A Little Bit of Wonder is where I journal about the somewhat roundabout way that I have been working to establish a career and a strong sense of self--I spend a lot of time thinking and writing about "direction" and "identity." I have a Master's Degree in Literature, but I'm no longer working as an English Professor; I'm starting the next step in my life as I work to establish a career as a writer in the non-profit sector.

At my companion blog, Little Wonder's Recommended Reading, you will find reviews for both books and other blogs that I enjoy. The two blogs are inter-linked, so you can access my reviews and reading challenges from the sidebar on the left.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Follow the Yellow Brick Road

Grab a good pair of walking shoes – the more attention-getting, the better. Make sure your hand basket (err… bag…) is packed. Then – cue the Munchkin Chorus.

As per the theme of my last entry, I have been thinking a lot about the way my life – or at least my professional life – has seemed to be going in circles. Author. Waitress. Artist. Camp Counselor. Church Employee. Food Industry worker. Tutor. Childcare Professional. Part-Time Professor…

Now that I have accepted that it is not likely that I will be able to find a full-time teaching job here in New York, I have been examining my other options. Although it feels like I’ve spent a lot of time going in circles, in reality, I built a more coherent career and resume while going to graduate school. Now I’m applying to jobs at non-profit/social services organizations, publishing houses, and in public relations/communications departments – all for which I am qualified. I’m not spinning around quite so quickly anymore. But all the same, the experience of trying to orient myself has been more than a little bit dizzying.

As I was thinking through all this, a picture popped into my head, accompanied by those high-pitched, nasal voices:

As Dorothy starts her journey toward the Emerald City, she begins in the heart of the Munchkin City, where the yellow brick road originates. Her course runs beside a red brick path, both of which swirl around each other and into wider lanes, then finally diverge. She places her ruby slippers at the very center of the swirl, then follows it as it spirals ever-outward. She looks a little bewildered as she walks in circles, but the munchkins leap forward to repeat their instructions with enthusiastic certainty over and over again: “Follow the yellow brick road!” Crowds line the widening lane – dozens of little people jumping up and down with excitement, singing and cheering her on. Finally, the lane widens fully into a road and Dorothy is off on her adventure – to meet the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, the Lion, and eventually the Wizard himself. (Watch the full clip here:

Dorothy is heading toward Emerald City, but beyond that, she’s heading for home. A place where she knows that she will be accepted and loved.

The more I think about it, the more Dorothy’s journey seems like my own: I started out going in circles and didn’t seem to be getting anywhere at first, but after walking for a while, I find the path straightening and widening out into a proper road with a definite destination. I’m not really sure what the Emerald City will be like, but the more I apply for jobs and picture myself working in various places, the more I am comfortable (even excited) about working in Public Relations/Communications for a non-profit organization. Hopefully I can find a place where people appreciate my skills and abilities. I'm not even asking for anything as big as a heart or a brain -- just a job.

This seems to be the best way of explaining how I feel. At first she’s confused, but the Munchkin’s excitement and energy is catching – and she starts to skip and dance. She slows down when she gets out of town, cowers as she makes her way through the gloomy forest, but eventually gets to the Emerald City, where she and her companions all find what they are looking for.

It’s like life -- or at least how we would all like life to be.

Now, was that too cheesy? Maybe I need to get out of the house a bit more.

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