In Notes on October 21, 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.

The Stew in the News

In Notes on September 1, 2014 at 11:24 am

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“Random Acts of Business,” the essay I wrote to launch Work Stew back in 2011, was re-published in The Huffington Post. It’s located in a section called ‘The Third Metric,’ which focuses on “redefining success beyond money and power.”

nprAlso, Ashley Gross of KPLU (Seattle’s NPR station) talked to me about why I started the site, why I keep at it, and what I’ve learned.

Many Work Stew contributors came along for the ride: photographer Meg Heimovics Kumin and flight attendant-turned-gorilla caretaker John Safkow were featured in the radio version of the story (click the blue ‘listen’ button to hear it).

Devo founder Gerald Casale, python hunter Ruben Ramirez, high-rise window washer David Schmidt, lice remover Lisa Weisberg, former corporate lawyer Kevin McHargue, and carpenter Samantha Cole all made appearances in the accompanying print piece.

cof2014smaller-1Work Stew went to the woods: I was honored to present at Islandwood’s tenth annual Circle of Friends event, where Cheryl Strayed, best-selling author of WILD and TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS, served as the keynote speaker.

My session, which wrapped up a weekend-long retreat, focused on writing as a tool for personal development. In my talk, I got to highlight the essays of several Work Stew contributors. Thank you, as always, for letting me share your stories.

Stewing on Stage: A Brief Story Slam Round-Up

july2013-slam-web1I love swapping stories here at Work Stew. I think of it as a virtual water cooler where someone is always around with a tale to tell.

But there’s also something to be said for telling a story live—on stage, with no notes, to a crowd of people whose faces you can see.

I’ve done that three times now, at the Bainbridge Island Story Slam, and it’s really, really fun. If your community is currently slam-free, perhaps you should get one going? Feel free to reach out via Facebook or email ( and I’ll explain the logistics, which are gloriously simple.

In the meantime, for a taste of the tales you might hear at such an event, here’s my latest. The theme was ‘Dating: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly’—but, as you’ll see, my story has a small connection to work as well.

My other slam tales, which focused more centrally on work, were about the summer job I had at Yellowstone National Park and my most memorable night shift.

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%

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)




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