Work abroad


In this down-turned economy, I get a lot of prospective clients telling me, with almost an apology, “You know Brian, what I REALLY want to do with my life is become a Travel Writer.”  And then they follow with a chuckle, “But, come on, how does one do that?  It’s not feasible, is it?”

My reply:  You won’t know unless you try it out.  But, yes, it can be done!

Now, granted, it goes without saying that travel writing is a competitive business.  Who doesn’t want to travel to cool places and write about them and give one’s suggestions and recommendations to others, right?  Sign me up!   The reality is, however, that the world of magazine, newspaper and book publishing is in a paradigm shift.  Dollars are fewer.  Advances are nearly gone.  And the hours to make the dollars are longer.  And, yet, people DO succeed as writers — and, yes, you Rick Steves wannabes, even travel writers.

Why?  Because many of us still love to travel, fantasize and plan where we will visit some day or because some of us still place importance of travel and exploration high on our list of things to do in life and budget accordingly each year.  Also, corporations and organizations are still sending their employees out on business trips — and the employees want to combine some fun exploration along with their business meetings.  People are not staying at home, folks.  The “staycation” thing only goes so far to feed one’s soul.  Hence, it’s Economics 101:  Supply and demand.  There is still demand for travel writing.  There are still readers.  And as long as there are still readers, there are advertisers and sponsors….and, hence, travel writers will be employed.  Yes, the Great Recession has made the field even more competitive.  The cream rises to the top.  Yes, the ad dollars are down.  No, you might not become a fairly wealthy travel writer like Rick Steves but, YES, you CAN make a decent living at it.

How?

AOL just wrote about one of our former clients, Craig Zabaransky, this past week.  He went from working the corporate life as a consultant in the finance sector in Manhattan…to getting laid off…to having his office become his laptop and mobile phone.  Yep.  Craig has become a full-time travel writer this past year!  He offered up some great advice on how to become a travel writer on AOL…..

http://jobs.aol.com/articles/2010/03/11/management-consultant-to-travel-writer/

I need to put in a little plug for Craig’s amazing travel writer mentor, Ron Stern.  Craig’s transition was made easier due to Ron’s advice, expertise and hands-on mentorship while on Craig’s Travel Writer VocationVacation (which was a gift from Craig’s fiance, how cool is that?) in March, 2009.  He has helped Craig and many other aspiring travel writers create their tangible, common-sensible, realistic action plans for their part-time or full-time (as is the case with Craig) career transition.

So, if you want to become a travel writer — part-time or full-time — you CAN do it.  Even in this economy.  Craig is proof in the pudding.  Congratulations, Craig!

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Sometimes people will still say to me, “Oh, you’re the fantasy job guy”, referencing my work creating career mentorship programs with VocationVacations. Luckily, the number of people who see me as Ricardo Montalban of careers are declining.  Instead, people see the results of what career mentorship can accomplish:  A successful transition to an ATTAINABLE dream career.  Fantasies via Ricardo Montalblan’s Mr. Roarke are fantasies — they never truly come to fruition.  Dreams, however, do.  I work only with dreams.

Examples of unrealistic “fantasy jobs” for most of us are NFL quarterback, brain surgeon or rock star.  Examples of realistic “dream jobs” are bakery owner, stand-up comedian and fashion retailer.

All that being said, I often hear people say that they have a career in mind to pursue but they’re too scared to pursue it.  They see it as fantasy versus an attainable dream.  One that stands out in my mind is being a sailor, working on a cruise ship or owning and/or operating a vessel touring company.  There is a whole sector of folks who dream about sailing day-in and day-out but feel it’s simply too “fantasy”-based.  They’re wrong.

Whether you want to captain an ecological touring boat, be a schooner captain or sail the seven seas on a much larger commercial or leisure vessel, you CAN make your dream your reality.

VocationVacations mentor, Cindy Adams, of the Reef Roamer and QuickSilver fleet in Key Largo, FL and I were recently chatting about it.  She hears it all the time from people, “Oh, Cindy, you’re so LUCKY to be in this position.”  As Cindy will tell you, luck has almost nothing to do with it.  She and her husband, Terry, sought out a new career, leaving their corporate cubicles behind.  They were not millionaires.  They did not already own any land-based or boats in the Caribbean.  Instead, it took planning.  It took a business plan.  It takes a lot of hard work.  In the end, they have a wonderfully successful and lucrative business.  They have realized their dream and have created a fantastic work/life balance for themselves.

Only days after speaking with Cindy, I was in Hood River, Oregon which is situated right in the Columbia River Gorge along the Columbia River.  Gorgeous spot.  The Wadester and I are there all the time.  We dream (and will make it happen!) of someday “bouncing” between living in Hood River with views of Mt. Hood and the Columbia, keeping the condo in Portland and having a small place in New York.  Some day!  Well, as I was admiring the most amazing rainbow across the river, I then spotted a “tall ship” docked.  I had to check it out.  What was a tall ship doing in Hood River???  It was the LADY WASHINGTON, (owned and operated by Grays Harbor Historical Seaport in Grays Harbor, WA) a replica of the ship from the 1750’s that sailed around Cape Horn in South America and explored the west coast of North America.  Amazing.

