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Julia Child: Novelist, Ad-writer, Spy, Cook, TV Celebrity

julia child meaningful work

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Lesson: Find your unique contribution.

After college, Julia Child, wrote in her diary “I am sadly an ordinary person...with talents I do not use.” She had moved to New York to become a novelist, but the only job she could find was as a copywriter for the advertising department for a furniture dealer.

Then WWII broke out. She decided to take action and, although too tall for the military (6’2”) she joined a spy agency, the Office of Strategic Services. Due to her intelligence she became a researcher for the head of the agency.

In 1944, she was stationed in Sri Lanka on a top secret job. It was here that she met Paul Cushing Child, the man she would spend her life with, and the man who introduced her to the world of fine food.

Discovering her passion for food, Julia Child entered Le Cordon Bleu cooking school, and then met two women writing a cookbook. Now, Julia utilized her writing ability, advertising sense, and her ability to organize large amounts of data—a skill she gained at the OSS—to write the 734 page: The Art of French Cooking. It would become the bestselling cookbook of all time.

Later in America, she was invited onto a local public T.V. show to teach the audience to cook an omelet. After accidentally dropping an ingredient on the floor, she said “remember, you are alone in the kitchen, so who is going to see you?” The audience fell in love with her. And she fell in love with hamming it up with the audience. At 50 years old, she launched the very first T.V. cooking show: The French Chef.

Child believed herself to be ordinary, but really she just had not found the correct outlet. By taking action and exploring new interests she had created her unique contribution. Mixing her abilities as a writer, an advertiser, a researcher, and a french chef, she found the right ingredients for her success.

 

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