Here’s why I’m Changing Careers After 18 Years

If you follow me on Twitter: @barrychoi, then you’ve already heard the news. After 18 years working in television – all with the same company – I put in my resignation. Obviously, it was a very tough decision for me, but I did it for two main reasons. First, I wanted to spend more time with my daughter. Second, I was ready to grow my brand.

For most people, those reasons seem like a no brainer, but it was really hard to walk away from the only full-time employer I’ve ever known. I was paid well and received really good benefits. More importantly, I worked with amazing people who knew me more than half my life and were there for all my important milestones.

This post is going to be a bit more personal than usual, but hey, that’s the point of a blog right? Maybe my thought process will help someone who’s in a similar position and isn’t quite sure what to do.

I had other opportunities available

Here’s the other exciting news I haven’t shared much. I’ll be joining RateHub on a part-time basis as an Associate Editor. I’ve been freelancing for RateHub for a few years now and they offered me 3 days a week which is exactly what I was looking for. I’m excited with the fact that I’ll be able to do things I love on a more regular basis.

With the two other days, I plan on continuing my side hustles. I write for a variety of publications which includes travel so it’ll be nice to have some extra flexibility. This extra time will also allow me to do more media interviews as a Toronto travel expert and personal finance expert. These media opportunities tend to be last minute, so this flexibility only works in my favour.

Beyond my regular clients, I do intend to look for a few more clients as you never know how things will go in the freelance life. Ideally I’d also like to branch out a bit more beyond finance and travel. It would be nice to do a few lifestyle campaigns just for variety. If you’re a brand looking for an influencer to partner with, contact me now!

I seriously needed a change

I don’t usually talk about my day job here, but the term “day” is a loose term. You see, my shift is 3pm – midnight. I’ve been doing this shift my entire career and it just wasn’t sustainable with a child. Some friends suggested that I ask for a day shift, well in television, a day shift is 4:30am – 1:30pm so that’s not exactly a great shift either. Sure, there are some 10 – 7 shifts, but those are usually reserved for management. You’ll notice that in television our shifts are 9 hours long. Yes, one hour is an unpaid break, but that sucks. 

Although my wife and I could have continued to make things work, it wasn’t an ideal situation. My parents had weird shifts too and raised my brother and I just fine, but that prevented them from spending more time with us and taking us to extracurricular activities. Don’t get me wrong, my parents are great, but they didn’t have a choice when it came to their careers. They were new immigrants and took jobs that allowed them to raise a family. I want to spend more time with my daughter and I also want to ensure that the grandparents are involved which is why I needed this change.

I was also in the fortunate position that my side hustles have grown quite a bit over the years. My income has steadily grown which is why I started to question if I even needed a full-time job anymore. If things don’t work out, I can always get another job later, but at least now I’m going for it – if you know what I mean.

Money was no longer a priority

I’ll be honest, the hardest thing about quitting my job was walking away from a high salary, defined benefit pension, and stock plan. As someone who was raised to be conservative with my money, this was really tough. Ironically, being conservative with my money is the reason I was able to quit. I’ve been working for close to decades I like to think that I’m good with my money. I have no debt and good savings so having a high salary wasn’t as important anymore.

Keep in mind that I’m married so having a dual income obviously helps. My wife is off on maternity right now, but she does plan returning to the workforce. Since both of us are big savers, we’ve been paying down our mortgage aggressively over the last few years so we didn’t really need to worry about that.

Despite all of this, I didn’t feel comfortable leaving my job until I spoke to my financial advisor. He looked at our current income, savings, and expenses and came to the conclusion that I didn’t need to make nearly as much as I thought to maintain our lifestyle. That pretty much sealed the deal as I knew what my “number” was to leave my job. So yeah, I took a pay cut to leave and I have no regrets.

Final word

Leaving my job was about family and opportunities. My wife and I wished for a child for a long time so now that she’s here, I plan on spending as much time with her possible. That being said, this blog has presented opportunities I never thought possible so I want to make it work.

