tess zigo

Welcoming Guest Blogger Tess Zigo

Late 2014 I contemplated leaving my comfortable corporate job as Treasury Analyst to pursue something different! I didn’t know what that would be – only that I needed a change. Coming from a Bulgarian background, career counseling was not something I understood and accepted. Despite my skepticism, I ended up working with a career counselor over a 3 month period. I wanted to better understand my strengths, weaknesses and passions in life, and to make an informed decision about my professional life. You might say that I could have figured it out on my own, but I needed the guidance and support through this process. I felt stuck!

I was skeptical at first, but Donna was able to help me look inwards and understand what specific items energized me at work. She always said “Think of you as a lamp, what activities light you up?” Pretty quickly, I realized that I was unhappy because my role was very repetitive, and my company was happy with the status quo. On the contrary, I was energized by constant change, and having a positive impact in the world and in people’s lives. That was the first step in my journey to making a career change.

After the rude awakening that my job would never satisfy me, except for my comfortable paycheck, I made a commitment to explore my options. My career counselor advised me to connect with several professionals including a mortgage broker and a financial advisor. After a few phone interviews, I was able to gather the pros and cons of each position that I was interested in, and determine which best suited my requirements in a profession.

The decision became clear! I was going to get my licenses and become a financial planner to individuals and small business owners. I had a passion for investing and planning. After all I started planning for retirement at 20 but I never connected the dots that I could make a viable career out of my hobby. The next step was kicking fear to the curb!

My biggest fear was giving up the paycheck! In practice for my new career, I re-arranged our family budget so my husband’s paycheck could support us in my first year in business. We had a baby on the way too, so being disciplined and methodical was a necessity. I used MINT (a free app) to set up a budget for every category, from our mortgage to our discretionary spending. I implemented this while I was still in my corporate job to see if the changes were feasible. Once you are committed to making a change for the better and equipped with a plan, the sky is the limit. I gave my notice two months later and the rest just worked itself out. Some days are hard, and changing careers isn’t easy, but if you have a big “WHY” and a good plan you will succeed.

Many of you might have similar feelings, being “stuck” in a job or career you don’t like, not being fulfilled by your limiting job description, wanting to have a positive impact in others’ lives or simply wanting to follow your passion.

Fear is a powerful force holding us hostage, whether it’s the fear of change, the fear of giving up a stable paycheck, or the fear of failure. One way to take charge is to ask for help, because oftentimes someone on the outside might see what we don’t – the endless possibilities if we just have a plan.

Tess Zigo