Life Throws Us Curves

by Frank Roche on April 2, 2013

in Careers, Communication

how to throw curves

Okay, I decided to keep on writing KnowHR®. Today is post #1,314. Yesterday was April Fools. Today is curveballs.

Not that kind. Not the Babe Ruth kind. This is about life’s curveballs.

The first major league curveball in my life started with a phone call at school. “Your father is dying. You need to get a job.”

It was my mom. I’m the oldest child in my family. It was my obligation. I was 20.

It’s not all sad news. I had to postpone college for a while. Got an awesome job where I was promoted seven times in 10 years, ultimately ending up as a senior principal engineer. And on my first day I made more money than my dad. It paid for a lot of bread and milk and rent for a large family.

That was a long, long, long time ago. It was a time when there was such a thing as an entry-level position. It was a time when you didn’t need an MBA and “five years of progressively increasing responsibilities” to get a job as a grunt in a plastics lab.

What got me thinking about this is that today is my youngest son’s 20th birthday. Steve is smarter than I was at that age. He’s lived in China, speaks multiple languages, has a full-on entrepreneurial spirit, and is a top student in a top business school. But I wonder what would happen if he got one of those calls like I got when I got when I was 20.

I have no question Steve would step up. None. He’d do it up big and take care of things. But would he have the opportunity to start at the bottom and work toward something big? Is that possible for future employees anymore? Or has life (and the economy) thrown us one too many curves that we can’t hit?

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