Finance Fellow Seeks New Path
July 17, 2017 5:28 PM   Subscribe

I'm writing this on behalf of my awesome husband. He graduated with a degree in Economics and right away went to work for a bank. He worked his way up and is now a Veep. All in all, he's been there for eighteen years. He's ready to step back from the rat race, but needs some help brainstorming what he can do.

At this point in our lives, it's reasonable for him to trade the "high stress, high salary" for a "low stress, uh...less-high salary" job. He feels that he's at his "Peter Principle Level" (but his company does not share that opinion) and doesn't really have the drive to further his skills and move up. Since he's been at one company his whole career, he's not sure how his skills will transfer and frankly, he's pretty unaware of other career opportunities.

Things he has done that he would be willing to continue doing:
- underwriting/loan review of commercial credits
- he's a self-taught Excel whiz but doesn't have any certifications (would be willing to do some light certification coursework, but isn't interested in going back to school)
- mentoring/development of front-line managers and supervisors
- process analysis and software implementation related to underwriting (from a user perspective, he does not have technical skills other than self-taught)
- he enjoys creating systems, analyzing data, and finding efficiencies.
- after years of ongoing, never-ending projects, he would love to be able to see a job/project through from start to finish and be DONE with it.
- He has volunteered doing taxes for people in the past, but doesn't have any tax-doing certifications
- would work from home
- would be willing to work with a contract house/firm, or executive temp company; particularly if they would help polish his home-brewed skills to make them more broadly marketable

Things he is NOT interested in doing:
- anything to do with sales
- anything to do with banking deposit, wire operations, or similar
- working full-time
- hanging out his own shingle (no desire to have to self-sell on every project/contract)
- Traveling for work
- Going back to school for anything more than a certification (like in Excel or Tax-doing or something like that)

He is also looking for much more flexibility, i.e., maybe work 40 hour weeks 3 weeks straight, then not work for a month provided he's able to choose the time frames. Earnings-wise, he would be okay with $30+ an hour, and between 400-800 hrs a year.

We're both kind of at a loss here. Finance is so outside my frame of reference that I am NO help at all (other than "Let's ask Metafilter!") and he's been at one company for so long that the rest of the Finance world is kind of an enigma.

A few other useful points:
- we are in a major non-coastal metropolitan area in the United States. We are not interested in moving.
- He doesn't need to work in banking. As a matter of fact, he's expressed interest in doing something that serves humanity more than the Almighty Dollar. But, it would have to be flexible and it would have to be part-time.
- The organization he is with right now is approaching 500 employees and is well-regarded in the industry. So, it's not like he's the Veep of the Mayberry Bank. Also - If he leaves, he can count on excellent references.

I was a teacher full-time up until a few years ago; and voluntarily switched to being a substitute. I was burned out and needed the flexibility in both location and hours. It was the best choice I've ever made. We wish that there was some sort of Substitute Finance Guy position out there that he could do. Does something like this exist, or are we just dreaming?

Thank you, Metafilter. We appreciate it!!
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
There are several companies in the US that are basically "rent a CFO" or "virtual CFO" shops, where small companies or companies in transition might recruit a part-time or short-term finance exec. VCFO is the one I've worked with at multiple clients, but search "CFO consulting" for all kinds of similar situations. It might be worth just talking to them to see what's going on in the financial consulting industry in general right now.
posted by Lyn Never at 5:37 PM on July 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

maybe with all that experience a nonprofit with a big endowment fund could use his advice as a consultant? He should brainstorm his dream "save the world" job, then track down an org that serves the same goal, and send them a nice letter.

Or, see if a few local bistros, shops, or whatnot need a manager. He could explore workspaces he's never seen as a book-keeper/financial overseer/consultant and trail (I'm using F and B lingo here cuz that is what I do) the operation. Who knows, he might be a gifted maitre'd! Or hotel front drsk or night auditor person! Taking a salary cut often means you can really explore your options.
posted by vrakatar at 6:00 PM on July 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

He could look into consulting in his industry. I was told repeatedly that a consultant cannot avoid travel. Well, in the past 4 years of consulting I have not traveled more than 1 week every 2 months, and half of my gigs were zero travel. Granted, I'm in IT consulting, but with a VP position on his resume your husband might do well to talk to some consulting companies in his industry and see what he can negotiate. I'd recommend being paid hourly instead of a salary so if he chooses to take a few months off he just doesn't get paid and therefore won't get hounded by the consultancy to take a not-ideal job. The beauty of working for a consultant is they have to handle sales and contracting so your husband can focus on what he's good at.

It might not work out – consulting in his industry might require sacrifices he doesn't want to make – but it can't hurt to ask around. Everyone says it requires travel but clients suddenly become remarkably flexible when you have exactly the skills they need.
posted by Tehhund at 6:03 PM on July 17, 2017

He could take a look at CDFIs - community development financial institutions. They take a wide range of forms, but one of the most common are community development loan funds that make responsible loans to low-income people and communities. He could directly apply his commercial loan underwriting skills to evaluate loans for projects that might (e.g.) fund a grocery store in a food desert, help create affordable housing, or finance a new arts hub.

The Opportunity Finance Network is the clearinghouse for those jobs. Aeris Insight might be another place to look - they employ consultants (I believe remotely) to rate CDFI deals. I'm not super familiar with them, but I think they have a roster of consultants and pass along work as it comes up, so it may be a good match for what your husband is looking for.
posted by snaw at 6:23 PM on July 17, 2017 [3 favorites]

If he's interested I'd love to talk to him about helping out part time consulting for my startup in India.

Please feel free to memail me.
posted by rippersid at 7:06 PM on July 17, 2017

Non profits- farmers co-ops, growers organizations, trusts and foundations etc often need someone to advise members or to work with their own finances. And they tend to be very flexible. Lots of retired execs find a second career in non-profit world.
posted by fshgrl at 9:31 PM on July 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

Depending on your exact location and how name brand his bank is, perhaps he could be an executive in residence at a local business school. These are also sometimes accomplished on sabbaticals while current company foots the benefits, I think... could be a way to ease the transition into the Next Thing, whatever it is.
posted by deludingmyself at 9:36 PM on July 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

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