Chapter Excerpt

What was your first job ever?

Naturally, my first job at the age of fifteen was working at a Fort Western Museum. I tromped around the 1754 fort in period costume; which looked cute on the other guides, but on me bore a hopelessly unflattering likeness to the St. Pauli Girl. Still, I loved the job. I felt a personal victory when one of my visitors made a historical connection. I'm very grateful for that first experience. Later I worked backstage at the Maine State Museum.

Talk about how you felt after high school versus today on the question "what do you want to be when you grow up?"

Graduating from high school was terrifying for me. I was one of those kids who didn't have much of a safety net. I knew whatever I did, I had to do it well because there was no going home again.

I was very goal oriented and decided to be a museum curator before I entered college. Before orientation I had researched the academic requirements, laid out my courses for four years and argued with my counselor about the efficacy of these plans. I worked hard, got good grades and did eventually become a curator.

I did succeed in becoming what I wanted to be "when I grew up," but the downside was that I was so afraid to fail that I didn't take the risks and...

Meet more people in the book...