And then I met someone as amazing as the ship:  John Paul Clark.  John Paul recently left his career as a carpenter to literally sail up and down the North American Pacific coast on the LADY WASHINGTON!  I have to say that he is quite proud of himself.  He chose the path.  He went through months of training and is now living and working his dream on the water.  He is not only part of the sailing team but is also responsible for providing the replica ship’s history to people like me.

When I asked John Paul if he indeed found his dream job sailing up and down the west coast, he simply grinned from ear to ear and said, “Oh, yes, most indeed.”   He also added that his daughter is proud of his endeavor of changing careers a bit later in life.  John Paul is proof that it is NEVER too late to work in what you truly love.

Now if sailing isn’t your thing, something else is.  Culinary?  Working with animals? Entertainment?  Sports?  Fashion?  Whatever it is, do not assume that your dream is unattainable.  It is not fantasy (unless you’re 45 and want to become that NFL quarterback).  It IS attainable if you work through a career transition program and you are diligent about your own progress.  I know.  I have seen thousands of folks work through the process since 2004.

Make your career dreams a reality.  You can do it.  Let the winds catch your sails!

Cheers,
Brian Kurth

President of mentorship-based career consultancy, Brian Kurth + Company, and VocationVacations, providing 1-3 day career mentorship experiences to adults.

When I was making my 2-3 hour roundtrip commute back in my Chicago days in 1999, I would daydream about what I would rather do for a living.  I was “Dilbert” working as a product manager in a cubical for the phone company at the time.  But I dreamed of testing out other careers:  Tour guide…wine sales/marketing….and….dog training.

I gave dog training a try by creating my own dog training mentorship while still living in Chicago in late 2001.  It was the first-ever VocationVacation in a sense.  I love dogs and have to say that if it weren’t for my love of VocationVacations and working with my clients with Brian Kurth + Company, I probably would let my career go to the dogs and become a dog trainer.  And I sure will have some great mentors to help me become a dog trainer if I were to ever go down that path.  One is our newest mentor, Niki Trudge, of The DogSmith in Bonifay, Florida, located between Pensacola and Panama City.

Niki Tudge grew up in England and went on to pursue a career in the hospitality industry.   For 15 years, she  managed hotels in exotic and exciting locations.   But while she was building her career, Niki was looking for opportunities to follow her passion for animals.  “Since I traveled so much in my job, I couldn’t have my own pet, so I looked for other opportunities to get involved with animals,” says Niki.

Wherever Niki worked, she always became active rehabilitating abandoned and abused animals. Then, while in Africa, she began developing her skills as a family pet dog trainer working with the local police K9 unit.  When her job took her to Hawaii, Niki decided to earn her certification as a dog behaviorist, pet dog trainer, veterinarian assistant and pet groomer.  Although her position as manager of a five-star hotel was demanding, Niki found the time to follow her passion and, with a partner, opened Hawaii Dog Training Academy which thrived for two years until another move took her to Florida.

This move caused Niki to really evaluate what it was she wanted to do.  “I was tired of working in the corporate life,” she explains.  She had spent her career managing hotel staff and had gained valuable experience in business and training. Now it was time to take that experience and apply it to a new career – time to follow her passion to establish a dog training and pet care company that would completely redefine people’s relationship with their dogs.

Niki and her husband Rick Ingram bought a farm in Bonifay, Florida, and founded The DogSmith in 2004.  Initially, they provided dog training with a mantra of “do no harm” based on scientific learning principles and positive reinforcement.  “We began working with the local Humane Society and became part of the community helping to alleviate the pressure on the rescue organization,” shares Niki.

Their innovative training program was well received, and soon clients started asking about other services for their dogs.  Niki and Rick decided to go beyond training and provide a holistic approach to helping clients care for their dogs by adding dog walking and sitting services.” We have become a one-stop shop for taking care of your dog,” Niki says.

Their business model has been successful, and they now offer franchises.  “We have a very strict screening process for potential franchisees.  Their philosophies have to align with our efforts on behalf of dogs and their owners,” Niki explains.  Franchise owners also have to commit to being involved in canine rescue efforts by contributing eight hours a month providing workshops and educational seminars. Today, with three franchises in Florida, one in Illinois and one in Pennsylvania, The DogSmith stands alone as the only national franchise that offers both positive, learning-theory based dog training services coupled with professional pet-sitting and dog-walking services.

Niki’s initial advice for someone wanting to get into the business of dog training/walking, sitting? “Do your research on training philosophies; recognize that this is a business like any business and requires attention to marketing, business operations and finances; understand that good personal service and building good customer relationships is the key to success.” And, of course, you have to love dogs.

Niki and her staff are committed to providing quality, competent, affordable services that benefit the dog and its owner.  Seven million pets a year are euthanized because their owners don’t know how to take care of them and respond to their needs.  The DogSmith is doing everything it can to reduce that number.

Ready to make a career change and become a Dog Trainer and/or Pet Sitter like Niki?  Learn more about this great new VocationVacation.

I’ll be back in coming days with some great new career transition stories.  I love seeing and hearing the amazing career transition success that people have made — EVEN in this troubling economy.

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

…WHAT ABOUT RELOCATING ABROAD!?

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….

TEACHING AT THE HARBIN INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY IN HARBIN, HEILONGJIANG, CHINA!

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.

Cheers!
Brian

www.briankurth.com

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

Requirements
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

Application
Resume
Application
Recommendation Letter
Degree & Certificate copy
Passport copy
Photo

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.