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How to Reinvent Your Career

Job dissatisfaction drove three women to overhaul their careers -- and in the end, transform their lives.

Morgan Robinson, 42, Business owner
Husband Eric Robinson, 45 Children Angus, 14; Porter, 11; Quinn, 6
Hometown Collingswood, New Jersey

Morgan Robinson had always wanted a career in the nonprofit sector. Her dream was realized as an editor for a nonprofit medical organization, although over the years her workplace more than tripled in size, changing the culture. She realized it was no longer the right fit for her. "It was terrifying to leave a well-paying, respected job in the midst of a crumbling economy," she says. But she also valued her happiness, so two and a half years ago she quit.

If she was going to make such a drastic change, Morgan decided her new career would have to benefit her family and allow her to spend more time with her kids. A lifetime of thrift shopping and an artsy hometown filled with young families, people of varied income levels and an influx of hipsters led her to open Frugal Resale, which sells gently used and vintage clothing, shoes, handbags, puzzles and other items for women, men and kids. Every month the shop donates 2% of sales to different local and national charities.

The Robinsons live a block from Frugal Resale, making it practically their second home. When her husband isn't at work or their kids aren't at school, they can often be found moving clothing racks, bagging up blocks and puzzles, or sweeping the sidewalk. But even though the family was spending more time together, Morgan was often distracted by her new responsibilities. She knew she needed to honor her promise and take advantage of her new schedule, and she wanted to dedicate a day just to her kids. Last summer she gave herself every Monday off to take the kids on adventures. Morgan hopes that when they are older they won't just remember the paperwork and merchandise that shared their home but also these special outings.

While Morgan never envisioned running her own store, she's rewarded by learning something new every day. She explores her creative side with marketing as well as designing the store's window and interior displays. While she spends most days in her shop, it never really feels like work.

The joys of owning her business are great and small: She plays the music she likes, wears what she wants, throws special events like Ladies' Nights and Mother/Daughter Days, and participates in the town's various festivals. Morgan feels a sense of ownership in every meaning of the word, although there are things she misses, such as the freedom of having Saturdays off. "Every change is a trade-off, but I'd do it again in a heartbeat," she says. "I don't get paid vacation days, and I have to pay for my own benefits. But the quality of my daily life has improved tenfold. I'm simply happier."

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