News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Business

June 24, 2012

Career switch: Former computer programmer turns chiropractor in Valley

TERRE HAUTE — A mid-life career switch might be daunting for some, but as the signage rises on a new practice, a local health care provider said he’s ready to get cracking.

 Work was under way Wednesday at 4251 S. Seventh St. as Roshel Chiropractic joins the family of nearby medical businesses. But as James Roshel re-considered the health care field after nearly 20 years as a computer programmer, he decided to leave dentistry to his father, brother and aunt, opting to become a doctor of chiropractic.

“It’s a very big switch,” the 42-year-old said inside the building that most recently housed his wife’s daycare business. That is, before the nearly five years he’s spent retooling their lives.

A 1989 graduate of Terre Haute South Vigo High School, Roshel earned degrees in manufacturing technology and management information systems from Indiana State University in 1993, going on to work first for IBM and then AET. But life in a cubicle never seemed to fit the lifelong athlete and competitive bodybuilder.

“Have you ever seen the movie ‘Office Space’?” he chuckled. “That was my life.”

Corporate downsizing at AET cost him that job, but as he looked around for another, he wondered aloud to family and friends whether placing his future in another company’s control was really the best move.

And even though becoming a full-time student while a husband and father of two would prove challenging, it was actually the idea of his wife, Susan.

“This is a better fit for him, I think,” she said, seated behind a desk at her husband’s new practice.

Educated in early childhood development at St. Mary-of-the-Woods College, Susan had operated her own daycare in the building next to her father-in-law’s orthodontist practice — that of John Roshel Jr. — and across the street from her brother-in-law and aunt, John III and Arlene. While the idea of entering dental school was considered, both husband and wife had used chiropractors before and felt it was a better overall fit.

“It’s more hands-on,” Roshel said, adding he likes to spend time with patients. “If you ask the general public what a chiropractor does, they’ll say they work on your back. But in reality, we work on every joint in the body, as well as issues of nutrition.”

Nutrition and mobility were a forte of sorts anyway, as Roshel has been a competitive bodybuilder since 1992, winning among other titles, Mr. Indiana in 2003.

“So I just decided to quit and go back to school,” he said.

Getting into chiropractic school required some additional coursework at ISU, and then nearly four years commuting back and forth to Logan Chiropractic School 30 miles west of St. Louis. For a time, the family actually relocated there before moving back to open the practice.

“It was tough,” he said, pointing out the moves and time away was particularly hard on his two daughters. “But thank God I had a lot of support from my family, especially my dad.”

Being 15 years older than most of his classmates was a little strange at first, he said. But he wasn’t totally alone. Several fellow students were coming to the school for reasons similar to his own, and this time around, they knew what they wanted to do with their careers.

Susan remarked that most people change their minds about careers while still in school, and not everyone knows right away the direction in which they should head.

“It’s exciting,” she said, adding one of the perks to her husband’s new line of work is she’ll get free chiropractic work and massages. “We’re ready.”

Roshel said the idea to return to school and launch a completely new career is in fact quite exciting, but one that shouldn’t be taken without a lot of thought.

“It has to be a commitment,” he said. “You have to believe in yourself. You have to believe you can be successful, and everyone in your life has to be committed as well.”

Brian Boyce can be reached at 812-231-4253 or brian.boyce@

tribstar.com.

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