avid Thiermann is the most powerful, charismatic career consultant alive, and for good reason. He created that condition himself, and he can show you how to create what you want in your life. He has accomplished feats stronger than moving any mountain: getting people to change to more fulfilling, prosperous careers.
In Thiermann's world, a wide swath of career opportunities awaits us all- only our self- limitations stand in the way. But luckily for those of us who do want substantially more, Thiermann possesses a lifetime of international vocation experiences and accumulated research data to wield in his personal war on everyone's ugly limitations.
There are many tools in the Thiermann repertoire, and his consultations cut deep, peeling back layers of mental flesh that hide a person's true calling. The career doctor is always in, ensconced in his public offices - reserved tables at various exclusive restaurants in Santa Cruz. There, between bites, some of the most important power brokering a client and consultant can manage, goes on. I nailed down Thiermann for this exclusive interview; an article where we can all learn once and for all what David Thiermann is doing with all those clients.
One-Stop Service Station
Thiermann knows about marketing, firsthand; through the projects he has been involved in throughout his life and is adept at marketing the projects to make them successful. Coming from a hardworking, goal-oriented family where his younger sister Ann teaches figurative and landscape art at UCSC extension, and his brother Eric and father Ian work with Academy Award-winning films dealing with the arms race and global concerns Thiermann has been involved with projects such as the Tokyo-based organization, Conflict Limited, which attempts to improve business relations between America and Japan; taught at Hiroshima Medical School; written articles for the Journal of African Music, and conducted a television series comparing French Polynesian musical instruments with ones he found in the Amazon.
He has also studied with Brazilian physicians for a television series on public health education; interpreted Swahili and lived with the Masai during a Small Pox vaccination project; helped build a public health dispensary in Haiti when he was twenty-five, a school in British Colombia when he was sixteen and a church in Mexico when he was fifteen; and owned and operated his own restaurant and entertainment center on Santa Cruz's Pacific Garden Mall in the 1970's, the Good Fruit Company, where he highlighted every kind of entertainment mime, belly dancing, juggling, fire eating, sword swallowing, lectures on every conceivable subject, with musicians scheduled day and night.
What was a local boy like Thiermann doing in Africa? "I worked in East Africa for three years, and because of this experience, I got started doing career planning and development as a career consultant. I had the opportunity of performing alternative service as a Conscientious Objector in a leprosarium (Hansen's Disease hospital) in 1965."
"When I first arrived at Makete Hospital, about four-hundred miles out in the bush of East Africa, the administrator of the hospital told me, Whatever you do here Dave, as a volunteer for three years, please don't start a craft program. It's been tried before and believe me, these people don't know how to do anything.' "
"But being young, idealistic, and naive, I wanted to prove him wrong," says Thiermann. "And I did just that by starting a cooperative, making traditional instruments and artifacts which gave the patients a form of career counseling, occupational therapy and employment. It created a renaissance of art and music in the area. The patients were taught to make thumb pianos, baskets for grain measurements and the local home brew, and they taught each other how to make various instruments."
Excerpts from the Tanzanian paper at the time of Thiermann's residence had this to say about him: He dresses very simply, wears worn-out canvas shoes, cooks and eats Tanzanian food. He cannot afford additional furniture to those provided by Government (sic). He cannot afford a whisky or a lager. If at all he wants a drink, he makes some orange juice or drinks "ulanzi" (a sweet bamboo wine) which is his favorite drink.
The article closes by saying: Why should David want to return to Makete, is a question many people would like to ask. But to David, Makete is his home and neither the patients nor he could live without one another. As far as the patients are concerned, David must come back and live with them, if only to prevent them from going back to their former plight.
"Luckily we had a cave and a waterfall on the premises of the hospital, so I used that as a tourist attraction to bring people down to the hospital, give them updated public health education about Hansen's Disease because it is so misunderstood introduce them to the patients and sell them some musical instruments and artifacts, while giving the patients career counseling and employment. Everybody benefited."
Collecting instruments from around the world is Thiermann's avocation, using those instruments as tools for breaking the ice and establishing trust when he is traveling and doesn't know the language. He does, however, speak a mean Swahili. Thiermann markets himself with vigor and knows how to apply research data and interpretive tools to learn about others and market them as well.
"I use several surveys in my practice to draw a client out," he says. "For instance, one of the surveys is an article, Discovering Your Life Purpose, created by attorney Marcia Perkins-Reed. It's great because it asks a lot of personal questions like: What do you love to do?, What parts of your present job or life activities do you thoroughly enjoy?, What do you naturally do well?,What are your ten greatest successes to date?, Is there a cause for which you feel passionate?, What are the ten most important lessons you have learned in your life?, Are there some issues or perceived problems in your life that have occurred over and over again?, What do you day dream about doing?, What would you do if you knew you could not fail?"
"I record all that information, then prioritize it," says Thiermann. "Another survey that I use asks about your occupational daydreams, activities that you currently enjoy, areas in which you feel you're competent, occupations that interest or appeal to you, comparing yourself with other people your own age, in various categories. You end up with scores that boil down to a code series. If you look up that code in the code manual a booklet containing 1200 common ways to market someone you end up with logical, personal choices for a career.
Thiermann tested out in junior high school as a health worker, and ended up working in health related projects in Africa, South America, French Polynesia, Japan and the Caribbean. Now he tests out as a career consultant.
"Statistically, once every five years or so, people go through a major career transition in their lives," says Thiermann. "It's ok to go through a transition - that's the bottom line. Actually, we are always in a state of transition. When people stop going through transitions, they stop growing."
Baskets, Codes and Diversifications
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