Mentor


Hi friends,

I want to send out a quick note to let you know that Aaron Pottichen of the Austin, TX Merrill Lynch office is sponsoring a FREE teleclass this Thursday, June 24.  I will outline the 8 Steps To A Successful Career Change and take questions.

Please join….and feel free to tell your friends.  Here is the call-in information:

Thursday, June 24 — 5PM Eastern / 4PM Central / 3PM Mountain / 2PM Pacific.  It will be 1-hour in length, including Q&A
Conference Call #: 1-866-637-2663
Passcode: 3971883

“See” and hear you this Thursday…

Cheers!
Brian

Brian Kurth
“America’s Dream Job Matchmaker” – CNN
Speaker, Author, TV Contributor and Founder of VocationVacations
Brian Kurth + Company:  www.briankurth.com
VocationVacations:  www.vocationvacations.com

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I enjoy inviting people to guest blog from time to time.  It adds an extra bit of content “flavor” to things, I think.  I love to get their thoughts…their take on things related to career transition and reinvention….and I love to be challenged myself a bit.  And that’s just what Martha Wagner did:  She challenged me as you’ll read below.  She adds some real flavor to the blog — both in a literary sense and….a culinary sense!

Introducing Martha Wagner.

Cheers!
Brian

It’s hard for me to imagine Brian Kurth sitting in an office cubicle or even behind a big desk in his former corporate life in Chicago. In a recent chat at one of his favorite Portland coffee shops, he looked relaxed, like an entrepreneur affected by, but not crushed by, the current economic times.

I’d recently read Brian’s book, Test-Drive Your Dream Job: A Step-By-Step Guide To Finding And Creating The Work You Love, and found it to be an innovative “how-to” guide to creating your own career mentorship.  But when I went to the VocationVacations website, I thought there were some possible gaps in the list of career test-drive experiences, so I called him and we set up a time to meet. He was happy to listen, but before long he was twisting my arm into writing a guest blog about the gaps I detected in his list of career paths. He said that his blog readers might provide valuable feedback about whether I was onto something.

What expertise do I have? Well, I’ve been following local and national stories about food and farming for 30 years. I am resuming an earlier freelance writing career, now focusing on food and local farming. I devour foodie blogs and newsletters from local and national groups such as Slow Food, Friends of Family Farmers and the Organic Consumers Association. I go to meetings of my county’s Food Policy Council. I’ve been shopping at Portland’s many local farmers markets for years, and more recently have witnessed the sprouting of new home gardens and the arrival of backyard chickens all over the city.

Even though Brian has a number of food-related careers on his VocationVacations list—including baker, brew master, chef, chocolatier, cheese maker, farmer, ice cream maker, restaurateur, winemaker and wine retailer (he’s got a passion for that business)—there are other career paths in food and farming that I think people are eager to explore. Just one example: Camas Davis, a 30-something Portland-based food writer and chef I recently interviewed for a story, wanted to learn about what she calls “the dying art of the butcher shop” and through a friend of a cooking teacher she knows managed to set up a summer internship with a family of farmers and butchers in southwest France. The experience gave her the confidence to start the Portland Meat Collective, a venture in which she and other chefs are teaching a range of butchering skills to restaurant and home cooks.

When the First Family put in an organic kitchen garden at the White House it was one very visible indication of growing interest in farming and in organics. In the Northwest, the number of organic farms growing vegetables, specialty grains and beans, and garden starts is increasing. Farmers markets and natural food stores are selling meat from small farms that are practicing sustainable animal husbandry. CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farms are providing a way for eaters to connect with farmers and farmers to sell direct to the public. Farmers markets, grocery stores, even food banks and in Portland, the city Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, are sponsoring food-related classes these days focused on topics as diverse as eating economically, canning and preserving, raising backyard chickens and almost-vegetarian cooking.

So where am I heading with all of this and how does it relate to VocationVacations?  As I watch new food and farm related businesses open, I see a need for more VocationVacation mentorship choices across the country—for careers such as butcher, organic and/or CSA farmer, cooking instructor, personal chef and garden designer (vegetable gardens and mixed gardens). In the world of baking, organic, vegan and gluten-free baking are up-and-coming specialties. Food cart businesses—from waffles to tamales to barbecue—are one of the hottest new restaurant trends. I just met a first-time food cart owner in Portland, newly transplanted from Chicago and loving his new livelihood. VocationVacations, I suggest, should make it easier for people like him to test the waters of new careers related to food and farming.

