Wednesday Reads

Wednesday Reads: Plan B

A round up of interesting or cool stuff I’ve read.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay


Plan B

After a late entry to the previous Sovereign Quest writing challenge, I thought I’d get in early with this one:


We all dream of doing something different. What alternative career would you pursue, if you were no longer able to work in your current profession? You didn’t suddenly strike it rich and still have bills to pay, so what are your “Plan B” options?


This is actually very timely, as it’s more or less what I’m doing anyway!

Admittedly, I am choosing to leave my profession, rather than being forced out, but still, the end result is the same.

I currently work as a research scientist, but on reflection I decided to try something new, and am now in the midst of training to be a financial planner.

Maybe this isn’t in the spirit of the thought experiment. This isn’t so much a ‘plan B;’ instead, I’ve skipped the usual plan B, C & D that scientists would usually consider and am attempting something completely different!

But, I suppose I can spin this on its head, and instead ask the question, what would I do if my current career change doesn’t pan out?

There are a number of reasons why this could happen. What if the exams turn out to be too difficult? Perhaps I struggle to find a company who will take me on? Or maybe I do find the perfect job, but it turns out that it’s just not for me?

There are several other jobs that I’ve considered in the past, before my current fixation on financial planning.

I could lean on my science background and try a move into science policy, either for a government thinktank or for the civil service. One of the things that annoyed me about research was that any real-world impact was probably 10-20 years away! So I always liked the idea of instead moving into a role where you could have a more immediate impact.

Sticking with scientific research, I know of a few friends who, on finishing their PhD, continued with research but for a company, rather than at a university.

Alternatively, I could make use of my experience within a university setting to find something within the sector. You might think that a university is all lecturers and researchers, but there are actually a large number of other staff that keep the cogs running. I could be one those cogs! (Not making it sound very appealing, ha).

I could try another abrupt change to something completely different once again. However, I can’t assume that I’d still have my emergency fund to see me through another bout of training/studying. What if it’s all used up after struggling to find a job for 6+ months?

Finally, I’ve always considered teaching as my ultimate back-up plan. Admittedly it would mean going back to university for a year and taking on even more student debt. But I often hear from my few teacher friends that science teachers are always in demand. And it’s not unusual for people in their 40s to embark on a new career in teaching.  I don’t exactly relish the idea, but desperate times call for desperate measures!

All in all, assuming I had to go through (another!) career change and my emergency fund was starting to look a little bare, I think I’d be in a good position to find another job. It’s obviously hard to say whether I’d want to stick with any of the above career choices. Perhaps I’d just use them to tide me over whilst I retrain to get something more in demand or higher paid? Or maybe I’d finally be sick of working for other people, and I’d make a push for self-employment.

… Let’s just hope my current plan works out, eh?


Interesting links that caught my eye this week:

  • I Retired YoungEarly retirement SWOT
    David applies a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis to his own early retirement. I thought it was a cool idea – it’s always worthwhile pausing to take stock of your situation, and to reflect on what aspects you like and what you don’t.


  • Naresh JayakumarHow to Stay Motivated on the Journey to Financial Independence
    Financial independence is a journey, rather than a destination. If you focus too much on the end goal of saving a specific amount of money, you’ll miss out on many years of living in the meantime. Naresh shares some tips to keep yourself motivated.




  • IndeedablyRidiculous
    Indeedably demonstrates yet again that personal finance, and life in general, is not simply about the money, or about choosing the most efficient path forward.



  • Cutting through ChaosHow to take a sabbatical
    “But the reason you might want to take a sabbatical will have a big impact on decisions like where, when and for how long. Like many things in life, understanding your ‘why’ is crucial.”
  • Sign up to Trading212 via this link and we both receive a free share.


Thanks for reading. Hope you’re all having a great week!

6 replies on “Wednesday Reads: Plan B”

Thanks for mentioning my recent blog post😀

Your question as to what plan b, c or d alternative career/job could we choose is interesting. There were occasions during my career when I thought about doing something else, but it always seemed to involve taking a salary cut, at least in the short or medium term, which made it unattractive. I think it’s a shame when money handcuffs us and influences our decisions like that, but I guess that happens a lot. I don’t know what I would have done as an alternative career, in hindsight, I think a draw would be something that helps others, we need to earn a salary but it must be satisfying to feel that it comes with doing something good too.

No problem, David :).

I agree, the further along a particular career path you travel, the greater the likely pay-cut if you do switch to something different. In my case, I’m willing to take a reduction in pay in the short term, in the hope that I find a career that I find more interesting and rewarding (and, hopefully, eventually pays more!). I also recognise that I’m lucky in being able to take that risk. As you say, many people end up feeling trapped. I have a friend who has been a teacher for nearly 10 years; they’ve worked their way up the ladder and now earn a pretty good wage for their age and location. They’ve been debating a career change (understandable, as teaching is not easy!) but can’t face the probable 50% pay cut they’d have to take initially.

Thanks for the mention!

Switching career’s is a topic that resonates. I’m a qualified accountant by training / experience – and really enjoy working in finance. But I have been using the sabbatical to test some new fields – like guest lecturing at the local university, client relationship training for a couple of start ups, and overseeing finance content on the website of a finance software company.

I’m not sure if any of them will stick, but you don’t know unless you try.

Hi Mr C, no problem!

That’s great that you’ve been able to test a few things out during your sabbatical. I think it’s worthwhile, even if you enjoy your job. The future is always uncertain – maybe you’ll face sudden redundancy, or maybe your new boss is just insufferable! In that case, having a broader variety of experiences to fall back on would make finding the next thing much easier.

Thanks for the mention! Switching career is challenging especially at the middle age but certainly not impossible to achieve. With 6 months of effort, I am able to change from Business role to an IT role. With determination and continual efforts, it is definitely possible to change career. But you’re right, we might that it is the perfect role but until we start doing it, we will never know if it is something we will really enjoy it and continue to stay in that role. It is good to have back up plans.

No problem! That’s great to hear that you had a successful career change. I think it’s achievable as long as you have realistic expectations and work hard to make it happen.

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