Work in Progress

A podcast about the meaning and identity we find in work

W from the word Word is under construction for the podcast titled Work in Progress

A cab driver (who escaped enslavement on the underground railroad). The owner of a Jewish appetizing store (who quit being an engineer to join the family business). Some guy on Snapchat (who turned it into a career).

Behind every working human,
there’s a story.

Work in Progress is Slack’s new podcast about the meaning and identity we find in work. Join host Dan Misener for stories of personal ambition and debilitating insecurities, great successes and abject failures, the plans we make and the luck that…happens.

Every weekend, you can listen to a new Work in Progress episode on Sirius XM. Episodes are available the following Mondays on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and through apps like Stitcher.

What’s Slack, you say?

Glad you asked! Slack makes an app that helps teams at companies, big and small, communicate and do their work in a more transparent and productive manner. We’re a global company working seamlessly across our offices around the world, and it’s our goal to help others do the same.

Why did we make this podcast?

In short: Because we make software for working people, we’re genuinely fascinated by work, how work is changing, and how the nature of how we think about ourselves as working people is also changing. What you do for a living means a lot—to yourself, and to others. This podcast, along with the stories produced by the Slack Editorial team for our blog, explores this very theme. Our hunch—and hope—is listeners and readers will relate to a lot of these stories, and find them useful and interesting when reflecting on their own life’s work. Read the long answer here.

Listen on Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle Play and wherever you find podcasts.

EPISODE THIRTY-FOUR | BEGINNINGS

A man breaking through a brick wall to a new beginning.

Illustration by Christina Ung

A reporter does her first remote live radio broadcast from inside a block of ice, a celebrity impersonator’s first international trip teaches her what it really means to be “Big in Japan,” and a Japanese translator leaves her family for the first time only to get shipwrecked on a movie set in the Antarctic. For our final episode of the season, we hear the origin stories behind of some of the strangest, and yet most formative, work experiences people have had in their lives. We go back to where it all starts: the beginning.

Listen to Episode 34:

EPISODE THIRTY-THREE | AGE OF AQUARIUS

A man bring a jar of medical marijuana from on high.

Illustration by Ping Zhu

The owner of a vintage retail store recalls how she made a career out of the eclectic clothing in her closet, and a doctor grapples with his community’s vehement protests against his plans to open a medical cannabis dispensary. In this episode, two stories of peace, love, drugs, and counterculture in ’60s San Francisco.

Listen to Episode 33:

EPISODE THIRTY-TWO | FROM THE GROUND UP

A man breaking through a brick wall to a new beginning.

Illustration by Kelsey Wroten

An environmentalist burns the midnight oil volunteering to preserve decades of climate change data amid a major government clampdown, and a Syrian medical student learns how his family’s chocolate-making business can equally be a cure for heartbreak. This week, stories about survival and the lengths people go to preserve a life’s work.

Listen to Episode 32:

EPISODE THIRTY-ONE | THE NEXT ACT

An older retiree gives a youthful handshake to his fellow younger intern.

Illustration by Josh Cochran

An enterprising retiree becomes a bustling cafés’ new favorite server, and a former Wall Street banker finds renewed inspiration after accepting a summer internship with a group of college students. This week, stories of people who have proved that it’s never too late to find professional, and personal, fulfillment.

Listen to Episode 31:

EPISODE THIRTY | STOP THE PRESSES!

A hand is pulling back a curtain on a politician.

Illustration by Samantha Mash

Meet the three New York Times machinists who’ve printed every single issue of the paper for the last 30 years, and an investigative reporter who waged war on mayoral misconduct from the front page of the Toronto Star. This week, stories of people whose lives (and careers) have been indelibly marked by the business of getting the story right.

