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Balancing Disparate Careers

Many people think in terms of having one career in their lives, but there are some people who choose to balance two distinctly different careers. Chris Gunn and Kerry Kurtz are two people who have found balancing multiple careers to be both challenging and fulfilling.

Chris Gunn is a movie maker/videographer and a psychologist. Kerry Kurtz runs a home repair business and is a dog agility trainer. Both talk passionately about the challenges and rewards of balancing two careers.

Gunn opened his movie business in January 2010 but had been making short films since 2007, after setting a personal goal of making one short film a year and entering it into the Flagstaff film festival.

These short films were helping him hone his skills so that he could attain his greater goal of making a movie about the history of mountain biking in Flagstaff. His efforts were rewarded on Sept. 28, 2011, when his movie sold out and over 100 people were turned away from the premiere of his documentary, “Changing Gears.” His business is Shot by Gunn and he continues to promote his movie at local stores and film festivals with a great deal of success.

In January 2010, he opened his practice as a psychologist in Flagstaff after being the director of counseling at Northern Arizona University for several years. Gunn had operated his own independent practice before, but this was the first time he was faced with juggling two careers that he loves. He says that his work week varies greatly, depending upon the deadlines and priorities of each business, but he said he “loves the flexibility and freedom” that he has managing these two professions and that “they challenge me to continually learn new skill sets.”

Kurtz started her own home repair business three years ago after the economy tanked and she was laid off. She had found she had a penchant for using her hands when she helped a friend build a garage. She credits friends with helping her take the risk to start her own home repair business and with helping her to find customers. Kurtz is not dependent upon technology to advertise her business, Affordable Home Repairs, but says she relies on word of mouth and that during the summer months, she is plenty busy.

So, why start a second career? Well, Kurtz says she loves dogs and got into the sport of dog agility about eight years ago after going to a competition in the White Mountains. “I was hooked,” she said. Dog agility competitions have, according to Kurtz, added a new dimension to her life and “brought me out of my shell.” In 2008, she became an independent contractor with Sky High Jumpers and started offering dog agility classes. She now balances her home repair business with dog agility training and her own participation in competitions with her three dogs. She said it is “challenging to find the balance” but “every morning I wake up and I am excited to go to work.”

Marci Alboher has written a book, “One Person/Multiple Careers,” and coined the term “slashing” to refer to people who choose multiple careers at one time. She has interviewed people in the United States and around the world who hold a passion and interest for more than one occupation or career. She writes that “there is no one tracking the slash workforce but the Freelancers Union puts the number of independent workers at 41 percent of the U.S. population.”

In 2010, the U.S. Bureau of Labor identified 10.1 million self-employed workers, and 7.6 million people who held down more than one job. How many of them are balancing two careers is not known, but if Alboher is correct, it is becoming more of a trend.

Gunn and Kurtz both agree that what has been most helpful in building their businesses and finding balance between the two has been support and help from others.

Gunn’s advice to others contemplating a dual career venture: “Make sure you are choosing to do two things you are passionate about, because there are going to be challenges.”

Kurtz simple advice: “Don’t be afraid to try it.” FBN

 

Chris Gunn has a website: http://www.shotbygunn.com/ and can be reached at 928-600-2960.

 

Kerry Kurtz can be reached at 928/525-1339.

 

 

 

 

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