Area residents finding fun and fulfilment in their jobs

September 4, 2006

Sandi Shelton, Register Staff

It’s Labor Day, time to think about what work means to us. You’ve heard the old saying, “Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”?

Well, we’ve found three people in the area for whom this is the absolute truth: They can’t wait to get to their jobs each day. Here are their stories and how they found these great gigs for themselves:


New Haven, personal organizer

“My family and friends laugh so hard that I became the poster child for loving your work,” she says. “I was the female equivalent of a ‘Good Time Charlie.’ Work was far down the list of anything I ever really cared about.”

Indeed. Chieppo has been an assistant to the headmaster of an independent school, she’s sold radio time for a country music station, she’s worked for a start-up limousine company; you name it, she did it. She’d work at a job for a while, master it, get bored, and quit and move on to something else.

But then eight years ago, she says, she had an epiphany of sorts. She realized that she was the happiest when she was organizing things. Not only were her own drawers set up with brilliant systems, but she just adored getting her family and friends’ goods in order, too. “I could always just look at a jumble of stuff and know what needed to be done with it,” she says.

She quit her perfectly respectable job as an executive assistant and set up shop for herself. Being an organizer, she knew what she had to do first: print up business cards and start spreading the word. She got her first client right away — a company that needed months and months of help — and after that the word just spread.

“For the first few years, I eked out a living, but then it just took off,” she says. “I now appear once a month on the noon news on WTNH, I write a tips column which runs in local papers, and I’ve written a book about organizing that will come out in October.”

Why is this fun? “I’m a free-spirited organizer, not a person who comes in and raps people’s knuckles,” she says. “I’m fun. I don’t see it as drudgery. I see it as giving people more time to do the things they want to do. When I’m at work, I’m in a state of flow. It’s not like work at all.”

Chieppo’s company is called Born to Organize, and her Web site is She can be reached at (203) 389-4242 or at


Branford, head tennis pro

How many people find their calling when they’re 15 years old? That’s what happened to Bill Previdi, who was sent, somewhat unwillingly, to tennis camp for the summer when he was a sophomore in high school. He’d wanted to go to basketball camp, but his parents told him, “No. In case you haven’t noticed, you’re 5 foot 7. You’re headed for tennis.”

It turned out that Previdi was pretty good at the game. He got hooked on it almost right from the beginning, and by the time he was a senior in high school, he was teaching tennis to others, and making lots more money than his friends were making at their after-school jobs. He was so good, in fact, that he got a scholarship to college to play tennis, and in his senior year, his coach took him aside and said, “I watch you teaching the other players, and I really think you could make a living at this.”

“At first I kept thinking that I’d probably end up having to get a real job,” he says with a laugh. “But then I was working at the U.S. Open in 1978, and I met my future employers, the owners of the Guilford Racquet and Swim Club. And they hired me at age 23 as their head pro. I’ve been doing that ever since, and I can’t imagine ever doing anything else.”

Previdi is also the tennis coach at Mitchell College in New London and has coached the boys’ and girls’ tennis teams at Branford High for 19 years.

Why is this fun? “Teaching keeps evolving and changing,” he says. “I’m lucky that my employers let me work with marketing and changing lesson plans. I love inspiring people to keep trying, and I’m always looking for better ways to teach. I also play competitively, and that keeps me understanding what my clients go through. I came to the game late — 15 is forever! — and I tell them, ‘You could never lose as many matches as I have, and look at me, I just keep going.’”

Previdi can be reached at the Guilford Racquet and Swim Club at (203) 453-4367.


Madison, intuitive life coach

Sharon Massoth received her master’s degree in social work back in 1975, and almost immediately, she realized that she wasn’t going to be able to stay in the confines of being a traditional psychotherapist. “I always had a strong intuition,” she says, “and I saw that I wanted to teach people to use their own intuition to better their lives. The New Age spiritual revolution was just getting started, and I realized I wanted to be part of helping people by becoming a life coach.”

Massoth meets with people in her private practice and also works with groups to help people achieve their goals and look at what is important in their lives. Although Massoth was one of the first to call herself an intuitive life coach, these days this work is much more accepted and mainstream, she says.

“Even big corporations now accept the idea of using intuition to build skills,” she says. “I now work with lots of high-level executives to help them define themselves and their work. I show them how to trust themselves through all the ups and downs of business, how to tune in and learn which risks they can take. I think one of the main things I do is teach the power of positive thinking and intention.”

One of the main things she shows her clients — those both in business and those seeking guidance in their personal lives — is that true wealth and well-being come from a place of no regrets. “I show people how to drop down into their heart to learn the lessons they need to succeed,” she says. “I find meaning in situations and help them to understand why things happen the way they do.”

Why is this fun? “I feel open all the time to what’s really important in life,” she says. “When I speak from my intuition, it ripples as truth right through the person. People feel truth in their bodies. It’s an honor to help people in this work.”

Massoth can be reached through her Web site at, by e-mail at or by phone at (203) 245-0084.

©New Haven Register 2006