Listen to Episode 30:

EPISODE TWENTY NINE | WORKING ON A DREAM (JOB)

Illustration by R. Kikuo Johnson

A freshwater ecologist tasked with making his research more accessible discovers an unlikely muse in Bruce Springsteen. A medical ethnobotanist seeks new cures for super bugs in the natural world after her own near-death brush with a bacterial infection. This week, stories about the noble pursuit of knowledge—and how that often leads to some surprising discoveries about ourselves.

Listen to Episode 29:

EPISODE TWENTY EIGHT | FOOTLOOSE & FREE(LANCER)

Two hands: one is holding farm and family in one hand and the other has career and travel.

Illustration by Kelsey Wroten

Dive into the daily hustle, juggle, and struggle of the freelance life in this special episode. Meet a freelance farmer with a novel approach to traditional work; a writer, mother and animal keeper bitten by the travel bug; a sweet-talking freelance collections agent whose business is to get freelancers paid; and a private forensic pathologist who finds the untold stories of the dearly departed.

Listen to Episode 28:

EPISODE TWENTY SEVEN | REACH FOR THE STARS

Illustration by Josh Holinaty

A jetpack inventor rejects his position as an ivory-towered executive to stay grounded as an entrepreneur. A Jamaican-American chess player becomes the first black international grandmaster in history. This week, stories of childhood dreams and the realities of rising through the ranks.

Listen to Episode 27:

EPISODE TWENTY SIX | LOOKING BACK TO THE FUTURE

An girl prepares to throw a football among graduation hats and books.

Illustration by Christina Ung

A college student’s sweepstakes win paves the way for her lifelong dream to reform U.S. immigration policy. An academic lands a rare dream job as the ‘Wikimedian in Residence’ for one of the oldest libraries at the University of Oxford. This week, stories of modern day jobs with a historical twist.

Listen to Episode 26:

EPISODE TWENTY FIVE | BAKE-OFF

An overhead shot of someone making cookies.

Illustration by Ping Zhu

The head of purchasing and IT at America’s largest fortune cookie supplier takes on a new role as head fortune cookie writer. A baker with Down syndrome has to break the law to lead an independent life and career. This week, two stories of remarkable people in who fight the odds to pursue their passions.

Listen to Episode 25:

EPISODE TWENTY FOUR | BORING IS IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER

An illustration where a man checks the grass lawn carefully behind football players

Illustration by Josh Cochran

Explore the hidden world of seemingly unremarkable jobs in this special episode with double the stories, including: a video store clerk who gets knocked out of his monotonous comfort zone by a suspicious visitor, a call center agent who finds renewed purpose in how she serves customers, a supermarket chain manager who comes down with a bad case of “bore-out”, and a man whose job literally involves watching grass grow. And he loves it.

Listen to Episode 24:

EPISODE TWENTY THREE | BORN THIS WAY

An illustration of a rugby player surrounded by members of the other team.

Illustration by Kelsey Wroten

An instagram star bullied for the color of her skin turns the teasing into the fuel behind her fashion modeling career; a professional British rugby player confronts “jock” stereotypes when he comes out to friends, family, and fans as gay.

Listen to Episode 23:

EPISODE TWENTY TWO | FINGER LICKIN

Christian Ziebarth is wearing a Naugles Taco Hamburgers shirt and flanked by a hamburger and a taco.

Christian Ziebarth, founder of the Naugles reboot, at the Naugles test kitchen location in Huntington Beach, California. Photo by Mio Adilman, image by Gluekit

We meet a chef who can’t wait to walk away from her prestigious Michelin star rating and a web developer who singlehandedly orchestrated one of the biggest fast food comebacks his hometown has ever seen.

Listen to Episode 22:

EPISODE TWENTY ONE | GREY MATTER

An illustration of a patient speaking to her doctor.

Illustration by Sarah Lazarovic

We meet a woman teaching doctors good bedside manners by acting sick when she’s feeling perfectly fine; and a neuroscientist at odds with her own brain after she’s diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Listen to Episode 21:

EPISODE TWENTY | TOUGH LOVE

An illustration of a pensive man with a range of emotions behind him.

