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No more wargames: From defense industry to innkeeping

Melanie Camp gave up a career in the defense industry to open her own bed and breakfast in Wisconsin.
Source: Jumping Rocks Photography
Melanie Camp gave up a career in the defense industry to open her own bed and breakfast in Wisconsin.

Melanie Camp devoted most of her life to protecting her country. She graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and spent five years in the military before working at defense contracting powerhouse Lockheed Martin for two decades. But around 2007, she knew she needed a change.

"The demands of the job just didn't suit me," Camp told CNBC, "which resulted in a lot of stress."

She didn't know what she wanted to do but she knew where she wanted to live: Door County, Wisconsin—an area known as the Cape Cod of the Midwest. Like 88 percent of workers in a 2012 survey by Net Impact, Camp was looking for a better work/life balance and considered a "positive culture" important to her dream job.

To avoid a snafu, Camp embarked on a four-year mission to find another line of work. She quickly concentrated on innkeeping—meeting with a Kinder Institute-certified financial planner to see if she could afford it, joining a national Innkeepers' industry group to find out more about it, going through a PivotPlanet mentorship program to get the inside scoop and investigating local real estate opportunities.

By 2011, she was convinced that with a little elbow grease, she could make enough money in her new career. So, she took a voluntary buyout from Lockheed Martin on the east coast and headed west. In 2013, her bed and breakfast, "Thorp House Inn and Cottages" ranked in the top 10 percent of businesses listed on the travel site, TripAdvisor.com.

Watch the video or read the full Storify article here to learn more about Melanie Camp's about face, part of CNBC's new series, "Escaping The Cube."

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