Sunday, October 09, 2016

Before the Fall

Jennifer Weiner, Princeton '91
The Wall Street Journal interviews six "luminaries" about making---and recovering from---mistakes.

I was particularly struck by writer Jennifer Weiner's reflections on one of the deadly sins, pride ("arrogance"), that on rare occasions troubles your humble blogger:
Arrogance is a mistake that many people make when they’re younger. I went to Princeton and graduated summa cum laude—I thought I’d be one of those 22-year-old hot young things with a book deal. But my first job out of college was as an education reporter at this small daily paper in central Pennsylvania. Part of my job was typing the lunch menus for five school districts. Every Monday, I’d be typing, ‘Hot Dog in Bun, Milk.’ I was so mad—I wanted desperately to be in New York City working at a magazine. But, honest to God, it taught me humility. I was in a different part of the country outside of my comfort zone; I had to find stories to tell. I couldn’t be snotty about who I thought was interesting and who wasn’t. In retrospect, I’m so glad that I was 31 and not 21 when my first book came out, because I would not have handled it well.
She learned in ten years what took me thirty.

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