The “Do What You Love” Problem

One of my favorite blogs, non-cancer-related, is Ask a Manager, all about job searching, hiring, and the workplace. She has written in the past about her disagreement with “do what you love” advice – when people say that you should follow your passion in life and do what makes you happy. She believes it is classist, in that only people with privilege can do what they truly want to do without having to make money to eat or have shelter. 

I read another article about this today in the NYTimes, here

Every time I read these things, I think to myself, “This is not true if you’ve had cancer.” You could interchange any life-threatening experience with “cancer” in that sentence, I suppose.

Cancer makes you think differently about life and its meaning… at least it has for me. I am curious to know what others think:

Has having cancer/another life-threatening experience made you more focused on doing what you love as your life’s work? 


Have shoes, pack, hair… will travel.

I haven’t updated in quite a while, but it’s for good reason. I’ve been planning a big life change and I’m finally ready to announce it here! Yes – I have quit my job (last day in the office will be this coming Friday the 25th), and will be embarking on a two-month adventure through Ecuador and Peru.

I am endlessly excited and endlessly terrified all at the same time. So many people ask me why I’m doing this, and it’s sometimes hard to articulate. So often throughout the past year, I’ve thought to myself, “there’s got to be more to life than the routine of working 9 to 5, cooking dinner, watching Thursday night sitcoms, and going to bed, just to do it all over again.”

While my life was by no means bad, I still just felt like there was more out there. Like I could get closer to finding my passions, I just needed an out-of-the-box experience. I needed to get out and see things, spend some contemplative time with myself, and be challenged, empowered, and humbled by the universe. I could blame it on cancer, but I can’t say that this wouldn’t have happened anyway. Cancer just made it seem more urgent.

So… solo travel to South America emerged as a viable plan. I was a Spanish minor in college and I love the region’s literature and culture, plus it’s a haven for backpackers, and Ecuador is one of the cheapest countries in that part of the world.

I’m off on February 4th. First I’ll enroll in a Spanish school in Quito to get back my language skills, and then I’m off to adventure. First to the beach with my boyfriend for a week, then back to Quito to see him off and make my way down through the varied Ecuadorian landscape and into Peru, where my main goal is to get to Macchu Picchu, however that might happen. I’m not planning to blog regularly, because I would rather be living in the moment, but hopefully I’ll be able to post some pictures and updates here, just so I have some documented memories!

Hiking shoes
These shoes are made for walking
photo 3
Hey, hair past my ears!
photo 2
My pack. Think I can fit my mattress in there?


Annoyed at BRCA and the Job Market

It’s the economy, stupid! Well… now for me… it’s also the mutated genes. I am currently in the middle of a hard decision, and BRCA is NOT helping.

My boyfriend has accepted a transfer to his company’s DC office, but we currently live in Philadelphia. I’m happy for him, and want to follow him, but I’m not sure whether I should quit my job, move with him, and look for a job in DC, or stay here, look for jobs, and not move until I secure employment there. The first option seems most practical to me, as it would be so much easier to look for jobs full-time and actually be in the city where i’ll be networking and interviewing (not to mention we now share an apartment and only have one of everything). But… I’m worried about being out of work for a while. And consequently I am worried about not having affordable health insurance for a while.

I need an MRI. I need a breast doctor. I need a gynecologist. I need peace of mind that if I find a lump in my breast, I can call up a doctor and get an appointment without paying an arm and a leg (or a boob). If I didn’t have BRCA, I wouldn’t really care about going without health insurance for 5 to 6 months. But I don’t have that luxury. I’d be playing with fire, and I don’t want to get burnt.

Le sigh. BRCA cranks up the inconvenience level a little bit in this whole situation. Of course the nearly 10% unemployment rate doesn’t help, either. Anyone want to give me a job in DC?