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Your Life Calling

The Next Stage Live Chat Transcript

Missed the chat with Jane and guests Tripp Hanson and Deborah Russell? Check it out here

Comment from Maggie: I'm in my mid-40s. I make six figures and am miserable. I want to work with animals. Selfishly, I'm used to a six-figure lifestyle and fear quitting my job to work with animals (which doesn't pay six figures). Thoughts? Am I being selfish?

Pauley: Maggie, I think this is a question you need to take some time answering and probably with the benefit of someone who knows the right questions to ask you. So I’m going to ask Deborah to take a look at your question because I know that part of her portfolio at AARP includes career coaching.

Russell: Maggie, you are absolutely not being selfish. Money is not always what drives people at work. Loving the work that you do is always more important. With that said, I’m assuming you’ve done some financial planning to determine whether you can afford to take that kind of a pay cut. Can you still live the quality of life you are accustomed to? What sacrifices you will have to make in order to move into this new profession? Are you willing to make those sacrifices? If in fact your financial responsibilities have been addressed and you can afford to make the transition, do it! You will be happier in the end, and that matters most.

Comment from Dr. Debra Weiss: You're right, Jane. One never knows where a person is going to wind up. Every student should be allowed to follow his or her own dream. I know people who didn't and spent a lifetime regretting it.

Comment from Maggie: Thanks, Jane and Deborah. I've been contemplating it for a year. So miserable. I still don't know what the right answer is.

Pauley: Maggie, just a thought: get out of the house and be miserable. Don’t stay at home. If you find something "to do" — being a helpful neighbor in some structured way or volunteering at church or in a community group — I predict you will feel less miserable and you are far more likely to discover your special affinities, like we’ve been talking about. Not to mention being more likely to stumble over opportunities. And I enthusiastically refer you to

Comment from Nicole: Hi, Tripp. Were there any people or groups that helped you make the transition?

Hanson: Hi, Nicole. There's a tremendous organization in New York called Career Transition for Dancers. They specifically work with dancers who are seeking some sort of change and financially help you begin the exploration. Great group!

Comment from Gregg: Tripp, how long was it between your last show and your epiphany about acupuncture?

Hanson: Hey, Gregg, it wasn't after, it was during! I was on Broadway, dancing in the musical Thoroughly Modern Millie, and I'd recently read something about the fact that acupuncture was a career to watch in the future — a great potential growth curve. Plus, I'd also read during that time in some of Paul Zane Pilzer's The Next Trillion about the health industry growth for baby boomers. So I began taking classes part time to see how it might fit — eight shows a week and two classes was exhausting, but it proved to be a fit. And the rest as they say — history!

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