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CATEGORY ARCHIVE: Spur of the Moment

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Dislocation Doesn’t Stop a Student from Pursuing the Passion

September 23, 2008 | by brett | Permalink

Yesterday Pursue the Passion went up to Prescott to present 250 FBLA students with a challenge.  That challenge was to find someone who has a job they’re interested in and interview them about their career path.  For one student in the audience, that interview opportunity came sooner than expected.


Immediately after the Pursue the Passion speech, this student dislocated their knee while engaging in a game of ‘Collide-a-Scope.’  An ambulance arrived, picked the student up, and began the forty-five minute drive to the hospital.


While in route, the student had the bright idea to conduct a Pursue the Passion interview with the paramedics.  The student reached into their pocket, withdrew a camcorder, and began to fire away with questions.  By the time they reached the hospital, the student had concluded their first interview. 


The student plans to edit the footage into a video and post it to www.pursuethepassion.com when they get out of the hospital.  Hopefully the morphine didn’t have too much of an impact on the camera work. 

The Pursue the Passion program is spreading through the Arizona school system.  There are over 1,000 students conducting interviews with professionals in the community who have jobs they’re interested in.  If you are interested in volunteering for an interview or if you would like your school to be involved with Pursue the Passion, please contact Brett at brett.farmiloe@jobingfoundation.org    

Be idealistic and romantic, it’s your legacy

June 23, 2008 | by Zach | Permalink

Today is a sad day as two of the most wonderfully interesting people I have been familiar with have passed on. Through ones stubborn disregard for the taboo and the others stalwart escape of the mundane, both changed my conception of the status quo and effectively enriched my life by shifting out the borders of my perception, even if only slightly.

Of these two individuals Jack Dulles was the only one whom I had the pleasure of meeting in person. Born in 1913 Professor Dulles was the oldest Professor at the University of Texas when we met him in October of last year. Having attended Princeton for his undergraduate education, Harvard for his MBA and working several years at a Bank in New York, Dulles decided to head south of the border to work in the mining industry. He would begin studying the communist military regimes of South America, ultimately becoming one of the world’s primary historical authorities.

Professor Dulles’ stories of meeting with communist government officials and surviving the dangers of the mining industry while friends and co-workers perished before his eyes were of a romantic nature I did not realized existed outside of wildly creative historical fiction. Sporting wild grey hair, candy red framed sunglasses and a smile with more sincerity than some express in a lifetime the 95 year old professor let us in on the secret to life, “Have a great interest in what one is doing and be active.”

The second person that we’ve lost today is none other than George Carlin. While I can’t say I new him personally his cultural significance is unquestionable. Comedians are some of the most tireless studies of human nature and in my opinion offer incredibly valuable and astute social commentary. George Carlin challenged issues in a public forum that few had the guts to question privately and through this vocal disregard for the status quo enabled us to be far more brazen and free in our own lives. Carlin was a professional wordsmith and has left the world with more valuable quotes, quips and phrases than I could begin to describe. One of my favorites, “Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist.”

These men had one profound similarity that was characteristic of who they were and the successes they realized. They never stopped growing, questioning and evolving and were prolific and significant in their chosen fields until the day they died.

I think I’ll always recognize the importance of romance and idealism in the way I choose to live. But, it was certainly nice having these two men around to remind me.

The Fork in the Road

October 25, 2007 | by brett | Permalink

by Noah Pollock

Although our journey across the nation comes to an end, in Tucson in 5 days, our most difficult journey has only just begun. In collecting the information we have collected, in experiencing what we have experienced, we learned to take things for what they are. In examining the trees throughout the forest, and minding not the forest itself, we learned to leave over-analysis behind.

It was not always so. Pursue the Passion set out to find what makes people passionate. Perhaps youthful arrogance led us to believe ourselves capable of distilling conversations to their passionate roots. The first leg of the trip, through mid-August, we faithfully executed our original plan. As we continued, our insecurity in the project’s simplicity grew. In retrospect, to believe that we could meet someone for an hour, cut their passion into a two-minute video, then progress to our next meeting, was a serious overestimation of our own abilities.