So now I leave it to you, dear readers. Let Brian know if you think he should expand the VocationVacations list. Do you have some ideas of your own for him?

Best!

Martha Wagner

Martha Wagner arrived in Portland in the late 80s, following a circuitous path from the Midwest to Connecticut, England, New Zealand, Northern California and Eugene, Oregon. She has written about food and health, from tofu to walking shoes, for numerous magazines and newspapers. In her “day job” (www.marthawagner.com) she edits and proofreads countless words for colleges, nonprofits and businesses. She lives at a 3.7 acre urban co-housing community where her neighbors include 37 chickens.

I have been asked by more and more people which books and resources I recommend to my clients to compliment their career consultations and/or their one-one-one career mentorship VocationVacation experience(s).

Here is my down-and-dirty list before heading out for the weekend with the Wadester.  We are driving to a favorite place of ours — the eastern Columbia River Gorge for the opening season weekend at Maryhill Museum (check out the passion turned vocation by its founder, Sam Hill!).  But, as usual, my A.D.D. and I digress about the weekend….so here’s my list:

Hot Off The Press Suggestions:

My pal Randi Bussin just wrote a couple of great pieces that you may find on Job-Hunt.org:

5 Steps To Starting Your Career Reinvention

and

5 Steps  to Implementing Your Successful Career Reinvention

Here are two books that haven’t been released yet but I think you should add to your must-read list:

1.  What’s Next? by U.S. News & World Report contributing editor, Kerry Hannon.  This is a wonderful resource book full of advice and honest encouragement from people who have garnered up the courage to make career changes and reinvent themselves.  Kerry’s book comes out in June.  Mark your calendars!

2.  SpyMom by Valerie Agosta.  This is a true story about how Val’s passion, curiosity and need to “give back” led her from being a regular ol’ soccer mom of three kids to becoming a private investigator with a focus on clients who were women and children in need.  Val also writes about her ten-year battle with cancer along her journey of becoming a P.I.  This book is heart-warming and full of inspiration.  If you are questioning if you can really make a career transition, read this book.  Val tragically lost her battle with cancer in March, 2009 but she more than won the battle of making a career transition.  We miss her dearly as a VocationVacations mentor.  We look forward to granting the second annual Valerie Agosta “Live Your Best Life” VocationVacation Scholarhip this December.  Submissions will be accepted in early April on the VocationVacations website so please stay tuned for that and pick up a copy of SpyMom as of April 1.

I’ve also been asked what my favorite resume-writing book is.  That’s tough.  To be honest, I HATE writing resumes.  I really do.  So I don’t do them.  I like to focus on my strengths and writing resumes is not one of them.  Don’t get me wrong, resumes (as well as LinkedIn profiles and summaries) are important for clients.  So instead, I partner with two amazing resume writers, Miriam Salpeter, of Keppie Careers and Julie Ghatan.  I asked Miriam what her favorite “how-to” resume-writing book is.  She immediately responded with the recommendation of Resume Magic by Susan Britton Whitcomb.

My Tried and True Suggested Career Transition Books Are:

Do YOU have a favorite career transition book or resource?  Please share!

Cheers,
Brian

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Brian-Kurth/202325023648?ref=ts
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/briankurth
Twitter:  http://twitter.com/BrianKurth

This is a really quick shout-out before heading out for the weekend.  I just have to share how excited I am that several authors see what we do as career mentor recruiters at Brian Kurth + Company and as career mentorship providers at VocationVacations as, simply — revolutionary.

In his best-selling, new book, DRIVE, Daniel Pink examines the three elements of true motivation – autonomy, mastery, and purpose — and offers techniques for putting these into action.  On page 31, VocationVacations is illustrated as an example of such a technique:

“Take the curious example of VocationVacations.  This is a business in which people pay their hard-earned money…to work at another job.  They use their vacation time to test-drive being a chef, running a bike shop, or operating an animal shelter.  The emergence of this and similar ventures suggests that work, which economists have always considered a “disutility” (something we’d avoid unless we received a payment in return), is becoming a “utility” (something we’d pursue even in the absence of a tangible return).” – Daniel H. Pink, Riverhead Books, 2009

And if this isn’t enough, best-selling mystery author, Erica Spindler, took a VocationVacation as part of her research for her new book, BLOOD VINES!  As she says in the acknowledgements,

“To all the folks at Larson Family Winery, especially winemaker Carolyn Craig, thanks for making my VocationVacation research day so fabulous.  It was truly terrific.  I’ll never forget climbing the wine barrels and into a fermenting tank — how many authors can claim that?”

