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In Contests on July 1, 2013 at 7:59 am

“Bring us into your world. What is something about your work (past or present) that outsiders typically don’t understand? It can be something required by the job, something that happens on the job, something you feel about the job—but whatever it is, do not exceed 800 words.

Cutting Red TapeSo goes the official prompt for the Second Annual Work Stew Essay Contest, which kicks off today, July 1.

There’s real money involved ($1,500 in prizes), so be sure to read the legalese. But here, in plain English, is everything you need to know to get started:

Timing. The deadline for submitting an entry is 11:59pm Pacific Time on Monday, July 22, 2013.

Prizes. The winners will be announced by September 15, 2013, and thanks to a very generous donation by Steve Karan, the following prizes will be awarded at that time:

1st place, $1,000

2nd place, $400

3rd place, $100

Requirements. Your entry must be created in response to the official prompt, above, and it may not exceed 800 words—really. It’s also important that your submission has never before been published or distributed to the masses in any way. (The lawyers have a lot to say on this point, so again, please be sure to read the fine print.) Entries should be sent via email to

RomanKrznaricStudio2-by-Kate-Raworth-low-res-300x240Judging. I am honored to announce that Roman Krznaric has kindly agreed to serve as the judge of this year’s contest.

Named by The Observer as one of Britain’s leading lifestyle philosophers, Mr. Krznaric is a founding faculty member of The School of Life in London, which offers instruction and inspiration on the important questions of everyday life. He studied at the universities of Oxford, London, and Essex, where he gained his PhD. He has taught sociology and politics at Cambridge University and City University, London, and has done human rights work in Central America with refugees and indigenous people. For several years he was Project Director at The Oxford Muse, the avant-garde foundation to stimulate courage and invention in personal, professional, and cultural life. He speaks regularly at public events and is the author of several books, including How to Find Fulfilling Work, part of a new practical philosophy series edited by Alain de Botton.

One last note for now: Mr. Krznaric will be selecting the winners from a group of ten finalists chosen by me (Kate Gace Walton, Editor of Work Stew).* For additional information on the selection process, please look for the Contest FAQ that will be posted on July 23, 2013.

Until then, gather around the water cooler (Work Stew’s Facebook page), join the chit chat on Twitter, or send your questions to me via email at I look forward to hearing from you!


*This paragraph was updated on July 9, 2013. I initially proposed a public voting process (like last year), but a number of comments I received caused me to re-think this. To read a Facebook discussion of the issue, please check out the July 8 Facebook post that begins ‘Contest question…”

  1. […] Work Stew podcast is on a brief hiatus. Recordings will resume on September 15, 2013, after the 2nd Annual Essay Contest is […]

  2. […] Now we get to read what everyone wrote in response to the contest prompt. Here’s the plan: in about a week (i.e. beginning on Thursday, August 1), I will start to […]

  3. […] After much teeth gnashing, below are my picks for the ten finalists in the Second Annual Work Stew Essay Contest. […]

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