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Your Life Calling with Jane Pauley

A Natural Work in Progress Live Chat Transcript

If you missed the online chat with Jane and her guests, Catherine Zimmerman and Betsy Werley, you can catch the conversation here.

Pauley: I tend to be pretty practical in my approach to reinvention, which is why you may have noticed each of our segments comes with a reality check. Today, for instance -- the fact that Catherine Zimmerman, despite her hard work and her degree from the USDA program, has yet to see what she called the big paycheck.

But not all of us have the time or resources financial or otherwise to go back to school like she did. So I like to start with the small picture not the big picture. Many people resonate to the word dream, which is why Oprah has so many admirers. But not all of us (myself included) have an identifiable (or realistic) dream -- so don't be distracted by other people’s big plans and focus on small steps that might begin a journey toward reinvention.

Comment from Jean: I saw the segment on the TODAY Show this morning. I loved Catherine's story for 2 reasons: it is inspirational, and it did not end with "she lived happily ever after." Yours was very much grounded in reality and how transformation is a process, and a journey! Thank you for sharing this reality.

Pauley: That is exactly what I was just talking about. Thank you, Jean!

Zimmerman: Jean, I never knew I could be this happy with the process. The journey seemed really hard in the beginning, but it's evolving as I am.

Comment from Terri: Where is the book being sold from? Any national chains, Amazon…?

Zimmerman: You can buy it at my web site, -- be sure to specify who you want it autographed to! You can also buy it at Amazon or any other national chain (but it won't be autographed.)

Comment from faygokid:  Now that I'm close to 60 and unemployed for 9 months, how can I approach getting a job I'd be satisfied with, but at a lower level than my previous career? I seem to be "overqualified."

Werley: "Overqualified" is one of the big hurdles for people over 50 to overcome. The way to prepare for that is to learn a lot about a future employer, figure out what you can do to move the organization forward, and convey enthusiasm for the work. Small and mid-sized organizations are going to be more receptive to talented people who can help the organization grow - and possibly grow into larger roles.

Comment from Tish: I was so excited to learn about TTN. Just recently joined and then learned that my division was purchased. Trying to decide to retire and do consulting, get a new job, or just volunteer. TTN has shown me that I can try all of them if I want.

Comment from Barbara: I am married to a farmer and stay at home. I take care of our parents and my brother with cerebral palsy, but I feel like I am missing out on my life. I don't have any special talent that I am aware of. Any suggestions?

Pauley: Barbara, my mother was an invalid for 15 years and my father was her sole caregiver, so I have an idea about how it is. This may not be the reinvention story that people aspire to, but your ability to focus your talent and love where and when it is most needed – that is your gift. So you may not be living "a dream", but you are living an admirable life and I feel confident in predicting later in your life you will have no regrets.

Comment from Bob: Jane, I have a wild suggestion that you or Catherine might try. Catherine’s demeanor and background and lifestyle seems so similar to Martha Stewart that if she knew about this she might help her financially or better yet joint venture something to alleviate her money issues. Go for it. Nothing asked, nothing happens.

Zimmerman: Bob, you must be reading my mind! She's next on my list. Believe me, my philosophy is "just ask."

Comment from Flying Solo: It's hard for women who are supporting themselves to take such a risk, don't you think? Yes, it is a dream, but we have to be practical too. You can't pay a mortgage with dream. It's depressing just thinking about it.

Werley: Finances are definitely part of the "what's next" equation. Catherine's story is about "keeping your day job" while building a next career. I did that in my own career, working for a large bank while getting very involved with nonprofits and eventually moving to my fulltime job with The Transition Network.

Another example is a Transition Network member who was an actress and felt that her roles were limited as she got into her 50s. She went back to school and got a Masters of Social Work; she now has a fulltime job counseling actors on their careers. So her finances actually got more stable as a result of going back to school and making a career change.

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