I always like to keep an eye out for people who have launched a successful midlife career change. My newspaper, The Olympian, recently had an article about local business owner Pat Hains. Over the last three years, she has traveled to Italy, opened the Hains House bed and breakfast, attended an international baking school in Germany, and started a five day artisan bread making course that draws people from as far away as Georgia and Massachusetts.
I spoke with Pat and was delighted at her sense of humor and optimism. “I’ve heard that in Chinese, the word crisis has two characters – one for danger, one for opportunity. A sudden crisis in my life (an unexpected divorce) forced me to make changes, but it led me into something I love to do.”
The most surprising aspect of her midlife career change has been the help she’s received from unexpected places. When she thought she’d have to cancel or postpone her trip to Italy, a neighbor stepped up and offered her the money to go. It was on that trip that Pat decided to turn to bread making for the next step in her career.
I asked Pat if any friends of family tried to talk her out of what she was doing. She said there were not many at the time who did, although later they did tell her they thought she was crazy for buying the B&B, which was run-down, had no heat, and no hot water. Pat moved into the house in February and was continuously amazed at the generosity of neighbors, friends, and strangers who stepped in and helped her out.
Many of Pat’s guests and students talk to her about resiliency and reinventing themselves, often sharing stories of doing things they have never imagined in their midlife career changes. Pat agreed that at the time of her divorce, she had no idea why her life was taking a different path, but she had no choice other than to follow it.
Did I mention that Pat still works full-time in her government job? Pat said people will tell her “I can’t believe you work seven days a week,” and she replies “I work four days a week, in my government job. Three days a week I play at Hains House.”
Here’s someone living full-out doing what she loves. Click here to read the whole article in the Olympian.