Useless Blogging

October 16, 2008

The rambling post mostly about luck

Filed under: Family,Friends,My World,Thoughts — steegness @ 1:06 am

College fair #3 is now in the books. After #1, I had three copies of the main glossy left, and was sent about 40 more via overnight UPS. After #2, I had four. Now… I have two, having so few visitors that I didn’t even really move the four copies I had. This is marginally OK, because it kept me from having to hand out materials from the college next to me.

On the other side of me, a Calvert Hall (my high school rival) graduate, also class of 1996, shilling for his alma mater. He was also a teacher for one of the schools that sponsored the event, so he recognized about 20% of the students walking past. He mentioned to me how he likes to help out, because he may not have the paycheck to help, but if he can get three students in the door, that tuition helps make up for it. It made me realize that I’m in a similar situation, even if I wasn’t exactly cognizant of that fact.

Why do it at all? I keep thinking about that every now and again… what is it that drives me to make these trips to sweltering gymnasiums and packed cafeterias to convince people that Juniata deserves their attention? Certainly it has to be that my experience was a grand one, and that everyone should get the chance to have a similar grand experience in their lives. But then, more thinking (the train of thought does not slow down for stations) as I wonder why it was that my experience was so grand. And then it hit me. Luck.

Luck (or providence, or blessings, or karma, or what have you) has played a stupidly large part in my life. Most people seem to scheme or plan in order to move forward in life. Get good grades to get into a good college. Choose a degree with a career path that will bring wealth and happiness. Plan out the project so that it comes to a happy ending. Figure out what you want in a mate and seek it out. I have to presume the list goes on, but never having made such a list until just now, I stand ready to be corrected.

To the consternation of many around me — including myself, at times — much of my fortune has come not because of careful planning, but because I was in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing. Grades came easy because school (with the notable exception of European History, from which I remembered only two things) came easy; I didn’t study, I didn’t double-check my work, and with rare exception, I usually didn’t read books outside of class.

I almost didn’t go to Juniata… money problems would’ve held me back. Juniata kicked in a couple large toward the end of the decision process to seal the deal on my #1 choice. (And imagine for a moment, my life had I not gone to Juniata… /shudder) At Juniata, I got a degree with no discernible career path; indeed, probably no career path at all. “Mind and Language” isn’t on any job requirement I’ve ever read.

Speaking of jobs, job #1* out of college came because my mom rocks and Verizon is OK with supporting nepotism now and again for lower level jobs. Job #1 ended with a shock, but given the culture post-reduction and the fact that two more followed in 2008 (removing 43% and 20%, respectively), job #1 ending was a kindness. The kindness is amplified by job #2, which I’d not have found without 1) losing job #1 and 2) having my wife happen across the listing for the job mere moments after I informed her I’d been RIFed.

So that more or less brings me back to today… when I have a loving wife, two great kids, two cats and a dog, a single family home of my very own, an amazing job, awesome parents, great friends, and the time to give a little back. None of this was planned (not that I planned for the opposite, of course).

Is it a plan if — because of the unplanned success — I swear off planning for the foreseeable future? What if I forgo forseeing?

*Technically, job #1 was actually in my senior year of high school. I applied on a dare from the busboy, who went to Calvert Hall. I was hired almost immediately after handing in the application.

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