Illustration by Ping Zhu

An outspoken corporate downsizer learns a harsh lesson after being surprised with her own exit package, and a loyal cop that has to choose between fighting the war on drugs and his criminal brother. Sometimes practicing tough love at work and at home isn’t always the best policy.

Listen to Episode 20:

EPISODE NINETEEN | DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE

An illustration of Taryn Wright by Matt Huynh

Illustration by Matt Huynh

A journalist discovers a scarf with her byline imprinted in its design and embarks on an investigative journey to track down its makers; a former futures trader stumbles into her calling as an internet hoax buster with a specialty for empathizing with the perpetrators. Following your curiosity can lead you to some pretty interesting work, or at least a very good story.

Listen to Episode 19:

EPISODE EIGHTEEN | HEART TO HEART

A woman's heart with an computer warning symbol on it

Illustration by Christina Ung

Meet a woman who’s made a career out of professional cuddling; and an engineer, lawyer and open-source advocate who grappled with her own values in order to save her life.

Listen to Episode 18:

EPISODE SEVENTEEN | GUIDING LIGHTS

Romeo Candido and DATU perform

Romeo Candido in Manila, Philippines in 2014. Images courtesy of Romeo Candido

A Kung-Fu master honors his father’s legacy; a frustrated musician’s chance meeting with a mentor leads to a powerful lesson in self-acceptance. Sometimes, the best thing to happen to your career is finding your guiding light.

Listen to Episode 17:

EPISODE SIXTEEN | FOR LOVE OF COUNTRY

A woman looking at farmers on a laptop with a farm in the background.

Illustration by Kelsey Wroten

A woman starts a dating site for single farm workers, and an exiled army colonel launches a revolution from the aisles of a hardware store. What happens when your life’s work is deeply connected to where you’re from?

Listen to Episode 16:

EPISODE FIFTEEN | STARTUP SACRIFICES

An illustration of a woman with a suitcase in a hijab looking at a city.

Illustrations by R. Kikuo Johnson

An entrepreneur learns the cost of putting his work ahead of his relationship; a young developer flees her war-torn homeland for a chance to pursue her dream career. What happens when your professional ambitions put your personal life at stake?

Listen to Episode 15:

EPISODE FOURTEEN | SENSORY OVERLOAD

Tim faces away from the camera and faces a clear sky with a setting sun.

Tim Doucette peering out into the night sky in his hometown of Quinan, Nova Scotia. Photographs courtesy of Tim Doucette

A woman discovers her cranium-tingling voice is the stuff of YouTube stardom; a visually impaired man happens upon his special sightseeing abilities at night. What happens when your senses become your super-powers at work?

Listen to Episode 14:

EPISODE THIRTEEN | SWITCHING GEARS

A fallen pianist on stage climbs to play with one hand.

Illustration by Josh Cochran

A Wall Street trader’s climb to the top proves too gut-wrenching to continue; a classical pianist grapples with a career-ending injury. What happens when you’re suddenly physically incapable of doing your job?

Listen to Episode 13:

EPISODE TWELVE | THE 180

An illustration of a prison guard looking at his reflection while adjusting a table strap across a prisoner's wrist.

Illustration by Ping Zhu

A prison superintendent ordered to oversee two executions struggles with his beliefs that the punishment doesn’t fit the crime and a former Vegas drug dealer finally finds his place in the high life—sober. Sometimes the only way to find your true calling is to pull a complete 180. This episode also features Slack customer Bump Boxes – a subscription service for mom and baby that covers every stage of pregnancy to your little one’s first birthday.

Listen to Episode 12:

EPISODE ELEVEN | COMING OUT

A painting of a cop/druid figure with a cop car one side and stone circle on the other

Illustration by Matt Huynh

To gain credibility in a case, a police officer reveals his identity as a practicing pagan. After 30 years of performing as a man, a veteran comic takes the stage for the first time … as a woman. This week, two enlightening stories of people who took big risks to bring their true selves to work.

