Work inspiration

I recently finished “Callings: The Purpose and Passion of Work,” which is a collection of narratives from StoryCorps. If you’re unfamiliar with StoryCorps, it’s an oral history project in which people are interviewed by a family member or friend. Some of the stories will make you cry, but most will give you warm fuzzies.

This book might make you feel better about your job — or a whole lot worse. In a society where we celebrate 20-something billionaires, it’s energizing to read about ordinary people who love their jobs. The interviews include a waitress, a sanitation worker and a funeral director. (Interesting side note: In my high school, we all had to take an interest survey that was supposed to tell us which jobs fit us best. My top match was funeral director. This really boosted my fragile teenage ego.)

All of the people find meaning in their jobs, and those who have retired talk about how sad they were to leave. I found this inspiring, but it could also make an unhappy worker wonder how the garbage man is having so much fun. The book is a quick read, and each story is a few pages, so it’s easy to go through in bits.

I’ve also started listening to the new “How I Built This” podcast on NPR. The host interviews entrepreneurs about how they developed and built their businesses. The interview with Cathy Hughes, who created Radio One, was amazing. She and her young son actually lived at the first radio station that she bought.

Both the book and the podcast have made me feel that I need more gumption. Optimism and perseverance can carry you a long way, it would seem.

What is everyone else reading and listening to these days?

One thought on “Work inspiration

  1. The last book I read for pleasure was Les Mis. Right now, mostly literary theory, literary histories and literary criticism. Interesting, but heavy. The kind of thing where if your mind wanders you have to start the chapter over.

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