June 2009

I’ve been chatting with a lot of HR directors over the past few months.  They’re gearing up for the economic recovery.  Yes, you read that right.  They’re gearing up for the economic recovery!  For real.

JUST last night on the airport shuttle to my hotel, I was chatting with three HR managers who work for a large corporation and the manager who heads up the recruiting side of things said that she has had an open position every single day through this recession AND she’s gearing up to hire more people.  But it’s not just new hires that I’m finding exciting.

Additionally, companies are looking to expand their in-house mentorship programs.  And what I’m most excited about is the incredible interest in not only setting up a standard mentorship program where a more senior manager mentors a junior manager, etc.  but what I’m most excited about is the interest from HR managers in “shaking things up” with their employees and provide them short-term, small-group mentorship experiences OUT of the office.  What I call Mentorship 3.0.

The Brian Kurth + Company team is ready to assist.  We have mentors in nearly 100 vocations who offer the HR managers’ in-house clients the opportunity to gain key team-building, leadership, project management and communications.  The small corporate teams (4-10) getting the mentorship will then be able to use the 80/20 rule back at the office.  In other words, 80% of the mentorship experience that the Chocolatier (or Animation Producer, Dog Daycare Owner, Wine Maker, and the list goes on) mentor provides regarding business leadership, projection management, communications, etc. can be applied to an IT department at a healthcare provider or to the marketing team at an ad agency, and so on, and so on.

So, I’m here at the SHRM (Society of HR Management) conference in New Orleans.  And I’m really excited to chat a lot about Mentorship 3.0.  Let the paradigm shift begin!

Are you here too?  Let’s meet up!  Email me at brian@briankurth.com




Test-Drive Your Dream Job:  A Step By Step Guide To Finding And Creating The Work You Love (Hachette, 2008)

OK.  I’m going to vent, folks.

I’ve had a plethora of “the sky is falling” emails from baby boomers the past week or so who are wigging out that their world has changed.  Now, I can be guilty of being a tough-love career consultant but I’m here to tell ya’:  Welcome to the New Reality.

I totally understand what you have today, financially, isn’t what you had five years ago.  I understand that you may not have as much saved for retirement.  I understand that you’re suffering from some loss of identity after being laid off.  The big corner office is gone.  I get it.  I really do.  And I have compassion for it.  But I ask you, Boomers, were you really happy anyway?

Here’s the deal, Boomers (and the whining GenYs and GenXs too — the Boomers do NOT have the lock on whining):  Life goes on.  Whining about it isn’t going to bring it back.  Set an action plan and move forward. And it IS going to be OK.  Yes, this is a paradigm shift in today’s society, our income levels, etc. but there ARE positive stories out there about people successfully making career changes.  So the laid off IT manager may not be able to make $100K in 2010 but he/she can use his/her skill set in a different industry and still make a great living on national (let alone global!) standards.  Bottom line:  Boomers, readjust your expectations of what it takes financially to be…..happy.  That’s right.  Focus on being HAPPY.  And the money will come.

I don’t mean to beat up on all Boomers as clearly I have many Boomer career consulting clients who are not at all whiners.  They appreciate what they have and what they’re going to attain in their reinvention.  In fact, I just spoke to a woman this morning who had been laid off only a month ago.  She was making great money as in-house counsel but got laid off due to a company merger.  She was wigging out since she’s the bread-winner in her family of four.  But….she wrote down what she wanted in a new job in her reinvention:  A minimum of $x (which was less than what she was making), a light commute and some international work.  Guess what?

In only a month, she landed a new job that is paying her MORE when you weigh in bonus potential, she has a commute that is 5 minutes less than her previous commute….and she is now heading up a Fortune 200 company’s INTERNATIONAL LEGAL COMPLIANCE for God’s sake.  She is even still getting severance from her former employer while still employed in her new job.  See.  She did it.  And she’s just one of many.  The key:  She took action.  She didn’t wallow. She moved forward.  With a postitive attitude.

This is where I really want to insist that everyone apply the 8-Steps To A Career Transition that’s the basis to everything that my career consultants and I do.

Whew.  That’s off my chest.  How many people did I just piss off as being too tough on Boomers?  Hopefully not too many.

That being said, for all you Boomers who aren’t whiners OR want to stop whining because you know it’s not going to get you anywhere, then I suggest you attend my expert Boomer panel and me this Monday, June 29; 8pm Eastern / 5pm Pacific for a FREE (other than your long distance charges) teleclass geared toward the 50+ folks – “8 Steps To A Successful Career Transition For the 50+”.  Sign-up!

Let’s have some FUN talking about career reinvention, exploration and happiness.



Test-Drive Your Dream Job:  A Step-By-Step Guide To Finding And Creating The Work You Love (Hachette, 2008)

So you dream of relocating to another city and start a new career?  What about a new state?  OR….wowee…


Whether you’re in your 20’s and just starting out in your career….or you’re mid-career and burned out and want a break….or you’re close to “retirement age” (whatever the hell that means — I subscribe to what Bea Arthur said about retirement:  “Only people who hate their jobs retire!”), working abroad can be one of the most rewarding and inspirational things one can do.   I have lived and worked abroad — in Tallinn, Estonia and in Budapest, Hungary.  I loved it and I plan to work abroad again someday.  It’s on my vision board for the future.  I highly recommend working abroad to anyone.   It changes your life.  For the better.

So….my pick dream job of the week sent to me by Career Informer Patti (a Northwestern University alum following our work with the Northwestern Alumni Association) is….drum roll….


Below are more details and the contact person’s information.  Go get ’em!  Please let them know how you heard of the opportunity if you would.



Working at
Harbin Institute of Technology
92 West Dazhi Street
Harbin, China 150001

Immediate opportunities are currently available for English Foreign Language teachers.

