April 2008

I’m sitting at a diner (with WiFi!) in Kalama, WA on my way to some meetings in Seattle.  One meeting is later today with “Working Girl”, Karen Burns.  I just love hearing about all the jobs she’s had over the years…and her hilarious stories from them.  She long-ago landed her dream job as a writer but knowing that I’m meeting with her later today got me asking myself, “What were my favorite and least favorite jobs I’ve had over the years?”  And….”Am I in MY dream job today?”

The second question answered first.  I think anyone who knows me knows that starting up and running VocationVacations is truly my dream job.  Wow.  I get to work with mentors who love what they do and are willing and able to share their vocation passions with others, our Vocationers.  Meanwhile, it’s equally fantastic to help Vocationers get “unstuck”.

But…now, the first question being answered.  What have I done over the years and what’s my least favorite job of them?

Catnip Salesman — yes you read that right.  By the age of 11, I was already an entrepreneur.  I grew up in the woodsy hills west of Madison, WI….where catnip is plentiful.  So, I’d pick it.  Dry it.   And sell it to local pet stores!

Sporting Goods salesman at JCPenney at 16.

Frozen Custard maker in college.

Specialty popcorn maker (seriously!) in college.

Assistant Buyer for Lamps for May Company right out of college

Inside Sales for Medium Business clients at AT&T

Product Manager & then Director for Ameritech (regional phone company)

Business Development Director for a Managed Internet Security company

Wine Sales & Marketing for Lago di Merlo Distributing

And then, finally, Founder of VocationVacations!


My least favorite would have to be being an Asst. Buyer for Lamps for May Company right out of college.  LAMPS!?!?!  Ugh.  🙂


My second favorite beyond VocationVacations?  Honestly….I’d have to go back to being 11 and schlepping my catnip to pet stores.  It’s was a wonderful challenge and it set the tone early on that, yes, I can do ANYTHING I want to do.  I can go after my dream job.




I’m really looking forward to a quick trip to Seattle on Thursday and Friday.  On Thursday, I’m meeting with our new mentor, Sarah Munson, at The Local Vine, and also meeting with Karen Burns, The Working Girl. Then it’ll be off to hear and see my friend Gail Pettis (former orthodontist turned dream-jobber as a full-time jazz singer!) sing at Vertigo Grill in Bellevue.  Friday AM I’m meeting with Penny LeGate from KIRO-TV as she is going to suggest some mentor contacts in the not-for-profit world….and then it’s off to Bainbridge Island to meet with my co-author of Test-Drive Your Dream Job, Robin Simons.  Should be a great two days!


I’m hearing it more and more.  People are fearful of this economy.  Understandably.  The war rages on in Iraq.  We’re still in Afghanistan.  The sub-prime mortgage debacle.  Gas is close to $4/gallon.  All of these macro-level issues rage on….beyond our control.  And yet, some of us think we can personally control some of these things at a macro level.  We can’t.  But what we CAN control is what’s right in front of us.  And one thing we CAN control is the type of work we do.  The recession can be seen as a fearful thing….or, on a positive note, a catalyst for change.  A change that can drive us toward pursuing our dreams…our career passions.  With some research and hands-on experience, one can really gain some knowledge that helps in a potential career transition – and, yes, even a career transition in this recession.  Why not?  Lean into it!  Yes, lean into those fears and the recession.  Rather than thinking of it as a jail sentence (“I can’t act now, there’s a recession going on…I have to wait a couple of years”), reverse order and think of it as a window opening up…a window of opportunity.  So, don’t wait for the possible pink slip.  Explore.  Discover.  Follow your dreams.  Follow that dream job.  Explore owning your own dream business.  If you can make it through a recession, you can make it ANY time.  What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.  With proper planning, research and initiative, going after one’s dream job in the heart of a recession can actually turn out to be the best time to do so.  So, don’t wait for the pink slip.  Start planning the transition now.  Yes, now.  Right in the heart of a recession!



Just wanted to share that I had an amazing time meeting some really cool people this past Tuesday PM….all were alumni from the University of Vermont but live in the Boston area.  I spoke to them about test-driving one’s dream job and the path to finding or creating one’s own.  There were probably 150 people there — ranging in age from 20s to 70s.  Love it!  That’s what it’s all about.  You’re NEVER too young or too old to pursue your dream job.


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