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?

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I recently had the pleasure of seeing yet another career transition client fulfill on their dream of creating or finding their dream job.

Annemarie Spitznagle was a pharmaceutical sales executive who simply lost the passion for “schlepping” legal drugs.  Instead, she wanted to pursue her true passion:  organic foods including….sweets!

Annemarie was well down the path of writing her business plan for an organic bakery prior to taking her Baker VocationVacation at The Pink Cupcake in Mt. Vernon, OH with mentors, Beth Murdock and Sommer Meade.  She felt she needed the hands-on mentorship in addition to her coursework at the University of Wisconsin Center for Entrepreneurship.  Combining class time with face-to-face mentorship is a key to success.

Fast forward:  In less than six months from taking her VocationVacation career mentorship, Annemarie opened her amazing, new organic bakery, Bloom Bake Shop, in Middleton, Wisconsin, a suburb of Madison.

I asked Annemarie to share her advice and words of wisdom to those who think they may want to become a baker or become a bakery owner.  Much of her sage advice can be applied to just about any other career transition, however.  Embarking upon the path of career change and reinvention is not for the faint of heart.  But it’s SO worth facing the struggle and obstacles to get to the point of work-life fulfillment as Annemarie has.

Congratulations, Annemarie!  So very proud of you….and all our other career transition clients who have created change and reinvented themselves.  I can’t wait to enjoy one of your delish organic cupcakes!

Here are Annemarie’s advice and words of wisdom:

  • I’d bank sleep.  You will work harder then you ever knew possible and then you’ll work some more
  • I’d order some thicker skin, there are always more positives then negatives, but as perfectionists we forever focus on the one negative, like a tiny splinter, when the rest of the body is perfectly healthy and strong
  • I’d remind myself to step back periodically that first opening weekend and pat myself on the back and tell myself, “You did it!”
  • I commend myself for having for having built amazing friendships, people that stayed up until the wee hours helping me finish the little details, friends that got up and baked with me from 4:30-8am and then went right on to their “real job”
  • I’d remarry my husband again. He has always been a fan, but gosh, he is my number one cheerleader and source of strength, everyday telling me how proud he is of me. You need that
  • I’d remind my mother how great she was for flying up at a moment’s notice TWICE to keep my home-front running because we didn’t expect to take off so quickly with demand
  • I’d tattoo my mantra between my eyes: “Remember it’s just cake!”  It is so easy to get caught up and take it all too seriously.

What I know now:

  • I am stronger then I ever thought I was..and braver
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help
  • No matter how much you plan, how great your business plan is,  you will still miss some details. And it will be okay. You will survive
  • If you do make mistakes, fix them, if it bothered someone, apologize and then swallow your pride and keep your chin up
  • Remind yourself when you are exhausted that this is your passion; this is your dream
  • Find a theme song, bring it to work and play it when you are feeling stressed, tired, or just want to break out dance because you feel HAPPY because, darn it, you are living your dream!

Key strengths that kept me going:

  • A solid business plan that I shared with numerous critical professionals to ensure it was ripped apart appropriately
  • Good legal counsel to protect my investment
  • An amazing mentor that believed in me, my idea and never tired of all of my questions and concerns
  • A talented graphic designer who got my vision in an instant so I could effectively communicate my brand to the public
  • Working with a commercial realtor to ensure I was placing myself in my appropriate demographic and access was optimal
  • Created a delicious product
  • Tested my product with a constructive audience of strangers who owed me nothing and then tested it again!!  And again!!
  • Not being intimidated by constructive criticism
  • If you haven’t worked in the type of bakery you want to own, go do it or apprentice in one.  Experience first-hand the fun, the stress and the reality of it all.

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Test-Drive Your Dream Job:  A Step-By-Step Guide To Finding And Creating The Work You Love: www.amazon.com

I taped this interview with CNN Money on Wed and it ran on CNN.com on Friday.  It tells a great story of how a VocationVacation assisted Cory Chacon in making her career transition into the hotel hospitality field after being laid off from her marketing position at Virgin Records due to the downturn of the music industry:

http://money.cnn.com/video/news/2010/02/18/n_find_dream_jobs_vocation_vacation.cnnmoney/

Now, on a less serious note:  Beard or No Beard?  My family is split 50/50 on it.  What do you think?

Have a great Sunday, everyone!

