A colourful and creative encore career

When Pat’s electronics business was sold, largely against her will, she booked herself into a Bed and Breakfast for a week, and cried. It took her a year to heal … but now she has crafted a whole new career and it is thriving.

“I had nothing,” says Pat Schneider, Chartered client, following the decision to sell the business she and her husband had established and run together, Frank on the technical side and Pat on sales.  The success of the company had been remarkable, given the growth to 20 staff, R10m to R20m monthly turnover, and Frank’s challenge with cancer in the last three years.

“It was very hard work, ” confesses Pat, “and, at times, incredibly difficult, but I was devastated when Frank made the call to sell the business.  Though I had always trusted his objective advice and as someone to bounce ideas off, I did not speak to him for months, and consulted a psychologist, so close I was to a breakdown.”

Pat opted to hand over the details of the sale of the business to Frank, to save her marriage and her sanity.

What next?

Pat felt that her efforts had come to nought.

Despite this, the idea of a shop persisted.  “I wanted to fill my time with something I knew, something meaningful.  My mother had taught me to knit and crochet, and it had always been a hobby, but not one I cultivated in the little spare time I had outside the business.”

Pat approached a woman she knew who loved to crochet, and invited her to work for her. Pat identified a busy shopping mall in Centurion and rented a shop space.

“I could never do something where I could not spend time with other people. This has been part of my healing process, and I have done it all myself.”

Of finding what you want to do, Pat says, “You have to go and look, try something; go once, if you don’t like it, abandon it, like me and exercise:  I joined the gym and hated it. If you don’t try it, you never know.  I have always been creative, so I pursued that avenue.  I made a blanket on holiday, sitting in the evening, while talking or watching TV.”

Pat’s story is testimony to the fact that your love can become a viable encore career.  Feel free to pop into ‘The Cotton Ball’ for a crocheting lesson … or just to be inspired!

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