August 2008

Hey….just have to say a quick “I’m excited!”  I’m soon going to become an career/career transitioning expert for ThirdAge —  Great organization….check them out….and much more to follow there soon!

I’m often asked “Brian, can a VocationVacation REALLY turn me into a Baker, TV Producer, Interior Designer, Sports Announcer, <Fill in one of our other 150+ VocationVacation types>, etc. in just 2-3 days?”  

My answer is always, “Absolutely not!  There’s a whole lot more to do.  You have to create an Action Plan.  But while you’re test-driving your dream job with your mentor, ask them some specific action plan-related questions!”

Your questions will more than likely fall into several broad categories:

1.  Knowledge:  things you need to learn and understand prior to moving forward

2.  Family:  How to make your dream job mesh with the needs and wishes of your family

3.  Money:  How you’ll finance your new career, and how you’ll support yourself and your family while you make the career change

4.  Timeline:  Over what period of time you’ll transition to the new career

Don’t be immobilized by these big, general questions!  Take them one at a time.  It’ll all come together and your action plan will become clearer by the day.

Congratulations!  You have a dream job mentor or about to get one.  If you don’t have one, get one!   (One wee bit of shameless self promotion:  Check out how to get a mentor in my book, Test-Drive Your Dream Job: A Step By Step Guide To Finding And Creating The Work You Love – Hachette, 2008).

Now’s the time to pick your mentor’s brain — promise them it won’t hurt.  There are many more questions to ask them, but I suggest you focus on 8 key issues that I feel are THE most important to get things going:

1.  Skills – What skills do I need in order to succeed in this field?

2.  Time – How many hours do you work each day?  Has that changed over time?  Most importantly, how do you balance your work and home life?

3.  Finances (most especially for those looking to start their own business) – What does it cost to get the required education?  What does it cost to get set up in this dream job?  Do you have advice about getting a loan?  What are the biggest expenses?  What can I expect to earn at first?  What were your biggest money mistakes?  Would you be willing to let me see your business plan and/or annual budget?

4.  Technical Issues – What ongoing training do you recommend?  Are there any mistakes you made that I can learn from?

5.  Marketing – How do you attract customers?  How do you determine your pricing?  Biggest marketing mistakes?  Biggest marketing success?

6. Career Path – How did you get into the field?  After mentoring me a bit, what can you imagine for me?

7.  General “Stuff” – What was your biggest surprise?  Hardest time?  What would you do differently if you were going into this job again?  What else should I ask you (sometimes you don’t even know the toughest questions to ask — prompt your mentor to ask them for you!)

8.  Next Steps – What are the next steps beyond my mentorship so I can move forward and make this my dream job?  Do you have contacts to help me?  Organizations in this field I should join (or stay away from?)

Mentorship is required at all stages in life.  It holds no class, economic, racial, age, gender, sexual orientation or religious boundaries.  None.  Everyone should be mentored or mentoring at some point in their lives.  So go for it.  Explore.  Discover.  And seek out that dream job under the tutelage of an expert mentor!

Love speaking with Jeri Sedlar of Don’t Retire, Rewire….she’s the real-deal, my friends.  Some great inspiration for all of you Boomers asking “What’s Next?”  Jeri and I have some thoughts…..

Check out our podcast (subscribe to the VV podcasts on iTunes!)!  Or just click here:

Brian & Jeri’s podcast

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