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Odd Jobs

Thu Apr 09 2015 | Author: Carol Olmstead
I was pleased when a Feng Shui colleague in Vermont got TV airtime on her local station because that’s good for our profession, but I winced at the title of the feature: “Odd Jobs.” Really? I’m entering my 18th year of Feng Shui and working with a Fortune 100 company on the interior design of 23 floors in their new headquarters, and the media is still calling Feng Shui an odd job?

The great timing is that right after I read that my profession was an odd job I was approached by a college placement professional to contribute a story for his book about how choices in college affect future careers. How could my journalism degree possibly relate to my current Feng Shui career, you ask?

In the summer of my junior year I won a coveted spot in the Magazine Publishers Association college intern program. There were 30 of us from across the country, each assigned to magazines in New York City. The participating pubs included Newsweek, Time, and the prize assignment The New Yorker - oh, how I wanted that one. What did I get? Woman’s Day Magazine. It was 1970 and I couldn’t believe I had to work for a “housewives” magazine that featured articles like making your child’s Halloween mask from a plastic bleach container.
Yes, that was not only an actual article, but I wrote it that summer.

The first day I walked into their editorial offices I was surprised to find I’d entered a hotbed of feminism and I ended up loving every minute I worked there, especially a phone conversation with Grace Kelly (yes, that’s how she introduced her royal self in her beautiful voice.)

Toward the end of my internship, Editor Geraldine Rhoads took me to a publisher's luncheon in a private club on Madison Avenue. When we checked in the receptionist said we had to enter through the kitchen because this was an all-male club.

I will not go through the kitchen, Geraldine replied.

She grabbed my hand and with head held high she marched us through the reading room into the dining room. A few men looked up and scowled, most didn’t even notice. We sat down at our table and my heart was pounding. Did we just do that? my old naïve self asked. We just DID that! my new self replied. And my world was forever changed as I realized I didn’t have to follow what was expected of me, and that I could make decisions that were outside the box, no matter how odd.

Fast-forward many years, past the expected writing and public affairs jobs to my current “odd job” as a Feng Shui practitioner. I was always happier editing than writing so it all makes perfect sense that I’m now “editing” people’s surroundings to help them live better lives. While it may be an unusual career choice, it’s surely one that Geraldine influenced, and I’m happy being the “odd” woman out in a cutting edge field. Maybe I’ll start wearing a hat like the original Oddjob.

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Posted in: Career & Office | Tags: feng shui, career, odd jobs, college, magazine, journalism

© Copyright 2021, Carol Olmstead