While listening to the Satellite Sisters podcast today (it was an encore performance), one of the sisters was talking about her plans to go on a vocation vacation, which is where you get to test drive a career for a few days. She was going to be a chocolatier to have fun and learn some good truffle techniques. Interesting…

Contre-jour_on_english_south_coast_arp Ok, a vocation vacation may seem like a frivolous use of money and vacation time but here’s a little Nicole story to illustrate why this may be a great investment.

I spent a year and a half getting my teacher certification (high school physical science and French if you’re curious). The student teaching experience came at the end of the program. After a few weeks in our teaching phase, a few people in my program told me in whispered panic that they had discovered they hated teaching. Having invested a couple years and thousands of dollars into a program only to find out they didn’t like the actual job stinks. I wonder if in the end they ended up trying to teach anyway, only because they had put forth all that effort and resources. (On a personal note, I tried to get a teaching job when I moved to this area but to no avail. Never did find out why.)

My point is, why not spend a little time and money to job shadow someone in a career you are thinking about going into? I didn’t see anything about Internet Marketing or Web Communications on the list at vocationvacation.com but there were some other interesting choices I would consider: interior decorator and travel writer among them. Here’s a link to their complete list.

I’m seeing that packages start around $500 for a day (two day interior designing was $800), which sounds steep but if the person actually has to spend a lot of time mentoring you, I can understand the cost of them missing part of or all of their work week. The fee is comparable to what you’d spend on a college class or attending a several day long seminar really.

Of course, you could be inspired by this general idea and set something up on your own locally for a lower rate. (This does take lots more personal initiative though.) On a really small scale, I’m a big fan of taking people who have jobs you admire out to lunch, which I did last week with one of my favorite local businesses owners (more on that next week).

Whether you set it up on your own or book a vacation on the vocation vacation website, the idea is intriguing. Have you ever had a vocation vacation? If so, what was the most valuable part of your experience? The networking facetime with an established person in the field? Deciding to finally give your dream job full-time billing in your life?

Listen to an NPR story related to vocation vacations…

Image from Wikipedia Commons