Article about our very own: Jeff Gunhus   Leave a comment

Taken from the Towerlight Online Edition, Official newspaper for Townson University
April 23, 2001

What do your greatest passion and college career have in common? Jeff Gunhus, author of “No Parachute Required: Translating Your Passion into a Paycheck — and a Career,” will tell you they should be one and the same.

“Pursue your passion above all because that’s where you are going to find your happiness,” Gunhus said. “Society rewards people with money for excellence. The only way you’re going to be excellent on something is if you’re great at it. And the only way you’re going to be great at something is if you’re passionate about it.”

This advice is easy for Gunhus to give — that’s where he found his career. He and his partners bought a million-dollar company in 1996 when Gunhus was only 23 years old.

Since then, Gunhus has expanded his company, the National Services Group, to a $10 million career training industry for college interns. He’s managed to transform his love of working with people into a successful profession.

Gunhus’ experience working with students prompted him to write “No Parachute Required,” which was published by Hyperion this month. The concept behind the book is to help guide undergraduates through the often frustrating and tedious process of choosing a career.

“There are 1.2 million people that graduate every year from college,” Gunhus said. “They have one thing in common: they all graduated from college. They can all say that. So how do you distinguish yourself?”

Gunhus advised that the most important thing is to remember to enjoy the time you spend at work. Some of the messages Gunhus hopes to convey include words of wisdom like don’t chase money because you won’t find it if you are miserable, and don’t follow in your father’s footsteps just because he’s pressured you to be an ophthalmologist from the day you could pronounce the word.

He said students should find what they enjoy and go from there. As Gunhus put it, choose your career; don’t let it choose you. His book is designed to get college graduates to that point.

“I am trying to form a more coherent philosophy of [doing] something that is meaningful,” Gunhus said, “as opposed to having a job as a way to trade hours for a paycheck.”

The book contains no secret equations for choosing a career. Gunhus is not a big fan of the self-help genre, but his book is designed to help students discover the kind of people they are, which in turn will reveal what they want out of life.

“I divided it into two parts,” Gunhus said. “The first is to discover where your passion is, and decide upon a direction. The second part is, now that you’ve decided on a direction, how are you going to get there?”

His approach is to target issues that people deal with not only as they graduate, but also during their first five years in the work force. “No Parachute Required” is tailored to the college market because undergraduates face different challenges than the average person looking for a career change and draw from different resources. People just getting started are also more willing to take risks.

“When you first graduate from college you have the most energy, the most freedom that you’re probably ever going to have,” Gunhus said. “What an awesome opportunity to take that one in a million chance.”

Gunhus added that those who take chances and work hard are likely to succeed.

“Anybody can do whatever they want to do,” Gunhus said. “They just have to have the perseverance and tenacity to chase after it.”


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