On this Spring Quarter Eve, my new name for the night before my first class of the Spring Quarter, I’ve been thinking a lot. I’ve been thinking about how much I’m looking forward to seeing the 2018–20 BAS-AM program members tomorrow. I’ve been thinking about our accounting for managers course this quarter and about the former colleagues who taught me the accounting and finance I needed in the managerial world. I’ve also been thinking about New York Times columnist David Brooks.
You see, around this time four years ago I was in midst of an intense, soul-searching dilemma. I was wrestling with whether I should continue my 25-year corporate career, which I no longer enjoyed but which was financially lucrative, or whether I should pack my bags and head west to seek new adventures of what type, I had little idea. And then, I came across this article by Brooks, “The Moral Bucket List”.
In the article, Brooks talks about the focus we put on developing a career eulogy, often at the expense of a moral eulogy. He describes the consequences of this life, saying:
“but if you live for external achievement, years pass and the deepest parts of you go unexplored and unstructured. You lack a moral vocabulary. It is easy to slip into a self-satisfied moral mediocrity. You grade yourself on a forgiving curve. You figure as long as you are not obviously hurting anybody and people seem to like you, you must be O.K. But you live with an unconscious boredom, separated from the deepest meaning of life and the highest moral joys. Gradually, a humiliating gap opens between your actual self and your desired self”
The answer to my dilemma was clear – I needed to quit the corporate rat race, pack my bags and move to the Pacific Northwest. And so I did. Within two years of landing here I found myself on the adventure of a lifetime: designing, launching and teaching the Skagit Valley College BAS-AM program. By being part of this program, I’m discovering that my greatest joy and what I believe will be the core of my moral eulogy is enabling the empowerment that comes from education for my students. David Brooks, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for putting me on this journey.
PS – I must add that it is due to my upbringing, read parents, and the education they made possible for me that I had the luxury of the choice I faced. It is now my life’s work to make this type of opportunity a possibility for others through the Skagit Valley College BAS in Management degree.
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