A Trail of Breadcrumbs, and How to Read Them
Being a journalist wasn’t what I set out to do.
I thought I would teach. Or do research. Or travel for a career in international business. Or, as I got older, I envisioned how I could put my training in negotiation to use in a diplomatic capacity.
Along the way I became a journalist, which is work I absolutely love for its constant challenges and variable set of demands. I love that asking questions, and coming to know people and what motivates them, is such a big part of my job.
Along the way, I’ve ended up doing many of those things that I thought I would do.
More and more often, I am called upon to teach. Research has become a regular part of my everyday life. And I travel – sometimes too much – internationally and I write very often about the businesses I find there.
But it is the last idea – negotiation, diplomacy, advocacy – of what I thought I’d do that has been most on my mind this past year.
Sometimes I imagine looking behind me, at the very curvy path my life has taken, and noticing certain stops along the way. These are stops that are like breadcrumbs. Seen one way, they’re barely significant, and ephemeral, and able to blow away at any moment. Seen another way, though, they compose a trail, a very marked trail, from point to point to point.
Point: training as a negotiator. (While I was pregnant. With twins. Both boys.)
Point: working for two years on a cross-cultural, multiple-religion project based in the Middle East.
Point: training as a multi-media journalist. Significant experience with public broadcasting stations.
Point: training with the Op-Ed Project, meant to diversify voices on the opinion pages of major media outlets.
Point: service on non-profit boards and fellowship with advocacy organizations.
Point: active involvement with organizations like the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, Ribbons of Hope, and the Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia.
And today: writing multiple times a week, within my specific industry, about issues of business and politics around the world. Areas of conflict. Migration. Labor. Disruptors in technology.
Where is all of this leading? If I follow that trail of breadcrumbs to the position of my feet at this moment, today, what does it tell me? And if I turn 180 degrees, and look forward, what do I see on the trail ahead?
It isn’t clear yet. I have some ideas, and some forms are beginning to take shape. But what’s most apparent is that the momentum is building, and my pace is becoming stronger.