In the equal parts thrilling and incredibly traumatic stage of life only one year or so out of college, it’s easy to feel confused or out of place. It’s so easy that it’s actually become acceptable. It’s so acceptable that it might even be considered the norm, a norm that has inspired countless coming-of-age novels and John Hughes films and “lifestyle” blogs. For one to feel purposeful and accomplished immediately following his or her college graduation, it would seem mocking, offensive, even vain.
So here I am. I’m increasingly aware every day how completely unnecessary I am as a member of society, especially after moving to a new city where the people I know (and, more importantly, who know me back) can fit inside of a Prius. The lifestyle of a freelance writer only intensifies this feeling, offering no office to report to and no coworkers with whom to co-work. I find myself constantly torn between feeling exhilarated by the freedom of my modern, “I-work-for-myself”, digital-age semi-career and feeling like my career motivation is at a complete dead end.
In the midst of this internal debate, I realized that my ultimate career goal at this point in my life is simply to be Ira Glass.
Ira Glass would never feel worthless. Ira Glass would take his feelings of worthlessness, find a dozen others who also feel similarly worthless (while somehow also feeling completely in tune with their deepest emotions) and they would all turn it into a radio show to inspire other worthless-feeling individuals and make them cry sad, beautiful, hopeful tears.
Ira Glass made a career out of gentle journalism, something that I have yet to figure out. Sure, some stories are more hard-hitting than others, some even delve into the inner workings of the U.S. government, the deficit, terrorism, immigration reform, etc., but there’s a gentle, human side to all of it that makes every former journalism major feel like he/she could have written that story, dammit! Ira asks the questions that you actually want to know, he approaches every story from an angle that is just on the line between informative and emotionally childlike. Ultimately, he reports on things in the way that every aspiring young writer imagines journalism to be, before the college writing curriculum beats you down with crushing job placement statistics and instructions for writing a good query letter.
Ira Glass is likeable in a way that I am not likeable. He is constantly, unapologetically prying into people’s most personal lives (and getting paid for it), yet that sweet voice peppered with the occasional pre-pubescent squeak and a slight lisp soothes his interview subjects into teary submission. If only I could adapt this persona during my weekly phone calls to Comcast, I might finally get functional WiFi and free HBO thrown in for my trouble.
Finally, Ira glass is Tavi Gevinson’s mentor. If there’s one person who makes me feel even more unaccomplished than Ira Glass, it is Tavi Gevinson.