Giving Up Whining for the Wine Industry

Expert says layoff can be opportunity to reinvent yourself

The recession has some San Diegans turning toward wine, instead of whining.

Lindsay Pomeroy is the first to teach Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) classes in San Diego, and she noticed an interesting thing.  About a third of her students are shifting careers, thanks to the economy.

"So I have a couple students in the class who in fact had been laid off from their jobs and now are moving into wine 'cause that's their ultimate passion," said Pomeroy, whose wine education company is called Wine Smarties.

Jessica Gago is taking the WSET certification class.  She had a job in graphic design but is now pursuing her dream of being an event planner at a winery.

"I figured, even with the tough economic situation we're going through right now, things tend to work themselves out, and I just figured, why not take the chance?" Gago said.

Human Resources professor Christine Probett is an expert on reinventing yourself. She left her executive job at a major corporation and now teaches at San Diego State.

"I think it's a great opportunity if you've been laid off, if you're between jobs, especially if you have unemployment benefits -- it's kind of a safe good time to explore your passion," Probett said.

Probett has this advice for anyone seeking to reinvent themselves in a recession: Assess your skills by figuring out what you’re good at and what transferable skills you have; list your desires and consider just how much money you really need to make; brainstorm and decide on your dream job; create a new skills-based resume; and finally, improve your chances with training, volunteering with organizations related to your interests, and with networking.

Wine student Lisa Sena used to work for a big company, too.  But now she is the manager and wine buyer for Tango Wine Company in Little Italy.  She says a challenging economy reminds her to do all she can to keep her job, now that she's found her true passion.

"I'm so glad I did it. I think my husband likes me better, I'm happier person and I love this industry. And I wouldn't change this for anything," Sena said.

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