Ahhh yes, the “About Me” section, in which I demonstrate why I am so infinitely fascinating. Oh, it’s so very true — read on for proof. (But if you want the nuts and bolts, you can find my resume here.)

I grew up in Chicago in far north Rogers Park, then we moved to Evanston when I was in 3rd grade. I went to Evanston Township High School, and like many ETHS grads, I’m disproportionately proud of this fact — seriously, have you ever heard Jeremy Piven talk about being from Evanston? It’s like the guy split the atom because he was a Wildkit. (I always hated that name, by the way.)

From there it was up to Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, where I spent four years as a completely mediocre cross-country and track runner, an average student, and an above-average boozehound. Things changed my senior year, though, when on April 22, 1989, I was playing Frisbee (note correct capitalization) with a friend. Long story short, I ran into a lightpole and ruptured my spleen.

That led to a splenectomy (can someone explain while you have a spleen [two e’s], but its removal is a splenectomy [one e]?), and a somewhat serious examination of my priorities. In other words, at the age of 21, I finally started acting like I was 17.

After graduating, I was bewildered to find that the world didn’t beat a path to my door because I had an English degree from Lawrence. I took a job as an intern in Sen. Paul Simon’s office, which was great except for the whole not-getting-paid thing. I worked there several months, then took a job as a proofreader/assistant editor at a small educational publishing company.

I worked there for two years, then went to the University of Montana for grad school in journalism. I loved Missoula. Such a great town. I would have loved to stay there forever, but I was making about $17k with no benefits and I had massive student loans, and so I moved on. I took a slightly better paying job at the Pulitzer Prize–winning Point Reyes Light, a small newspaper in northern California (again, no benefits).

I stayed there for two years, then moved back to Chicago. I freelanced for a while, then took a job at Chicago Lawyer magazine. I was there for all of seven months, then took a job as a features writer at the Daily Herald newspaper. I worked there for seven years, and can’t complain: I interviewed stars like Harrison Ford (a jerk), reviewed all sorts of concerts (the Stones, Radiohead, David Bowie, etc.), got to write about everything from autism to albinism to the concept of selling out, and so on.

I then moved to Time Out Chicago, where I started as a senior editor. I then became the features editor, then the magazine’s Editor. That led to a nomination for a National Magazine Award, which alas I didn’t win (but I did get this photo with Judah Friedlander, so let’s call it even). Then I was the managing editor of a site called WeSeed, which attempted to teach the stock market to newbies.

Alas, WeSeed’s parent company PEAK6 decided WeSeed wasn’t worth seeding anymore, so I began doing freelance copywriting. I wrote about Harley-Davidson, Maytag, Whirlpool, Allstate, and other small, indie companies. I was a senior copywriter with Acquity Group downtown for two years, then associate creative director for iCrossing, and now I’m currently freelancing. I live in Chicago with my wife and daughter, and it is, as they say, all good.

1 Comment

  1. John Cool
    November 6, 2013

    Joel, I m a huge Cowboys fan and a friend of mine sent
    me the article on Golden Richards, I’m 45 and one of my 1st memories was watching that Super Bowl and digging G Richards hair and that fancy catch, brilliant stuff, John from Taiwan

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