And, finally, I’m really excited that US News & World Report Contributing Editor, Kerry Hannon, has also included our style of career mentorship in her soon-to-be-released book, WHAT’S NEXT?

I love being part of a revolution!  Isn’t this awesome that we are getting such wonderful support and advocacy?

GenX and Baby Boomer ADULTS (NOT just the 20-year old college student) need and want to be mentored in new careers — regardless of age, career histories or educational background — we ALL need career mentorship.

How do YOU see career mentorship as revolutionary?  What are its greatest benefits in your mind?

I am still sometimes surprised when people in their 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s are reluctant to get a career mentor. They think getting a mentor is just for the 20-year old college intern or the fresh-out-of-grad school young corporate exec.

Of course that’s not the case…but it takes some convincing for some folks. The biggest obstacles for most people seem to be their apprehension to research and recruit a mentor (“Where do I begin?”) and their impression that people simply don’t want to help them in their career development.  I have found that a good 40% of qualified, well-researched, prospective mentors will become a mentor if/when they are asked. Making the ask is the key!  So it is a numbers game.  People DO want to help out their fellow man!  The impression that finding a good mentor is a needle in the haystack is a falsehood.

Finding a good mentor is dependent upon establishing your criteria and effective research using key tools such as LinkedIn, Google search, your alumni association, trade associations as well as simple networking through your family, friends and colleagues.  Then, once you make one “ask” of a qualified prospective mentor, you will find it easier to make the second and third, etc.  It may be a numbers game.  You may need to ask ten people prior to finding your mentor.  But it is worth the time and energy.  Trust me.  I’ve seen thousands of people benefit from career mentorship in my work over the past 6 years.

Have you (or a loved one who’s “stuck” in a career rut?) acted on your motivation to get a mentor? If not, what obstacles are preventing YOU or your loved one from researching and recruiting a mentor in a current industry or a new, exciting career?

Cheers,
Brian
www.briankurth.com
www.vocationvacations.com

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Brian-Kurth/202325023648?ref=ts
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/briankurth
Twitter:  http://twitter.com/BrianKurth
Test-Drive Your Dream Job:  A Step-By-Step Guide To Finding And Creating The Work You Love

Blah. Blah. Blah.

We all have our 2010 New Year’s Resolutions, right?  Get to the gym.  Lose weight.  Manage time better in work.

Blah. Blah. Blah.

All great goals.  And we should all go for them.

But I have yet to hear anyone say, “My New Year’s resolution is to have more fun and smile more in 2010”.

Well, let me be the first.  Let’s face it folks, 2009 simply sucked for so many people.  If the Great Recession didn’t impact you directly, you more than likely have loved ones who have been hit by it.  They’ve been laid off.  Their hours have been cut.  They’re losing their house.  They can’t afford daycare anymore.  The list goes on and on.  I certainly heard it all this past year through some of my career coaching clients.

That being said, I think we all need a bit of levity.  Yes, we need to laugh.  We need to have some fun DAMN IT.  At home…and even more so at work.

I’m not suggesting that you forego the goals of getting to the gym, losing weight and managing your time better.  But I am suggesting that you add “Have Some Fun and Laugh!” to your New Year’s Resolutions.  If you have to, even PLAN some time for creative fun.

Me?  Here are three, simple things that I’m doing for fun at the beginning of the New Year (and there will be a lot more as the year goes by):

1.  My partner Wade and I are organizing Friday Night MAX Dinners with a couple of good friends.  MAX is our ever-expanding light rail system here in Portland.  It runs to places that we rarely go to – places like Gresham, Hillsboro, Clackamas and the far north side of Portland.  There are great neighborhoods with ethnic and mom and pop restaurants we want to check out.  So, each of us is going to take one of the lines and research a fun thing to do at the end of the line and a restaurant to have dinner on a Friday night.  Exploring our metro area.  Spending time with friends.  Love it!

