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Podcast News

In Notes on June 6, 2014 at 11:58 am

Quick note: Facebook posts, tweets, and essays will continue as usual, but I’m taking a few weeks off from the podcast. The next episode will be released on July 14, 2014.

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.

A 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 thatmost 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.

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

A 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 kate@workstew.com.

Finally, in other recent work-related news…

  • A CEO is more likely than, say, a nurse to be a psychopath.
  • Buckyballs—”the world’s best selling desk toys”—are being discontinued.
  • Career re-entry after taking time to be a stay-at-home parent is in fact really, really hard.
  • Aspiring to be a wide achiever may be more satisfying than aiming to be a high achiever.
  • And Cal Newport says we shouldn’t sweat so much about following our passions.

These types of stories are posted (almost) every day on Work Stew’s Facebook page and via Twitter. I seek them out, because reading about other people’s work lives—no matter how distant they are from mine—helps me to ponder my own career conundrums in more creative ways.

Please feel free to chime in with your own finds and thoughts at any time. I stir the stew, but it’s the many morsels from far and wide that make it rich.

What Gets Published Here?

In Notes on May 4, 2014 at 11:48 am

Work Stew Essay ContestA few days ago, I was asked, “How do you decide which essays to publish on Work Stew?” I shared the answer on Facebook, but I thought I’d share it here, too.

As I look at the drafts I receive, I consider three main things:

1) Does the essay center on the subject of WORK? I define the term ‘work’ quite broadly, but I do seek out pieces that in some way examine what it is that we choose to do with our lives.

2) Will publishing the essay be a good experience for the WRITER? If the essay brings about a certain amount of clarity for the writer and enables him/her to connect with others, that’s great. If the essay will clearly hurt the writer’s chances of getting work in the future, I either urge the use of a pen name or I decide to withhold from publishing the piece all together. While I want to encourage frank conversations about work, life is hard enough already. I DON’T want any one to suffer disciplinary actions or prolonged unemployment because of what they’ve written for Work Stew.

3) Will publishing the essay be a good experience for the READER? We can all get a lot out of writing; that’s why journaling can be so useful. But for a broad group of readers to get something from a piece, it has to be well constructed. Happily, a little editing can go a long way, so this is often the easiest hurdle to clear.

That’s about it. Thoughts? Questions?

A few weeks ago on Facebook, we were talking about Aaron Hurst’s piece in The New York Times called, ‘Being Good Isn’t the Only Way to Go.’ Work Stew reader Matthew Taylor is not a fan of the piece. In the comments section, he wrote, “You can’t just re-imagine that your job has purpose. That is being out of touch with reality. Sure, we could wander around with a fantasy of purpose in our heads, but if it is not real, then we’re just deluding ourselves.”

I disagree. Here’s my response to Matthew: “Hi Matthew Taylor, thanks for weighing in. I agree with you that not all of his (Hurst’s) specific suggestions are strong but his main premisethat meaning *can* be found in the for-profit world and that non-profit jobs do not *always* provide for fulfilling workis one that I have really come to believe.

For me, the meaning in any role I perform is a function of three things: what I call (talking to myself usually, but I’m happy to talk to you, too): ‘Connection, Flow, and Wonder.’

Connection has do to with the interactions I have with other people: am I being myself and is my effect on other people (at least largely) positive?

Flow has to do with the tasks themselves: do I enjoy at least some of them to the point of being really absorbed by my work?

Wonder is perhaps the most complicated of my requirements to explain, but it has to do with preserving a sense of wonder about life and about the world. In jobs that have beaten me down for whatever reason, my sense of Wonder is shot, and I realize I have to leave. In jobs that I’ve enjoyed, my sense of Wonder stays intact, andin the best jobs I’ve ever hadI’ve felt like I’m working side by side with people who “get” the whole Wonder thing, who understand that we work for many reasons: to make a living, for the intrinsic value of labor, and also, ideally, to support a life of Wonderin my case, a chance to raise children, to see a bit of the world, to try new things.

What I’m *not* saying is that these elements are easy to find in the workplace. In fact, I think workplaces that support all three are incredibly rare. What I *do* feel is that these elements can be found in the for-profit world as much as in the not-for-profit world…so that’s the part of this article that really resonated with me.”

What about you? Where do you come out on Hurst’s piece? Please chime in. I’d love to have your voice in the mix.

 

Gather ‘Round, Chime In

In Notes on January 25, 2014 at 6:34 pm

1044314_615519871799168_1800749998_nIn between the new essays and interviews that are posted here, Work Stew hosts daily discussions about all manner of work-related issues over on Facebook. Picture it as a virtual water cooler, where everyone’s welcome to think out loud. We’ve had some intense talks over there, but they’ve always been civil, much as I imagine the best chats around a real water cooler might be.

