Midcareer changes are not uncommon on Wall Street, but when Tania Isenstein quit her job at Goldman Sachs in 2012, her family and friends were shocked by what path she opted for instead: pet care.
"I just couldn't get myself out of bed in the morning," she recalled of the job burnout she felt, 17 years into a career as a lawyer for the investment bank.
So she bought Camp Canine, a struggling pet care business on the street where she lived on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and where she had taken her own dog.
Five years later, she employs 40 people, including five groomers.
Many owners and workers in the pet care sector describe similar feelings, realizing that working with animals, and getting a creative outlet in the process, is their true calling. And, when it comes to pet groomers in particular, their number is growing.
Americans will spend $5.4 billion on pet boarding and grooming services this year, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, an industry group. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the job category that includes pet groomers will grow 11 percent through 2023, faster than the average growth for the economy as a whole. The agency cited an increase in households that have pets and turnover that makes room for newer workers.
The field is not for everyone. Schools such as the New York-based American Academy of Pet Grooming charge about $5,000 for basic grooming lessons, which can take nine months, depending on how quickly students fulfill the classroom hours requirement, or more than $6,500 for more advanced grooming techniques. In 2015, non-farm-animal caretakers, the job category that includes pet groomers, earned a median salary of $21,010.
But training often takes place on the job, and would-be groomers can apply for apprenticeships. Full-time courses, meanwhile, often offer job placements with local salons.