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Alumni Spotlight: Ryan Klein

     Eastern alumnus Ryan Klein graciously agreed to share a bit about his postgrad life with The Waltonian. His dedication to meaningful and good work ought to serve as a reminder to our community of what it means to live intentionally.

What are you doing now, and how did Eastern prepare you?

     “Back in March, I applied for an internship in social media marketing at Templeton Press, a small book publishing organization funded by the John Templeton Foundation. I had no marketing experience, and I didn’t even have a Twitter (still don’t), but somehow I got an internship. I did that for about seven months, and just this last Friday (Oct. 7) I accepted a full-time job as the Marketing Coordinator. I still have very little marketing experience. I studied philosophy and theology in college. But I think that maybe more than anything else, Eastern (including my time at The Waltonian) and THC taught me how to learn and how to work hard, and that’s what really matters in the professional world. I’m finding both in my own life and in my friends’ that getting your first job isn’t really about already having the right skills–it’s about showing that you’re eager to learn them. So every day at work, when I’m given a new set of unfamiliar challenges, I try to meet them head-on as just more problems to be solved–kind of like the philosophy problems I worked on in undergrad, but different. And it’s working out so far.”

What does a normal day at work look like for you? What is it like being involved with a press? Tell us a bit about the book that was just published and what it was like to be involved in that process.

     “So my job involves marketing, editing, writing, Web site management and other stuff. Outside of publishing books we run an online magazine called Acculturated.com. I help with the editing, and I typically start my day by getting to work on one or two of the four daily articles. Then I’ll move on to one of the projects I’m working on, whether it’s emailing professors across the country about books they should adopt in their courses, buying ad space in magazines and Web pages, creating summaries of our upcoming books’ arguments and sales hooks for our sales representatives, helping edit an author[’s] manuscript or preparing for a conference we’re going to attend.

     We also just published “Men Without Work: America’s Hidden Moral Crisis” by the very successful demographer Nick Eberstadt, who uses tons of data to show an odd paradox: we’ve had 88 consecutive months of post-recession economic expansion, starting in June 2009, and yet the national adult work rate is the lowest it’s been in three decades. Our release of that data has made a real impact: over 60 articles have covered it in the last month, from the Wall Street Journal to TIME to Vox, and Nick has had the chance to speak to at least one or two congresspeople or governors about it. I’m proud to have been a part of that.”

What do you like about where you work?

     “Templeton Press is really unique in that we’re nonprofit. That means our goal isn’t really to sell books–we just want to disseminate ideas that matter. Selling books is part of that, but only as a means. If we can start a conversation about something, as we have with “Men Without Work,” then we’ve done our job.

That’s especially satisfying for me as a philosophy major. In my upperclassman years, philosophy/academia really began to frustrate me in the way that it can be so enclosed. Academic philosophers (maybe academics in general), who sometimes have really important things to say, largely talk only to each other. That’s a shame–philosophy in particular is at its best when lots of people engage in it together. And at the Press, especially as the Marketing Coordinator, it’s my job to make that kind of engagement possible, connecting authors with audiences and encouraging informed and important conversations. I’m very lucky to be where I am.”

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