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Your Life Calling With Jane Pauley

Knitting a New Life

If you missed the live online chat with Jane and her guest, professional knitter Betsy Lee McCarthy, you can catch the conversation here.

Betsy Lee McCarthy: Hi Cathy. Cathy is a friend of mine. She has also been a real inspiration to me. She's about, I think, 10 or more years younger than I am. But she's over 50 and has downsized from the big house to a less material-oriented life. At one time Cathy was an exercise physiologist, a nutritionist. To me she's the definition of how people just over 50 are putting their toes in and trying new things. In fact, since I've known Cathy, she's had a stint as a pastry chef at a wonderful restaurant here in Vancouver.
Comment from Randall G.: At the age of 57 I walked off my lifetime job as a project manager fora large commercial electrical contractor. I was making more money thanI had ever made with perks out the wazoo, but I was totally miserable. I walked off in June of 2008. That November I started my commercial photography business. Now I work for several magazines and publications. I'm making one-third the money but I'm having three times the fun! When I walked off my job the rest of the country lost theirs. Bad timing but I'm very glad I did it.
Pauley: Hey Randall. We're highlighting your post because many people enjoy photography and might like to make a business of it. But it is a business, so it's important that a person find out if they're as fond of the business aspects as they are about photography. Congratulations, and continued success to you.

Comment from Dana
: So pleased to see you, Jane, back on Today. Love that Betsy is a knitter, as am I. Is it more common for those pursuing a second career to open shops or, instead, businesses that are already developed, such as a franchise? I've seen a little of both myself.

Pauley: A quick piece of advice about opening a business like a store is that a person get a job in the very kind of shop they might see themselves owning. That way they can find out if they really enjoy running a business and are good at it. It's good to test the waters before you plunge in.

McCarthy: I did exactly that. After I left health care, I worked in knitting shops part-time and I taught. I quickly realized that my knitting passion needed to be expressed through teaching. I learned a lot by working in a knitting shop,including that I didn't want to be a small business owner. For me, owning a knitting shop would take away some of the pleasure I get from knitting, although I know that isn't true for everyone. It was very fulfilling for me to write the book [Knit Socks!] because it gave me a way to reach and help many more people than I could one-on-one in a classroom. I started out many years ago being an English teacher in a high school and then college. My life between then and now has been a rather crooked path, but the one thing I discovered in management, and later on, was that no matter how far I tried to move from teaching I was essentially a teacher at my soul. My fulfillment really does come through teaching, which can be done through books as well as in classes. Also, I'm going to be selling some patterns just because I love to do it. It's a creative challenge, but my main goal is teaching and really giving

Comment from David: Was it difficult to get your family to understand what you were doing [by leaving your job]? Our culture doesn't always promote this way of thinking.

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