Do the Work Wednesday #9: It All Counts

by Lian on May 2, 2012

This week, I’m delivering a speech to a local organization that awards college scholarships to young women . I’m the keynote speaker for the awards ceremony and then will shake the hands of eight deserving seniors. The idea , of course, is to give the young women an inspirational send-off, imparting the hard-won wisdom of my career. Here’s my first piece of advice: Don’t Wind Up in a Closet. 

That aside, it has gotten me thinking about how I ended up doing what I ended up doing: writing, talking and telling stories.  Despite the title of my talk, My Non-linear Career, there actually  is a thread in what I like to call my “broad-ranging media career,” from my extracurricular activities in grade school to my college course selection to the jobs I talked myself into as a twenty-something (advertising and film production.)  Along the way, there were some detours, but even my detours ended up being great material, so I don’t regret the years I spent ski-bumming or being a stay-at-home mom. In a world where young people are increasing under pressure to make career-minded choices at earlier ages ( See Frank Bruni’s piece from the New York Times) , I’m happy to have had the opportunity to get off the beaten path and then get back on. In terms of my career path, every stop along the way has counted.

Maybe I did end up in the right place after all.

Is there a thread in your career/personal choices? Does your Do the Work project involve learning new skills or reinvigorating an old interest? When you think about where you’ve been, how did you get here?

Embracing my Chaos, Lian

Related Posts: 

Do the Work #8: Finding Inspiration





patty s May 5, 2012 at 5:20 PM

I agree with Karen–fate definitely plays a role.

I loved being an ICU nurse…until an IV pump fell off of an IV pole, I caught it, and blew out my back in a big way. My ICU career was over, and I found myself working in the IT department. A whole different world–but I’ve been able to take my nursing knowledge and education and really make a difference–and shared one of my projects with a national audience at a conference just last week. This was my “do the work Wednesday”–and I couldn’t have done it without the support of the Chaos Crew–thanks especially to William J!

I am very grateful for all of the closet time you put in, Lian. You make a difference in the lives of so many–and the inspirational way you reinvented yourself after the end of the radio show is nothing short of amazing!

Ma Schmidt May 3, 2012 at 6:56 PM

I’m too tired to share my story, but I will share what I just told a graduating senior who feels “lost” — Biography. I find that I LOVE biography and, specifically, great interviews about the scope of a person’s life/work — I find I can tune into such an interview of someone I’ve never heard of who does something I have nothing to do with (i.e., Milton Glaser) and come away so wise….So often what really stands out is the fact that things are really, rarely, “a straight path” — it’s heartening…lately I’ve been loving Alec Baldwin’s “here’s the thing” (I KNOW – he’s everywhere)…but he does really nice retrospective interviews of artists….

Karen May 3, 2012 at 3:51 PM

I believe in fate. Fate can toss something into your face and it’s up to you to take it or not. But trust me, I don’t chase after life’s altering events like a cat chasing a laser light, if I did that I’d never get anything done! :-)

I personally believe that if live sets a stone in front of you which goes off the track you’re on, it becomes one thing for you to look at and to ponder. But, if life puts three or four stones on that side path, then fate is telling you there are choices to be made. Those stones (or as you say detours) can be a path to something wholly different and new. They may not always be exciting at just that moment. Being “in your closet” may be allowing you to do something that you may not have been able to do in your previous circumstance. Yea, yea, I am that glass full person….except when it comes to me.

All I know is that you and the Chaos crew are all an inspiration to me to work towards my dream of being a business owner again and I appreciate a place to say my peace, vent, and support anyone without feeling judged. Thank you Lian and thank you everyone!

Kristin May 3, 2012 at 9:59 AM

Early in my social work career, I spent a few years with delinquents in a residential facility. While the memory of agency dysfunction still haunts at times, the skills and love for adolescent craziness never left. After years of doing other things in the field, I have found my way back to those adolescents, although in a different setting. The road to get here (back here) wasn’t always easy, and I am still on a path to finding just the right work environment, I couldn’t be happier. If only I could get schools to recognize what the needs of these kiddos really are.

CLSD OPEN May 2, 2012 at 7:34 PM

They say you’re always where you’re supposed to be…and this applies to the closet as well, Lian! Sounds like you gave an inspirational talk! :)

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