In Notes on October 29, 2014 at 12:05 am

Work Stew is a collection of original essays and in-depth interviews. To learn more, please visit the FAQ.

New essays and interviews will be added regularly, so please check in often. Or you can sign up to receive email notifications of new contentlook for the button at the bottom right of the site.

Also, Work Stew now has its very own Facebook page; if you ‘like’ it, you’ll be able to see periodic updates in your news feed. You can also receive notices of new content via Twitter.


A brief history:

The site was launched in January 2011, when I published “Random Acts of Business,” an essay about extraordinarily long hot dogs, True Believers, and my lifelong quest for flow. Since then more than 70 other essays have been added to the mix.

You can view a complete list of contributors here. To date, the Top Ten Readers’ Favorites* are (in alphabetical order):

Molly Bishop Shadel A law professor writes about juggling her wide-ranging legal career with a personal life

Gerald Casale A founding member of the ground-breaking and enduring band Devo reflects on what constitutes “work.” 

Samantha Cole A prep school grad embraces her “inner laborer.” 

Ronald J. Granieri An historian pulls back the ivy to reveal what life in academia is really like.  

Tasha Huebner A self-employed Wharton grad takes a hammer to the old chestnut, “Do what you love, and the money will come.” 

Meg Heimovics Kumin A software developer reboots after three babies and two family crises and emerges as a photographer

Gopi Kallayil A Googler ponders the power of intention after an idea scribbled on a piece of paper almost immediately springs to life. 

Lindsay Moran Following the Abbottabad raid, an ex-spy reflects on her decision to leave the CIA

Rhino A soldier describes what it’s like to come home, including what goes through his mind when someone says to him, “Thank you for your service.” 

Terri Rowe A longtime factory worker reveals the secret identity that has sustained her since she was four years old. 

If you’re interested in submitting an essay of your own, please write to me at I’d love to hear your story.


Kate Gace Walton
Editor, Work Stew

*Note: ‘Readers’ Favorite’ is a pretty subjective designation based on page views, shares, comments, and the volume of love/hate mail each essay has so far inspired. So, read all the essays; as they say, your mileage may vary.

Flick Picks

In Notes on October 12, 2014 at 6:48 am

1794722_867076539976832_8336157486925416530_nThe other day, I asked Work Stew readers on Facebook to share their favorite work-related movies. Not just office-related—any type of work.

Below is a list of the flicks that have been suggested so far. I ranked them in order of their Rotten Tomatoes score (the percentage to the right), so that you can get a quick sense of how popular they are more generally.

What would you suggest? Please email me ( and I’ll add your picks to the list.

Lost in Translation (2003), 95% on RottenTomatoes

The Sessions (2012), 94%

Glengary Glen Ross (1994), 94%

Fargo (1996), 94%

Up in the Air (2009), 91%

Network (1976), 91%

High Fidelity
 (2000), 91%

Adaptation (2002), 91%

Norma Rae (1979), 90%

Michael Clayton (2007), 90%

Chef (2014), 88%

Jerry Maguire
 (1996), 85%

Dead Poets Society (1989), 85%

Cedar Rapids (2011), 85%

Working Girl (1988), 84%

Erin Brockovich (2000), 84%

9 to 5 (1980), 82%

Baby Boom (1987), 81%

Office Space (1999), 79%

Wall Street (1987), 78%

Mystic Pizza (1998), 78%

Devil Wears Prada (2006), 75%

The Last Days of Disco (1998), 71%

Horrible Bosses (2011)
, 69%

The Company Men (2011), 67%

Boiler Room (2000), 67%

Clay Pigeons (1998), 63%

Pretty Woman
 (1990), 62%

Secret of My Success (1987), 58%

Joe vs. the Volcano (1990), 58%

The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009), 51%

Empire Records (1995), 24%

Suggested by Work Stew readers but not rated on Rotten Tomatoes:

Death of a Salesman (1951)

Deskset (1957)

His Girl Friday (1940)

I’m All Right, Jack (1959)



New Interview: Mortician Caitlin Doughty

In Notes on October 29, 2014 at 12:05 pm

IMG_5771-650x433Podcast #88 has just been posted…

In this interview, I spoke with Caitlin Doughty, an LA-based mortician on a quest to prepare “a death phobic culture for their inevitable mortality.”

About the podcast…

The first Work Stew interview was released in February 2011. I spoke with Gretchen Peters, an intrepid investigative reporter who explained how she went from a job on Rodeo Drive to a hut in Afghanistan. Since then more than 70 other interviews have been released; you can view a complete list here.

The ten most downloaded interviews to date are these:

former CIA spy does a reality check on the TV show ‘Homeland’—what rings true, what doesn’t, and the scene that made her tear up.

newspaper cartoonist explains what it takes to be funny seven days a week, for more than sixteen years.

husband-and wife team who make their living as long-haul truckers describe their life on the road.

The voice in my GPS describes how she got there. Turns out she’s an accomplished singer and songwriter.

writer of closed captioning for adult films explains how he got into such an unusual line of work and how he feels about it. One listener commented, “See, there ARE jobs for English majors!”

particle physicist describes what it’s like to be focused on topics that most of the world knows nothing about.

certified mediator explains why he loves getting involved with other people’s disputes.

comedy writer on the path he travelled to arrive at his role on Comedy Central’s hit show Tosh.O.

long-time flight attendant who recently retired from the airline industry to become…a gorilla caretaker. Seriously.

marketer-turned-cook describes how hard she works, how little she earns—and how much she loves her new career.

Why a podcast? Work Stew is a place for people to share their thoughts and stories about their working lives. Essays are one way to do that, and in-depth interviews are another. The hope is to build, over time, a rich collection of distinctive voices, captured in both the written word and the spoken word.

How to listen? You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or you can listen to all of the episodes here: Show Notes and Audio Players

Suggestions? New episodes of the Work Stew podcast are released every two weeks. To suggest an interview subject for a future episode, please write to



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