Works and Days



Tableau: Jeanie Lee, Winter Shadow 2016

I was incredibly excited when I learned of Reed’s Winter Shadows program. I would describe the program as a take on ‘take your child to work day’, where Reed students shadowed different jobs with the intention of getting a better idea of what it would be like to work at said job. It’s a great way of understanding what career path you’re interested in. A great Winter Shadow is one in which you learned something significant: whether it be that you want to pursue said career path or that you definitely do not want to pursue it. Tableau was an amazingly successful Winter Shadow, because I discovered a place where I definitely, absolutely, want to be. Culture is an important part of what people look for in a potential employer. Culture, however, is so much more than just whether a company is fun or if the people working there seem cool or whether or not there are free snacks in the kitchen. Culture is whether or not the employees enjoy working where they work, are personally fulfilled by it, and believe the work they are doing is important and valuable. This was true for everyone I met at Tableau. Furthermore, the employees were happy, but not complacent, satisfied, yet free.

Tableau exemplifies a lot of what I’m interested in. It’s the perfect combination of art and technology with a dash of positive feelings. It’s a nurturing work environment that encourages its employees to pursue what they are interested in, and recognizes the hard work they do. Tableau Desktop is intuitive, beautiful and very powerful. We spent the week watching tutorials on Tableau, shadowing product consulting calls, talking to employees from different departments, and creating data visualizations using Tableau. We took rows of data in excel and found what was interesting or hidden in the data. We learned to come up with the right questions when presented with data. The employees at Tableau seem happy. Not just happy, but fulfilled- not something you encounter regularly. Tableau almost seems too good to be real, but I’m ready to believe it.

Montgomery High School: Jeannette Phan, Winter Shadow 2016

When I first considered doing a Shadow, I was studying abroad in Buenos Aires. A great many things happened to me during that semester, and just about as many questions, too, about where I’m going to be and what I want to do after Reed. Wondering how I was supposed to utilize and mold my Reed experience into something conducive to my future. Even the answer to what sort of field I wanted to go into was up in the air. These questions have only become more dire as I have been embarking on the last half of my undergraduate phase. So upon hearing about the opportunity Reed was offering students to shadow Reed alumni, I thought, what better way to help me examine this dilemma.

I didn’t know what kind of shadow I was looking for, besides looking for one where the person I would be shadowing could advise me on how to navigate the murky and amorphous decisions that I would soon have to make.

I had always thought of a career in teaching as an option; sometimes as my one an only option, and at other times as a backup should I never find anything better. As it were, at this point the playing field was level for all possible careers. I just wanted to know what careers were available and how one gets there. How do careers happen? For surely they are not always dependent on the linear development of one’s schooling, from grade school and higher education. Clearly, my problem was a simple lack of exposure to the realties of a career beyond the fanciful notions of stability and mundane complacency.

5 Writers Offer Advice on How to Make Writing Your Career

You take a deep drag on your cigarette and another swig of coffee. It’s long gone cold, but you can’t get up to make another cup because you don’t want to disrupt your flow. You have no idea what time it is and you don’t care. All you know is that you’ve got to keep going until the words don’t come out anymore or your eyes refuse to stay open.

You watch the characters move and interact in the movie that’s playing inside your head. Your job is simple and complicated at the same time—you have to make sure that their stories are told, that their messy, human lives are translated into neat black rows of text on the page.

If you dream about being a writer, you might imagine that this is what your life would look like. And for some writers, it does. But there’s much more variety to working as a writer than you might imagine.

Landing Your Dream Job Right Out of College: Persistence Pays

This story was originally posted on Jessica's blog at

This is a story about how I got my dream job after graduating from college with a BA in English. I’m hoping that it will give both ideas and some realism to recent grads and other job seekers.

I graduated from Reed College with a degree in English and decided not to enter a PhD program. I loved our local paper Willamette Week, but I didn’t think I had the skills to work there as a reporter. I decided that I would sell advertising so I could have a cool job at a paper that I loved and be part of the scene. They often advertised for advertising sales people, so I figured it wouldn’t be hard.

I sent in an application and got no response. The paper used to run dating ads attached to a voice mail service before Internet dating took off. I designed a “Woman Seeking Job” ad and sent it over. No response. Then I cold called the hiring manager and he spoke to me briefly about my lack of experience.