Chances are good that you aren’t happy with the job you have now. You may feel there is a “mismatch” between your true self and the self who marches stoically to a workplace that neither inspires nor delights you. A steady paycheck, however, is a necessity for most of us, and we know full well that responsible grown-ups aren’t supposed to go chasing after foolish dreams.
What if it weren’t an either/or situation? What if we could have our Brussels sprouts and eat cake, too? Brian Kurth’s out-of-the-box notion makes just such an option available. Kurth is the found of Vocation Vacations, a company that provides people the opportunity to try out their dreams jobs for a few days in order to better determine whether the fantasy is really worth pursuing. Vocation Vacations grew out of Kurth’s own boredom and frustration with his mismatched job. Even though he had the concept for this unique business as well as the skills to launch it, Kurth suffered from the same stay-safe mentality that afflicts most of us. It took several years and nudges before Kurth finally started Vocation Vacations as a hobby business, but the experience and self- knowledge he gained in the interim give him a sense of kinship with his clients that transfers to this book.
Test-Drive Your Dream Job is not an advertising tool, at least not overtly so. Many readers are likely to sign up for Vocation Vacations after reading the stories of Kurth’s clients who discovered through the service that their dreams were possible. The stories are included here to illustrate the advice, ideas, warnings, and inspiration Kurth gives to fellow Dilberts who dream of careers that feed the soul as well as the body.
Kurth addresses the biggest obstacle early on – fear. Most of us would rather suffer daily in a familiar hell than risk jumping into an unknown realm that might be worse. We’re afraid our families and friends will think we’re foolish, selfish, and irresponsible if we take a chance on happiness. Kurth breaks fear down, explaining how the limbic system –that primeval portion of the brain—forces us to ignore our own best interests in favor of immediate security. Using examples from Vocation Vacation clients, he shows us how to tame those fears and helps us understand the cost of being in the wrong career.
Test-Drive Your Dream Job acknowledges that there are compelling and rational reasons for remaining in jobs we hate, but it also offers sensible, workable alternatives to chucking it all and wandering off to a cave in the mountains. Performing our dream jobs in a volunteer capacity is one possibility; working part-time is another.
Kurth is generous with his experience and advice. He explains in detail how Vocation Vacations works and how we can do it ourselves by finding mentors, creating action plans, and coping with the unexpected. He even offers checklists relating to money, insurance, and lifestyle to help keep us tethered to the real world while we pursue our dream jobs.
This is far more than a collection of motivational quotes. Test-Drive Your Dream Job offers concrete examples and practical solutions for the disenchanted. Highly recommended!