02 November 2015

A note of career hope that ends on a question

Like a lot of people, I used to listen to Tess Vigeland every weekend on Marketplace Money and was surprised and disappointed when she announced she was leaving the program. The waters were murky; could sweet chatty APM have pushed her out of a place where she was clearly comfortable? Vigeland insisted, then and now, that her decision to leave was her own ...mostly. Much more than that, you will not find in Vigeland's new nonfiction title/ half-hearted memoir LEAP!

On Marketplace Money Vigeland was an expert at unpeeling the financial onion to get to her subjects' real issues. As the great reporter she is, she features many interviews in LEAP! with fellow job-leavers, job-changers and other explorers, many of whom were at first told that they were nuts to do what she did. The part that resonated the most with me was the dread of a cherished job leading to stagnation, the sense that Vigeland had that there might be more worlds to conquer, but she wasn't going to conquer them from her anchor desk.

Trouble was, my mind kept straying to the story that wasn't being told, rather than the story that was. LEAP! boasts the aggressively complete subtitle LEAVING A JOB WITH NO PLAN B TO FIND THE CAREER AND LIFE YOU REALLY WANT. That's what Vigeland did, she says -- except the reasons for leaving that she doesn't want to talk about, so she doesn't. I can appreciate that Vigeland wrote this book and bared her soul at this particular moment, but disclosing to a certain point and then stopping creates a vacancy at the heart of LEAP! I found myself wondering from Vigeland's hints and wishing she had made a cleaner breast of her troubles. The book ends on a question mark, with Vigeland still sorting out what she wants to do -- and if you want to find out what happened next, her post-publication blog post will tell you that (and inspire even more questions). My nosiness is perhaps inexcusable, but maybe the hurried publication of LEAP! will be followed by an extended edition some years later, on how it all turned out. If not a "happy" ending, at least an exciting one.