I RECENTLY LEFT my fulltime position at an energy trading company. I had a good run and enjoyed the job. It was mainly the people, both my coworkers and our clients.
I also liked the business travel. It broke up the daily routine and put faces to names, plus there were the awesome ribeye steak dinners with clients. Speaking at conferences was fun, too.
But things evolve. To quote Rocky, “If I can change and you can change, everybody can change.” After studying to become a Chartered Financial Analyst, I began teaching and writing about finance. At work, I enjoyed helping colleagues with retirement planning and consulting on weather issues. I even have a “chief meteorologist” jacket from the company to prove it.
So now what? I’m financially independent, passionate about investments and financial planning, love to write and present, and can devour steak. How to blend those? Hmmm. It’s a tough one.
I’m considering various career paths. I could keep the foot on the gas, slow it down, really slow it down or pursue something new. The paradox of choice rears its ugly head. Here are a few possibilities I’m contemplating during my ample free time:
Many folks would love to be in my situation. So many interesting possibilities. It isn’t easy, though. I don’t know where I’ll be six months from now. I lean toward one of the above options one day, then another the next day. Studies show stress increases as options increase. Our brain has to work harder and use more energy to figure out the best decision. Other behavioral biases also come into play: regret aversion, loss aversion, thinking in certainties rather than probabilities.
Why should you care? We all face situations like this at one time or another. Weighing the pros and cons, while thinking more broadly about what’s important to you, are no small task. The financial planners out there might suggest my next step would be to read 7 Habits of Highly Effective People or perhaps answer George Kinder’s three questions. Another good tip I’ve received: Simply write down a few possible paths.
I’m open to suggestions from people with more life experience than me. Which road should I travel? Some good advice could change my life. No pressure.
Mike Zaccardi is an adjunct finance instructor at the University of North Florida, as well as an investment writer for financial advisors and investment firms. He’s a Chartered Financial Analyst and Chartered Market Technician, and has passed the coursework for the Certified Financial Planner program. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeZaccardi, connect with him via LinkedIn, email him at MikeCZaccardi@gmail.com and check out his earlier articles.