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As a veteran of changing majors and merging careers, I would say the best career advice I have received many times over is network, network, network. Stay in contact with alumni, former classmates and colleagues. Use social media to report professional and career updates (not what you had for breakfast this morning). Join a professional organization ... and go to the meetings. Any position I have had in the past 10 years has been a result of networking.
Linda Doherty Pratt, BA ’82
I’m now 65 years old. When I was 27, an “old” man of 50 told me that he was retired. I asked, “How did you do it?” “Saved $10 per month,” he replied. “That’s not enough to retire,” I responded, to which he said, “True, but you have to start somewhere.” I retired at 49—beat him by a year. Sometimes the pupil is smarter than the teacher.
*Henry Borowiec, BS, ’68
New York, N.Y.
My dad worked as a laborer at DuPont’s River Road rayon plant and suggested that I go to Tech High School [now Hutchinson Central Technical High School in Buffalo] taking industrial chemistry as a major, which I did. The basics learned there prepared me to be a chemistry major at UB—parents actually know best, after all.
*Gordon Gibson, BA ’57
The toes you step on today, may be connected to the butt you kiss tomorrow.
*Ken Paulin Jr., MBA ’88 & BS ’87
Do what you love, and you’ll love what you do!
*Ruth Kleinman, BA ’05
Port Washington, N.Y.
Marcia Koch, BS ’89
I was sitting in the VP’s office, chatting about nothing in particular, when our conversation was interrupted by a phone call. It was from a former employee who had been fired and was calling to tell the VP about his new job/career. After the call, the VP said to me, “Never be afraid to fire someone who is not suited for the (job/company). The result will always turn out to be better for both the employee and the company.” That remained in my thoughts, especially when I had to terminate employees (only two in my career). I had success turning around performance in some employees. When that doesn’t happen successfully—and you’ve done all you can to make a nonproductive employee a productive one—consider termination for everyone’s benefit.
*Margot Fulmer, BA ’65
James C. Hansen, (1936-1999), emeritus professor of counseling and educational psychology at the time of his death, directed an NDEA (National Defense Education Act) Counseling Institute in 1965-66. He advised me to continue my studies at UB for a doctoral degree. Instead, I took a position as a school counselor. Within six months, I called Dr. Hansen and said I wanted to return, and he guided me through the admissions process. After receiving the PhD, I spent 36 years training counselors and family therapists, working two years at Teachers College at Columbia University and 34 years at the University of Rhode Island. I think about Jim Hansen often and remember his advice and kindness.
Peter Maynard, PhD ’70 & EdM ’66
Choose something you love to do and it will fuel your career for the rest of your life. If you can’t find work in your chosen area of skill or experience, use it in some way “on the side” as part-time or volunteer work. Then when you look for paid, full-time work (if it is not in the area of your choice), apply where you like the philosophy of the business, the way the employees are treated, the location, etc.
Mary McIntosh, MA ’77
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