Job Description – Foreign English Language Teacher
Contract Duration: Aug 31, 2009 to July 15, 2010
Workload: Maximum 16 teaching hours per week, Monday to Friday
Subjects to teach: English Listening, Speaking, Reading, Writing

Native English speakers
B.S or B.A degree or above
English teaching experience preferred
English teaching experience in China a plus
TEFL certificate preferred

Recommendation Letter
Degree & Certificate copy
Passport copy

Offer Package
Salary per compensation below
Furnished apartment
Round trip air fare reimbursement every year
•    Location: Harbin, Heilongjiang, China
•    Contact person: Mr. Guodong Liu, t: 86 (0) 451 8641 7713, e: gdliu@hit.edu.cn
•    Compensation: BA 4200/mos; MA 4700; PhD 5700/mos
•    This is a contract job.
•    Principals only. Recruiters, please don’t contact this job poster.
•    Phone calls or emails about this job are ok.
•    Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.

It’s 4:30pm Pacific as I type….and there’s still room on our free teleclass if you’d like to join!

How To Get A Job In The Fashion Industry
– A Free Teleclass –


What will we cover?  Well, here are just a few of the many tips that LA-based Fashion Designer Barbara Lesser will be providing:

SHOP – Know the hot labels in your sector of the industry. Know the players. Check their websites. Find out where they are located. Maybe you can work for them.

EXPERIMENT WITH FASHION – This is usually instinctive to someone interested in fashion. Push yourself to try new looks.

LEARN – Take classes in textiles chemistry  (finishing and dyeing of fabric). Know how a garment goes together. You don’t have to be a great sewer, just know how the pieces fit together.

TEACH YOURSELF TO DRAW – You don’t have to be an artist. Learn to get your ideas across using a croquis as a guide and draw you garment on top of the figure.

MEET THE INDUSTRY PLAYERS – Research the buying offices and meet their buyers. They can recommend you to stores based on their opinion of your product.



Face Your Fears of Financial Insecurity & Make A Career Transition

I’m looking forward to tonight’s teleclass on facing one’s financial fears — and still make a career transition.  Financial Advisor Linette Dobbins will be one of our panelists.  Here are just a few of the many tips she will be discussing on tonight’s teleclass:

1.  Create a financial plan. Those with a financial plan seem to experience less fear when life-changing events occur. A financial planner can help you prepare for the unexpected and discover opportunities, resources and guide decision-making.

2.  Do a financial stress test to see what you can handle – What if I am laid off? What if I change careers for my dream job? Can I retire? How long will my money last, etc.?

3.  Identify your greatest fears and have a disaster plan.

4.  Crisis brings opportunities – look for them and seize them.

5.  Fear is an acronym for False Experience Appearing Real. Identify if the fear you are experiencing is real or false. Media sells more advertising with fear.   Fear hooks you into watching the story.  We refer to this as Media Mania and the Herd Syndrome. If your fear is coming from the media, turn it off. Refocus, do something that makes you feel good.  If your fear is from a real event, ask yourself, what is the worst thing that can happen? Then take action. If you don’t know what to do, ask for help.

6.  If you have serious financial problems, see a debt counselor.

7.  Set realistic goals and work on them one step at a time. Just keep making small steps toward your goals and reward yourself for your achievements.

8.  Look at the your accomplishments and the things that are going well and acknowledge them.

It’s not too late to join…and feel free to share with your friends and colleagues.  Sign-up here to get the call-in number.  The teleclass is free other than the cost of you dialing the direct line conference number:





Hi Friends,

I just met Scott Tennyson (Related to the other Tennyson?  You make the judgement…probably a few beers and whatever else in between) here in Portland.  He’s in Portland visiting his daughter, Nichole.

Scott EXUDES what career change is all about.  Positive attitude.  Having fun.  And a bit of “early retirement” while figuring out what his encore career really is.

Now….a bit of a warning: He’s sassy and uses the F-bomb freely….so if you’re a prude, don’t read.  But if you’re a forward-thinking person wanting to really make change at any age (Scott is 57), then take a read:


Hey folks,

I was at the airport in Portland waiting to take a flight to Chicago this morning (now on a nice, 3-hour layover before heading on to Appleton, WI for my youngest niece’s high school graduation party) and I overheard a fellow complaining about how this economy is wreaking havoc on his life — due to a layoff from a certain large sports shoe and apparel company based in Portland.  The company has a reputation for providing dream jobs.  Cool setting.  The “campus” is almost like a resort complete with soccer fields and a swimming pool, etc.  Not a bad gig.  And people working there consider themselves not only lucky — but they’ve also worked very hard to get there.  But, for this fellow, that was gone.  Poof!

I’ve heard many stories like his lately.  But this was different.  This fellow was angry.  Really angry.  And, in my opinion, he feels a sense of entitlement for the type of job he once held at this prestigious, hip company.

So I began to think what advice I’d give him if he asked, or if I so rudely interrupted him (I didn’t but I was tempted).

Just like when Cher slapped Nicholas Cage in Moonstruck and told him to, “Snap out of it!”, my suggestion to this fellow would be to snap out of it!  But how?  I would suggest:

1.  Check your pride at the door.  Your external accomplishments are not who you are, so don’t evaluate or judge yourself

2.  Accept and embrace humility, and find the people in your life who care about the real you

3.  Own what and where you are now

4.  Define what a “Great Job” is by looking at your passions and interests as well as the things you loved and hated about your old job (cool company but there HAD to be some downsides somewhere) so you can start setting sights on what’s next.

Been laid off?  Worrying about a lay-off?  Or simply not satisfied in your current job?  Then snap out of it and do something about it!