Why I Left my Six Figure Job
|September 5, 2007||Posted by Roshawn Watson under Uncategorized||
By: Roshawn Watson
I constantly get questions about personal finances. However, perhaps the single question I get the most often is why I do not practice pharmacy (I am a pharmacist). Once they realize that I am a full-time student, they innocently inform me that I could make a lot of money if I just practiced… as if this is news to me. My reply is always the same: I want to do more in my career, and additional training/education will open up opportunities for me to explore my research and clinical interests.
Now, my decision to temporarily leave pharmacy has GREAT financial implications. The opportunity costs are enormous. It is not that I am just losing money, but I am also losing time for that money to compound. Nonetheless, I did not choose my current path haphazardly. It was rather a calculated choice that was NOT financially-motivated. In fact, I am fully aware that I could potentially make less initially.
No Silver Spoon: First, to those who think going to graduate school is merely a way for me to delay going out into the “real world,” you are mistaken. Having worked since I was 13 years old, working full-time doesn’t frighten me one bit. I have completely supported myself financially for nearly the past decade. In short, I AM in the real world even though I am in graduate school.
Practicing What I Preach: The advice that I give is consistent with what I do with my finances. When I suggest having a fully-funded emergency fund of 6 months worth of expenses, it is because that is what I have. Just as I have argued for paying off consumer debt (i.e. car loans and credit cards), I have paid off my car (2005) and credit cards ($0 balance) too. Like many of you, I have a mortgage and other expenses. Even the investment portfolio I shared is really part of my personal portfolio, which I used to illustrate that it can be done. These are some of the things that are changing my financial destiny.
A Special Word To the Haters: I have recently become increasingly concerned that my focus on personal finance blinds individuals of my values that are more important than money. Let me be very clear. Whereas I make NO APOLOGIES for doing a personal finance-themed blog, I will freely admit money is not the most important thing in life. Nonetheless, money is an important tool that WILL affect one’s choices regardless of whether he or she admits it. (Note to those who doubt this, quickly get out your checkbook and write a $50,000 check to an orphanage or some other worthy charity. If you cannot, think about WHY you cannot choose to write the check. Usually, it is not because you do not care. Thus, your choice WAS affected by the available funds).
Passion: Dr. Steven Covey says to begin with the end in mind. Now, when I think about the kind of life that I want to live, I never want to say that I chose a career because of the money I could earn. I value career satisfaction, making a difference in others’ lives, and a challenging job utilizing and expanding my skill set infinitely more than a good salary. While I do not pass judgement on those who make other decisions, I have simply chosen to follow my passions. Knowing personal finance is important to make sure that my passions do not bankrupt my family’s future. Of course, doing something you enjoy means you will likely do a better job, setting yourself up for a potential promotion. Just yesterday, I was considering some extraordinary career opportunities that I now have but did not have a couple years ago (more on this another day). I am glad that I followed my passion despite some difficulties.
- It has been said that if you enjoy what you do, you will never work another day in your life. Believe it.
- Do your job exceptionally well. Remember that the door to your next promotion may be the problem closest to you. Solving problems correctly and efficiently can be the birthplace to extraordinary opportunities.
- Lastly, keep an open mind when choosing careers. Following the status quo often leads to a lifetime of disappointment and regrets. Discover the problem you were created to solve, and do not let others place their values on you. Choose to become yourself even if that makes you different. Remember, broke is normal, so aim to be weird.
Copyright 2007, Roshawn Watson, Pharm.D. All Rights Reserved.
Copyright 2012, Roshawn Watson, Pharm.D., Ph.D. All Rights Reserved.