Why I Decided to Make a Career Change

Why I Decided to Make a Career Change - picture of silouetted man jumping rocks at sunset

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Well 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.  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:


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.


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. 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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  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.

    1. That is one of the biggest draws for me…probably the biggest.

  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!

  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.

    1. I guess we’ll find out if we can handle it 🙂

  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?

    1. 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!

    1. Flexibility is so huge to me at this stage in life. I’m really looking forward to having it.

  6. Cool! This is a huge jump and I wish you the best of luck with the new career.

    1. Thank you! It is a huge jump…and I’m looking forward to it!

  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!

    1. Thanks Laurie! Integrity is probably the most important thing. We succeed because of our ethics, not in spite of them.

  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.

    1. 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.

        1. For us, we’ve kept a huge safety net for a while – about a year’s worth of expenses. I hadn’t really planned on making the leap, but I knew it was there just in case. So, knowing that I have that to fall back on really made me feel a lot more comfortable with the decision. Of course, we’d rather not touch that, but it is there just in case.

  9. I can’t wait until I make my career change. Practically counting down the days right now!

  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. 🙂

    1. I hear ya brother! Thank you. Congrats on your own “One Year Quitaversary”

  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! 🙂

    1. Ha! Thank you very much for the well wishes 😉

  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.

    1. Yep, I’m looking forward to the flexibility once I get up and running!

  13. Congratulations on taking the leap! I’ve been considering this for a while. Excited to hear about your journey! Best of luck!

  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.

    1. 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.

  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!

    1. Thanks Anna! Sometimes we’re not sure if it is guts or just plain ‘ol “too dumb to know better.” 😉

  17. Good luck, Greg. I hope you keep us informed on how your new path goes. Is it insurance sales?

  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!

    1. 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. Kyle @ Debt Free Diaries says:

    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?

    1. Oh definitely! According to what I’ve read and heard from others, it is some of the best training in the business.

  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.

  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!

  23. congrats! It looks like you guys live on much less than you make so you should be just fine.

    1. I think that is one of the things that made this move possible. If we didn’t, it would be a lot scarier!

  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!

    1. Yep, Holly will definitely motivate me if I’m slacking off 😀 Thanks Jeremy!

  25. Nick @ AYoungPro.com says:

    That is really cool for you Greg, good luck!

  26. Congratulations. If you like what you are doing, you certainly will do well.

    1. I really think I will like it. I’m excited for the new adventure!

  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.

    1. 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.

    1. That is so true. I’m fairly sure I my job was very secure, but you just never know.

  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!

    1. Thanks Lance! You know us…we always have a plan 😀

  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!

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

  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.

  33. 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.

  34. Good luck! That’s always been one of my back-up potential careers. 🙂 Right now though economics professor is paying the bills quite nicely.

  35. 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.

  36. 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.

  37. 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.


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  39. You and your wife are doing a great job with the website. Good content – particularly the insights on real estate and her breakout on actual earnings from online efforts. Good luck to you, and hope that the career change has been a success and a blessing.

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