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Second Act Careers: The Beer Brewer

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I was teaching for 25 years and wanted to explore more of another career, and one of the things I had thought of was—I'd like to get into the business world and see if I could succeed in that realm.

Two friends of mine actually were looking into buying the brewery, and they knew that I was interested in changing careers, trying something different, so they invited me to join in and to help run the brewery.

The reason I became a teacher was due to some life events. My first wife had cancer and unfortunately she passed away, and I was a single parent. And although I had always wanted to be a teacher, I thought it would be later in life. But it made more sense to do that as a single parent to be able to spend more time with my son. So I went and got a few more college courses in education and became a teacher at that time.

It wasn’t that I was dissatisfied with teaching; I just felt like I wasn’t going to do it all my life. It was fulfilling enough that I suddenly stopped and said, “I’ve been doing this for 25 years,” and I wanted to try something new. And a large part of teaching is trying to get the students to do what you want them to do so they learn the proper information, and sales is almost the same thing—much more similar than I expected. You’re trying to show the client why your product will be beneficial to them, and have them feel good about purchasing a product and have a good experience with it.

Moving to a job at the brewery, I set my own schedule and created my own day. And that’s challenging. You have to—it’s easy to veer off course when you’re in charge of everything. But you have to make sure that you stay on that schedule and that you keep the goal in mind.

Throughout my life I’ve been making the decisions with my finances to save them for retirement, putting money into IRAs, 401(k)s. In fact I view my investment in the brewery as part of my retirement investment.

The biggest advice I can think to give to anyone else considering a second career is to do it, to muster up the courage, the energy, and not think negatively about it. It’s a little scary at first, but there are plenty of people in the world who have done it, and the rewards are tremendous. You learn new things, you meet new people—that’s well worth any trepidation that you might have going into it. 

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