What I Envy

Sep 11, 2012

Tonight as I was watering the flowerbeds in that time just past dusk, just before dark, I was listening to Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain. I have been loving this book. I am a pretty classic introvert, and it has validated many aspects of my personality. I will be giving a thorough review of the book in the near future, but tonight one thing was said, and it deserves a post of its own.

She was talking about how introverts often get into careers they don't really love because they push themselves into something they think they should like. She gave three guidelines to identify your own "key personal projects" (i.e., something you would really love). And her third guideline really made me think. It was:

Pay Attention to What You Envy

Instantly, I knew what she meant. I have a whole list of jobs I envy quite regularly:

1. School Librarian - One of my favorite blogs is written by a former school librarian. She used to write about the activities she would do with the students. Mock Caldecotts? Helping a reluctant reader find just the right book? Reading aloud? Yeah, that's for me.

2. Children's Book Librarian - Not only would I rock story time (in my dreams), but I would love to have parents come up to me and ask, "What would you recommend for my three-year-old son?" (Answer: Chalk by Bill Thomson.)

3. Editor - I already mentioned this when I went to Shannon Hale's book signing. Her editor was with her, and I thought, Why have I never before thought about editing as a career? Not that I understand the first thing about what it takes to be an editor, but I would actually love to read through manuscripts looking for cohesiveness and content or even grammatical or spelling errors. (Of course, it would have to be books/authors I enjoyed in the first place...as long as I'm envying, I might as well reach for the stars.)

4. Book Store Employee - Maybe I'm making it more glamorous than it would be, but think about it: surrounded by books hot off the press? You get to be one of the first ones to see them in all their new splendor! Plus, again, recommending books to customers would be so fun.

But amidst all of this envy about jobs that will probably never be mine, one thought blazed out brightly and triumphantly:

The one job I would envy more than any of the others, I already have.

And the three of them are sleeping peacefully in their room right at this very moment.


  1. I couldn't agree with this post more unless I'd written it myself. Every word, especially the nagging feeling that I need to be focusing more on those "key personal projects." The one major difference is that I haven't yet read Quiet. It is now on hold for me at the library. Thanks.

    1. I'll be interested to hear your thoughts after you read it...it's not only helping me to understand myself more but also all the extroverts around me!

  2. You had me at your two last lines.
    Amen sister.
    I wouldn't mind lots of jobs but getting to be my daughter's mama is my biggest blessing and joy.

  3. I love love love Quiet (I need to listen to it again, already). What a great post.

    It's interesting having had what I thought would be my dream job and now having a lot more experience in the library world, I have a much better feel for what kind of library job I'd like in the future (collection development - buying books for libraries, figuring out what to keep, what to buy, what kinds of collections to grow, etc, and not as much working with people).

  4. What a good reminder as I just laid my boy down for the 6th time in the past hr hoping this time he'll stay asleep!

  5. This was fun to reread since I just finished Quiet. It was definitely good to have me read before Tim's looking for jobs to help him get in an environment that works well for him.

    I think bookstore employee like Deseret Book would be awesome because I enjoy a majority of the books they stock! And I think you often get to help recommend books there too.

    Did I tell you I'm going to beta read my cousin's next book soon? (should already be done but they're building a house and he's busy) It's not your top genre- kinda harry potter esque. But it would be fun. I bet he'd love it if you wanted to read it too. . .


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