My Occupational Journey

I was your ordinary, average cheerleader in Grand Rapids, Michigan, before I spent 2103 thrilling days at The University of Michigan as an English Major and graduate student.  I then refined my sensibilities and ate better deli food by obtaining a PhD in Sociology at Yale.  Next I jumped at the chance to become a Guest Lecturer at UC Berkeley and endured that for three years, yearning for Telegraph Avenue as I looked out the window of Barrow Hall.  I abandoned my academic career for a life in the theater.  This life in the theater led me from Berkeley to San Francisco to New York then to Hollywood …

… where I remain.

I learned a lot more about human beings as an actor than as a Sociologist.  But maybe it was just because I was older.

Acting was not so lucrative or even possible in Hollywood, so I took a “real” job (if you count working at a movie studio as real).  I originally went to Paramount for a week to teach a secretary how to use her computer, and I stayed for 13 years.   That’s what happens to many and why some call Paramount “fly paper.”   Out of the blue, a corporate recruiter called, and I was whisked off to Warner Music Group for three great years which included many trips to Manhattan:  an office in Rockefeller Plaza, an expense account, and an identity card to get into every museum.  WMG even sent me twice to Europe.

I learned a lot more about human beings as a corporate mid-range executive than as a Sociologist.  But maybe it was just because I was older.

Then I experienced my first (and last) corporate re-structure.  What a shock:  thrown out onto the street onto my own rear end.  I was relegated to a Yahoo email account.  If you have never been completely abandoned, you haven’t lived, for it is quite something to learn resilience and to watch faith turn into trust.  For me it was triply profound as I lost my husband, my job, and the sense of reality–for loss was bundled with 9/11.

When I was a hippie, back in Connecticut. 
We didn’t have digital cameras then; I have two pictures from that era!

Soren Kerk Soren Kerk Soren Kerk 1920

Autumn 2015

A few years of freelancing, selling excess books on Amazon, never ever going out to eat, and emotionally getting by without a cloak of belonging to a bigger organization–or a corporate email account– gave rise to a flurry of creativity.  That’s when the songs came out and the poetry emerged.  Plus I bought this domain name and I was a Yahoo no longer.

It was divine to remember who I was outside any institution or corporation.  I learned a lot during this period.  Maybe it was because I was getting younger.

I took a job with a “technical college,” i.e., a factory for Pell Grants. That did not last long, but I learned a lot about inner city kids.  I had not been around so much inner city since New Haven when I rode around the slums with the Housing Code enforcement officers to gather data for my dissertation.  Wow had I been insulated behind the walls of universities and then movie studios.  Karma.  Then another big institution called and I was once again behind walls:  Cal State University. Los Angeles:   CSU, the largest University in the nation.  As you can imagine by now, I learned a lot there, including how “politicized” Sociology had become.

That passed when I quit.  I moved on to two local film schools.  I find the film students more in accord with the makings of my own soul.   And the schools do not have walls. I learned more and more about human beings and even myself in these teaching positions.

Now this!  I call this web site a “cleaning out of my sock drawer.”  I am putting it all here.

Happy trails to all.

Showing 2 comments
  • Kelly

    I loved reading this Soren. You have alway been one of the most interesting women I have ever known. You are an educator’s educator…and a life long learner. I have watched you create for years and have enjoyed all of it…

    Your devoted friend,

    Kelly Altobelli

  • Brad

    Soren, what a well-written piece about your journey through life, and what a long strange trip it’s been, wait I’ve heard those same words somewhere?

    Some of the things you have accomplished I had known about from my parents, but not all. It seems most of us have some pretty amazing life stories to tell if we had the courage and time to put our journeys into writing as you’ve done here.

    Your favorite Nephew


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