Were you as excited as I was about “Everything Everywhere All at Once” making such a clean sweep at the Oscars? Part of my excitement, of course, was that, as an Asian American, I felt very validated and visible, which was very much not the case for most of my life. (Though I will forever think fondly of Bernadette Yao for being the first Asian person I saw on TV when I was too young for Star Trek—I missed Green Hornet entirely until I was an adult.)
But just as importantly, a weird movie won awards! Lots of awards! And it’s a super-weird movie. Anything else making Academy Awards bids, except maybe “Tár,” would have been a safer choice. Nothing else had talking rocks or hot dog appendages or Raccacoonie. Everything else had a plot that was pretty straightforward, pretty easy to follow (even though I think the “Top Gun” plot was ridiculous because why wouldn’t that have been a drone operation?). Nothing else made audiences say, “Wait, WHAT?”
“Everything Everywhere All at Once” is thoroughly, unapologetically itself. To me, this is the essence of career satisfaction. What I love about my job is that I get to be thoroughly, unapologetically myself. I have done a lot of editing of my public self over the years, and I just don’t like doing it.
Are you a square peg trying to fit into a round hole? Are you “too old” for a job you really want? Has your career path been a meandering one with themes you can see but nobody else seems to?
If so, I challenge you to find your googly eyes in life. What brings you joy? What makes you laugh in spite of everything? What is the work you really envision yourself doing? If you don’t know, take a break and really think about it. I recommend an everything bagel as your fuel, but make sure it’s not the kind with existential dread.