"You could argue that every profession has its defining value. For carpenters, it might be accuracy: a carpenter who isn't accurate shouldn't be a carpenter. For diplomats, it might be loyalty: they can lie and spy and cheat and pull all sorts of dirty tricks, and as long as they are loyal to their government, they are doing their job. For journalists, the defining value is honesty--the attempt to tell the truth. That is our primary purpose. All that we do--all that is said about us--must flow from the single source of truth-telling." ~ Nick Davies in Flat Earth News
My friend, Jamie, sent this quote to me today. His professor, Andy Gelman, posted it on his blog. It got me thinking about how this applies not only to professions, but to our lives in general and who we are, what we stand for. Many people are defined by their jobs. One side effect of this tough economy is that many people who have lost their jobs (and in some cases lost their entire industry) are being forced to reconsider who they are when their jobs are peeled away.
When I was a kid, I loved Mr. Rogers. My favorite part of the show was the very beginning when he would come into his house, take off his dress shoes, and put on his sneakers - signaling that he had left the outside world and his job behind. The fun was about to begin the moment he put on his sneakers.
I live this kind of life, too. The moment I leave my office and hop onto the subway to zip home, I take off my work title and become a writer - exactly what I am at my core. I write almost every day and collect quotes, magazine articles, books, and experiences that all get rolled into my material. They are the stories and activities that comprise my life. And my one truth that I'm living is to be helpful - to write something that makes a difference, that gives someone some inspiration, gets them through the day with a little wider smile and a little more hope for tomorrow.