2.  I am going to borrow friends’ dogs who would like them to have some “Uncle Brian” time in the VocationVacations and Brian Kurth + Company office.  Since I’m the boss, the office is totally dog-friendly.   I LOVE dogs but can’t have one in our condo building and I simply travel too much.  So my friends’ dogs will have some “people time” and I’ll get my dog fix.  Perfect!

3.  I am a total foodie…but I can’t cook.  And I also don’t like lamb.  But a variety of friends and acquaintances keep telling me, “Oh, but you haven’t had MY lamb”…or their Mom’s lamb, etc.  So, here’s the deal.  Invite me to dinner.  I challenge you and your lamb.  Whether it’s here in Portland or when I’m in NYC, Chicago, Boston, LA or wherever.  I will eat lamb in 2010 to determine if there really IS a lamb that I like.  I will bring a nice bottle of Oregon Pinot Noir to pair with the lamb.  How fun is that?

You get the point.  Small things like what I’ve listed above will bring smiles, laughter and deeper relationships. It’s all  part of the need for work/life balance!

What are YOU going to do to have more FUN and LAUGHTER at home and/or in the workplace in 2010?

Happy New Year!
Brian

Career Coaching & Mentor Recruitment – www.briankurth.com

Career Mentorship Experiences – www.vocationvacations.com

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Brian-Kurth/202325023648?ref=ts

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/briankurth

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/BrianKurth

Book:  Test-Drive Your Dream Job:  A Step-By-Step Guide To Finding And Creating The Work You Love

I spend a lot of time touting the importance of loving what you do for a living and creating a mutually satisfying work/life balance.  I encourage people to live for the moment and the future.  When I give speeches across the country, I often find myself referencing the cliché, “Life is no dress rehearsal”.  And it isn’t.

Our Boise VocationVacations Private Investigator mentor, Valerie Agosta, (Hanady Investigations and the Spy Moms) exemplified living life to its fullest — with zest, a sense of humor and always a big smile.  After a ten-year battle with breast cancer, Valerie died last March.  In her honor we have created the Valerie Agosta “Live Your Best Life” VocationVacation Scholarship.  (See details below)

If you or someone you know would like to explore taking the first step toward a career and life transition by taking a VocationVacation, please submit the application below.  The scholarship winner will receive their VocationVacation of choice and airfare to the location of the VocationVacation. The last day to submit an application is Friday, December 4. We will be announcing the scholarship winner on what would have been Valerie’s 57th birthday, December 15.

When Val came on board as a VocationVacations mentor in 2005, she shared with us she was in remission.  There was no doubt in our minds Val would be able to beat it.  Then a few years later we received the call – it was back.  Valerie did not let this deter her from her commitment to be a mentor. She continued to welcome vocationers, eager to share her experience and expertise.  She told us she would let us know if she ever thought she was not up to giving her usual 100%.  Again, we never really thought that day would come.  Val would beat the C-word.  We knew it.

But then I got the call in early-January of this year.  Val had a vocationer scheduled for late January.  She felt she was becoming too weak to effectively mentor and provide the quality experience she had always given her vocationers.  Even as she was preparing to head to Seattle for more aggressive treatment, Val took the time to find a solution.  She suggested her VocationVacation mentorship duties be transferred to her private investigating colleagues at Access Investigations, also in Boise.  Even as she was in her last weeks of life, Val remained on top of everything and had it all worked out.

Val died on March 14, 2009.  VocationVacations’ Melissa Townsend and I traveled to Boise for her memorial.  It was not a surprise the church was standing room only, and  there was as much laughter as there were tears.

Val, we miss you tremendously.  But wherever you are, your spirit of life, passion and reinvention goes on with the Valerie Agosta “Live Your Best Life” VocationVacation Scholarship.   Thank you for being you and for sharing several years of your life with the VocationVacations team and our vocationers.

The Valerie Agosta “Live Your Best Life” VocationVacation Scholarship

The Valerie Agosta “Live Your Best Life” VocationVacation Scholarship offers the opportunity to choose from more than 175 different VocationVacations career mentorships and the chance to spend a couple of days experiencing the real-life responsibilities, challenges and rewards of that profession. The chosen individual will also have the opportunity for both a pre- and post-coaching session with an accredited, affiliated VocationVacation career coach.

In addition, airfare, up to $500, will be arranged for the scholarship winner.

Submit Your Application For The Valerie Agosta “Live Your Best Life” VocationVacations Scholarship Here

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