Dreaming big is always an overestimation. As feelings of doubt in the project mounted, we surveyed more honestly both the task before us, and our own abilities. It was difficult to come to grips with, watching our initial ideal exposed as somewhat frivolous, but we found comfort in several things. We found camaraderie, on the trip, with each other and those we met along the way. We received emails from readers who found genuine inspiration in what we offered. We found an incredible life experience being lived everyday.

What we have found is broken monotony. We departed as overly serious, business minded adventurers, and return humbled by our experiences. As a group, we have grown to support and nurture each other in a way none of us have ever known. What we have to offer is an honest interpretation of our travels, without presumptions of conclusions, which can help to avoid, or break, the mundane working existence. There is no singular, universal passion. Rather, there is an open-mindedness, fortitude and confidence shared among all we have found that is passionate.

Homepage and Houston

October 23, 2007 | by brett | Permalink

If you frequently bypass the homepage to go directly to the journey blog, I suggest you take minute to peak at our home page. It looks snazzy.

If you use Safari and the page is not displaying correctly, please hold down “shift” the use your mouse to click on the “refresh” button at the top of your screen. If it is still not displaying, let me know.

In tour news, we are in Houston, just minutes away from leaving for Dallas. We went to the Toyota Center yesterday to attend the Rockets “read to achieve” day, where NBA players read books to grade schoolers. The day arguably featured the best and worst readers in the league, if there were such awards to be issued.

Shane Battier, a four year Duke graduate, articulately read an advanced picture book to some awestruck fifth graders. Meanwhile, Yao Ming led an “Old McDonald had a farm chant.” Dikembe Mutombo read to the kids. The experience was great.

Afterwards, we got to sit in on interview with point guard Mike James, who recommended a few “shake-booty-shake” spots to hit up on a Monday.

It was a fairly tame, but entertaining day in H-town.

Showering for Survival

October 18, 2007 | by brett | Permalink

Showering. Something you probably take for granted on a daily basis. But after spending close to four months on the road, we consider the act of showering somewhere between an enjoyable experience and something you would sell your soul for.

We started off this journey comfortably. We showered at my mom’s house. We showered at the house Jay grew up in during our stay in Los Angeles. Things got a little more out of the ordinary in the northwest when we showered and stayed at my stepdad’s great aunt Pinky’s house. But we definitely weren’t roughing it when we were being hit with the naked, dual headed shower sensation in Cape Cod, or in a cleanly kept condo located thirty-eight floors up in Chicago.

We have roughed it, showering at a dirty truck stop in Hastings, NY while paying eight dollars a shower to do so. We’ve had showering situations some would consider humorous, like when we showered in Jay’s cousin Tony’s artsy house in Portland. His shower was located in a room that was like a melting pot. The shower was next to the kitchen stove which was under a bedroom loft, where Tony and his girlfriend Stephanie slept. That time when we stayed with five girls in Delaware was pretty good too. The PTP crew upped the total shower hungry twenty somethings to nine that Wednesday morning, with only one ill-pressured shower available for use.

And oh, we’ve gone showerless. But let me tell you something. Showerless in Spokane is nothing compared to showerless in Mobile. It is humid and sticky in the south. If you don’t shower, you don’t survive.

Our most recent escapade to find a shower involved meeting girls at a bar on Beale Street in Memphis and latching on to them like they were the fountain of youth. Yesterday, Zach managed to finagle four showers from the attractive blonde working the counter of Hard Rock casino’s health and spa in Biloxi, MS. Today in New Orleans, we shower in a tub surrounded by rubber ducky curtains belonging to Ben, a friend of Brian Conley, who we briefly interviewed in Philly.

Despite the uncertainty of where and when we will shower next, there are two things you can count on.

