So my career nearly took a wild turn this week... I got a call from Liz in Fordham's Career Planning office. We worked together on the mentoring program and she was calling to tell me that she was leaving to go work for Seton Hall.
Now I had said before that I would love to do Liz's job... she's the Assistant Director of Special Programs or something like that, she she has a lot of relative flexibility in terms of new things she can come up with and run. Admittedly, what I'd really love to do is to run a career group, but if I were to jump early and make a switch, hers is the kind of job I would switch into, rather than to an employer relations position or something where I don't get as much student interaction.
When she called, I got very anxious. I wasn't really prepared for such an opportunity to arrive this early--although I knew she would probably leave Fordham within a short period of time. I just didn't expect it to be a year after she started. Without hesitation, though, I asked her to transfer me to Angela, who runs the office. I made up some excuse like I need to get back to her about something. I didn't know whether or not it would be rude to get right up in there and start circling around her job like a vulture, and when Liz is concerned, I can never figure out when I'm being obnoxious or not, so I figured I'd play it safe. As soon as Angela got on the phone, it just poured out of me:
"I just spoke to Liz. She told me she was leaving. I'd like to be considered for that position."Angela seemed pretty surprised, and her first response was, "Do you know how much it pays?" Now, I'm well aware that I'm not going to make private equity money working for a university. I've already mentally waged that battle and talked myself down to a certain level. Pace had a similar position open earlier in the summer, and their guidence on the website was 44-56k. That's a big stepdown, but its doable. Having no reason to believe that schools would be different on their payscale, I said that I had some idea of where it was. Well, turns out there is a difference--a pretty significant one. This job was going to pay 32k.
"Hmm... wow... 32. Jeez.. I wasn't really expecting that."
So 32k pretty much takes the job off the radar screen. I would have taken in the low 40's, but for someone with three years experience in finance and a whole bunch of student experience, that's just not a reasonable salary. Now, Deirg, who will probably wind up applying for this job, would argue its reasonabilty compared to the scale that she gets paid now, but her salary's not reasonable either. Just because that's what people are getting paid doesn't make their salaries reasonable. No one with a college degree two years out of college in NYC should be making less than 40... ideal maybe, but that just seems fair.
Anyway, this leads into my longer discussion of the day--the fact that Fordham shortchanges for the same position relative to Pace. This has been one of my biggest pet peeves with this school as an alumni for years. Like the Mets, Fordham is willing, time after time, to shortchange themselves to satisfy the short term, without thinking about the long term. Take the Yankees, for example, who went out and got Jon Lieber, even though he was going to be on the shelf for year, so they could have him for the year after. Geniuses.
Fordham, on the other hand, constantly shoots itself in the foot worrying about the short term. Take this job, for example. Career planning, whether a liberal arts school likes it or not, is probably the most important department within the university. No matter what kind of education you are given, moral values you are endoctrinated with, social lessons you are taught, if you can't develop a platform on which you can take those lesses to the outside world--be it with via a career, a calling, graduate studies, etc.--that's all going to go to waste. What someone is able to turn their education into more directly impacts a student's impression of what they got from school more than anything else. Show me a student in a really crappy job that they hate who really feels like their school really prepared them well for life.
Not only that, someone's career success, especially in the near term, strongly dictates whether or not they are going to give back to their school. If you are living paycheck to paycheck and just scraping by, or you don't really like where you've wound up, how likely are you going to want to contribute back to the unviversity, versus someone who feels like they hit the ground running in an area that they like.
That being said, that fifteen grand a year that Fordham will save each year definately doesn't help them in the long term. They couldn't afford to keep Liz on, and that's just going to happen again and again. Regardless of whether you can get someone quality in that role for that pay, you have to admit that the turnover it creates is disruptive to the group. I mean, GM went through this thought process with the private equity group. We're not being spun off just so we can make more money--its about retaining the best people and a group that works well together. In the end, being cheap on salary hear affects student impressions of the group as a whole. Since no one ever polls the alumni base, they don't realize it, but I would love to see what the numbers look like on the Career Planning group... and its not just Fordham. University's on the whole are much more apt to put money into their basketball coach than they are into the departments that touch the everyday lives of students.
This happens in other departments in universities around the country, as well at Fordham... with the financial folks that students seem to have issues with every year regarding their financial aid, bills, etc. to the residential life group--whose farewell to the students comes in a room damage bill. Think about it. When you leave the school, the last thing you get from them, after four years of paying 35k a year, is a bill for 50 bucks for some piece of damage you have no way to defend yourself against, and no way to see if it ever got fixed. You just feel taken by it... in a way that definately irks you enough not to make you want to give back to the school. If I were in charge of a school, for any damage bill $50 or less for seniors, I would send a note to the student saying, "There was a small amount of damage repaired in your room (note here that we should only be billing students for repaired damage not assessed damage). It has been our privilage to be a part of your education, and so we are waving this charge so that we can maintain a positive connection to you going forward as a member of the alumni community. However, we are still incurring this cost to do repairs and, would instead, appreciate your continued support of the University by means of a donation as an alumni for this amount."
First off, I think people would be blown away by that move... in a positive way and I think a lot of people would respond with a donation. Secondly, what you lose in fines, you gain by not losing future donations because people are pissed off about small amounts of room damage that just never get fixed. In addition, in the case of someone who does donate, wouldn't you rather have that money coming into the University as an alumni donation than a room fine? Room fines dont' count for anything, whereas getting that number up of how many alumni give back is critical to the ratings of the university.
One move Fordham has made along these lines is not charging for transcripts anymore, which follows the same logic. There's no need to keep nickel and diming people over their lifetime, which only goes to hurting the steam of potential donations.
