The Wonderful Workers of Chicago

Windy-City street interviews with a bus driver, parking attendant, salesperson, drycleaner, and watchfixer


Happy to release my first Substack short documentary! The Oscars are soon to be calling, I’m sure.

In seriousness, this newsletter was inspired by the great Studs Terkel, who was a master interviewer. His book WORKING set the standard for the kind of stories that I aim to tell. Given this, I thought there would be no better place than his hometown of Chicago to do my first person-on-the-street video interviews—long an ambition of mine with Work/Craft/Life.

To help in this effort, I hired two talented graduate students at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, Chelsea Zhao and Lilac Burrell. They hit the streets of the Windy City and found some interesting folks to interview on the spot. I gave them the basic set of questions; they did all the hard work. Thank you also to Eric, Chigozie, Yvette, Julie, and Arthur for agreeing to their well-meaning interrogations.

Hope you enjoy the video. In my opinion, it bursts with humanity (“Well, it’s funny the way some people look at you like you are nobody because you are working at a parking garage but I’m proud of my job”—Chigozie, Attendant) and humor (“I don’t know if you could do it…Maybe you can carry some heavy stuff”—Julie, Drycleaner).

If you would, please share far and wide on social media or directly to friends and family. This took a fair bit of effort, but more important, there are words of wisdom in these interviews that all of us can take into our own lives.

We’ll talk again in a week. As always. Same time, same band, same place.