Richard's Career Change: From investment banking to a family orientated life

The last couple of years have seen Richard go from working long hours in investment banking to reassessing his priorities and designing a life that fits around his family. He currently works as a consultant and is excited about the next phase of his career and his new found flexibility.

What career change have you made? What are you up to now?
I was working in investment banking. I worked for the Royal Bank of Canada and had been doing it for around 13 years. It was a very traditional banking job – long hours, lots of travel, weekend work. I was in corporate finance. There was nothing wrong with the job itself. It paid very well and was the sort of job that many people would work hard to get.

I have 3 children and they were starting to get a little bit older. I didn’t want to spend my life at work and not see them grow up. That was the main driving point behind looking to see if there was something else that I could do.

I saw Escape’s programmes in 2015 for the first time, and went along to a taster session in 2016. I signed up for the Escape Tribe in the autumn of 2016.


What was your time on the programme like? What did the community mean to you?How did it help?
The content of the programme gave me the building blocks to think about what I want and what I don’t want. But the community was by far the most powerful element. Being with 30 other people trying to work through similar concepts was the best part.

I’m amazed how close the community was, and I’m still in touch with lots of people that were on the programme with me – even 2 years later. It really is amazing what was built over 12 weeks.


What are you doing now?
The programme set the wheels in motion but for many reasons I stuck with my job for a while afterwards.  Then in January 2018 I spoke to my boss and arranged an exit plan. I left the bank in May 2018 and spent the next 9 months at home with the kids. It was great to spend time with them, travelling around the UK and getting outdoors – enjoying life.

For the past 9 months I’ve been talking to various people I knew in the City, and companies I had worked with whilst at the bank. A few of them had mentioned consulting work and projects. I was actually having coffee with an old friend of mine, when a project came up and he asked if I could start on Monday at his company! So I hastily set myself up. That was two months ago and I’ve been helping them as a paid consultant ever since.  

What does your day-to-day look like right now? How are you spending your days? How are you splitting your time? What are your priorities?
The work I’m doing now is completely different to before. It’s project based so it’s short term and completely flexible. At most I work 4 days a week and can fit this around family time. I’m actually off on holiday in Scotland next week with the kids.

I’ve found that because what I’m doing now is project based and short term, you don’t take any of it with you. When you leave the office, you leave the work there too.

In previous jobs it wasn’t uncommon for me to  be on conference calls, emails and sat on the laptop on whilst on holiday. This new way of working is very much on and off.

It’s completely flexible for me. It’s my decision what to do and what not to do.It’s not necessarily what I thought I’d be doing, and it may not be yet. But for now it’s a way of earning money that fits with my priorities, and I’m seeing how it progresses.


What has been your biggest challenge since joining Escape? This can include during the accelerator or after – what’s been the hardest part?
That’s a good question. One thing that people struggle with, especially when you’ve been in a corporate environment for so long, is that you think all your worth is tied up in working for a big company. You start to think that’s what makes you valuable, and question whether it’s you or the big company that people want. It’s something I found challenging when I stepped off the corporate ladder.

What have felt like key milestones so far?

Signing up to the programme to start with felt like a milestone. It was the first big step to getting on track with the type of life I wanted to lead. Then completing the programme and working for those 14 months in the same job – that was in itself a milestone.

Getting to the point where I was able to resign and having that time off with the kids. And now setting up as a consultant. These have all been important steps to get me where I am now. Consulting isn’t necessarily my long term vision – that’s not quite mapped out yet. But I’m seeing how it goes and I’m ok with that.

In fact, the flexible mindset I have now towards my career is a milestone. A lot of people struggle to accept that you don’t know what’s going to happen and sometimes things don’t work. But I’m at the point now where what I’m doing is working for me at the moment. I’m seeing how it goes and I’m ok with that.

How are you feeling about yourself now?What are you most excited for in the coming months or years?

I’m excited by the complete flexibility I now have in my life. I can structure work around other things I want to do. Whether that’s spending time with the kids, or sport – I can do it, and that’s exciting.  

What advice would you give to those feeling the way you did before you began your escape?

One thing that I think with Escape’s Career Change Accelerator or perhaps with any sort of career change or professional development programme, is that people often have fixed ideas of how it’s going to work out. In reality, you never know until you start, so keeping an open mind is important.

Career change is a difficult thing to do at the best of times, so I imagine trying to do it without support would be tricky. Having a network like Escape is invaluable – you can’t underestimate the importance of it.

Richard completed Escape’s Career Change Accelerator in December 2016. To join him in taking control of your career and designing a life that works for you, learn more here.

Share This