A brief note from Work Stew editor Kate Gace Walton:
On that debut podcast, I addressed a fundamental question: “What is Work Stew and why are you doing this?”
…the answer I gave then:
The reason I’ve created a forum for people to talk frankly about what they do for a living is that there seems to be a lot of work-related angst out there.
Once upon a time, the question of what to do with your life (and all of the associated stewing) used to belong primarily to the young—recent graduates needing to choose a path that would make for a good long-term fit. But these days, I find people of all ages, in all stages of their lives and careers, contemplating—or being forced to contemplate—major changes and, in many cases, wholesale reinvention.
For some, it’s liberating; for others, it’s terrifying. For many, it’s both of those things at exactly the same time.
That’s certainly been my own experience—exhilaration and terror, in more or less equal doses and often mixed together.
A few weeks ago, in an attempt to make sense of all the work-related noise in my head, I sat down and wrote an essay. Once it was done, I quickly found myself wondering what other people really thought about their work lives, and I soon realized I didn’t really know.
With my friends, for example, I think I understand more or less what they do for a living—but for the most part I only understand it at the cocktail party level.
Maybe it’s because work and money are inextricably linked; maybe its because what we do can be so tied up with our sense of who we are…whatever the reason, how people really feel about the work they do is not, I think, a topic that is discussed as often as it should be.
For the most part, I think that those of us who stew over our work lives—and I have yet to find someone who doesn’t—for the most part, I think we stew, we wonder, and we worry largely in isolation.
My goal with Work Stew is to chip away a little at the shiny surfaces—to have people talk, in their essays and in interviews, thoughtfully and frankly about their work lives: why they made the decisions they’ve made, what they’ve loved about their work, what they’ve disliked, what they’ve observed, what they would have done differently, and where they have, or have not, found meaning.
I don’t know that any one essay or any one interview will help any of us in an immediate and concrete way…but I do know the power of stories—how they help us to expand our imaginations, how they encourage us to think differently about our own lives.
The hope is that Work Stew will provide, both on the page and in the podcast, a good mix of stories— food for thought as we each find our own way.
Returning now to 2013…
Work Stew readers and listeners: thank you very much for your loyalty and enthusiasm. Work Stew contributors: thank you for your stories and your candor. (I realize that you didn’t do it for the mug; you’re just good eggs.)
Stewing en masse has been seriously fun, surprisingly illuminating, and genuinely heartening. I’m looking forward to another year.