1. Home
  2. Careers
  3. news
  4. I quit my dream job at Goldman Sachs to care for my mother. I felt bad for myself but realized the simple things are what truly matter.

I quit my dream job at Goldman Sachs to care for my mother. I felt bad for myself but realized the simple things are what truly matter.

Kaila Yu   

I quit my dream job at Goldman Sachs to care for my mother. I felt bad for myself but realized the simple things are what truly matter.
  • Cassindy Chao, 55, is a former finance executive turned matchmaker.
  • After six years at Goldman Sachs, Chao decided to quit her job to take care of her ill mother.

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Cassindy Chao, a 55-year-old matchmaker from Oakland, California, about quitting her dream job as a finance executive. It's been edited for length and clarity.

I'm a 55-year-old matchmaker who used to live the "Crazy Rich Asians" lifestyle, working in finance.

I went into that line of work because I knew it was lucrative and felt like a responsible choice. After graduating from Wellesley College, majoring in Chinese studies and economics, I worked at a couple of finance jobs before being poached by Goldman Sachs in Hong Kong.

At Goldman Sachs, I made over $376,000 annually. I was on top of the world, traveling and buying myself jewelry and designer clothes. It was a very luxurious lifestyle. My co-workers and I would fly to Thailand, Japan, or Vietnam on weekends. I was in the center of it all.

Years after starting the new job in 1993, my mom got sick with ovarian cancer, and it was devastating. I quit Goldman Sachs in 1999 and moved back home to the Bay Area, where I became lonely and incredibly sad.

It was tough, at first, but now I can say leaving my dream job was all worth it.

I went from international jet setter to a stay-at-home caregiver

When my mom got sick, I tried to fly back and forth from Hong Kong to the Bay Area to care for her, but it was unmanageable. After about three months of traveling back and forth, I quit Goldman Sachs. It was awful. I went from an international jet setter with a beautiful showpiece duplex apartment and maid to living in an old four-bedroom home.

Instead of jewelry and expensive dinners, my days were filled with brewing tea and soup for my mom and driving her to doctor's appointments.

Over time, I watched people who worked below me at the company do incredibly well. I visited friends with many Hermès bags in their closets. They'd call me and chat about their far-flung excursions and show off their homes filled with priceless art. I initially felt sorry for myself, watching them lead my formerly fabulous life.

It was hard to come to terms with my new reality

I wanted to balance both careers, but being my mom's caregiver was practically a full-time effort — chemo, blood tests, tumor assays, finding alternative medicines, getting second opinions, driving, managing her records, bill payments, and insurance negotiations. I didn't want to hire a caretaker for my mom.

All of a sudden I had to budget and save money. But over time, I felt bad for feeling sorry for myself and realized the simple things are what truly matter.

I loved my family and the priceless time I got to spend with my mother. At Goldman, it was frenetic — deals, reports, deadlines, meetings, conferences, presentations. Back in the States, there was still plenty to do, but life slowed down significantly, and I could actually relax.

My mom said I'd never get married and have a family if I stayed at Goldman Sachs

Before quitting, I worked crazy hours, traveled constantly, and chased after Ivy League banker men out of my league. I ignored my mom's advice, as I enjoyed my life.

I was dating several other finance guys when I met my now-husband Fred, an engineer, at a party in Hong Kong. He seemed friendly and happy but wore a Jackie Chan T-shirt, shorts, and Teva sandals. My first thought was, "Oh, yuck."

We instantly clicked, but I saw him more as a friend.

However, during the first year of caring for my mom, Fred showed up where the other men didn't. He was solid and always there, making me realize he was a real keeper. When I decided to move back to the US permanently, Fred packed up all my stuff and brought it back for me. We started dating seriously, and he grew to have a tremendous bond with my mom. That same year he proposed, we married, and he moved to California to be with me.

He's a goofy engineer, not a slick, rich finance guy, different from the other men I dated. If I stayed in Hong Kong, I would probably have chased after unavailable men for years. Instead, we've been happily married for over 20 years.

Was it worth it to leave Goldman Sachs?

Now, I can say yes. My mom lived for 10 years as an end-stage ovarian/liver cancer survivor before passing. I mourned her and my former high-flying life when she died, but she taught me how to thrive in any situation.

My mom's ability to make the best of any situation inspired me. She made friends with her medical team, buying gifts and knitting hats. During chemo, she would say, "I'm going to be out of it for 14 days, but afterward, let's schedule seven days of fun." We'd spend days exploring the city, eating delicious treats, and socializing with friends.

I'm not rich, but I'm wealthy in happiness. I have a great marriage and three terrific kids who are now young adults. Although not everyone wants marriage and kids, I'd always assumed I'd have it.

Now that I'm older, I've found a new career I love as a matchmaker. It's not work; I love meeting so many interesting people all the time and nudging them to find someone super special.

I chose family over money, and I'm richer because of it.

If you quit a six-figure dream job and want to share your story, email Manseen Logan at

Popular Right Now