In pursuit of the education and experience that will lead us to our chosen profession, it is important, if not vital, that we carefully choose a path that will take us where we want to go. As we journey down this path, we will most likely encounter obstacles or opportunities that will take us in different directions, possibly leaving us at the end of the trail in a place quite different from that which we set out for. Like us, both Edward Zigler and Howard Gardner set out on career paths that ended in much different places than those they anticipated, both for very different reasons.
Edward Zigler initially wanted to pursue a career in a purely scientific field, preferably in a laboratory or in actual fieldwork. He reluctantly joined the ranks of what would become Project Head Start in 1964 due to his deep sense of patriotism and stated that he felt “drafted” once again (Zigler, 2003). Zigler felt as if he had been selected for this position by mistake. Quite unwillingly, Zigler was pushed into the role of an administrator, far from his chosen path of field scientist, and became part of the very establishment he fought so hard against in his younger days.
The unexpected and quite positive outcome of his working in this capacity was that Zigler was able to combine his practical, field experience with his authority as an administrator to meet the needs of the fledgling program and expand it far beyond the expectations of its founders. Eventually Zigler was able to realize the best of both worlds in a career he had never chosen.
Far from receiving well-deserved praise for his achievements, Zigler became a target for criticism from both sides. Administrators had no respect for him due to his youthfulness, his scientific background and his lack of administrative training. On the other hand, his colleagues from the scientific world never failed to goad him about becoming no less than a traitor, and they took every opportunity to remind him about his defection from the responsibilities and obligations they believed he owed to them and their field. They continuously degraded him and his work because they felt he had done nothing more than sell out to the bureaucracy, a world that he had neither chosen to be in nor wanted. Edward Zigler was simply caught between these two worlds, administrative and scientific, an altruistic man who left his preferred path and learned to use both worlds to benefit many.
Howard Gardner’s chosen path was very different from Zigler’s. Like Zigler, Gardner started down his path with a personal preference or springboard that would connect his strong feelings for the creative and artistic world to the world of psychology. The twists and turns he took were of his own choosing. Where Zigler continuously asked the questions “how can I apply what I know to this program, who will this help, what can make this work better, and how much has this helped, Gardner went in search of pure knowledge “to pursue nature of creation,...