Today, we’re weighing in on Miya Tokumitsu’s recent article in Slate, “In the Name of Love,” in which she argues that the omnipresent mantra ‘Do What You Love’ actually devalues work and hurts workers. Below is my brief take on the article…what are your thoughts? Join us if you have a sec, and chime in.

I agree with [Tokumitsu]. Absolutely—the aim and pursuit of making a living is meaningful enough, and as a society we desperately need policies that enable us ALL to make a living in a manner that preserves our humanity and our dignity (read that warehouse article I posted for an example of a workplace that in my opinion falls far short on this front).

At the same time, on an individual level, to achieve a higher degree of personal satisfaction, I think we all—every last one of us, not just the ‘elites’—need to think more broadly about the notion of ‘work,’ i.e. that we might pursue different kinds of work for different reasons, some because it yields an income, some because it feeds the soul.

To sum up: I would never tell someone ‘Do What You Love’—it’s far too pat—but I would say (mainly to myself): find a way to make a living and then find something that you genuinely love doing—whether it pays or not—and do as much of it as you can. A few lucky folks will get to do what they love full-time; most of us will need to jam in the work we love after a long workday spent elsewhere—but all of us will be better off for having some pursuit in our lives (even if it’s just for an hour a week) that is simply about doing Our Thing.

What other topics are simmering over at Work Stew’s Facebook pageHere’s a selection of the tidbits we’ve chatted about lately:

  • A CEO is more likely than, say, a nurse to be a psychopath.
  • Buckyballs—”the world’s best selling desk toys”—are being discontinued.
  • Career re-entry after taking time to be a stay-at-home parent is in fact really, really hard.
  • Aspiring to be a wide achiever may be more satisfying than aiming to be a high achiever.
  • And Cal Newport says we shouldn’t sweat so much about following our passions.

These types of stories are posted (almost) every day on Work Stew’s Facebook page and via Twitter. I seek them out, because reading about other people’s work lives—no matter how distant they are from mine—helps me to ponder my own career conundrums in more creative ways.

Please feel free to chime in with your own finds and thoughts at any time. I stir the stew, but it’s the many morsels from far and wide that make it rich.

Coming Soon

In Notes on January 17, 2014 at 12:26 am

The Work Stew podcast will be returning on February 28, 2014. In the meantime, please peruse the archives!

unnamedRecently released… 

Podcast #75: Tim Pratt spent several years counseling NFL players on their finances…what was that like, I wondered, and how did he get the job? In the interview, Pratt gamely tackled these questions and morewhile completely dodging my suggestion that he get behind the Seahawks.

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:

A 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.

A 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 thatmost 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.

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

A 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 kate@workstew.com.

nprDid you know that Work Stew was in the news? 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.

“Like Self Help, Without the Answers”

In Notes on December 19, 2013 at 7:39 pm

By Kate Gace Walton

Kate ProfileNearly three years ago, I started approaching people—friends and strangers, online and offline—to ask about their work. I wanted to know why they do what they do, and how they feel about it. And, as if that wasn’t intrusive enough, I then asked them to send me an essay. Yep, I asked them to sit down and spend hours—hours!—crafting a thoughtful piece for publication.

Did I offer to pay for these essays? No.

Did I dangle the promise of ‘exposure’? No.

Instead, the exchanges* I had with potential Work Stew contributors went something like this:

Why should I write an essay for Work Stew?

You shouldn’t write an essay for Work Stew. I can’t pay you for it, and in the big scheme of things, my following is very small. Getting published by me will not propel you to fame and fortune.

But, um, didn’t you just ask me to write an essay and send it to you?

I did. But do it for you—not for Work Stew. People seem to get something out of the writing process. For most people, the payoff is simply a welcome shot of mental clarity, but for others it’s been more dramatic: Terri Rowe started publishing the stories she writes for children; Meg Kumin launched a photography business. As a potential sponsor once said about Work Stew: “Oh, I get it—it’s like self help, without the answers.”

Wait. Did you say sponsor??? I thought you said you couldn’t pay for my essay!

Settle down please. It’s very time-consuming to ask people, one by one, to write for Work Stew, so for two years now—in an attempt to introduce the site to new contributors—I’ve held an essay contest complete with wonderful judges and actual prize money. I go to sponsors, like my generous friend Steve Karan, for this prize money, but I cover all other costs associated with the site myself.

Okay, getting back to the topic of self help: what’s wrong with regular self help? What’s wrong with giving people answers?

Nothing I guess (if we set aside the burns from walking on hot coals or the tragic deaths from ill-advised excursions to sweat lodges). My main problem with most self help, in which I include a lot of conventional career guidance, is just that it doesn’t seem to work. If it did, why are so many of us repeat customers?

