Let's face it – while many of us may plan on switching careers for a dream job in sport, art, or music, few have the guts to give up the security of that monthly pay cheque.
But former EY chartered accountant and financial director Michael Bracegirdle can be an example to us all, as he prepares for his role as tenor Don Jose in a performance of Carmen in Soho tonight.
Bracegirdle, who spent over 10 years restructuring businesses in the City before getting his call to duty, says that leaving finance was the best thing that ever happened to him.
“I really did enjoy my job, but was having some issues in my personal life and seeing life fly by me,” he said.
“In 2003 I helped out a school friend with a choral concert, then I applied for a post-grad at the Royal Northern College of Music. I left my finance career and never looked back.”
Bracegirdle, who will take on the role of baddie Don Jose in Georges Bizet’s iconic opera Carmen, held down a number of jobs, from accounting at EY to eventually becoming a finance director at education support services company Tribal Group.
The former City boy says he not only feels like a new man, but adds that it was easier to follow his dream than he thought.
“It was the fear of taking the step that was much harder than the transition itself. My team were incredibly supportive – they knew it was something I needed. Life in the finance world wasn’t doing my health any good, but now I feel 10 years younger!”
According to Bracegirdle, there may be other stars of the stage waiting in the ranks of the Square Mile. He believes that finance “is a very creative industry, with a lot in common with music and singing”.