By | 2018-01-15T22:11:22+00:00 December 14th, 2017|My Money, Personal Finance|

36 Comments

  1. Tawcan December 14, 2017 at 1:48 am - Reply

    I’m very excited for you Barry! Spending more time with your family is always a good thing in my book.

    • Barry Choi December 14, 2017 at 10:36 am - Reply

      Thanks Bob!

      Even though I’ll still be hustling, not having to work to midnight is what I’m looking forward to.

      • Tawcan December 14, 2017 at 12:46 pm - Reply

        I can’t believe that was your “work” slot. That’s a brutal slot for someone with a young kid.

        • Barry Choi December 14, 2017 at 3:38 pm - Reply

          yeah, hence why I had to get off it as soon as the baby was born.

  2. Zujer Kagalwala December 14, 2017 at 8:44 am - Reply

    I am really happy for you Barry! All the very best for your future endeavors 🙂

  3. NoReply December 14, 2017 at 9:54 am - Reply

    Very nice sentiments but you’ve never been nice to me in your role.

    • Barry Choi December 14, 2017 at 10:04 am - Reply

      I’m sure you’re not the only one that feels that way, guess it’s good that I’m leaving.

  4. Nicholas December 14, 2017 at 11:07 am - Reply

    No one ever wishes, they worked for more money in their last moment. All they ever want is to spend more time with their loved ones. I think you are made a great decision.

    Best of luck!

    • Barry Choi December 14, 2017 at 12:07 pm - Reply

      Thanks Nicholas!

      My conservative dad thinks I’m crazy for walking away from my job. He’s old school.

  5. J. Money December 14, 2017 at 10:16 pm - Reply

    Way to go brother! It’s fun over in this side of town – pull up a chair and beer 🙂

    • Barry Choi December 14, 2017 at 10:22 pm - Reply

      Woah, J. Money leaving me a comment? I must have made the right decision.

      • J. Money December 15, 2017 at 5:52 am - Reply

        You keep making moves like this and I’ll be on your blog every single day!! 🙂

        • Barry Choi December 15, 2017 at 9:18 am - Reply

          Yikes, I better start hustling even harder.

  6. J. Tsui December 16, 2017 at 6:04 am - Reply

    Congrats Barry on making the leap! I think most people forget/downplay that when you’re disciplined financially (and don’t allow for lifestyle inflation to slowly creep up) that you have the ability to make different decisions. i.e. walk away from a job that no longer serves you, travel more, spend more time with the kids, etc. Congrats again!

    • Barry Choi December 16, 2017 at 1:44 pm - Reply

      J. Tsui,

      Yes, it’s to know that I didn’t need the money from my salary and I was able to walk away on my terms. The last thing I want is to stay in a job because I needed the money.

  7. Vito December 16, 2017 at 11:02 am - Reply

    Great decision Barry! Creating memories with those you love far outweighs any other form of being recompensed.

    As for the 9 hour shift with one hour unpaid work, that’s me too! I’ve been at it for 12+ years and still doing it; and worse off, my schedule is never the same from one day to the next, or week for that matter. Schedule changes daily and work weekends too! Oh well, but I do like my job so that makes it tolerable. I don’t have any littles one (yet), so I totally get why you did it and you’ve earned it, especially with the side hustle!

    Congrats Barry!

    • Barry Choi December 16, 2017 at 1:45 pm - Reply

      Vito,

      Thanks! Sorry to hear that you do 9 hours too. I feel like my employer was one of the few places that had those kind of shifts.

  8. Lee December 16, 2017 at 12:02 pm - Reply

    Hi Barry, I’ve been reading some of your posts over the last while and its great info. I want to learn more about diy investigating and see about creating a financial plan and get wills and power of at tourneys sorted and such but there is so much info out there its kinda overwhelming. Can you recommend a good place to start. Im in BC.

