The Dilettante’s Approach to a Career

Work is work. We do it because we need to make money, to pay bills, to have a roof over our heads. We do it to imbue our life with a tiny bit of meaning. It’s the thing that makes it so that we can do the stuff we really like, like yoga classes and coffee with friends and fitful bursts of shopping on windy Saturdays. It is energy expended in order for money to be made. The very word sounds trying. The hard consonant is a closed fist. "I can’t meet you for apple cider and donuts," you say, "because I have to work." There are sympathetic sighs; a tacit understanding. The discussion is closed.

A Father/Daughter Duo Answers Your Questions: What Career Path Should I Take?

Dear Meghan and her Dad, Hope you're both well. I'm a 26-year-old woman with an MA in art history. Before graduating in May of 2013 I had a job lined up, and it sounded like a dream job at the time. So for the last year I've been working as a researcher at the art museum in my home city, part-time, no benefits, doing what I care about despite its relative unimportance in the big picture. I had a second (retail) job for several months to make ends meet, and then two months in my boyfriend moved in and I quit the other job, because the two of us combined made enough money, and also because the retail job was exactly what you'd expect it to be like.

Figuring Out a Career While Being Married to an Academic

Brooke is 27 and lives in a major city in the Southeastern region of the U.S.

The Inheritance My Father Left Me With And What I Did With It

My father passed away when I was 24, the youngest of six siblings. We were close; we loved talking about hard work and money, whether we were out eating at Denny’s, or at home watching football or the Daily Show. He died before he got to see me go to grad school, start a real professional career, meet the love of my life, get married, get a mortgage, have kids, have grandkids, start my 401(k), live a life. My dad was 54 years older than me, but his passing was sudden. When I was younger, I didn’t anticipate that he wouldn’t be able to walk me down the aisle, and now I have no idea how I’m ever going to afford a wedding in the future. His parents (my grandparents) lived to be 93. I thought my dad was in otherwise good health until he was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer at the age of 78.

A Father-Daughter Duo Answers Your Questions: Should I Stay or Should I Go?

I'm 24 and I've been at my first job for about a year; it's typically a two-year position. My supervisor has recently quit, and according to several coworkers in our (very small) office, I would be a good fit for it. I know the region of specialization, I just submitted a report to my big boss on long-term strategy that she really liked, and one of the other people in our office who works at the same level as my supervisor mentioned to the big boss that (as far as she's concerned) I would be a good fit.

Talking to Our Parents About Their Careers and Ours

A little over a year ago, Tess Vigeland left her job as the host of Marketplace Money (see here). She's currently working on a book about "career choices, ambition, the pressure to have a linear, upward trajectory in your work life," and has been traveling around the country interviewing people, including her own parents. Vigeland wrote a post yesterday detailing the conversation she had with her mother, a former teacher, and her father, an orthopedic surgeon who is still practicing medicine.

Are You What You Wanted To Be When You Grew Up?

If you are also an adult who actually didn't turn out to be a veterinarian/astronaut/marine biologist the way you dreamed about when were a kid, well join the club. Most people -- 94% according to a longitudinal study published in the journal Social Forces -- do not end up in the job they wanted when they were eight years old. This is interesting:

Women Working in Architecture

This week, Curbed is looking at the careers of women who work in architecture. They recently profiled Courtney Brett, who at 24 became the youngest architect to be licensed by the American Institute of Architects:

Brett’s ascent as an architectural whiz kid was set in motion, ironically, by her parents’ worries over her future. “I have an anxious personality, and they realized that if everything depended on standardized testing, I might panic and not do very well,” she says. To get her comfortable with the SAT, her parents signed her up at the age of 11 and assured her that the results didn’t matter. Based on her score—which Brett says she doesn’t remember, but which was obviously quite good—Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, Virginia, recruited her for their early-college program. She was 13, attending eighth grade in San Angelo, Texas, when she got the offer to enroll. “It was so outside what I thought was available to me,” says Brett. “And I wasn’t ready to leave home. I relied on my family for everything. My mom was still helping me style my hair.” But the following year, her father got orders to move to Florida. Brett, who was not keen on the idea of starting over in a new high school, made the leap.

Curbed will be profiling more women at different career stages this week, and you can read an overview about women in the field here.

Photo: Dennis Hill

A Carny Dream Deferred

When I was I kid, I decided that the ultimate in carefree lifestyles was that of an itinerant carnival worker, otherwise known as the carny.