There is no such thing as a group shower for the sake of conservation. And we will always use your shower products.

Lofty- A guest post by our very own Noah Pollock

October 16, 2007 | by brett | Permalink

Listening to NPR, on the drive from Boston to New York, we were introduced to the ‘Jena Six.’ The year-old story had not yet been brought to its current level of media frenzy, and hearing it told as it was, I saw something seriously wrong going on. With a flexible southern schedule, Pursue the Passion, under my suggestion, scheduled a stop in Jena, to interview activists, and see what’s really going on.

It has been a month since we arrived in New York City. National media coverage has been revelatory, and none more than a September 26th OP-ED in the New York Times, by Reed Walters, the district attorney of LaSalle Parish. In the story as I knew it, Mr. Walters played the villain, the government thug. Yet as the initial outrage subsided, replaced by a more informed outrage, I came to believe that legally, Mr. Walters faithfully executed his post. In a hasty rush to oversimplified judgment, I placed the world’s racial woes squarely on the shoulders of Mr. Walters.

It was both ignorant and wrong of me.

Although Jena appears to enjoy a rich history of racial inequality, it neither exists within a vacuum, nor without tacit American approval. My family taught me that prejudice, in all its forms, is repulsive. But this case reminded me that bigotry continues to be my problem, as it was of my mother’s generation, and the one before that. Although I applaud those working in Jena, for bringing the issue to international attention, I do not see how we can help there. We will, therefore, not be going to Jena, instead visiting Mobile, AL and Biloxi, MS.

This is not to say that what is happening in Jena is unimportant, but with Pursue the Passion in mind, I see not how our visit there would help the situation. I’ve always wanted to visit Mobile, home of the Arnold family from Red Sky at Morning, one of my favorite books. From there we are afforded the opportunity to drive the southern coast of the United States, something we are all excited about, stopping in Biloxi, and then on to New Orleans.

Much of this trip is about personal growth. I see our visiting Alabama and Mississippi as greater opportunities for growth than visiting the already overwhelmed Jena. In Mobile and Biloxi, we will continue to do what we do: meet people, hear their stories and see how they live. Education through experience is incredibly powerful, and I am proud of our seeing the country. In seeing the states for all their uniqueness, we see how similar they are; we see people, regardless of color or locale, and learn that kindness is a universal trait. With each stop we make, our ignorance, no matter how benign, subsides.

I have been wrestling with this decision for some time. I invite, and would greatly appreciate, commentary, whether positive or negative. Feel free to comment on this BLOG, or contact me at: noah@pursuethepassion.com

Sleeping at an Auto Body Shop Parking Lot in Hastings, New York

September 6, 2007 | by brett | Permalink

It would have been nice to have been writing this blog post from the picturesque Thousand Islands in Central New York, camping next to Jay’s uncle with full hookups and showers.

Instead, we are sleeping in the parking lot of an auto repair shop in between the cities of Hastings and Cicero, waiting for the shop to open so we can get the A/C compressor fixed.

You see, the A/C compressor snapped the serpentine belt, which then caused us to lose our power steering and severely affected our brakes. We essentially became a moving, six ton, 30 foot danger to all motorists and pedestrians around us.

So that’s why we are in this parking lot, waiting for this shop to open so we might have an outside chance at still having a campus day at Syracuse University.

Wish us luck.

University of Buffalo Campus Day

September 4, 2007 | by brett | Permalink

Yesterday we officially had our first campus day at the University of Buffalo, where we parked in a reserved, highly visible spot with a ton of student traffic. Upon arrival, we promptly set up a table adorned with Kronik Energy drinks, a newsletter sign up sheet, a fistful of business cards, a laptop with our website, and of course, speakers blaring music that would attract the young college minds our way.

Our liaison Leslie gave us the introduction to the Buffalo campus to Noah while Zach and I answered questions from a couple reporters. I had placed a couple calls to the local newspaper and the student newspaper about what we were doing, and both of them showed up for interviews. The day couldn’t have started out better.

