A scientist-turned-writer imparts wisdom about corporate America and faith.
Faderan, who received a Ph.D. in pharmacology and became a regulatory scientist at a private medical device company, has now left the corporate world to pursue a new degree—an MFA in creative writing. This debut collection of essays represents her “contemplations” and words of wisdom for future generations. Topics range from navigating corporate structures to following God’s advice. Work environments in particular form a core of Faderan’s essays. She writes about her struggles with office stressors, wondering what it would have been like to be in retail: “I’ll slice the deli meat over meeting with the big cheese. Deli meat slicers aren’t intimidating. The ‘big cheese’ are.” She also addresses the differences between corporate and academic life for scientists, fondly remembering her time at a university lab in New York and comparing it to the spreadsheets and paperwork that filled her business days. There are also pieces dedicated to useful, concrete tips like “How to Give the Most Impressive Presentations” and “What Are Some of the Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Social Media to Get a Job After College?” The author offers some captivating details in this wide-ranging group of essays. She even includes a lengthy rant on the closing of her favorite grocery store, which ends with the same recommendation as many other essays, telling people to put more trust in God’s plan. But she has chosen numerous stock images to accompany these pieces, faceless figures standing next to charts and graphs and words like “Achievement” in 3-D text art, none of which help to make her writing feel fresh or dynamic. While the thoughts of a scientist with strong religious convictions who has completely changed her life’s trajectory should be a gold mine for intriguing insights, Faderan’s ruminations rely too heavily on clichés and repetition. Her persistent use of the caps lock (“Go for another degree in something YOU LIKE TO DO...if you are eager to work hard for YOURSELF, then do it. DO IT”) speaks to the overall problem: the platitudes rather than the storytelling get the emphasis in these works.
A bounty of self-help advice that fails to tap into the potential of the author’s personal story.