Sara Zarr wrote a really great post here about teen alienation and how books can touch those who might otherwise feel alone in the world. I can't help but think how true this is. Books were there for me when I was a nerdy, socially awkward, outcasted child. I felt like I had friends who were always there, as long as I kept flipping the pages. No matter how alone I felt, there was always Harvey from Clive Barker's The Thief of Always, or Ramona Quimby, or the motley citizens of Pier's Anthony's Land of Xanth. Now that I'm a (cough) well-adjusted (cough) adult, I'm proud to be a part of the behind-the-scenes world of books. I can't help but think that, as an editor (or an editorial assistant...whatever), that I can potentially be something of a hero to someone, just like the editors and authors of my favorite books were for me.
Go read the post. It's really good (just like everything Sara writes -- call me a brown-noser all you want, but it's true).