Saturday, August 9th, 2008

The sticker shock at the pumps, the rising costs of airline tickets, the overall struggle in today’s economy to just maintain our standard of living.  Can we really afford to take a vacation this year?  The slowing economy and fuel prices are making us think twice about how we spend our hard-earned dollars on travel.

Yes, it is a challenging time, but we still need a break.  We still need some time to rejuvenate, explore, kick back and disconnect – time to hit the “off” button on that laptop!  So, maybe we consider a different type of vacation this year.  One that doesn’t have an extra luggage fee, require a passport or a roadmap…..a “staycation”, as you’ve probably heard it described in the press.  People are cutting the expanse of their travels to afford the expense of them.

Here at VocationVacations we have seen an increasing number of “vocationers” who are taking advantage of their staycation time to spend a few days test-driving their dream job with a VocationVacations mentor in their own town or city.  Their staycation offers a chance for self-exploration, discovery and becomes an investment in a possible new career.

So here are some pointers on how to make the most out of your staycation:

  • Treat it like a REAL vacation.  Don’t just wing it, make plans. Decide upfront what you want out of this vacation. At the same time, block out some “down time”.  I know that may sound oxymoronic.  And it is.  But it works.  I love to plan but also love spontaneity (go figure, I’m a Gemini).  So make the time to simply be spontaneous and do whatever strikes your fancy at that moment. 
  • Don’t fall victim to the “painting the house” syndrome.  Just because you are at home, don’t think you have to do all those household chores you have been putting off.  They can wait!  This is YOUR vacation, so have fun.  Live as if you really were away from home.
  • EXPERIENCE something new!  Take a cooking class.  Go kayaking for the first time.   Volunteer for your favorite presidential candidate, the humane society or your favorite children’s or 50+  not-for-profit organization.  Rent that eco/hybrid car you’ve been watching on the highway for a day. And, of course, I’m going to encourage you to test-drive your dream job.
  • Pretend to be a tourist.  It’s okay to buy a postcard, eat a corndog, take a Gray Line bus tour, wear a Hawaiian shirt or sport your favorite team’s baseball cap.  Do you know how many New Yorkers I know who have never been to the Statue of Liberty?  LA’ers who have never walked Venice Beach?  A lot.  Now’s the time to visit that place in your hometown that tourists enjoy but you haven’t been to yet.  Go!
  • Disconnect.  I suspect you may be attached at the hip to your iPhone (don’t ya’ love it!?), Blackberry and/or laptop.  So am I.  But, don’t fear withdrawal.  You can do it.  If you were on a remote island somewhere, no one would be expecting to hear from you.  Put auto-responders on and let people know you’re on a staycation, provide a back-up for emergencies and say when you’ll be able to get back to them. If you’re really an addict (like me), at least limit checking your email and voice-mail to just once a day.

Happy Staycationing!


The Ladders, online career placement company focusing on $100K+ jobs, conducted a survey of over 1,500 executives and guess what?!  JOB FULFILLMENT, versus compensation, is the #1 item on their wish list.  37% said job fulfillment is the most important factor when considering a new job followed by 32% responded that the compensation package is the most important factor.  

I’m not at all surprised.

Our clients (“vocationers”) come from all walks of life, all vocations (technology, legal, healthcare, education, the list is endless), some making huge amounts of bank while others struggle and had to save for their VocationVacation. But at the end of the day, they all have some common goals:  They want more passion for their work….they want more fulfillment at the end of the day….they want more satisfaction in the job….they simply want to be happier in their work lives — that inherently directly impact their home life.

So The Ladders’ survey is spot on.  Yes, money is important.  No doubt.  But it doesn’t buy happiness or fulfillment.  And guess what?  If you follow your passions, then fulfillment AND money will follow.  You CAN have your cake and eat it too.  It may not happen over night but it can all come together quite nicely.  So the executives surveyed, for example, will appreciate both job fulfillment and higher compensation if they simply follow their hearts and work in fields in which they truly enjoy.