Okay, getting back to the idea of writing something: I’m already on Facebook. I’m on Twitter. I write all day, every day. I express myself relentlessly. Why should I write an essay?

Writing long form is different. The sheer volume of words in an essay forces you to get past the veneer that usually passes for talk about work. The telegrams we often use to tell our work stories—quips like “I’m a reformed lawyer”—no longer suffice. The blank page demands that you dig deeper. If for no other reason than to fill the space, you find yourself revisiting the choices you’ve made in the past and thinking hard about the choices you have yet to make. Also, in addition to the length of an essay, its relative formality—i.e. the need for a beginning, middle, and end—seems to force at least a tiny bit of mental progress. In the end, some conclusion, however slight, must be reached.

Okay, so maybe I’ll write an essay. But why should I send it to you? Why should I consider sharing it with others? What’s wrong with good old-fashioned journaling as a way to sort through the noise in my head?

Journaling is great—to a point. It can be cathartic to express a thought even if it really, really shouldn’t see the light of day. However, journaling also has a downside: it keeps you trapped in the echo chamber of your own mind. If you’re anything like me, you’ve told yourself a fair amount of crap over the years. Knowing that you might share what you’re writing forces you to take a good, hard look at what you’ve said and to ask: “Wait. Is that true?” It may sound counter-intuitive (“How can I speak freely about something as sensitive as work?”), but what I’ve seen is that sharing often encourages real honesty. It facilitates a fresh look. 

If I do this, will I get a mug?

Work Stew MugYes! By day, I’m the CEO of a firm called Steyer Associates. We’re a content agency providing a range of services (writing, editing, curation, production, design, video production, project management, etc.) to clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-up ventures. It’s satisfying work in its own right, and having an income from elsewhere enables me to afford, among other things, small thank you gifts that I send to Work Stew contributors. Hence, the famed Work Stew coffee mug and my habit of shipping dark chocolate and licorice around the world.

Okay, I’ll think about it.

Thank you. And sorry if I freaked you out by asking for an essay out of the blue. If it’s any comfort, I do this to everybody.

***

*Consider this a dramatic re-enactment of a conversation that never happened. In reality, the exchanges I’ve had went nothing like this, mostly because it’s taken me all three years to figure out the answers to these questions. In the interest of historical accuracy, I must report that my actual conversations usually went something like this:

“Why should I write an essay for Work Stew?”

“Because it just seems like a good idea? Pretty please?”

HuffPo Samples the Stew

In Notes on December 6, 2013 at 6:09 pm

HuffPoThere was great joy in Mudville this week: “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.”

It’s been a great thrill to introduce Work Stew to a larger audience, and my main hope is that my ‘HuffPo bump’ will bring more voices into the mix.

New to the Stew? Not sure what it is?

Work Stew is a forum for frank talk about work, both at a personal level (‘What should I do with my life?’) and at a societal level (‘Why are things the way they are?’ ‘How do we want them to be?’).

For a taste, check out the essays and interviews that are already in the Stew. To add an essay of your own, or to suggest a guest for the podcast, please send me an email: kate@workstew.com.

In other news…

New essays are in the works. In the meantime, some Work Stew readers gathered around the water cooler (i.e. Work Stew’s Facebook page) to flex their writing muscles in a mini-contest that ran through the Thanksgiving weekend. (As many of you know, Work Stew holds one major writing contest per year, but that oneinvolving 800-word entries and $1,500 in prize moneywrapped up in September. This new contest unfolded over the last few days of November.)

This was the task: write a story (fiction or non-fiction) that uses the words “work” and “Thanksgiving”; keep it under 200 words; and post it as a comment on the Facebook thread announcing the contest.

$50 prize for the story with the most ‘likes’ by 9pm (West Coast time) on Sunday, December 1 was awarded to…Helen Tosch. Congratulations, Helen. I loved your pathos-laced tale of a vegan Thanksgiving in Manhattan—and so did the voters.

To play in the next such contest, consider subscribing to Work Stew (by entering your email address in the field at the bottom right of the site). These informal writing exercises tend to be spontaneous affairs and, by getting an email alert, you’ll be less likely to miss out.

Unfamiliar with Work Stew’s Facebook pageHere’s a selection of the newsy tidbits you’ll find there:

  • A CEO is more likely than, say, a nurse to be a psychopath.
  • Buckyballs—”the world’s best selling desk toys”—are being discontinued.
  • Career re-entry after taking time to be a stay-at-home parent is in fact really, really hard.
  • Aspiring to be a wide achiever may be more satisfying than aiming to be a high achiever.
  • And Cal Newport says we shouldn’t sweat so much about following our passions.

