10. Great for you Greg! Though, I might be a bit biased. ;) The security aspect is big one. I know that having a job with a decent paycheck can feel like having security, but it really is a veiled sense of security. I’d so much rather be on my own and building something that belongs to us…and the unlimited income potential is pretty nice. :)
    John S @ Frugal Rules recently posted..Taking the Plunge: 1 Year Quitiversary!!!My Profile

  11. Congratulations and good luck in your new role! I struggle with self-emploment a little, so I’ll keep my thoughts to myself on that one…most people love it! :)
    Budget and the Beach recently posted..Random Thoughts about “Coming Home”My Profile

  12. For me, flexibility is the biggest plus. My wife has a job that will eventually afford her a pretty flexible schedule and I know she gets frustrated with my current schedule for travel. That said, I would think while the business is getting up and running, there would be little flexibility in that you’ll be needed pretty much all of the time.
    Greg@Thriftgenuity recently posted..Financial Lessons Learned in Marathon TrainingMy Profile

  13. Congratulations on taking the leap! I’ve been considering this for a while. Excited to hear about your journey! Best of luck!
    Anthony @ Thrifty Dad recently posted..A day in the life, since becoming a dadMy Profile

  14. I think we all need to do different things every so many years or risk becoming a burn out. It sounds like you have thought it out and I bet you even have a back up plan in there somewhere. It’s very nice to have options. Not having crazy debt or a high end lifestyle to support certainly gives you more choices, and I think that’s the take home point.
    Kim@Eyesonthedollar recently posted..Avoiding the Impluse Buy: How to Buy New Stuff After Getting Out of DebtMy Profile

    • Yeah, not having debt helps a lot. My back up plan is…well…don’t fail :) Naw, I’m still gonna keep my funeral director license just in case I ever want to get back into it.

  15. Self employment definitely sounds enticing but right now I’m not sure what I would do for another job. My ideal situation would be to build up our net worth, and teach part-time. I would love to be an adjunct professor, which would provide enough money to cover our living expenses. My husband and I have been figuring out our number. Age 40 seems to be the number being tossed around.
    Savvy Financial Latina recently posted..The Happiness AdvantageMy Profile

  16. Wow, congrats to both of you on the career changes! I admire your guts, but you two definitely have what it takes to be successful. Best wishes!
    anna recently posted..Link Love, Ladies’ Night EditionMy Profile

  17. Good luck, Greg. I hope you keep us informed on how your new path goes. Is it insurance sales?
    Mrs PoP recently posted..An Update To A Horror StoryMy Profile

  18. Congratulations, and best of luck. I think you’ll find that there is even more overlap between skills and lessons learned that you can predict at this point. I’m excited to hear about them!

    • I think that there probably will be. It is really a job for somebody with people skills, which I think I have a pretty good grasp on.

  19. I love the idea of self-employment! Good for you on making such a difficult career choice and stepping out on your own. Does the new company you landed with offer some types of “newbie training” to help you hit the ground running?
    Kyle @ Debt Free Diaries recently posted..Will Your Raise Your Income or Lower Your Dreams?My Profile

  20. Good for you, Greg! I have to admit that at the age of 65 the one regret I have is always playing it safe and never taking that risk. I will watch as you and Holly take this journey; best wishes to you both!

  21. Wow – congratulations, Greg! So much change going on at the Club Thrifty household!! Good for you and Holly! It sounds like you two are doing what makes you happy and feels right for you and your family. I remember when I returned to private practice, there was strong part of me that wanted to get back in the trenches and help clients, but I also wanted to be my own boss again and not at the mercy of a corporation. I’m looking forward to learning more about what you’ll be doing.
    Shannon @ The Heavy Purse recently posted..Don’t Let Fear Prevent You From Talking about DebtMy Profile

  22. Congrats on the change! I’m sure you’ll look back and think that it was the best decision you ever made. It may be a bit scary at first, but the flexibility and limitless income potential will help you get over that. Good luck!
    Jake @ Common Cents Wealth recently posted..How Much Are Rising Mortgage Interest Rates Costing You?My Profile

  23. congrats! It looks like you guys live on much less than you make so you should be just fine.
    Pauline recently posted..Little house in Guatemala, week 31-32My Profile

  24. Holy crap! I thought you specifically went to school to be a mortician? I mean I know running the business gave you great insight on how it all works but you must REALLY be comfortable with this decision. I wish you all the best and I know if you fall behind, Holly will kick the crap out of you so I’m not too worried!
    Jeremy @ My Financial Road recently posted..How Much Does A Dog Cost?My Profile

  25. Nick @ AYoungPro.com says:

    That is really cool for you Greg, good luck!
    Nick @ AYoungPro.com recently posted..Blog Roundup #17 and a Guest Post on Career AvoidanceMy Profile

  26. Congratulations. If you like what you are doing, you certainly will do well.
    krantcents recently posted..Xanatos Gambit!My Profile

  27. I won’t ask you in a few months. You’ll probably be exhausted and hate it. Give in five years before you make a decision. By then you’ll be controlling more of your own day and be working with people who aren’t idiots. I’m sure in year #1 you’re gonna work with some people who are beyond annoying.
    AverageJoe recently posted..Budgets and Beer – Stacking Benjamins Podcast Episode 7My Profile

    • Ha! I’m sure. I’m pretty well used to running on empty between the blog and the crazy mortician hours, so I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to handle it. I expect the first few years to be the hardest, and I think I’m coming into it with my eyes wide open – which is a plus.

