Starting our trip across the U.S. we made it to Lafayette, Indiana on the first day. Lafayette is where I had my first job after graduating with my MBA. I worked at a place called Microdatabasesystems (MDBS) . I was a market researcher and since I was the only one in the department, I was the director of marketing research (never trust a title.)
I worked there only five weeks. I was working there two weeks when the owners/founders called me. They asked me what I thought of the product. I told them the truth. I told them that their software was wonderful, but it was too hard to use. One of the guys told me that if customers were too stupid to use the product, perhaps they should not buy it. That day I called the Foreign Service. I had taken and passed both written and oral tests and they were doing the security clearance. They told me that they had finished the clearance and offered me a job. I was supposed to have responded a week before. I guess that the notice went to my old address in Minneapolis. I asked for an extra day and they gave it to me. The next day, I put in my notice at MDBS and a couple weeks later went to Washington to start the career I have had ever since.
Sometimes I have wondered how life might have been had I not made the call. A few years after I was in the FS, I went back to Minneapolis to talk to MBA friends. Everybody made more money than I did. Even new MBA graduates made more on average. But the jobs were not as much fun. My most successful friend was a brand manager at Green Giant. He was in charge of frozen peas – not all peas, not all frozen products, just frozen peas. He seemed to like his job and he made the big bucks, but I thought the FS was perhaps a better choice for me.
Lafayette is a pleasant place, the home of Perdue University. But there is not much more. We went to the Tippecanoe Battlefield, where William Henry Harrison defeated the forces of Tecumseh’s alliance. It is interesting to see the old trees and the nature succession that happened since, more on that in the next post.
My picture up top is the gate to the Tippecanoe battlefield. Below it are some of the windmills in the farm fields north of Lafayette.