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Editor’s note: Congratulations to the winners of last week’s contest: LC, Allen Lucas, Kathleen Vallejos, Sharon Bove, Sharon C, Shaleen, Danielle Stevens, Jason Lai, Sophie Lizard, Hood, Annabel Candy, and Jim Hamlett.  Enjoy your subscriptions to The Sun Magazine and keep sharing the love!

On arrival in the Arctic

For a girl who grew up in Florida, the idea of dog sledding in the Arctic seemed a bit nuts.

But when I turned 40 last year, I found myself wanting to do something … different. I wanted to celebrate this milestone and the happier life I’m now leading. I wanted to stretch myself in new ways.

I suppose a part of me also wanted to prove that this party called life was just getting started.

It was everything I hoped for, minus the cake.

Not only did I create some amazing memories, I couldn’t believe how many career insights I brought home as souvenirs.

The good news is that you don’t have to go dog sledding yourself to add a little more thrill to your life and career. Here are the take-home ideas (and cool videos) you need to get excited and get going on your own adventure.

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When you’re unhappy, you wonder: should you focus on improving your outlook or changing your situation?

Changing your outlook sounds easier and certainly less scary.  The positive thinkers will tell you to smile and the good feelings will find you.  Look for the silver lining.  It will all work out.

But after a while, positive thinking needs to lead to positive action.  It’s great to find a way to enjoy the job you’ve got in the short-term, but how do you know when to make the leap for the work you love?

Dave Hoskins may not have all the answers, but he has the experience.  He started playing guitar at age seven, but was convinced a career in music was too risky.   After twenty years of trying to “whistle while he worked” in other careers, he’s now got a great new band, named LYRE, and the confidence to let his heart sing.

We could all stand to take note.

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The numbers are staggering.

Worker satisfaction levels are the lowest ever recorded in 22 years of surveys.

In February, June, and October of 2010, the number of U.S. workers voluntarily quitting surpassed the number fired or discharged.

84% of those currently employed are looking for a new job in 2012.

I can’t help but wonder: how did we get here?  Wasn’t the knowledge economy supposed to be better?

It’s easy to point a finger at the unstable economy, to imagine the stress and workload that accompanies the employment turmoil is the real source of the problem.  However, my informal analysis based on the clients I’m seeing is that federal government workers (who comparatively enjoy a lot more stability and security) aren’t terribly fulfilled either.

It’s also easy to blame the “entitlement seekers” of Gen Y, except the unhappiness isn’t confined to a particular age group.

As I started talking to people, it seemed the real issue was a problem with mentorship.

And it’s a problem that’s been allowed to fester for a long time.