Saturday, March 19, 2011

Career Change

I just heard a true story of a guy who had a lucrative career in quantitative finance but then, when he was in his early forties, decided to abandon it and pursue a degree in the history of Asian art. Because that's what always interested him the most.

I really admire this kind of people. And, of course, this isn't about leaving quantitative finance for the history of art. I would admire this person just as much if he left an academic career to pursue his dream of becoming a quant. It's just great to see that people don't settle for things that have stopped fulfilling them. It's never too late to drop everything that doesn't make you happy and start anew. Miserable, boring relationships, unfulfilling jobs that go nowhere, hobbies that bring no joy any longer - what's the point of allowing your one and only life to be wasted on such things?


Pagan Topologist said...

I know someone who gave up a promising career in finance to become an electrician. He was desperately unhappy; now he loves his work.

cringe-all said...

It's certainly a wiser career decision than pursuing a degree in Asian arts in your youth and then try to make a move to finance in your forties only to find that you no longer have the suppleness of mind to grip the math and that the field is saturated with much younger and energetic individuals. This way you make enough money in your early years to cover your backside and then pursue your true interests (or eccentricities as the case may be) in your older age.

Clarissa said...

You cannot honestly mean that one needs a greater suppleness of mind to pursue a degree in quantitative finance than a degree in the history of art???

I'm very familiar with what it takes to succeed in both fields, and you could not be more wrong.

cringe-all said...

no what i meant is more like: material comforts are more contingent on success in one than the other.

Rimi said...

As someone who is just starting her own non-profit and moving away from comfortable academia (and I do truly enjoy academia -- at heart, I think, I will always have the persona of an academic), I hope to someday combine both of these: make a research-based academic career out of the sector in which my non-profit works. And develope a special research wing for my non-profit.

That, I think, would be the absolutest best thing that could happen to me professionally. Here's to hope :-)

J. said...

Thank you. I needed this today.

about to leave a 20 year secure career to begin doctoral studies. Accepted with funding--which is great, because it means no student loans, but I'm still looking at 3-4 years without any real income...people think I'm crazy. But I'm doing it.

Clarissa said...

What's the point of security if you are not enjoying yourself as much as you could?

I think you are going to be very successful and have a lot of fun.

Anonymous said...

I sometimes dream of making a move like this. I would like to write novels and poetry.

Right now it's only a hobby--I'm not skilled at it but I'm loving it.

If in the feature the possibility to live up from it would come up, even if a small one, I'd be very tempted to leave up my software engineering career and take it.

It's not that I don't enjoy doing what I do, but sometimes the doubt arises.