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JOEL Joel's Blog

Asa Christiana - When I Grow Up

06/08/2010 Part 3 of a Series

Asa Christiana  - When I Grow Up 4I sent the following questions to some of the movers and shakers in the woodworking industry:

1 - When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up? Do you remember what attracted you to your goals?
2 - How did your goals as a kid translate - if they did - into what you are doing professionally now?

I think the answers I got were really instructive and maybe helpful for those we know who are pursuing a dream. Let's let the people speak for themselves. Here is the note I got from Asa Christiana, the editor of Fine Woodworking Magazine. The previous entry in this series is by Peter Follansbee.

Asa Christiana - When I was a little kid, I loved the show "Flipper." So I wanted to be a marine biologist, like the person on the show, and work with dolphins. That was a childish notion. But when I grew up a bit, I always found myself building things: models, model rockets, clubhouses. We were a poor family. Neither my mom or dad had gone to college or owned a home, nor had their parents, so I didn't think college was an option for me. So I went to a "trade school" high school, choosing the machinist track like my grandfather had. By the way, we also had no TV in the house, so I read voraciously, sometimes as many as 6 books a week.

Two things happened to get me to college and set my on my current path: I learned about financial aid, which is what put me through college with no help from my folks, and I learned after working in a couple of real machine shops that I wanted more from my career. So I took the SAT on a whim, got a surprisingly high score, and was accepted into UConn's engineering school. I was only there for two years before switching to English and journalism, and I went on to become an English teacher and journalist.

But that unique left-brain, right-brain background set me up perfectly for a serious woodworking hobby and eventually my career here at Fine Woodworking, where I need all of my language and visual skills, plus a sharp technical mind and a deep understanding of what happens inside machines and at a tool's cutting edge.

Convoluted path, but in retrospect, it all led to the most fulfilling job of my life. Lucky guy.
Join the conversation
06/09/2010 Brian Meeks
I liked your story. I have wanted to be many things, and even though I am 43, I continue to dream. I love woodworking, which I have just discovered late last year. So now my dreams revolve around this wonderful hobby.

If I look back, I too have had a convoluted path traveled too. I have seen a lot of interesting scenery along the way.

Thanks for sharing your story Asa
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