  28. Congrats Greg you will do great! I made the jump to start my own business and it was the best decision I could have made. Is it handwork, yes! Is it tough, of course!! Are there day you second guess what you did and why you did it, you will have those moments. Keep your eyes on the prize. I never felt secured at work even though I knew I was doing a great job. The only person with security at a company is the owner.
    Your Daily Finance | Thomas recently posted..What Does It Mean To Pay Yourself FirstMy Profile

  29. Congrats Greg! Your household has been filled with lots of changes lately but it sounds like you guys have a plan. Best of luck to you!
    Lance @ Money Life and More recently posted..Knocking Down the Student Loan Debt – June 2013My Profile

  30. Congratulations! It’s so great to see you two striking it out on your own and following your dreams. I can’t wait to hear more about it!
    E.M. recently posted..Using Personal Money for Your BusinessMy Profile

  31. Looks like somebody forgot to log out before commenting. Ooops. All of those previous responses were actually from me, not Holly. Ha! :D

  32. Well, first congrats on the career change. Those can be hard to make. Having been self-employed and now working for a company, there are definitely pros and cons with both. I like self-employment, but now I am liking a regular job. Right now, I don’t want the stress of keeping up with a business and all of the things that are involved. Who knows where I will be later down the road, but I really love the job that I have now and the company that I work for.
    Grayson @ Debt Roundup recently posted..Do You DIY to Save?My Profile

  33. Exciting! Congrats to you both.
    Do or Debt recently posted..A weekend celebrationMy Profile

  34. Congratulations on the career change mate. I suppose we’ll be learning lots about insurance in your upcoming posts. They do say that people change careers many times in their lives. If you fancy personal finance and you think that you can make magic happen where you are going they take a shot at it. It sounds like you both made the decision after much thought so enjoy your choice and best of luck to you. I’m looking forward to hear things go for you.
    Canadianbudgetbinder recently posted..Pet Budget: Homemade peanut butter dog treatsMy Profile

  35. Congrats, keep up with the success on club thrift.
    David @my2centopinion recently posted..Warning: $300,000 for a Parking Spot #OverpayingMy Profile

  36. Good luck! That’s always been one of my back-up potential careers. :) Right now though economics professor is paying the bills quite nicely.
    nicoleandmaggie recently posted..Money can’t buy me loveMy Profile

  37. Congrats Greg! Good luck with it all. The reason I love my job so much (dental hygiene) is that although I ”work” for someone (ie- he pays me) I’m totally autonomous and work pretty independently, it’s the best of both worlds.
    Catherine recently posted..How Our Vacation Planning Has Changed With a BabyMy Profile

  38. Great idea Greg, I think sometimes we need to do things out of necessity in order to be more productive. I believe you are making a great decision. I am sure, if you found this new venture was not for you and wanted to go back to the funeral business, they would make room for you. Because of motivation and ambition, you will have no trouble finding success in whatever you do.
    Jim recently posted..Why I Left The Traditional IRA MarketMy Profile

  39. Exciting stuff and congrats!

    What exactly are you planning on doing and how has the progress been over the past two months?

    It was balls to the wall for me for three months after I left in 2012, but really eased down after.

    Sam
    Financial Samurai recently posted..How To Know When To Take Profits In Growth Stocks?My Profile

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Trackbacks

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  3. [...] job in May and was going a little crazy due to my newfound freedom.  Shortly after that, Greg quit his job as well and took the entire month of July off to travel and get prepared for his new job.  Here are the [...]

  4. […] why I quit my job, you can read about it here.  In addition to my career change, Greg decided to leave his job in the funeral industry and start a career in life insurance and investments.  He just started […]

  5. […] update.  In case you haven’t checked in lately, July was an awesome month for us.  Greg quit his old job at the beginning of June and decided to take the whole month of July off before starting his new […]

  6. […] at a mortuary.  He was tired.  He was burnt out.  And most of all, he wondered if he should do something different with his life.  You might even say that he was having some sort of mini-mid-life crisis or something.  […]

  7. […] drives more now that he’s started his new career, but he still gets 40-50 mpg since he has a hybrid.  Between the two us, our transportation costs […]

  8. […] with the chaos that is currently my life, I’ll give you the short story.  Basically, Greg quit his mortuary job in June to try a career in sales.  He hated it and decided that a career in the mortuary business […]

  9. […] I haven’t saved for retirement since May.  But wait, let me explain!  As you all know, Greg started training to sell investments and insurance this summer and I was waiting for him to get licensed so I could buy my investments from him.  And, […]

  10. […] financial sales industry…and failed miserably. Although my intentions were good, I hated it. I wanted more control over my schedule and to make more money. What I got was a whole bunch of heartache and grief. While this has been the biggest fail of my […]

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