Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

What Will You Do When You Grow Up? Keep Growing

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

What Will You Do When You Grow Up? Keep Growing

Article excerpt

`I don't know what I want to do when I grow up."

That's becoming the slogan for my generation. It may or may not be an improvement on the motto of my parents' generation: "What will people think?"

Let's look at how the two sayings are connected. And let's do it with a case study, the life of Don Winslow, who labeled himself "the laziest noncareerist you'll ever meet." I'd sought him out because he's had a remarkable noncareer and because he'd written one of the year's zippiest books, a bullet of a crime novel called "The Death and Life of Bobby Z" (Knopf, $22). Winslow got a joint degree in journalism and African studies from the University of Nebraska. But he ended up herding cattle in Beyond Hope, Idaho. "Beyond Hope is," he explained, "three miles beyond Hope, Idaho." He fell in love, had his young heart broken, and so decided to move to New York City. Once there, he took a job as an assistant manager of a movie theater. (Interesting management training program: His first night on the job, the manager said to him, "If I'm around, you'll never learn anything. So I'm going home. Tomorrow you'll have questions and you'll ask.") Over the coming months, Winslow began to figure out that something was wrong with the theater's finances - the numbers weren't adding up. He mentioned his concerns to his supervisor. Two days later he was fired. But that led to a job working "undercover" for another theater chain, one that was eager to know about financial irregularities. Which led to a job with a detective agency. Eventually he returned to graduate school in Nebraska. There he took a part-time job portraying a terrorist in a government antiterrorism program. It was his job to set up hostage-taking situations in elaborate spy-vs.-spy games. After completing a master's degree, he accepted a job with the State Department. …

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