Back when I was fourteen I was very distraught by the fact that I didn’t know what to do about my life. One day, in an effort to console me, my mom told me about a story she had heard on NPR. She told me how Bob Woodward–did I know who Bob Woodward was? No, I didn’t. Well, Bob Woodward thought he wanted to be a journalist. He tried to get a job at the Washington Post and was rejected. He wandered aimlessly. He asked people he ran into about what they did for a living and why. He returned to journalism and then broke the Watergate Scandal. (Sorry guys, no citation for you. I relentlessly searched for this story in NPR’s archives to no avail.)
I think my mom’s point was that lots of successful people never knew what they wanted to be when they grew up. But what I gleaned from the story is that it’s okay to shamelessly ask strangers about their careers and life choices.
If my fourteen-year-old self knew that ten years later I still wouldn’t know what I wanted to do she would probably spit on me or something. But alas, here I am, twenty-four and lacking a direction. And so I ask myself, what would Bob Woodward do? I started asking people questions. I asked PhD students why they went back to school. (Because they wanted to be professors.) I asked lawyers why they became lawyers. (Because they couldn’t think of anything else to do.) I asked plumbers why they stopped plumbing. (Because the insurance was too expensive.) I asked translators why they stopped translating. (Because it was too lonely.) I’ve talked to restaurant managers, nurses, public health professionals, teachers, interpreters, non-profit fundraising directors, international development supervisors, and librarians.
My mom said I should talk to Bob Woodward… I probably should talk to Bob Woodward and make sure that I’m not creating a fallacy of his life on my blog.
But first I’ll ask you. Tell me, random awesome people who read my blog, what do you do and why? What do you love about it and what do you hate?
Nice 🙂 Want to share the wisdom you’ve gleaned about people’s jobs next time we skype? Besides the lovely funny characterization of PhD students, lawyers, plumbers and translators, which I’m pretty sure I have no desire to be.
More on my job when we catch up 🙂