6 Organizations That Changed My Life


This nameplate came courtesy of Mr. Phil Swann at UT-Austin.

I have never been one to worry about my career trajectory—I haven’t stressed over showing progression in my title or my pay. I’ve always believed that any potential employer who would nit-pick the gaps in my work history or the lack of advancement isn’t going to be a good fit for me anyway. I am more interested in my intellectual, emotional, and spiritual development than I am in impressing some HR person.

(By the way, I picture this HR person as a vogon:)

Considering my general blasé attitude, I find it incredible that somehow the right job has always come to me at the right time. And that I have worked in such diverse fields (Sort of. I mean, I haven’t been like an astronaut or a Solid Gold dancer or anything.)

I have a bachelor’s degree in English literature, which—like most undergraduate liberal arts degrees—basically prepared me to do nothing and anything. One thing you realize when you’ve been in the real world is just how little what you are taught as a young person has to do with the reality of work life.

If school really taught what you need to know to be a successful person in this society, you would take whole courses on Etiquette When Sending an All-Company E-Mail (Does it sound too bitchy? Should you include a smiley face?)

You would take lessons on How to Create an Office Kitchen Cleaning Calendar, wherein you would learn how to craft the “Anything in the fridge without a name on it is going to get thrown out on Friday” message. And practice masking your handwriting on the “Please don’t leave you’re dishes in the sink! You’re Mom doesn’t live here!” sign, in which you purposely misuse “you’re” to throw people off so they don’t know it was you.

If school really prepared you for life, you might even be taught how to pick a health insurance plan, determine your 401k contributions, read your credit card statement, and understand your taxes. But I digress.

All of my jobs have been perfect in their own way for what I needed at that moment. In the next few posts, I would like to acknowledge six of them. The ones I am leaving out are not omitted because they were any less influential, but the six I will write about distinguished themselves because they came at a pivotal time in my development, or gave me a key opportunity to learn or master a skill that served me later.

So, tune in tomorrow for 6 Organizations That Changed My Life, Vol. 1—The International and National Voluntary Service Training (INVST) program, aka, Pushing The Boundaries Of Social Justice … And Personal Hygiene: The College Years.


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