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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Work force

Are you happy with your career?

If you are a member of the clergy, a firefighter, an architect or actor/director, the answer is probably yes, according to a "happiness index" that illustrated "One Day in America" in the most recent issue of Time magazine.

Actually, the article said statistics show that Americans are remarkably satisfied with what they do.

"For the most part, happiness isn’t about money, Priests and firefighters are the most joyful, and they’re pretty close to the middle of U.S. earners," the article said.

The least happy? Gas-station attendants, roofers, molding-machine operators and construction workers.

Journalists fall about in the middle along with plumbers, mail carriers, hairdressers, physical therapists, soldiers and pharmacists.

For me, the career has been satisfying. It is the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do. (Inspired, in part, by feature stories I read in The Times and Journal when I was growing up in Queensborough.)

In 43 years, done everything from intense investigative work to the more genial though, at times, no less complex — society beat.

The career has been enabled me to tell the stories of so many. I always thank people for letting me invade their privacy to relate their journeys of love and loss, success and failure, fun and frolic and despair.

Among my favorites: Meeting people who live down country roads, who taught many lessons as I interviewed them.

Just a sampling: the woman who lived in the woods and told the photographer and I that when you were hungry, an eight-foot rattlesnake tastes mighty good... The late W.R. Henry who owned a country story in the crossroads of two country roads near Marsalis and with whom I was a regular correspondent until he died recently ... The two women on Lake Kepler, who garden side-by-side, their yards filled with the most unusual plants ... The rice farmer who said that riding through the fields at first light was never lonely for him ... The folk artist who lived on the banks of the Red River near Coushatta and whose outsider art inspired by flags drew people from all over the country to him.

What is your career? Are you happy? Why? Unhappy? Why?

Share your stories with me.


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