Learning From the Dream Makers:
Want to Work at What You Love?
Look to Those Who Are Doing It
There's more than one way to
turn your dream of working at what you love into reality. I dug through my
Opportunity Knocks file to find inspired five people who are doing work that
feeds their soul. Each one has something to teach us all about what it takes to
make our own dream of right livelihood happen.
Who says you have to be a woman
to be a nanny? According to trend spotter Faith Popcorn, the next decade will
see a marked increase in the number of male nannies or "mannies" as the guys are
called. Most male nannies, like their female counterparts, are in their 20s and
have experience as camp counselors or teacher's aides.
There's a lot that parents find
appealing about male nannies. Single mothers like having male energy around the
house including someone who gets the appeal that computer games hold for most
boys. For dual income families where the father is either older or frequently
away on business, it's great to have a youthful male role model who can engage
in rough and tumble activities with their kids.
What attracts men to this field
is simple they love kids. As teacher's aide-turned-nannie Alan Schuchman put
it in a 2003 Time magazine interview, "It's very enriching you get a lot
closer to them than you would in a class setting." Male nannies also like the
pay. The going salary for live out nannies in Boston is about $35,000-$40,000 a
year with benefits or about the same as an entry level teacher but without the
And since there's a web site on
just about everything, is it any surprise that someone put together the Manny site
(TheManny.com), a resource about male nannies?
Tap into a Childhood Passion
and Then Create Your Own Job
As a child, Elizabeth Dunaway
loved outdoor activities. So it made sense that she'd later go on to study
environmental science and outdoor education at Hampshire College before going on
to graduate from Greenfield Community College's Outdoor Leadership Program.
Today the 32-year-old is the
founder and executive director of All Out Adventures (AOA)
AllOutAdventures.org, a socially inclusion-oriented
organization that enables people with mental and physical disabilities, their
families and friends to participate in outdoor recreational activities.
Participants enjoy programs, trainings, and trips that allow them to enjoy
activities like cross-country skiing, hiking, skating, boating, and camping.
Since starting the non-profit
in 2001, Dunaway has put together a team of like-minded souls with complimentary
skills and training. It's fascinating to see how people's backgrounds bring them
to their current work. Fellow Hampshire
College graduate Megan Briggs spent her college years studying disability and family psychology
before becoming AOA's Program Coordinator. Project coordinator Bryce
Field has a background in environmental, travel-based, and classroom education.
The organization is supported
by a $150,000 grant from the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council,
Christopher Reeve's Foundation, and various partnerships. One such partnership
is with the Department of Environmental Management (DEM). All Out Adventures has
also been contracted by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and
Recreation's Universal Access Program to provide free outdoor activities for
people with disabilities in the commonwealth's various state parks.
Turn Your Hobby into a Job
Not quite ready to be on your own? It is possible to find a traditional job doing what you love. That's what
Douglas Harman did. A native of Nebraska, Harman moved to Fort Worth in 1985 to
take a job as city manager. Four years later he applied for and landed the job
of running the Fort Worth Convention and Visitors Bureau.
A life-long fan of cowboy
culture, convention center president and CEO Harman now gets to manage 1,600
square feet of exhibition space featuring vintage cowboy hats and boots, bits,
bridles, hand tooled tack, braided whips, and western art and photography dating
back to the 1800s. Says Harman, "My job and my hobby merged."
Find a Niche and Go After It
There are more freelance
writers out there than you can shake a stick at... but what about a riding crop?
Patti Schofler of Dark Horse Communications
BitsAndBridles.com turned her love for horses into a
viable career as a writer specializing in writing promotional and other copy for
those in the horse world. Clients include horse breeders, stable owners,
trainers, artists, as well as horse-related associations, horse show promoters,
and manufacturers and sellers of equine products.
In addition to serving as a
publicist, Patti has written for numerous equestrian sports publications
including Practical Horseman, Dressage Today, International Arabian Horse,
Chronicle of the Horse, Equus, Arabian Horse World, and Ride. What makes Patti
valuable to her clients is, quite simply, she knows their world. She's managed
and promoted horse shows and special events, is a United States Dressage
USDF.org dressage judge, and is herself a USDF bronze medal
Do It Your Way
Everybody knows you can't make
money as a musician, right? Don't tell Martin Sexton that. The singer actually
produced two records through a major label. Despite good reviews, sales were
tepid. So in 2001 Sexton left Atlantic Records and went out on his own.
That next year he logged 80,000
miles in his Land Rover, played at bigger clubs, theaters, and arenas than he
did under contract with Altantic and cleared (are you ready for this) $200,000
on revenue of about $500,000.
In an interview with the Wall
Street Journal, the 38 year old said, "It's a great thing to have a career, to
make a living and to support two kids, and to have basically all the things you
wanted in life. I thank God probably every night that I don't have a day job."
You can listen to Martin at
Great stories, you say, but how
do I go after my dream, you say? The same way these enterprising souls did. From
the manny story you learned to not let society's ideas about gender appropriate
jobs deter you from your dreams. If you're a guy who wants to open a bridal shop
or become a nurse, or a nanny, or you're a woman who wants to start her own
construction company or be a mortician, do it.
From Patti Schofler's Dark
Horse Communications, you learned about the benefits of niche marketing. If you
have a passion for something, there's an excellent chance others share your
passion. Ask yourself, how could I get paid to do what I love in that area? In
other words, if you love to write, teach, give advice, heal, research, or
analyze, then ask yourself, "How could I get paid to do that in my chosen
But that's not all. Patti's
impressive publishing credentials reminded us of just how many niche
publications there are out there. Whether you're a freelance writer looking for
a market to shop your articles to or just want to learn more about a field in
which you'd like niche, start by doing a search for publications and
associations that serve that same market.
From our cowboy culture-loving
friend we learned that you don't necessarily need prior experience in a field to
land your dream job. Did it help that Harman was already employed by the city?
Absolutely. But his passion for cowboy culture and history surely gave him a leg
up others who did have a background in the tourism industry. When I was a
corporate trainer, I would have never landed my job in the strategic marketing
department if I hadn't applied from within the company. If there's a job you
want that you have the aptitude for but not the requisite credentials, sometimes
the best way to get there is through the back door.
From Elizabeth Dunaway and All
Out Adventures, we learned that childhood passions often do contain hidden clues
to present day callings. We also learned that if your dream job doesn't exist,
that you can create it. And finally, singer Martin Sexton reminded us that
sometimes the road less traveled will get you to your destination fastest.
From all of these remarkable,
yet wonderfully ordinary, people we learned that the road to any dream begins
with the willingness to take a single step. What small step are you willing to
take today to start living the life you really want?
Learn how you can Fast Track Your Dream of working at
what you love on your own terms.
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About the Author
"Profiting From Your Passions®" expert Valerie Young abandoned her corporate cubicle to become the Dreamer in Residence at ChangingCourse.com offering resources to help you discover your life mission and live it. Her career change tips have been cited in Kiplinger's, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today Weekend, Woman's Day, and elsewhere and on-line at MSN, CareerBuilder, and iVillage.com. An expert on the Impostor Syndrome, Valerie has spoken on the topic of How to Feel as Bright and Capable as Everyone Seems to Think You Are to such diverse organizations as Daimler Chrysler, Bristol-Meyers Squibb, Harvard, and American Women in Radio and Television.
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