‘Vocation’ a poem by Sandra Beasley

How many times have you asked someone, What would you like to do next @work? And how often have your received the response, “I’m not sure, but I would like to work with people”. It can be the beginning of an extremely frustrating conversation because there are many ways you can work with people and not all of them pleasant.

The Friday Poem this week is from poet Sandra Beasley’s Barnard Women Poets Prize winning poetry collection, ‘I Was the Jukebox’. In reading the poem, what caught my eye was the twist on the ‘working with people’ ambition in the last lines of the poem.

Her words give voice to all of us who struggle to find our perfect place @work.

“If it calls you, its your calling, right?”

Maybe there’s more to career choice than hearing voices.


For six months I dealt Baccarat in a casino.
For six months I played Brahms in a mall.
For six months I arranged museum dioramas;
my hands were too small for the Paleolithic
and when they reassigned me to lichens, I quit.
I type ninety-one words per minute, all of them
Help. Yes, I speak Dewey Decimal.
I speak Russian, Latin, a smattering of Tlingit.
I can balance seven dinner plates on my arm.
All I want to do is sit on a veranda while
a hard rain falls around me. I’ll file your 1099s.
I’ll make love to strangers of your choice.
I’ll do whatever you want, as long as I can do it
on that veranda. If it calls you, it’s your calling,
right? Once I asked a broker what he loved
about his job, and he said Making a killing.
Once I asked a serial killer what made him
get up in the morning, and he said The people.

Sandra Beasley  ‘I Was the Jukebox: Poems’  2010


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s