From CEO to Part-Time Teacher

May 9th, 2010

Everybody loves a good rags to riches story, but you don’t often see a riches to rags tale with a happy ending.

That’s why a recent article by CNN Money contributor Josh Hyatt caught my eye last week. The piece is about Gary Buslik, who left his successful alarm company to go back to school at age 50 to become a literature professor.

Today, Buslik makes just $13,500 per year as a part-time teacher and author, but says, “I’ve never regretted my decision.”  The man loves literature more than loot.

How can you follow a similar path to pursue your passion? Well, it helps if you can build and sell a multimillion dollar company before switching to that lower-paying job. Buslik also offers some other tips to career changers — he recommends conservative investments and frugal living.

So, yeah, Buslik obviously had some advantages. Most of us don’t have a seven-figure safety net when we switch careers. However, Buslik took risks just the same. He risked leaving his comfort zone as a 50-year-old company CEO and long-time rich guy to become a student again in a classroom full of 23-year-olds.  And I’m sure all of the other big alarm biz players made jokes about ol’ Gary not being able to hack the high-pressure life.

You often hear wealthy people pontificate about how money isn’t important. But you don’t see many of them selling their companies to live on less than $15K/year for love of Shakespeare.

For this, Gary Buslik, I salute you.

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Katia Raina

Hi Pamela,

Riches to rags with a happy ending — love that — and believe in that. I was a crazed newspaper reporter, and now I am a crazed once-more-college-student/fiction writer “at home with kids.” You definitely wouldn’t call it “riches” when I was making 30K a year, and spending half of it on that horrible daycare place, and you wouldn’t call it “riches” now, when my husband is taking care of old college bills and new ones. So, you could say, as of right now, mine is a “rags-to-rags” story. But with lots of personal happiness!!!
I just figure the riches will follow :)

Gary Buslik

Thanks for your kind words, Pamela. You have a terrific site, blog, and book–for which I salute you, too. Keep up the good work. –Gary Buslik

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