It is with great pleasure that I announce the winner of the 2010 Val Agosta VocationVacation Scholarship — Robi Malone of Simpsonville, South Carolina!

Everyone at VocationVacations has a special place in our hearts for our private investigator mentor, Val Agosta, of Boise, Idaho.  She lost her battle to breast cancer in March of 2009.  However, her spirit for living, her sense of humor and her laugh live on in our minds.  And, most especially today since December 15 is her birthday.

Choosing the scholarship winner was once again not an easy decision for Val’s family this year as we had so many entrants whose short essays exemplified Val’s essence and zest for life.  But, after much discussion and deliberation, Robi Malone was their choice.  Robi’s essay detailed how she put her life and goals on hold for many years in order to raise a family, including a son with a disability.  Once the diapers were changed, the soccer games attended and the kids were all in school, she went back to school herself and received her GED.  But Robi didn’t stop there.  She received her bachelors degree from Wright State in Dayton, Ohio.

Along the way Robi also pursued her love of photography.  But Robi feels it’s time to take things to the next level: she wants to start her own photography business — and she wants a portion of her work to be charitable, pro bono photography for families who are going to lose a loved one due to a terminal illness.  More on Robi’s plans and which Photographer VocationVacation she will take in 2011 in the January VocationVacations newsletter (if you’re not signed up, please do so on our homepage).

Please join me in congratulating Robi!

And thanks to the hundreds of folks who submitted their applications.  Don’t give up — please apply again in 2012.

Happy Holidays To All,
Brian

I have found myself becoming more reflective over the past few years as everyone, it seems, has been impacted by the Great Recession in some way.  But at the end of the day I remind myself and others what really matters:  Us.  And the memories we form together during the 525,600 minutes that comprise a year.

In the Broadway play RENT (that I was so thrilled to see in its first month on stage way back in 1996), there’s just the most amazing song that I’ve forever loved, “Seasons of Love”.  If you haven’t heard it or if it’s been awhile since you’ve listened to it, I highly recommend doing so.  It’s not at all a traditional holiday song but as you find yourself on “holiday deadlines” (tree needs to be decorated by Wednesday, outside lights are past-due, gifts need to be purchased by Dec 15, etc.), take a moment…come up for air…and take a listen to “Seasons of Love” on YouTube.  It will put it all in perspective for you.

And check out our really cool, latest newsletter HERE!  Includes a $100 gift offering to YOU….

Happy Holidays!

Brian

I rarely use my blog as a forum for venting….but I do use it for feedback.  Today it’s a bit of both.

I hope you saw our VocationVacations newsletter this morning announcing a couple of our new, exciting career mentorship programs:  Phone Mentorship and our Saturday Workshops – VocationVacations 360 (the first one is, “So You Want To Get Into The Wine Business?” and will be on Jan 15, 2011).  These are in addition to our 1-on-1 VocationVacations that have served thousands of people since 2004 and our relatively new Small-Group VocationVacations.  There’s a lot going on!  Good stuff.

The subject line of the newsletter this morning was “How’s Life In The Cubicle?” followed by this verbiage to kick off the newsletter:

When we speak with clients prior to their VocationVacation career mentorship experiences, we ask them if their physical work environment is a nice, pleasant space. Rarely do we hear, “I love where I work!” Instead, we hear, “I am stuck in cubicle hell without a window!”, or “I was promoted and now have my own private office – complete with bad fluorescent lighting and a view of the elevator”, or “I sooooo need to be outside more than I am today!”

You get the picture. Are you stuck in proverbial cubicle hell? Well then, it’s time to explore YOUR dream career and discover what your life could be like outside of that cubicle.

Well.  Let me tell you, I inadvertently set off a small firestorm in response to the subject line….here are a couple of my “favorites”:

From David H:  Go f*#$ yourself!

From Sarah A:  ouch! offensive/painful/derogatory toward small businesses… subject line… I’m out…When you are an inspiration again I will check in. Buena suerte!

Time for my vent:  Really, David and Sarah?  Really?  Was what I asked so bad?

So, feedback.  What do you think?  Do you really think my asking “How’s Life In The Cubicle?” was such a bad thing to ask?

From outside of the cubicle,

Brian

I always love announcing new VocationVacations mentors.  So it comes with great pleasure to introduce our new TV Script Writer mentor, Mark Kunerth!

You’ve enjoyed Mark’s writing skills if you have ever watched “Friends”, “Roseanne”, “Veronica’s Closet” or Showtime’s hit new show, “The Big C” starring Laura Linney.  In addition to being a successful TV script writer, Mark is simply a super nice guy and is wildly passionate about what he does for a living.  He can’t wait to share with you how he made a career transition from writing press releases for Dairy Queen to moving to Hollywood and becoming a writer.  For real!

