I remember my mother asking me what I was going to do with a degree in Sociology. It was a reasonable question and I had no answer. My father, a dedicated capitalist, was convinced I'd become a socialist after spending part of my junior term in Denmark. He wasn't placated when I assured him that the time abroad had a lot more to do with Scandinavian women than political leanings. I had no plans building up to graduation and I couldn't tell you where the career office was located. I knew that there was plenty of time to work so I convinced my folks, and myself, that working on crab boats in Alaska after graduation was all part of my education. I was right; it was an education, and the sinking of one of the boats provided the necessary catalyst to return home and kick-start my meandering career on Rt. 128, the east coast version of Silicon Valley.
Three years at Apollo Computer in manufacturing planning and marketing taught me that it's rewarding to be at a company where people truly enjoy what they're doing. Going public with a handful of pre-IPO shares financed my next step, an MBA from Dartmouth. The Tuck School came at the right time; at 28 yrs of age I was ready to learn and capable of staying focused. The first post-graduate job, leasing commercial space for the Trammel Crow Company in Philadelphia, reminded me that making a ton of money wasn't much fun if you loathed going to work every day. The next job as a Mail Boxes Etc franchisor/owner, based on Cape Cod, taught me that making a ton of money as an entrepreneur is a lot harder than the pundits suggest, and that working in a place where everybody else vacations is frustrating.
At my current job as the dean of administration of the Tuck School at Dartmouth College I realize that the interaction between people and organizations is complex, confusing, and often illogical. I've learned that I really like academia, especially where it intersects with business. I've also learned that self-awareness goes a long way towards achieving personal joy. I like to think that my St. Lawrence experience helped pave the way for me to become good at what I'm doing today. I'm not sure I fully knew what I was learning while I was learning, but I am quite confident that learning was and is always happening and that a career you enjoy is worth pursuing, even if you've made a few mistakes along the way.