Work & Purpose

Quitting Corporate Life to Play the Blues

The Second Act Stories podcast episode about Tom 'The Suit' Forst

The terrific podcast, “Second Act Stories With Andy Levine,” is out with another episode worth hearing. It’s called “Never Too Old to Rock N’ Roll: Meet Tom ‘The Suit’ Forst” and is all about a corporate VP who decided to chuck it all to pursue his lifelong passion of music.

I’ve written about two other fine Second Act Stories episodes: “Retired Doctor Becomes a ‘Band Grandpa’” and “One Woman’s ‘Follow Me to 50’ Impressive Year of Public Service.” This new one, about Tom Forst, tells a story that many people in their 50s and 60s will enjoy vicariously.

As Forst tells Levine, 10 years ago, he was a regional vice president with the communications company Cox Media, pulling down a big salary and enjoying life. But he felt a tug: The Blues — musically, that is.

So, knowing that he’d saved money well, Forst told his wife Giselda he wanted to follow his passion of becoming a blues guitarist and performer. She was supportive, so he brazenly leapt into his new life. It was, as Forst tells Levine, “a hard transition.”

But Forst kept at it and, in 2016, put out a blues-rock album as Tom “The Suit” Forst — “OnFire.” Last fall, he toured China as a headliner with a Chinese-American band. Forst is currently working on his second album and hosting the weekly “Chasing the Blues” podcast about the original masters of the blues.

The Suit fit.

His advice for others thinking about a second act: “You have got to plan early” adding, “It was all about having enough money where I could take the risk.”

Have a listen to Tom “The Suit” Forst’s Second Act Story.

RIchard Eisenberg, editor at Next Avenue wearing a suit jacket in front of a teal background.
By Richard Eisenberg
Richard Eisenberg is the Senior Web Editor of the Money & Security and Work & Purpose channels of Next Avenue and Managing Editor for the site. He is the author of How to Avoid a Mid-Life Financial Crisis and has been a personal finance editor at Money, Yahoo, Good Housekeeping, and CBS MoneyWatch. Follow him on Twitter.

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