Issue #128: How to Build a Creative Career with Joanna Goddard
My career story and an AMA.
Morning Person is a weekly newsletter packed with obsessively-curated recommendations and ideas—let’s get to it!
📺 “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” on Prime: If the 2005 Pitt and Angelina movie was all about sex and guns, the episodic remake starring Donald Glover (as John) and Maya Erskine (as Jane) is a far more realistic take on espionage and companionship. While the drama in the movie centered on each spouse not knowing the other is a spy, John and Jane are two spies posing as a married couple, navigating regular domestic challenges amid a unique line of work.
📚 Alphabetical Diaries by Sheila Heti: “I act like a woman. I adore him. I almost collapsed writing that story.” Heti, a novelist and one of my favorite wild women, unravels her journal entries to place selections into alphabetical order, in this creative take on a memoir. The form illuminates themes and innermost thoughts in a way that’s sometimes accidentally narrative and humorous; take the repetitive cluster of sentences beginning with “Yesterday,” or her boyfriend’s name, or the word “she.”
🍝 Stir-Fried Udon with Pork and Scallions: A meal so quick and delicious, I forgot to grab a photo of it. I swapped the pork for ground turkey and some shiitake mushrooms, which was delicious against the crunchy cabbage, with an almost sweet teriyaki flavor, thanks to the mirin. Took about 20 minutes!
📺 Liked, but didn’t love… Despite the truly star-studded cast, I couldn’t get into “Feud: Capote vs The Swans” on Hulu. It felt, as Murphy’s shows sometimes do, too much like watching a caricaturization, this time of ‘60s Upper East Side women as they go after Truman Capote.
P.S. I am loving the Morning Person February Book Club pick, Wellness by Nathan Hill. Join this week’s chat and save the date for our February 22nd discussion on Zoom!
I hesitated to use the word “career” in the title. The word feels antiquated, and conjures images of water coolers and paystubs. Yet when I asked for your career questions, they were almost all about finding meaning and happiness, pivoting industries, and discovering fulfillment within, or on the side of, our main gigs. Huge stuff! The biggest stuff! Our jobs—whether a doctor, parent, cashier, writer, or in-between roles—are often a fundamental part of how we form our identity. As soon as I began writing this post, I realized just how much there is to say. I begin by sharing my own career story, to offer context before answering your top questions, then an interview with someone who has long been one of my own career North Stars,
This is, as you can imagine, a long post so you may want to expand it in a browser tab.
Before I dive into things, I want to clarify that I’m not sharing my career story to convey that this is the “right” way to do anything. I had a fairly straightforward career ascent, but I also had a lot of unique advantages (for example, my family paid for my college tuition) and regularly sacrificed my mental and physical health. It’s impossible to say if I would do anything differently, since I’m so grateful for where I am today and the lessons I learned, but it’s worth keeping in mind, as you read, that it doesn’t account for the friendships that went untended, experiences I missed out on, or health issues I had to contend with, especially in my early 20s! The last thing I want to do is glamorize overworking. Read with care. x