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How do you know when it’s time to change careers and quit the rat race?

In this B-Side episode, BusinessWorld reporter John Victor D. Ordonez speaks with Lance S. Cham and Matthew R. Yu, the founders and hosts of the Project Offbeat podcast, where two corporate 9-to-5 professionals interview non-corporate guests with unique careers. Included is an excerpt of Project Offbeat’s conversation with Stephen G. Tan, a former analyst at consultancy firm Deloitte who became a pastor.


Life often doesn’t go as planned.
“A lot of people’s lives don’t follow the natural trajectory of deciding what you want to do in life based on your educational background,” said Mr. Tan.
Despite taking up electrical engineering in college and eventually working as an analyst at Deloitte, he did not expect the major career shift he took when becoming a pastor.
Mr. Tan cited two near-death experiences which he says strengthened his faith in God and made it easier for him to switch careers.
“I know that life is short and I do what I do because it is a calling from the Lord to be faithful to the work he’s given you,” he added.
Corporate perks and high pay may not always bring fulfillment in a career.
Being able to work with cutting-edge technology and being able to travel the world did not bring the fulfillment Mr. Tan expected from a high-paying corporate job.
“I knew all along that God was calling me to be a pastor, but I didn’t want to be poor,” said the pastor. “I realized that you won’t be happy if you don’t find meaning in what you do.”
Mr. Tan noted that his day-to-day as a pastor is never dull because of the diverse community he works with — one which he wouldn’t have known in the corporate world.
“I’m never surprised anymore in my line of work since I get to hear the diverse range of life experiences people share with me,” he added.
Sometimes it’s best to walk away from a line of work you don’t find meaningful.
“I haven’t looked back since walking away from my life as a management consultant,” Mr. Tan said.
Even after reaching the top of the corporate ladder in the prime of his life, he knew he had to walk away since he did not find purpose in his corporate life.
As a pastor, Mr. Tan is also able to draw on his corporate background to relate to an audience of fast-paced professionals.
“I often wondered what I’ve given up when I exited the corporate world,” he said.
“Now I’ve done more traveling than I did when I was in Deloitte because of the graciousness of other people.”

Recorded remotely in August 2022. Produced by Joseph Emmanuel L. Garcia and Sam L. Marcelo.

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