Thursday, June 28, 2012

Oooh, Look! Another Shiny New Career!

by Alan

Today’s assignment: Describe yourself in six words.

Where to start? On a personal note? How about: Husband, father, son, brother, uncle, friend. Accurate, if a bit sappy.

Maybe: Tall, dark, handsome, cosmopolitan, urbane, delusional. Well, one out of six.

Let’s try six words describing my professional side:
Oooh, look! Another shiny new career!    Yeah, let’s go with that.

nuclear-submarineWhen I graduated college, I took a job with General Electric, in their manufacturing management program. This program for engineers consisted of four different jobs, in different locations and business units, in two years. See the country! And I did. I worked in Syracuse, Richmond/Newport News, and Tewksbury, MA. Some of the jobs were interesting (nuclear subs, anyone?), and all were educational, at least in some respect. The best: I was a foreman on the manufacturing floor, supervising about 25 people. All ladies who were older than me. As a fresh-faced 22-year-old, I sure learned a lot there (most of which I can’t repeat)!

After my training rotation was complete, I went to Louisville to work at the GE plant (actually, it was five plants) that made major appliances. My job? I was a buyer responsible for purchasing more than $40 million dollars a year of…cardboard boxes (in mid 1980 dollars). That’s a lot of corrugated!

But, I didn’t cotton to engineering, so I went back to business school, got an MBA, and hit the corporate world again. First stop: The Washington Post. A great place to work. Of course, back then I wasn’t a writer, so I toiled on the business side, in the Budget Department. Which, in case you weren’t sure, was a lot more boring than working with Ben Bradlee.

Then it was off to Arbitron Ratings, as a marketing manager. Fun, but… not too much fun. From there, I moved to Virginia and took a job with a small tech company whose mission was to assist in the commercialization of technology developed for the Star Wars defense program. Sounds fascinating. In reality—less fascinating.

Fed up with working for the Man, I started my own company in the 1990’s, publishing newsletters. Fun! I did that for a while, until this new information delivery system, called the Internet, doomed my business model. Not so much fun!

Then I worked for a debit card system developer, marketing hardware and software solutions. Also fun! But… but… Oooh, look! Another shiny new career!



Meredith Cole said...

And we're so glad you chose it, Alan! All those past careers were really just research for future books, right?

Ricky Bush said...

You're on the right path now, I'd say