About the Missives from America project

The culture of jobs and the nature of work itself has always fascinated me. Surrounding every job is its own lingo, lore, and unique set of experiences, and ever since coming across Studs Terkel’s Working in high school, I’ve wanted to see what these worlds were like for myself. And so, my working life thus far has primarily been defined by me taking jobs for curiosity’s sake. Sometimes this strategy has worked out well, as I’ve seen and learned a lot of cool/valuable/unique things, but it has also landed me in jobs that have been, to say the least, extremely trying.

But seeing these jobs firsthand wasn’t enough to satisfy my curiosity. I love being taken through the ins-and-outs of someone’s everyday world, and so I took a cue from Working and started recording in-depth interviews with people about their jobs and unique hobbies. My aim is to compile the interviews for a book in the vein of Mr. Terkel’s oral histories, and so far I’ve recorded and transcribed a few dozen of these conversations.

The pieces in this section have been transcribed and rearranged for clarity and organization, but are 100 percent the interviewee’s own words (except where obviously indicated). Some focus on the minutia of day-to-day life at X gig, while others explore the emotional ramifications of a job or the life circumstances that led them to it. Most do both.

I am interested in speaking with anyone in practically any field for this book. Please feel free to get in touch and we can go from there!

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