Listen to Episode 11:

EPISODE TEN | IN DISGUISE

Scott Serafin gets dressed for a kids event at his home in Eden, New York. December 9, 2016

Sometimes, the way to find out who we really are is to become someone else. Like the struggling author who’s already sold millions of books and the Vietnam war vet who carries out a do-or-die promise by becoming Santa Claus.

Listen to Episode 10:

EPISODE NINE | AMAZING GRACE

Margo Walsh with a group of her MaineWorks employees on November 18, 2016. Photograph by Joanne Arnold

A nun chooses solitude over social work and a highfalutin Wall Street recruiter quits the corporate life to work with former felons.

Listen to Episode 09:

EPISODE EIGHT | IN THE DRIVER’S SEAT

Illustration by Ping Zhu

A historian recounts the tale of an escaped slave who launched Toronto’s first taxi service and a loyal London Black Cab driver takes to the radio to unite his industry in revolt.

Listen to Episode 08:

EPISODE SEVEN | SILENCE IS A VIRTUE

Illustration by Edward Kinsella

Sometimes the most profound things we say and do at work happen when we don’t say anything at all. This week: A librarianʼs shushing earns her superhero status and a young hospital chaplain learns that sitting in silence brings great comfort to ailing, ageing patients.

Listen to Episode 07:

EPISODE SIX | UNTETHERED

Illustration by Josh Cochran

Every job has its freedoms and limitations, but sometimes all you need to endure the ups and downs is a noble purpose. This week: A man who saves airline passengers from errant wildlife and another whoʼs made it his lifeʼs work to build a country for the nationless.

Listen to Episode 06:

EPISODE FIVE | FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS

Joel Russ behind the register in the early days of Russ & Daughters; Niki Russ Federman and Josh Russ Tupper; the retail storefront, still in its original location, on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Image by Gluekit

Parents have high hopes for their children, many wish their progeny will follow in their footsteps. This week: A son trades in building new towns for building software and a college graduate contemplates her fateful career slinging smoked fish with her legendary family.

Listen to Episode 05:

EPISODE FOUR | BREAKING NEW GROUND

Illustration by Josh Holinaty

This week: career breakthrough moments. A 17-year-old female baseball player faces off against Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. An architect takes on the daunting task of rebuilding Sandy Hook Elementary after one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history.

Listen to Episode 04:

EPISODE THREE | CAREER PIVOTS

Jess Salomon at Cous Cous Comedy, Montreal 2011. Photograph by Elias Touil

From working in finance to servicing HVAC units, prosecuting despots for war crimes to pursuing life as a bootstrapping standup comedian…our careers can take some sharp left turns.

Listen to Episode 03:

EPISODE TWO | DREAM JOBS

Jean in front of Discovery. Photo courtesy of Jean Wright

When it comes to envisioning what we want to do with our lives, we set our sights high. In episode 2 of Work in Progress, we hear two very different stories of a dream (job) coming true, whether by a random stroke of luck or through decades of perseverance.

Listen to Episode 02:

EPISODE ONE | GOING WITH THE FLOW

Hans Fenger’s Langley Schools Music Project got some unexpected attention from big stars like David Bowie. Illustration by R. Kikuo Johnson

Some people know exactly what they want to do when they grow up, while the rest of us take a different approach—flying by the seat of our pants, dipping in and out of jobs not giving too much thought to any master plan because frankly, it doesn’t exist. Going with the flow can change your life forever and take you to some pretty unexpected places—whether backstage with David Bowie or onto the set of one of TVs’ biggest sci-fi thrillers. Welcome to the debut episode of Work In Progress, Slack’s new podcast about the meaning and identity we find in work. Hosted by Dan Misener.

Listen to Episode 01:

Slack is the collaboration hub, where the right people are always in the loop and key information is always at their fingertips. Teamwork in Slack happens in channels — searchable conversations that keep work organized and teams better connected.