From noon to two o’clock Zach attracted about ten to fifteen people over for a brief interview to ask questions like:

“What are the obstacles students face when trying to land a job they can be passionate about after school?”

“If you were cruising around in this RV, what would be the one question you would ask?”

“How would you go about using that geography major to find a job?”

The majority of the responses were unanimous…the students had no clue about how to go about finding the job that they really wanted after graduation. Some didn’t know why they had chosen the major they had decided upon. Others just wanted free energy drinks.

It was exactly the kind of response I was looking for. Hundreds of students gawked at the RV. It got our team rejuvenated with a new experience. And we got some great footage.

Next on the list is Syracuse, Duke, Virginia Tech, and hopefully a couple others. I look forward to using these days for new documentary footage, to learn more about the college market, and to connect the students who talk with us to career opportunities and possibilities.

University of Buffalo Campus Day

Community Service Challenge

August 13, 2007 | by brett | Permalink

I came to realize something over the weekend. America has it wrong when it comes to community service.

When you get in trouble, you are sentenced to hours of community service. Community service should be a privilege, not a punishment.

My challenge to myself, my team, and the readers of this blog is to find one community service activity per month to get involved with. It doesn’t have to be a huge commitment, maybe just a few hours one Saturday morning, but I’m hoping that this small step will turn into a continuous trend of community.

If you have any recommendations for programs, events, or activities for people to get started on, please comment below. We’d love to get involved.

Junior Achievement classroom of happy fifth graders.  My friend Bryan and I taught them for a day.  Just one of the many ways to give back.

Brett Farmiloe’s Autobiography

August 9, 2007 | by brett | Permalink

Yesterday I came across Whitney Johnson’s “Dare to Dream” blog. She had an interesting point on one of her posts that said, “for all your readers know, you may be daring them to dream, without having dreamt yourself.”

This quote frightened me. I’m scared that you, the reader, think that I, the author, am just some 22 year old kid telling you to follow your dreams. I am going to share with you how, and why, I am pursuing the passion so you do not get the wrong impression of this site.

My Story:

I chose accounting when I was deciding what my major should be in college. My step dad told me that accountants made the most money and had the most opportunity out of school, and since I was insecure and money driven at that point, I chose accounting.

I never planned on being accountant, but that was the path I was led down by default. All of my classmates either were continuing their accounting education by obtaining their masters degree, or were accepting offers at Big 4 firms for fifty thousand dollar salaries in the fall semester of 2005. I was stuck in the middle. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life.

I had twenty interviews with potential employers that fall semester, and one thing became apparent. Not everyone had it figured out.

But that damn question of “what should I do with my life” lingered over the heads of everyone I talked to in the interview waiting rooms. Even after I accepted an offer with an accounting firm that fall, that question still remained on my mind.

In my very last interview, I got this funny feeling. I was overcome with fear that this would be my last interview. As I watched my interviewer ramble on and on about how much she loved her job, I realized that I liked interviews. I discovered that I liked interviews because I liked people. And what I enjoyed most about people was talking with them about their passion.

I went home that night and thought about what I would do during the summer between graduation day and my official start date in Corporate America. I got out a pen and paper and jotted down the things I wanted to do. I wanted to travel. I wanted to be close to sports. I wanted to better myself. Most of all, I wanted to continue having the feeling I had when I talked with people about their passion.

Desk of Thought

These desires that I wrote down is what you now see with Pursue the Passion. The RV came as a necessity because we had nowhere to stay, and I actually thought that when I bought Maggie Miracles (the first RV), that I was making a sound investment. Three hours into the first trip, broken down with green liquid spewing from the engine, I quickly realized that it had not been such a financial savvy decision.

Maggie Miracles Broken Down in the Desert

That summer I interviewed 75 amazing people. I traveled 10,000 miles by RV, my mom’s 4Runner, plane, and train for 2 months. I went to places like Nike, Microsoft, Playboy, many sports stadiums, the homes of welcoming strangers, and cities I had only read about. It was the time of my life.

