Sponsored by Oregon Business

Testing out your dream job while on vacation

| Print |  Email
Monday, October 01, 2007

PearlBakery1007.jpg Baker Tim Healea  (left) and vocationer Matt Jaffe.

TIM HEALEA LOVES HIS JOB but is often amazed that someone would pay money to test it out for two days.

“People are actually willing to start baking at 5:30 a.m.,” says Healea, a longtime Vocation Vacations mentor at Portland’s Pearl Bakery. “They are that passionate about baking. And many leave feeling energized to start their own bakeries.”

It is difficult to find a flaw in the formula created by Vocation Vacations president Brian Kurth, whose ingenious business plan — let people experience their dream job for two days and charge them heftily for it — has worked like gangbusters.

In its three-year history, the Portland-based company has grown its mentor base from 10 in Oregon to more than 250 nationwide. Among the most requested of its 110 different mentorships are brewmaster, dog trainer, TV producer, sports announcer and baker. Most experiences are for two days and cost between $949 and $1,199.

“It’s a three-fold benefit for the mentors,” says Kurth. “You are sharing your passion, getting tons of free exposure on our website and getting paid for your time. It’s the ultimate win-win.”

Kurth says a nonprofit mentor in Texas saw a 50% bump in donations after getting a mention on the Vocation Vacations website. “Some folks are now questioning whether to keep their PR people on retainer,” he says.

Vocation Vacations mentors say the pay and exposure are great but admit they didn’t expect the feel-good factor to be, well, so good.

Healea says he knows of one “vocationer” from North Dakota, who, following his mentorship, opened his own bakery. A couple from rural Georgia, a schoolteacher and a bus driver, are planning to do the same.

“Our bakery also benefits from the vocationers,” he says. “We’ve had marketing people, lawyers and financial people come here for mentorships and end up giving us free business advice. It’s great.”                                                                        


Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


More Articles

The Cover Story

The Latest
Tuesday, October 06, 2015
100515-cover1015-news-thumbBY CHRIS NOBLE

As we worked on the October cover, it became evident that Nick Symmonds is a hard man to catch — even when he’s not hotfooting it around a track.


Have a baby and keep a job? It won’t be easy in Portland

The Latest
Friday, October 02, 2015
100115kimblogthumbBY KIM MOORE

Our intrepid (and expecting) research editor finds the child care search involves long waiting lists, costly fees and no certainty of securing a place before she goes back to work.


The Food Pod Grows Up

November/December 2015
Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Oregon's first generation of food entrepreneurs created a brand based on quality and craftsmanship. Can the second generation sustain it?


Insurance pulse: health care and Export-Import banks

Linda Baker
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
111715-healthcarelindathumbBY LINDA BAKER

The past month has been marked by upheaval in the health insurance markets. I also check in on clients of the Export-Import bank, a federal credit agency that subsidizes, and insures, foreign exports.


Photo Log: #TillamookSmile

The Latest
Friday, October 30, 2015
103015-cheesethumbBY CHRIS NOBLE | ART DIRECTOR

Against a changing backdrop Patrick Criseter’s infectious grin remained constant. It’s a cheesy (pun intended) beam that begs for a hashtag.


100 Best Nonprofits announced

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

1015-nonprofits01Oregon Business magazine has named the seventh annual 100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon. The rankings were revealed Wednesday night during an awards dinner at the Sentinel Hotel in Portland.


The cover story

Linda Baker
Thursday, November 12, 2015

I walked off the Vigor Industrial shipyard that day with a clear cover line in mind: the Love Boat.

Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02