Dinah Chapman


Burned out dot-com worker blazes her own trail into online music

After working in marketing and information technology for 30 years, Dinah Chapman was approaching serious burnout. She had relocated to Northern California in August 2000 to be closer to her family. But she then found herself in the middle of the dot-com bust, and was laid off from her job in February 2004.

Despite what she would go through in the ensuing months, the layoff became a blessing. Dinah felt that she wasn’t growing professionally. She saw no one in leadership positions that she wanted to emulate. And she saw no growth opportunities in her near future. The one thing that sustained Dinah through this difficult period was her love of singing and writing songs. It would prove to be a hobby that turned into much more.

Dinah had been dabbling in music for a long time but had always held down a full-time day job. She had been singing since age five in gospel choirs and informal groups, but she had always kept her musical life separate from her work life. At work, Dinah felt more and more like she was not growing professionally. Training budgets had been cut. And the low-morale environment was unfulfilling. When she moved to California, layoffs were beginning to happen. The manger that hired her quit — another bad sign. Dinah realized that she’d taken a huge risk in relocating and starting over. But the one thing that sustained her through this hard time was her passion for making music.

Even though it felt weird at first, Dinah realized that her time off was perfect to explore new avenues, redefine her priorities, and prioritize her options. She began to involve herself in the unemployment process. She attended workshops and seminars, went to training sessions offered by state unemployment programs, learned job survival techniques, etc. And in her heart, Dinah always knew that if she had the energy and resources to do what she really wanted, she would put her efforts into singing and writing music. She couldn’t get away from it. She always came back to it.

As Dinah tried to maintain a reasonable household budget with the severance package she’d received from her former employer, she zipped through her financial reserves at an alarming rate. She even found herself borrowing from her 401(k), the biggest no-no in investment.  Dinah knew that she couldn’t sit back and let her music idle while she had so much time on her hands. So while searching for a job, working part-time, and staying involved in her church activities, Dinah began recording the songs she had written. It made her feel so right at home, like she was doing what she was born to do!

Dinah wanted to shop the songs around to other recording artists. But she then decided to make and sell the music on her own and let people hear it. “Get the word out,” she thought, “and let people know you’re a singer and songwriter for real!” In late 2004, Dinah released a five-song CD collection via her website (www.dinahchapman.com). Dinah saw what was POSSIBLE if she believed in herself and in the unique spark inside that she believes every person has.

“No one can believe in you and your dream like you can,” Dinah says. “You have to want it, and you have to want to see it as a reality for yourself above all else.” Dinah thanks Craig Nathanson, The Vocational Coach, for his encouragement during her transition to the label “singer/songwriter.” She is proof that when people refuse to give up pursuing the work they love, they will find a way to make their dreams and passions become real.

For more details about Dinah’s music, visit her website orwww.cdbaby.com/dinahc .

What can we learn from Dinah’s story?

If you believe in yourself and keep moving forward taking action while thinking of new possibilities along the way, you can achieve new fulfillment and meaning in your life.