Making the Switch: Corporate Lifer to Entrepreneur

A leap of faith -- Taking a mid-career detour to find job satisfaction 

Client Challenge:  Experiencing career burnout and the need to make a change that would successfully balance financial needs with lifestyle desires.

The KHC Approach

1. Clarify Goals

  • Make a career change to something more personally fulfilling
  • Fully understand the financial implications of a move
  • Maintain same lifestyle and meet financial obligations

2. Build a Plan

  • Determine gaps between current and desired position
  • Explore career options and reconcile them with skills
  • Evaluate financial position to balance financial needs with career goals

3. Take Action

  • Resign from corporate position and pursue training for new career
  • Adjust financial resource allocations to accommodate new career
  • Start new consulting practice

A corporate career can bring many rewards -- financial security, job satisfaction, a strong network of colleagues and more.  But for Amy, success in an increasingly stressful and uncertain corporate world exacted its toll after many years-- career burnout and a lingering sense that there had to be something more.

After much soul-searching, Amy made the decision that she needed a change.  A single woman in her mid-40s, she knew that retirement wasn't an option and she couldn't afford to quit her job outright.  But her company was in the process of layoffs and she had the opportunity to apply for a voluntary separation package, complete with insurance and severance pay. Given the magnitude of her decision and its potential impacts on both her personal and financial situation, she called on KHC Wealth Management to help her understand and navigate through the various scenarios.

The KHC team, led by principal and executive coach Joni Lindquist, MBA®, CFP®, met with Amy to evaluate and start planning for this exciting, yet daunting time in her life.  Amy's financial and career status were such that she was well-positioned to make a change without adversely affecting her lifestyle, as long as she went into it with solid and well thought-out plans. Her situation was ideal for KHC's three-pronged approach:

  • Clarify Goals
  • Build a Plan
  • Take Action

Clarifying Goals: Lindquist and the team knew that given Amy's current job status, her emotional and mental state and desire for change, it was key to understand and crystallize her goals. At the job burnout stage in which Amy found herself, the temptation to make rash decisions was a risk.  The team approached Amy's situation from all angles -- financial, emotional, career and lifestyle -- and together identified her goals:

  • Making a career change to something more personally rewarding and fulfilling;
  • Optimizing her timeline to ensure she took advantage of separation benefits if possible;
  • Securing a job that allowed for a less stressful, more flexible way of life;
  • Negotiating a salary that would allow her to maintain her current lifestyle and continue caring for an aging parent.

Building a Plan: Joni and the KHC team approached Amy's situation from a holistic perspective -- financially, emotionally and career-wise -- to analyze the gaps between where she was and where she wanted to be.  One of the first steps was to guide her through the firm's Career Transition Program, an in-depth series of exercises to better understand her mindset and what she'd like to gain from a career. A key goal of the program was determining what Amy wanted her "legacy" to be, clarifying her values, interests and motivators to clarify what was truly important to her. For many at Amy's phase of life, career priorities shift from power or financial motivation to having more flexibility and free time, so the team worked with Amy and explored the "trade-offs" she was willing to make for the freedom she wanted. A skills and experience inventory clarified what she could offer the marketplace and how it could be transferred to another profession.  From this in-depth exploration, Joni was able to identify some possible career paths and help Amy determine any future education she might need to move into those positions.

Concurrent with the career transition work, KHC's financial planning team worked with Amy to help her understand her income needs to maintain her lifestyle and continue saving for her future needs and retirement. They reviewed areas of potential savings and where she could reduce expenses. The team also helped devise a cash management system to ensure that if/when she left, she would be managing her money wisely as she looked for the job she desired, and helped her look at different investment options, 401(k) rollover plans and tax strategies, and explore healthcare options.

Taking Action: After her work with the KHC team, Amy felt confident enough in her future prospects to take her company's voluntary separation package. Given her 20-plus years of service, she received salary and full benefits for one year. Her career transition work with Joni and the team crystallized for her the desire to open her own consulting practice and helped her understand the additional training she would need. Thanks to her revised cash flow and expense plans, she was able to invest in her new career from both a training and a branding/marketing perspective while still receiving a salary from her former employer. 

Just six months after she left her job, Amy opened the doors of her consulting practice. By the time she received her last severance paycheck, she had established a small client base and was making money from her business.  She has been able to maintain her financial obligations and has reached a point of career enjoyment.   

Amy is living KHC’s Making Life Count!® philosophy, enjoying greater flexibility and freedom while taking on an exciting new career challenge; all while meeting both short and long term financial goals.     

Disclaimer: The above does not represent an actual client's experience but rather is meant to provide an example of the firm's process and methodology.



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