This turned out to be the hardest post I've written yet.
Why? Because I'm obsessed with books.
I actually got locked in a bookshop in elementary school when both of my parents thought that I had left with the other one. I didn't notice that the store had closed until the lights clicked off, and then, to the surprise of the remaining sales associate, I emerged from my cocoon in the kids area.
Once, at REI, I was forced into buying a copy of Adventure Divas after instinctively pulling out a pen and underlining a really good paragraph before it was "mine."
All my college textbooks are still at my parent's house. I could have sold them back and pooled the money with my girlfriends for a post-finals retreat at the W Hotel, but in my words to my dad (Who graciously hefted them all up into the rafters.), "They're like my children!! I can't just get rid of them!!"
In fact, just last week I went to Blackwell's for one book, and ended up with four. Because why read "a book" when you could "a theme" instead?
My compulsive book buying habit was almost YOUR problem too, since I outlined a post on twenty five book recommendations.
But then you wouldn't read it, because that would be truly overwhelming.
So, instead, here is an edited list of three idea-filled reads to inspire your career thinking for a new year.
Back in college I was a Resident Assistant. Whitman was a nerdy place, so when I invited my hall to watch The Open Road, a documentary on exploring career paths, the lounge was actually full. Ten years later I was surprised to receive a call from the organization that sponsored the film; the green RV was still on the road, and they wanted to recruit students for an upcoming episode at the university I worked for.
As a "thank you" for coordinating they sent me a free copy of Roadmap. I flipped it open on a leisurely Saturday morning thinking I'd give some excerpts to my students, then, hooked by the brilliant content, went back to page one and read it all the way through. In one sitting.
Because it's seriously that good. Forget the students...I loaned it to my colleagues, with strict instructions to GIVE IT BACK. Most importantly, the ideas are actionable. Second of all, it's so inspiring that I left the cafe walking on air, excited to bring more curiosity and fun into my career. Third, it's relevant, with stories from people who are making an impact in culture right this very moment.
2) The Builders
Surprise! You only need 90 seconds to be inspired by this one. Leave it to Longfellow to write one of those so-good-you-could-cry poems about building a meaningful life (included: career) one little building block at a time.
At 23 I was lost...passionate about education, yet managing a little office at a Pilates studio, in tears over how much I hated my job and how frustrated I felt about not knowing how to navigate towards the career I hoped existed in real life and not just in my dreams.
In front of my boss.
Bless her. She gave me a copy of this book and a high five when I did find a boarding school that was even more amazing than my imagination could concoct, and headed off to Montana three months later.
This book is sloooow, reflective, philosophical. If you like Yoga, you'll probably like this too. The bit on "captaincy," fully embodying our lives and taking responsibility for the direction they go in, is a moment by moment challenge.