Finding a New You -- Reinventing Your Career After Being Laid Off

For some, losing a job is an opportunity to make dreams come true.

ByABC News
March 6, 2010, 7:46 PM

March 6, 2010— -- Forrest Graves wasn't looking to reinvent himself. After being laid off the day after Christmas 2008, the 49-year-old said he was simply looking for a job, any job.

"I knew I was not re-employable and certainly not at the salary I was making," Graves said.

The former Hewlett Packard executive figured that another six-figure sales job was not likely. Instead, Graves, of Cleveland, Ga., allowed himself to dream.

The result: the life-long coffee lover is now turning his hobby of coffee roasting into his livelihood. He's started a family-run business called JumpinGoat Coffee in nearby Helen, roasting beans in his backyard shed.

"We had a dream, but without those people it wouldn't have been possible," said Graves, speaking of his family who are also his roastery workers.

The crew includes his mother, her fiance, his wife, his brother and his sister-in-law, all of whom live close by.

On days when his daughter comes home from school for lunch, there are three generations at the table, a luxury Graves never had when commuting an hour to Atlanta and traveling the globe selling printing equipment.

For now, he pays his wife and other family members in coffee.

"They're happy to do it," Graves said of his family.

After Hewlett Packard, Graves and his wife Debbie sat down to look at their options.

"We said we can either let our savings dry up or we can open a small business. And Debbie said, that's easy. We have no savings."

So they swung into action and bought a roaster.

"This is my Plan B and failure is not an option," Graves said.

Last month, another 36,000 Americans lost their jobs and will also be forced to contemplate options. Some, like Graves, are using it as a chance to pursue a passion in their paycheck.

Michelle Pfennighaus started a small business in Boston as a yoga instructor and nutritional counselor, called Find Your Balance Health, after being laid off from an advertising agency.