Brian
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Brian-Kurth/202325023648?ref=ts
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THE book on career transition:  Test-Drive Your Dream Job:  A Step-By-Step Guide To Finding And Creating The Work You Love (Hachette, 2008)

You know, these days, some folks are forgetting to have fun in their work or job search (yes, job search can and SHOULD be fun at times).  I feel there is a pervasive “heaviness” in the air due to the economic conditions in the US, the constant partisanship in DC, overall “worry” about world affairs and terrorism….and an increasing burn-out from those employed making up the hours for their laid-off colleagues who are equally burning out in their job search.  Hence, people are simply tired.  Let’s rid ourselves of this heaviness as best we can.

What is my advice to all of you burned-out folks – regardless of whether you are employed or unemployed – to reduce your feeling of “heaviness”?

GET OUT OF THERE!

Get out of your office or home office for a day or two and work remotely from a new and different locale.

“I’m too busy with work,” you say?  Take the work with you.  Have laptop & mobile phone, will travel.  This is the Internet/iPhone/Blackberry age for crying out loud!  Work can be done just about anywhere.   Any reasonable boss can be convinced of such (if your boss isn’t reasonable or rational, then you have another matter to address). You can take the work with you.  No excuses!

“I am unemployed and can’t afford to take a work vacation and leave town.”  Fair enough.  Then hop in the car, on the bus or subway and change your environment.  Head to a coffee shop with WiFi in a completely different neighborhood, town or city within, say one hour, than you’re accustomed.  No excuses!

Why is it so important to spend time working out of your office or home office from time to time?  How do you, your employer and/or job search benefit?   Here are a few reasons:

1.  Increased productivity and creativity – It is proven that when people shake things up a bit, they can actually increase the quality and quantity of their output by “clearing the mind”.  No excuses!

2.  Law of Diminishing Returns – as you burn the candle at both ends, the return on investment for your time decreases along with your productivity.  By “getting out of there” and shaking things up, you will actually mitigate and maybe even eliminate the diminishing returns you’re creating for yourself.  No excuses!

3.  Fresh air – mind, body and soul.  Now, I’m not a psychologist but it’s not rocket science to understand that seeing grass, snow, flowers, squirrels, trees, the blue sky and the sun is beneficial to your well-being.  Get out of your cubicle for a day or two.  Get out of your home office for a day or two.  If you’re job searching, you can make phone calls from just about anyplace as long as it’s quiet…..and you can email resumes and network  online via LinkedIn, et al from anywhere.  No excuses!

Do I practice what I preach?  Absolutely.  Here is a photo of my MacBook with a view of the Pacific coast in Lincoln City, Oregon just two weeks ago.  Only two hours from Portland.  Did I break the bank by getting away?  Absolutely not.  Getting away on a Monday and Tuesday during off-season is dirt cheap.  Especially in this economy.  And, again, if you can’t afford to actually get out of town for an overnight stay, then AT LEAST get out of your neighborhood, town and city and spend the day in a different neighborhood, town or city.  Just for a day.  No excuses!

I promise you’ll see an increase in your productivity and creativity while feeling less burned out.  And you’ll PHYSICALLY feel better.

So, grab your iPhone, Blackberry, laptop, writing journal and whatever else you need to get the job or job search done and GET OUT OF THERE!  No excuses.

Cheers!
Brian

Brian Kurth

Career Reinvention & Transition Expert, Speaker, Author, TV Contributor and Founder of VocationVacations

Brian Kurth + Company:  www.briankurth.com

VocationVacations:  www.vocationvacations.com

971.544.1535 Office

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

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

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

I was asked by a member of the press yesterday what I thought was the largest issue looming for my clients. Great question. The two that stand out the most are:

1. Loss of financial security and the fear that builds around it;
and
2. The loss of identity after being laid off. A corporate attorney doesn’t feel like he/she can go into another field where they might be able to use their legal background. An IT Manager feels like he/she is “stuck” in because it’s all they know, etc.

These two are not at all the only issues out there, obviously. There’s also family issues related to the economy…and fear of failure, etc. But these are the two most prevalent that I’ve seen during this Great Recession.

I’m curious for those of you out who have been laid off recently or have been laid off in the past (like me back in 2001 – for me, financial insecurity loomed larger, fyi), which of these two issues/obstacles loomed larger for you?

And, MOST IMPORTANTLY, what are you doing/did you do to combat them and work around the roadblocks and obstacles of financial insecurity and/or loss of identity?

Best Regards,
Brian Kurth
www.briankurth.com
www.vocationvacations.com

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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

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