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“My Life’s Work” Podcast Aims to Build Community

At some point in their childhood, every kid is asked the same question: what do you want to be when you grow up?

Amid the turmoil and uncertainty of the past Spring, Nathaniel Liu and I found ourselves considering this very question while trying to maintain a bright outlook on our futures.  As high school students facing the pandemic and stay-at-home orders, we began mulling over big questions.  

In these discussions, we grappled with questions such as: how does a high school passion morph into a full-fledged career? How do we broaden our awareness about the range of careers that exist beyond our parents’ jobs and friends’ parents’ jobs? What makes for a meaningful and fulfilling career?

We began to realize that our neighbors, currently hunkered down behind the doors of their houses, had a wealth of stories and advice waiting to be shared. We knew we somehow wanted to learn from these neighbors and we slowly formed our plan by consulting with local experts. Just as we knew that there was expertise all around us to help us chart our life path, we also knew there were neighbors who could help us figure out how to develop a podcast that would tap into that expertise. 

Over the course of the summer, we talked to two of our neighbors in particular—Stephanie Deustch and KK Otteson. Not only were they extremely generous with their time and supportive to both of us in this process, but they each had expertise that they were willing to share with us. Stephanie Deustch is a published author who writes the elegant profiles of the Capitol Hill Community Foundation Achievement Award winners and KK Otteson, also a published author, frequently publishes her interviews and photographs in the Washington Post Magazine.

Facing the pandemic and stay-at-home orders, Liu and Cymrot begin mulling over big questions in “My Life’s Work.” Photo: H. Cymrot

These conversations reminded Nathaniel and I how central a strong and thriving community is to our Capitol Hill lives. It is particularly hard in this isolating time to continue to strengthen our relationships with our neighbors and community. Our interviews have allowed us to get to know our neighbors, so we are sharing them in the form of a new podcast, My Life’s Work.

Our goal with My Life’s Work is both to tell our neighbors’ stories and to explore the types of careers and career paths that people take. We will release an episode monthly, along with a written profile on HillRag.com that tells their unique journey. 

Our first episode, set for release Monday, tells the story of a once up-and-coming young cellist who took a winding path away from both his home in Germany and his musical aspirations. This is the story of David Stute, who spoke to the intricacies of making a transition in one’s career and is an example of a non-linear path.  The episode will be available to listen to at www.mylifesworkpodcast.org.

We are looking to interview Capitol Hill residents at any stage of their career who have a story to share about their journey and the choices they have made. If you have any ideas of people to interview, please send your thoughts to mylifesworkpodcast@gmail.com. We would love to hear from you!

Listen to the introductory podcast now at mylifesworkpodcast.org. Subscribe to “My Life’s Work” on Apple Podcasts or Spotify

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