EAGLE COUNTY - Looking to turn over a new leaf for 2005? Vail's Rob Lohman may have your ticket to career change and a different direction in life.A self-described "confused student and lost adult," he seeks to help those stuck in a dead-end job or career rut, Lohman said. Lohman, who once held more than 11 jobs in a year, believes he has the tools needed to make the oft-feared dive into a new line of work and happier existence, he said. The founder of the fledgling Momentum Journey, a nonprofit career counseling organization, Lohman has started job club meetings around the Vail Valley for anyone looking for work or a career change. The clubs, meeting at locations like Bartelli's Deli in Edwards and West Side Cafe in Vail, offer tips on resumes, interviews and networking, but also bring hard job leads to the table.Big red RV
Born in Fort Wayne, Ind., Lohman moved to Texas when he was 9 years old and later attended college at DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind. where he majored in biology. one Originally planning to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather, a doctor, Lohman did what any self-respecting recently-graduated fraternity brother would do - move to Vail to figure things out. A week-long vacation with his Phi Kappa Psi brothers in June 1994 turned into a year-and-a-half stay in the valley.From there, Lohman moved to Dallas, where he held jobs as a personal banker, residential property manager, commercial real estate representative and retail lease agent. Feeling unfulfilled career-wise, Lohman started working with the mother of one of his fraternity members, a career counselor in Chicago."She just helped me so much I wanted to help other people," Lohman said. "She's still my mentor today, she's my sounding board."Lohman decided to follow his passion for helping people into the education field, moving to Charlotte, N.C. to teach algebra and coach a girls' softball team. The next year, he became a career counselor at Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind.For the next six months, he began to organize the Momentum Journey, hoping, he said, to help high school and college students with their struggles in career development.
"I didn't have much direction in my career path, I found myself just going to the next job that would pay the most money. I was just totally unfulfilled, I was not happy," Lohman said. "Now I'm making half as much money but I'm three times as happy." While interviewing entrepreneurs around the country, trying to tap their brains for the secrets to success, Lohman established relationships with colleges "so we could drive up in our big red RV and interview students."That's right, Lohman invested in a used motor home and a gallon and a half of Quite Red paint hoping to get out the message to young people that "finding your career is a journey, quit freaking out about it."The journey halted, however, when the RV broke down on day one with no funding for repairs."It's just part of the journey, it's a minor hiccup," Lohman said.With almost no where else to go, Lohman moved back to Vail about three months ago to enjoy the serenity of the mountains and possibly help those hoping to find themselves here."I just want to give back a bit to my fellow locals that are struggling," he said.
A million 'No's'Over breakfast in sunny Bartelli's one morning a few weeks ago, Lohman shared some job-finding tips and talked about his passion for helping others in his former state of career confusion."I think more people are moving out here to have a career and make it work," he said. "Once you do the job hunt once, you find out what's working."With black-rimmed glasses, a black, ribbed sweater and blue jeans, Lohman has the look of a perpetual frat boy with a matching desire to help his fellow man. "Networking" is a key word in his vocabulary, something he hopes to do in Vail in order to find funding for Momentum Journey's new home base."(The job clubs are) just kind of an avenue to get where I want to go to," said Lohman, who finds his work now more fulfilling than "part-time jobs I'm not really into." "My passion is Momentum Journey, this is just a stepping stone to get there."Though few have shown up to job club meetings so far, Lohman believes, through perseverance, he can make his dream career come true and eventually offer student internships through Momentum Journey, he said. "You'll get a million no's before you get a yes," said Lohman, who also offers career advice at themomentumjourney.org and thecrossroadsoflife.com "Perseverance is what keeps me going."Vail, Colorado