Alice Adams loved numbers, having spent more than 10 years in finance as an asset manager for several London-based banks. But she also loved books and secretly wanted to write one of her own.
"I felt like it was setting out to be rock star," Adams told CNBC. "It was such a long shot."
In 2010, she re-evaluated her career and decided to take a break from the grueling world of finance.
A one-year master's in creative writing was the perfect career break, after which she planned to go back to banking.
Nearly six years and one novel later, Adams hasn't gone back — despite receiving three job offers from large banks.
After graduating from The University of Manchester in the U.K. with a writing degree, Adams took a job as a financial analyst for a university in order to have the time to write on the side. Her book, "Invincible Summer," is now sold in seven countries.
The banker turned novelist shared three key lessons from her career change, which she says are applicable to any professional.