I was a banker. It was so dull that I'm leaving to work in law
"I've worked in the financial services industry for five years and am about to quit. Law is far more intellectually stimulating.
I studied philosophy, politics and economics (PPE) at Oxford and went into FX structuring straight out of university. I enjoyed the work for approximately 18 months, but then it started to become quite repetitive. Intellectually, I felt that I needed more of a challenge, so while I was working I studied the BPP Graduate Diploma in Law part time.
Basically, my experience of finance and banking jobs has been that they're kind of dull. I interned throughout university - first in tax accountancy (dull) and then in IBD and CMBS (also dull). I finally went into FX structuring because it seemed less dull and was something I could see myself doing. To begin with, I also got the excitement of the global financial crisis and its aftermath.
However, I find law genuinely fascinating. For the first time it was easy to sit down and work through textbooks and case studies, even though I was doing this after work. Constitutional and administrative law involves all sorts of interesting political philosophy issues which drew me to studying politics and philosophy in the first place. I came to realise pretty soon that a career in law would offer a far more sustained intellectual challenge than finance. I know that I can make more money by staying in finance and doing a job I'm not interested in for years on end. However I don't have the boredom threshold for it!
When I finished the BPP Graduate Diploma, I therefore moved straight onto the Bar Professional Training Course, which was also part time. I funded this myself while I was working. Now I need to quit work to do the last bit of training to become a barrister, which involves acting as an apprentice for a year. After 6 months you're allowed to start taking instructions and the daunting prospect of putting a wig on and speaking in a British court arises. At the end of the year the chambers decide whether to take you on full time as a tenant.
Some of my banking colleagues are flabbergasted at my decision. They're astonished that I'd take a pay cut up front and accept a career that will probably pay far less than the one I'm in. Most completely understand why I'm doing it though. More than one has asked for advice in making a similar switch themselves. And several have, jokingly I assume, asked when I'm going to be ready to defend them!"