What Makes My Career Deep and Special?
My career is my life. I’m working on it now so that later, when I’ve got kids, my son can go to the same college and study music for his life. I am the one thing in life that I can control. I have worked my way up to becoming a partner at my firm after years of hard work. I went to school for business, but I never would have gotten this far without my knowledge of the art world. This allows me to bring a very personal and deep element to my career.
I guess when you boil it down, I’m just trying to find out what makes my career special. Maybe it’s not the fact that I’ve made it here but that I was willing to take a chance on what I really wanted. My father told me that if you want something badly enough, you’ll get it even if it takes work. It was good advice.
How Much Can I Contribute to My Career?
I grew up in a poor home. I went to a public school, and I was the only one in my high school graduating. Some of my professors at Michigan State University said that I was the most brilliant student they’d ever met. My first boss at age 16 had to give me an IQ test because he didn’t believe that an 18-year-old African American girl could be as smart as I am. When I graduated from law school, everyone asked me how much money I made. I told them that I’d made enough to support myself and to contribute to a career, but it wasn’t about the money. I am the one thing in life I can control.
—Crystal Lee Sutton, the subject of Norma Rae (1979), a film I saw in high school. It’s about Crystal Lee Sutton, an illiterate woman who became a labor activist to keep her factory from closing, and it won Sally Field the Academy Award for Best Actress.
The United States is the only industrialized nation that doesn’t have paid family and medical leave. Almost half of the American workforce is one paycheck away from poverty. Most Americans are working longer hours for lower wages, and women make up more than a third of America’s workforce, yet they earn only slightly more than they did in 1977. Yet most people believe that they’re doing okay and that their children will be okay.