Andrew Donaldson on American Culture, Writing, and Vocation


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When we hear the word “vocation”, many people think vocational training and technical education. But, the word “vocation” has deeper roots in the idea of a calling or an occupation to which a person is especially drawn, suited, trained, or qualified. By no means is this calling obvious, and in fact finding vocation often means a series of unpredictable twists and turns until one finds themselves in a career they would never have imagined at the beginning of their journey.

For this episode of Hardly Working, I am joined by Andrew Donaldson to discuss his own vocational journey. He is a writer at Ordinary Times magazine and “Yonder and Home” where he ties together politics, history, culture, food, faith, and place through words and stories. We discuss Andrews upbringing in West Virginia, his military career and vocational transition out of the military, the ongoing crisis of opioid addiction in Appalachia, and of course his writing on everything from Waffle House to the bifurcation of conservatism. Donaldson’s story reflects relentless perseverance, profound sense of place, and the sorts of connections – to family, food, and faith – that sit at the heart of what it means to be human.

Mentioned During the Show

Ordinary Times

Glenville Extension (State College)

VA Tuition Assistance

GI Bill Benefits

Yonder and Home- History of Waffle House

Waffle House Index

Hillbilly Elegy

JD Vance

Christmas in Appalachia (video)

Study on Opioid abuse in coal and non-coal producing counties

Midnight Mass: Nearer my God to Thee

Logan Lucky

Yonder and Home- A Poem, A Prayer & A Promise: The Power of Take Me Home, Country Roads

Hallelujah Chorus (not in WV)

Andrew Donaldson Twitter

Heard Tell Podcast

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