These types of stories are posted (almost) every day on Work Stew’s Facebook page and via Twitter. I seek them out, because reading about other people’s work lives—no matter how distant they are from mine—helps me to ponder my own career conundrums in more creative ways.

Please feel free to chime in with your own finds and thoughts at any time. I stir the stew, but it’s the many morsels from far and wide that make it rich.

The Contentment Chronicles

In Notes on October 3, 2013 at 12:11 am

Earlier today, I posted this on Facebook:

The Stew needs a few tablespoons of Contentment, so consider emailing me (kate@workstew.com) your answer to this question: 

Have you ever had a moment on the job that made you supremely happy? We’re talking spring-in-your-step/song-in-your heart-type happy. If so, can you describe it?

Work Stew MugI’ll publish your answer on the site and, as a small thank you for chiming in, you’ll get one of these fine mugs (unless you already have one, in which case you can choose something from one of the four major food groups: white chocolate, dark chocolate, red licorice, and black licorice).

A little while later, I received this happy reminiscence from historian (and wildly popular Work Stew contributorRonald J. Granieri:

“In May 2010, the spring semester at Penn was coming to a close. As it happens, I had been informed two months earlier that the School of Arts and Sciences Personnel Committee had rejected my tenure application for the second consecutive year. There were appeals and protests and whatnot in the works, but I was facing up to the very real possibility that this would be my last semester teaching at Penn, maybe my last semester teaching anywhere.

During that spring semester I had been leading a seminar of more than a dozen senior history majors writing their capstone honors theses. We had been together since the spring of their junior years building those projects, and I had taught some of them even before that, so we were a pretty close group. I was very proud of them.

After classes ended, the Penn History Department holds a special reception for seniors who completed theses, where they offer posters describing their theses, and make brief presentations. It is a fitting event for them, and I knew I had to go, but I was feeling rather ambivalent about attending an event that would also be attended by administrators of the school that was effectively kicking me out.

With distinctly mixed emotions, I left my office and walked down the hall to the ornate lecture hall where the event was held. As I walked in, I noticed something odd. My students all appeared to be wearing identical t-shirts over their outfits. As they turned and grinned at me, I saw that the shirts were modified versions of the “Jesus is My Homeboy” shirts that you can find on most snarky t-shirt websites. The students had taken a snapshot of me (one I vaguely remembered having posed for in response to a cleverly contrived ruse) to replace the original headshot and the shirts said instead, “Ronald J. Granieri is my Homeboy” on the front and “Granieri’s Greats” on the back.

I can only imagine my expression; I had to fight back both tears and laughter. In spite of every disappointment up to that point, and in spite of the disappointments that were to follow, nothing can take away that moment when I felt such a connection to my students.

Some people think that time spent teaching and advising is wasted time, but that moment reminded me that human connections mean more than any papers ever could. I was already proud of them; ever since that moment I have loved them all.”

Click here for more ‘Contentment Chronicles,’ and to add a memory of your own to the collection, please send me an email at kate@workstew.com. 

The Stew is Two

In Notes on January 25, 2013 at 5:44 pm

Cupcake with Two Candles

A brief note from Work Stew editor Kate Gace Walton:

Work Stew is now two years old. The first essay was published in January 2011, and the first interview was released a few weeks later.

On that debut podcast, I addressed a fundamental question: “What is Work Stew and why are you doing this?”

Fifty-five essays and fifty-five interviews later, my answer is largely the same. For those of you who are new to the Stew, take my hand…step into this time machine…return with me to 2011…and behold…

…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.

The Helpers

In Notes on December 15, 2012 at 1:49 pm

Mr.RogersIn the wake of the Newtown tragedy, one of the few things I’ve read that has brought any solace at all is this widely-shared quote attributed to Mister Rogers:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers—so many caring people in this world.”

Sound advice that sent me looking for the helpers among Work Stew’s contributors. Until I get back into the swing of profiling new people, these service-oriented sorts seem like the right ones to highlight on the homepage:

Photo credit: 170 Million Americans for Public Broadcasting, original source unknown.

From the Holly Jolly Archives

In Notes on December 14, 2012 at 6:25 am

Santa_Claus1-221x300I’ll be back next week with a new essay and a new interview. In the meantime, since we are again coming up on his big night, here’s an interview with Santa Claus from early this year.

Back in January, his 2011 duties finally complete, Santa took a break and spilled the beans. In the interview, I learned how he landed the job, how much it pays, and—mandatory ‘ho ho ho’s aside—whether it’s any fun.

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 50 other interviews have been released; you can view a complete list here.

The ten most downloaded interviews to date are these:

A 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.

A 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.

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

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