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At almost 30 I left teaching and attended the Radcliffe Publishing Course with the hope of becoming a paper buyer for a New York based magazine. I had a cousin who was the paper buyer for Lear’s, and she convinced me that magazine “production” might be a good place to be.

While in the Radcliffe program I realized that “electronic publishing” was where I should go. It was clear that I had none of the pedigree or subsidies needed to have a career in book publishing. The children’s books business, where I might have been best suited, was, after experiencing an unprecedented boom during the 80s, imploding.

I had always been a computer hobbiest, and the Web was just beginning to take off, so I managed to get a job in the tiny group at The New York Times that was putting Times’ content on AOL. That group went through many changes. I ended up being part of the team that launched The New York Times on the Web.

I left New York for a life in the country. I got jobs building web sites and software at small shops during the .com boom. I decided to go back to teaching when my son was born so I could have time with him.

I’m really happy teaching now.

My point is just that when I decided to leave teaching I could not have predicted any of what happened.

I have another friend who was a lawyer in New York City. He decided to 86 the law profession, so he went to Columbia Journalism School. He worked for Court TV as a reporter for about 3 years and then decided to go back to practicing law. He has worked at Legal Aid for a long time now. I don’t think he regrets his sojourn into journalism.

Life moves fast, changes beget changes, and it is hard to forecast the future.

Did you see this article?

If I were your age, I would start a carefully “curated” area of expertise and work to maintain it. That’s what the world needs more than anything else… totally ethical gatekeepers who aren’t on the take or working for corporations.

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