Our first interview ever, with Lute Olson, Hall of Fame Basketball Coach at the University of Arizona.  Being Wildcats ourselves, this was huge.

The summer also had an inadvertent effect on my Corporate America experience. It completely soured it before I even stepped in the door. I knew, that after being exposed to all different occupations and possibilities, that I had made the wrong choice to go into accounting. I was selling out by going into a secure, stable, well-paid position because it just wasn’t me. But because I was contractually obligated to show up on September 4th, I was going to show up on September 4th.

On August 23rd, two weeks before my anticipated start date, I reported to a “real job.” The corporate lifestyle benefits came throughout the week, ranging from extravagant lunches to all types of corporate goodies. I temporarily forgot about all that I had gained and gleaned during the summer.

It's 5am, and I am off to my first day in Corporate America.  I remember this day well.  I woke up, went to the airport, and ran into a good friend from school.  He was flying to Las Vegas for business...his business.  He was so free.  It was a moment I would not forget.

But as the months passed, I began to revisit the advice that was given to me. I began to write a book about the pursuit of a passion, despite not working with a passion myself. This was troublesome to me, and even more so as I continued to receive emails from people around the world who were inspired by this site.

I felt not only like a corporate sellout, but also a hypocrite. I thought to myself, “how can I have a site that says to pursue your passion when I’m not pursuing it myself?”

I guess that was my “aha” moment where I said to hell with this. I started to get by on a PB & J diet, sacrificed Saturday nights, and saved up so I could go on a second PTP tour. I sent out over twenty carefully crafted sponsorship proposals to corporations, schools, and small businesses to see if they’d be interested in sponsoring the tour. No luck.

One day I received an email from the boss saying that she wanted to see me. I made the decision that it was now or never for me. It was time to quit the job I despised.

I walked into the office belonging to my boss at the scheduled time on the scheduled date with my heart pounding and my roommate’s co-worker’s resume. My boss was seated on the other side of the desk with two envelopes. Much like a classic western gunfight, I drew first. I quit. BAM!

I left the two envelopes on the table, one containing a raise, the other a bonus, and said goodbye to steady paychecks and corporate security.

Brett Farmiloe on his last day as an accountant, first day as an entrepreneur.

With no paycheck, I scrambled to get by. I hired my friend Jay, who graduated in December with a college degree and is now on the tour, and paid him minimum wage to help me get things in line with the Pursue the Passion tour. He crashed on my couch, and we ate free Hot Pockets and Stouffer’s products, given to us by Nestle, until we couldn’t take the taste anymore.

Jay's Sleeping Area.  As you can see, he had a long commute to work.

Every day I would rise at 5am, wake Jay up at 8am, and we’d work until 9pm or 10pm. Then we’d bounce back the next day, looking for sponsors, passionate people to interview, and couches to crash on.

It wasn’t until I focused all my time on Pursue the Passion did I start to see results. After all those hours of writing sponsorship proposals, we found a sponsor in Jobing.com right in our own backyard. We went from having four people visit the site a day to an average of two hundred people per day. We made a pact not to eat Hot Pockets again.

Things started to click and hit full stride come July 1st, the official start of the second Pursue the Passion tour.

The Pursue the Passion Team.  Jay is at left, Brett, Zach, who quit his accounting job to come on the tour, and Noah, our writer, on the ladder.

We’ve been on the road for over a month now, pursuing our passion, and the question that I frequently receive is “so, are you any closer to finding out what you want to do yet? What you going to do after this?”

People don’t realize that I am a passion pursuer and a crazy entrepreneur that will not stop until the bank account says zero. My goal is to turn this website into a resource that will help people who are in the same situations I found myself in as a student, and in the working world.

I am whole heartedly and no longer hypocritically pursuing my passion, and I invite you to join the journey as well.

Join the Journey...you know you want to.

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