  9. […] my friend Barry Choi left a secure job in television after 18 years to pursue the freelance life and spend more time with his family. Best of luck to you, […]

  10. CP December 17, 2017 at 10:55 am - Reply

    Barry…great news. I took 6 years off when kids were wee, and I don’t regret one moment. It was hard to take that step away from secure employment,, but if your plan is responsible and bases are covered….why not!? Kids are young only once. Enjoy your daughter/daddy time.

    • Barry Choi December 17, 2017 at 12:10 pm - Reply

      Hi CP,

      I’m very excited for this change. I won’t be a stay at home dad, but this shift change means significantly more time with my kid. Walking away from secure employment, especially after close to two decades was really tough.

  11. Jaymee @ Smart Woman December 18, 2017 at 12:37 am - Reply

    Congrats Barry.. you’re my hero! I’m sure your daughter will enjoy having Daddy around more <3

    • Barry Choi December 19, 2017 at 3:24 pm - Reply

      Thanks Jaymee!

      I can’t believe it happened!

  12. Ashley December 19, 2017 at 12:20 pm - Reply

    Congratulations, great to hear! Love hearing how side hustles can eventually morph into sufficient income (or more) to make a positive lifestyle change!

    • Barry Choi December 19, 2017 at 3:24 pm - Reply

      Ashley,

      Yeah, never did I imagine a side hustle would lead to this. I’m so excited!

  13. […] friend Barry Choi called it quits – he recently left a secure job in television after 18 years to pursue his love of the freelance life.  Good luck Barry and looking forward to what you […]

  14. Virna January 2, 2018 at 5:48 pm - Reply

    Congratulations Barry! Best of luck on all your future endeavours.

  15. Chrissy January 2, 2018 at 7:12 pm - Reply

    Hi Barry,

    I’ve followed you for a while, but never commented until now. Congratulations on this huge life decision! I’m a stay-at-home mom, and think that the more time parents can spend with their kids, especially when they’re young – the better!

    I’m also an aspiring blogger, and it’s wonderful to hear that a side hustle can open up options. Thanks for all the great content you put out. Perhaps we’ll get to know each other better once I officially join your ranks as a blogger.

    • Barry Choi January 2, 2018 at 7:41 pm - Reply

      Chrissy,

      Thanks so much for leaving some feedback. Not that I didn’t know this before, but after just one day, I can’t believe how much work parents do to take care of their kids. I’m really excited that this career change gives me more time with Scarlett.

      BLogging can definitely open up opportunities, it just takes time and patience. I can’t wait to read your blog!

  16. Chrissy January 2, 2018 at 10:08 pm - Reply

    I don’t think anyone knows how much work parenting is until they’re actually there! You’re in the thick of things right now, but it really does get easier. Mine are no longer little – they’re 9 and 12. We’re still crazy busy, but definitely not as tired and overwhelmed as when they were tiny.

    Enjoy your daughter when she’s little and adorable, but look forward to easier times ahead!

    BTW, I love the name Scarlett. So pretty.

  17. Barb Day January 4, 2018 at 3:17 am - Reply

    AMAZING BARRY!! I am so happy for you. I took a break from working when my son was in grade 5, he needed more support. Best thing I did for all of us(husband as well).

    An update. I requested help from you in September for an upcoming 3.5 month trip in Europe. You set me up really well with charge cards and general ideas about travel in Portugal. I am currently starting my month in Spain. Portugal in December and Morocco in November were amazing. I was on a Christmas river cruise in Germany and it was incredibly bad(I don’t think this is the right venue to discuss this). If you want to hear more please let me know.

    • Barry Choi January 4, 2018 at 7:47 am - Reply

      Hi Barbm

      Glad to hear you’re now travelling, but sad to hear about your negative experience in Germany. Feel free to share your story with me via email.

  18. […] Choi explained on Money We Have why he is changing careers after 18 years. It was hard to walk away from a well-paid job in television but with a young baby, working the 3 […]

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