What Do You Do All Day?

August 22, 2011 | By Adrianne Fielding | Post a Comment

I love books. As a kid, I was a serious bookworm. I volunteered at the local public library when I was a teenager and my first work-study job in college was at the main library. Today, I have a bunch of librarian friends and my mom is the librarian at the elementary school my siblings and I attended.

One my favorite books of all time was (and still is) Richard Scarry’s “What Do People Do All Day?” I had a huge (poster-sized) version of the unabridged book, and I remember spreading it out on the floor, absolutely fascinated by the descriptions and illustrations of the inner workings of some common jobs, places and processes. That book had a major impact on me – partly, I’m certain, through its emphasis that “everyone is a worker” and its focus on such things as building roads, the postal system and fighting fires. It lodged an understanding in me from an early age that those kinds of activities and systems – and the people behind them – are some of the things that fundamentally matter. And without a doubt, that understanding became a core element of my worldview, informing things like my decision to become a sociologist and my professional path after I left academia – which eventually brought me here.

I recently realized that many of the things detailed in “What Do People Do All Day?” that so captivated my attention are performed by federal, state and local governments – and are funded by grants. Well, would you get a load of that…

Thank you, Mr. Scarry.

What do YOU do all day? Why? What are the most challenging aspects of it (particularly, related to grants) that you wish were better, easier or faster?


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