Editor's note: Ace emigrated from Manila, Philippines in 1993 and has made Grand Rapids his home since 1998. He desired for his son to feel both pride in and connection to his Filipino heritage. So he founded the Grand Rapids Asian-Pacific Festival. It is now a community-wide initiative that extends beyond a single event to year-round activities that honor Asian traditions. Also a banker, he recently resigned from his position – now staying full-time with his 6-year-old son. Ace, his wife, son and dog live in Plainfield Township.
The Break (as I often call it) allotted me loads of extra time to hang out with my 6-year-old Redd. It gave me time to reflect on what I want to do now that I no longer have a "regular" job. How do I help our family and, at the same time, be happy?
I made a list of all the things my next career needs to be. First off, it needs to be flexible. If I am going to stay home with Redd, I need to be able to schedule my time in a way that fits in with my family. I want to be able to help people, and continue to do my passion projects in the community.
When my friends at the bank first heard of my resignation, they immediately lined up places for me to interview, and referred me to many recruiting connections. I do love and appreciate everyone helping me, but I still need the flexibility that caused me to leave my job in the first place. And since I am being picky about my next job, I figured I should factor in one of the very things that makes me happy--to be my own boss and call my own shots.
I started thinking about the career path that I took. How could I use my experience and knowledge as a banker of almost 20 years? What will present me as the professional that I am and also help people? I sat down in the kitchen with my wife, Jackie, and she and I began hashing out our next move. We still have money in savings, but it is slowly depleting. We are starting to buckle down on buying take-out, cutting on energy costs and brainstorming our grocery bill.
MY REBOUND: SEE ALL OF ACE'S BLOG POSTS
As Jackie and I continued to talk, an inspiration came along. Fourteen years ago, Jackie and I lived in my parents' basement. It was great living with my parents, but it also became apparent that we needed our own space.
I realized I know a group of people active in the community that fit my criteria of making money while also serving a good purpose. And I asked Jackie if she remembered buying our first home and how it was the scariest purchase ever. How would we pay this off? What if we bought the wrong house? If I was a realtor, I could be there for my friends and walk them through the process. Not only could I make a living, I could also help support people as they find homes in our community.
I know there are a lot of realtors out there. It seems every other friend request I get is from a realtor, and it will be a challenge to stand out. At the kitchen table Jackie asked me, “What makes you happy?” Being able to support the home that Jackie, Redd and I are building in West Michigan is what makes me happy. I love the people and the community, and it seemed natural for me to want a wonderful home-buying experience for others. I decided to take my banking experience and become a realtor.
So that's it, I signed up for real estate classes. Please say a prayer for us!
See More: Staying at Home