Give us a call at 503.720.4282 or sign-up online if you’d like to compare calendars and arrange your career mentorship with Mark.

Cheers!
Brian

It is with deep sadness that I share some bad news with you today.  VocationVacations mentor, Cristal Newell, owner of Mile High Mutts in Denver, died in a horrible car accident this past Friday.  Cristal was a wonderful, no-nonsense, kick-in-the-pants, detail-oriented VocationVacations mentor.  Cristal, wherever you are, it was wonderful working with you.  May you rest in peace and be surrounded by many beloved animals.

For anyone who would like to be part of the scholarship fund that is being set up for her two young sons, see more under Mile High Mutts on Facebook.  If you’re not on Facebook, here are the details:

The Cristal Newell Memorial fund has now been established for those who have been inquiring. Cristal had 2 young boys, Liam and Tristan. In honor of their mother, the employees of Mile High Mutts have started the Memorial for Cristal. Checks can be made payable to “Memorial for Cristal Newell” – Great Westeran Bank, 1543 Wazee St, Denver CO 80202

Best Regards,

Brian

Hi Friends!

Disclaimer right up front: I’m a complete CHOCOHOLIC, DOG LOVER and CRAFT BREWING FAN. That being said, let me share a few exciting career transition stories that include three of my favorite things:  chocolate, dogs and beer (not always in that order).

First, I want to share the very recent launch of a new chocolate-making business, The Art of Chocolate. Vocationer alums, Chris and Darcie Farrow, of Monument (between Denver and Colorado Springs), Colorado just opened their doors!  Chris had his VocationVacation career mentorship with our phenomenal mentor, Will Gustwiller, at Eclipse Chocolat in San Diego in May, 2010 and Darcie had her VocationVacation career mentorship with the venerable Jack & Iva Elmer at Jaciva’s in Portland, Oregon in July, 2010.  Well, Chris and Darcie haven’t wasted ANY time in making their dreams a reality and opened The Art of Chocolate just this month.  Congratulations to the Farrows!

Second, I want to share a couple of wonderful articles that recently appeared on AOL.com about two past clients of ours.

Toni Cory went from being a laid-off Motorola employee to a successful businesswoman.  She launched her business, Almost Home Dog Daycare, after her VocationVacation career mentorship under the tutelage of Dawn Walton at Dog Zone Dog Daycare in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  Read more about Toni’s complete career change.

And…

Mark Peffers is a grocery store department manager who is in process of becoming a full-time brew master after having his career mentorship with our fantastic mentor, Darren Currier, at The Gilded Otter back in 2008.  Mark is now working part-time as a brew master and is off to the University of California-Davis this upcoming January to study the art and craft of brewing from one of the finest institutions in the United States (the other beer making institution we often recommend to people is the Siebel Institute in Chicago).  Read more about Mark’s career transition.

If Darcie, Chris, Toni and Mark can do it, so can you!

How do YOU plan to take your first step in trying out a new career?

I am a bit of a news wonk.  I love my morning newspaper (I’m old school)….have CNN and ABC News alerts on my iPhone….and check the news throughout the day online or on my phone.

But not this week.  I’m tired of the negative news.  I need a break from it (other than the fact that I just watched Germany blow-out Argentina 4-0 this morning).  It’s not that I am not concerned about what’s happening in the gulf with the oil spill or that I am not sad to hear of more military and civilian deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq.  I am disappointed to hear that the June labor stats were horrible.  So, what am I doing about it?  Realizing that I, Brian Kurth, can’t impact the macro level events in this world.

But what I can do, however, is take some time to appreciate the small things in life.  Yep, I’m literally taking some time this week to turn off the news and stop and smell the roses….and other wild flowers.  Literally.

My brother, sister-in-law and I have a place in the Canadian Rockies that we were lucky enough to buy 10 years ago.  Each summer we block out time for ourselves — to come up and rejuvenate.  I have all of my normal calls with my career transition clients.  I’m also writing a treatment of a possible new TV show.  So I’m busy up here.  This morning I walked down the mountain to the town of Canmore, Alberta as I often do.  I usually try to go as fast as I can to get as much exercise — especially coming up the mountainside.  It’s a GREAT workout.  But this morning I “dilly-dallied” as my Mom used to say.  I stopped to take pictures of the many different types of mountain flowers….to appreciate life….and to be focused.  Here are just a few of the many Canadian Rockies mountain flowers I saw this morning coming back up the mountain with my coffee in hand after watching the World Cup at the Rocky Mountain Bagel shop…

Buried in fear of the economy?  Worried about the oil spill, Afghanistan and Iraq?  How are you going to pay for your kids’ college education if this economy continues?  I hear ya’.  All legit concerns and fears.  And I share some of them with you….but stop and smell the roses with me.  What are YOU doing or going to do to stop and smell the roses?

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