So I was thinking about how I got to this job, the one that takes me to all these places. I really meandered here.
I taught kindergarten, which I really liked, but I got tired of parents calling me at home. Parental involvement is great. Parental meddling isn’t. I think a lot of people who are really great teachers leave the field for all sorts of reasons–the salary, the curriculum limitations, the parents.
From the classroom I went to history museums, where I worked creating programs for kids and became a museum educator. I wrote exhibit scripts. I developed museum interactives. For several years I dressed in a white blouse and long black skirt and taught school to 4th graders as if it was 1904. Recitations. Strictness. An imposing teacher.
I’ve lived a lot of places. Oak Park, Illinois. Lawrence, Kansas. Oakland, California. Otavalo, Ecuador. Bloomington, Illinois. Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Kirksville, Missouri (aka Bumfuck, Misery, where we still have a house). And now I’m here, in Madison, Wisconsin.
I became the director of national fair trade organizations. I organized conferences. I did media interviews. And then I ended up here, doing fair trade international development with a job that includes travel to Africa, Asia and Latin America to visit artisans and small farmers to strategize with them how to grow their organizations and make them stronger. I still remember when the job description crossed my desk, and I knew this was what I wanted to do. I’ve been really fortunate. I’ve never had a job I didn’t like. And only once or twice I haven’t got jobs I applied for.
Many of us have paths that are winding and indirect. When we start out, we don’t really know where life will take us. Through my childhood, I thought I’d be a stock car driver. Through my teens, I thought I’d be a writer. After college, I thought I’d be a teacher. You can move in a direction, but you never really know where it’ll take you. I mean, who’d a thunk I’d turn into a blogger?