"I had several jobs. I was a crazy person – I had a full-time job and a part-time job, so I was working about seventy hours a week. I was a part-time vocational counselor at Queensbridge Houses, the largest housing project in the country. There were about twenty-two thousand people that lived there, and there was one social services agency that was dedicated to it. They had funding for one part-time vocational counselor, and that was me.
"I also ran a program called Siberian Intercultural Bridges, which was an alternative to the Peace Corps. They sent English teachers to Siberia, and I actually went myself for a month. I just went on idealist.org, found this job and applied. I was trying to find a job that would send me to Russia, and I found one, but it was the most bizarre job ever.
"So I was literally running this small nonprofit parallel to the impossible task of trying to get very poor, very down-and-out people into jobs. It was manic, and then I completely burned out. I went to grad school mostly to hide and read. Writing papers was amazing."