a podcast about starting out & starting over that brings listeners inside a day at work

About the Show

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the sounding line

a podcast about starting out & starting over

Confession: I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.

When I left my career as a school principal, a few things were clear to me:

  1. I had no idea what I wanted to be

  2. I never really learned how to make that decision

  3. My students were grappling with the same dilemma

Trying to decide what we want to do can feel like this murky, unknowable challenge and it can also feel like the first really important decision we make as adults.

But how do you do it?

How do you know what the right job will be?

And how do you get there?

And then what if it’s not right after all?

How do you know when it’s the best decision to leave a job and start over?

And how in the world do you start over??

If you’re like me, you find yourself lost in these spiraling thoughts, endlessly scrolling job search engines, falling down the rabbit hole of someone’s Instagram account, then their LinkedIn, and then their personal website, all the while trying to uncover How did they get there??

Actually, none of this feels very helpful. I had the feeling that what was missing when it comes to deciding what to do with your life was an actual experience: a chance to know what it’s really like to do something on any given day. But the truth is, experiences are expensive and time-intensive. As someone with the privilege of financial security and a stable network of support, I still found myself facing down some big myths about what success looks like that often left me feeling paralyzed. But if you don’t have financial security and support, taking a risk to test something out is not only scary, it might be altogether impossible.


This made me frustrated.

I wanted a tool that could change this for my students who deserve it and for everyone who wanted it, including myself. I wanted a way to see into that murky, unknowable place: I wanted a sounding line.


So this is where I tell you what that weird title, The Sounding Line, is all about. A sounding line is this deceptively simple tool that sailors have used for thousands of years to measure the depth of the ocean. It’s essentially a long piece of rope with a weight at one end that, when lowered into the water, allows someone to know something about a place they’ve never been to themselves.

My students and I have been venturing across Los Angeles to dip into the lives of some extraordinary people doing work that they are curious about. We have spent the day experiencing first-hand what it’s like to be a teacher, a TV writer and show runner, a civil engineer, a middle school principal, and an advocate for criminal justice reform. We’ve been in classrooms, in a writer’s room on the Paramount Studios lot, underground Los Angeles in a half-finished subway tunnel, and we’ve done yoga at 8am with fifty teenage girls and their teachers.



And we were thinking, if you’re also wondering what you want to do, maybe we can be your sounding line.

Listen to the official trailer and follow us on Instagram and Facebook to hear the latest news about the show.

Julio making me laugh in the studio, per usual.  Above: Marcelo and Marja-Lewis Ryan, film and TV writer/director/producer, on the Paramount Studios backlot.

Julio making me laugh in the studio, per usual.

Above: Marcelo and Marja-Lewis Ryan, film and TV writer/director/producer, on the Paramount Studios backlot.

Julio joining a small group of students for math instruction with fourth grade teacher, Joshua Martinez.

Julio joining a small group of students for math instruction with fourth grade teacher, Joshua Martinez.

Jazmin delivering all the wisdom.

Jazmin delivering all the wisdom.

Jazmin and Vanessa Garza, founding principal of Girls Athletic Leadership School, doing yoga with her middle school students and staff.

Jazmin and Vanessa Garza, founding principal of Girls Athletic Leadership School, doing yoga with her middle school students and staff.

Marcelo bringing the sensitive candor.

Marcelo bringing the sensitive candor.

Me and Marcelo underground downtown LA in a half-finished subway tunnel.

Me and Marcelo underground downtown LA in a half-finished subway tunnel.