Your Life Calling: Reinventing after Broadway

This morning Jane Pauley swung by the Today Show to premiere the new Your Life Calling segment. It profiles Tripp Hanson, who left his career as a singer/dancer on Broadway to pursue acupuncture, and is now treating some of his former co-stars. Hanson joined Pauley and AARP’s Director of Workforce Issues Deborah Russell in a live chat this afternoon to give advice about reinventing your career. You can read the whole transcript here, but here are some highlights:

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?

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 and in the end, and that matters most.

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

Rachel: Tripp, how did you know you’d be successful at acupuncture and that you’d be able to support yourself on it?

Hanson: Rachel, I know! How in the world did I find the confidence to dive in like I did? It’s not that simple. Truth is, this was an exercise in faith. I’d spent a long time, truly, considering different ideas. But this was the particular career that path spoke to me in many different ways: I had a long-standing interest in alternative medicine; I was intrigued by the results that I’d seen in my experiences with acupuncture; and I’d heard acupuncture was a burgeoning field and as a branch of alternative medicine was an ‘up and comer’. Everything after that was just jumping, and trusting that I’d landed on my feet. Maybe the years of seeking Broadway shows, which was such an uphill climb.

Carol: I have sold my investment business and now am seeking a second career. For over 20 years I have offered financial advice (investement education, budgeting, planning, etc.). I would love to continue this aspect of my business, but don’t know how to make a living at it. I almost always offered these services for free (making my money from the investments themselves). Any suggestions?

Russell: Carol, wow! You offered this service for free? Well, now it’s time to make money off of your vast knowledge. There are a few different directions you could explore:

1) Do you want to become a certified financial planner and become an independent contractor?

2) Do you want to work for a company as a budget analyst?

The Department of Labor’s website has information to help you determine transferable skills as well as jobs that would take advantage of your skills. Go to and look in their employment section.

This is a guest post from Your Life Calling’s Lindsay Zoladz.