It’s interesting, though: not everyone gets Work Stew. Partly it’s an age thing. As far as readers/listeners go, the sweet spot seems to be people who are old enough to have had their childhood dreams knocked around a bit, but young enough to be contemplating several more decades in the workforce.
That said, age doesn’t seem to be the sole predictor of Work Stew enthusiasm levels. Some of the site’s most avid fans aren’t searching for career answers of their own; they’re already quite content with what they do, or they’re retired. In these cases, what Work Stew visitors seem to be responding to is simply the stories, the chance to hear first-hand what goes through the mind of a soldier, or an air traffic controller, or a stay-at-home dad.
Recently I was asked by someone who had heard of Work Stew but hadn’t visited the site, “Why would anyone want to read people’s complaints about their jobs?” Mmm. I’m not entirely clear where this experiment is headed, but I do know this: that’s not what Work Stew is all about.
Work Stew is a place for people to think out loud about what they do for a living. When some people, like pediatrician Peter Morningstar, think out loud, they end up expressing what they love about their jobs. Others, like former CIA operative Lindsay Moran, wind up sharing a complicated mix of views. And even those who cop to being somewhat disgruntled explore their feelings in what seems to me to be a pretty thoughtful and constructive way.
Most of us will spend the vast majority of our waking hours working; it seems important to think deeply, and often, about how exactly we’re spending that time. I’ll be frank: I consider my own work angst to be the result of a failure of imagination on my part. Looking back, I don’t feel that I explored widely enough, or hard enough, before charting my course.
For me anyway, Work Stew’s essays and interviews are slowly but steadily helping me to expand my notion of what’s possible. In a way that no reference book on careers ever has, this growing collection of stories is helping me to approach my own career dilemma anew, armed with a much wider range of reference points and considerations than I had twenty years ago.
But that’s just me. Please let me know if Work Stew is resonating with you in any way. I’m curious to know what you like, what you don’t like, and where you think it should head next.
Thanks very much,