Finally, and I've been harping about this for years... the biggest misstep I can see currently is the alumni directory. A few weeks ago, I got an online notice saying that they are publishing a physical directory and they wanted me to update my contact information. ???? What year is this??? An actual book. Who the hell is going to use this? Oh, it comes in a CD, too? This is utterly ridiculous. My HIGH SCHOOL has a searchable online directory that allows me to find people in my industry, people that went to the same college as me, etc. Its such an incredibly useful tool to stay connected to the university and for career connections. So many schools are moving in this direction and it blows my mind that we're still printing out a book that will be obsolete fast. They can say its a cost factor, but if you just made an online directory where you can look up all the same information, and only gave those Fordham alumni that financially support the school access to it, I think a lot more people would give back.
But you know what... I still love Fordham, and that's why I complain. You don't complain about things unless you have high expectations. I still got a wonderful education, met great people there, and had access to lots of fantastic resources. If I didn't love the school and think it was a great place to go, I wouldn't be complaining about it. I mean, where else can you get a real campus in New York City? Perhaps Columbia... but I'm pretty sure you're not allowed to throw baseballs around their stuffy greenery.
Alright. That's all I have for now. I think they should do an alumni forum--the same way they have a student speakout, or at least, had one. People could come and ask questions about the direction of the school, give feedback, etc. I think a lot of people whould show, and if nothing else, it makes people feel like they care about the direction of the university.
Oh, and by the way.. its starting to get kinda cold out. I've been waking up to like 60 degree temps... and my apartment keeps pretty cool, so I think its even less than that. We're starting to talk about when the last day at the boathouse is... 10/15. brr.... That's got to be cold when you get out of the water.
I spent the day in Breezy Point. For those of you who don't know where or what that is, I looked it up:
">A neighborhood in southwestern Queens, Breezy Point lies at the western tip of the Rockaway Peninsula; it includes Rockaway Point and Roxbury. The area remained undeveloped until the early twentieth century, when the Rockaway Point Company rented tent sites for about $20 a summer to visitors, most of whom were Irish. By the 1920s, a colony of residents owned bungalows on rented land. In 1961, the firm of Northern Properties bought for $17.5 million all the land west of Jacob Riis Park (except for Fort Tilden) to erect a high-rise development for a population of 220,000.
Residents formed the Breezy Point Cooperative and paid $11.5 million for the land. Construction began on two fourteen-story apartment buildings but ceased when the city announced plans to acquire the peninsula for parkland in 1963; the unfinished apartments were demolished in 1978. The city's plans to condemn the entire neighborhood were opposed with particular vehemence by residents who had taken pains to make their cottages habitable year round, and a compromise permitted all to remain. Land owned by the city was incorporated into the Gateway National Recreation Area in 1972, and property of the Breezy Point Cooperative was excluded from it. In the mid-1990s, the community had about 2,800 houses, with an estimated population of five thousand year round, and twelve thousand during the summer.
Alright, so now that that's out of the way, I was there because I got an invite from James Pastore. Sometimes, I forget his first name is James or Jim or whatever, because he's always been Pastore to me. He went to Regis with me, and he was my counterpart goalie in our class in the hockey club. He was better than I was, but we had some good games when we faced each other, and when we played against each other in gym. Anyway, we didn't really hang out much when we were in school, until we got together to sit at the same table with Pagano and V at the Prom, with our respective dates. Anyway, since then, we've tried to keep in touch, especially after we graduated college. He went to Stanford Law and I saw him in SF when I went out there with Charles, and now he'll be back in the city. Anyway.. that's who Pastore is.
So, as for Breezy today... its a really interesting place. A lot of Pastore's friends are living in the city or not in Breezy anymore, but they seem to come back to the beach for the weekends. The beach has basically kept this group together, and captured the best parts of what growing up in Brooklyn or Queens, wherever Breezy technically is. Its just a very down to earth kind of atmosphere, maybe not blue collar, but civil servicey, anyway. Its a small world, and Manhatten seems thousands of miles away, just the way it felt growing up in Bensonhurst before I went to Regis. Yet, that atmosphere is gone from where I grew up.... nothing kept us all together, and so we're scattered all over the place. There's no reason to go back, although I will try to make it to the 18th Avenue Feast tomorrow night. (I just finished yet another jar of peanut butter... can't get enough of this stuff.) Anyway, we basically spent a few hours by ourselves on the beach throwing a ball around and not doing much of anything, and then we bumped into some of his friends, a few of which turned out to be people I knew. Jeff Kein was there from Fordham, as was Jamie Jordan, who I know going all the way back to when we were in high school. I couldn't place Jeff at first, because he was so out of context for me at the time. I have to say, talking to Jamie was interesting. I mean, my memories of her are from pretty much when she was about 14/15, and now she's going into a PhD program at NYU for Communications on her way to becoming a college professor. She seemed much more mature and went out of her way to sit down and talk to me about what I was up to, even though I'd hardly spoken to her in the interim. Its odd to think of all of these people from across my life becoming adults, finding themselves--especially someone like Jamie who I always thought was kind of immature. It was nice to see that I was wrong, at least for a few minutes today anyway.
I also bumped into this girl who went to one of my career talks at Fordham. Funny enough, I was kind of eyeing her when her and her friends were playing volleyball. Come on.. its bathing suit time at the beach and, well, I'm a guy... can't help it. Anyway.... me, Pastore and his friends went to go play with them and she said she recognized me and asked me if I worked for some random company. I told her I didn't... I had no idea who she was... and then she placed me from one of these sessions. REALLY small world. She said I was a good speaker, but who knows.
So, after that, I bumped into yet another Fordham person... Danielle Albanese. She at least said hello to me... usually she's pretty snotty to me because I wrote her up one time when I was an RA. It was her own fault... she had like a 50 person party in her suite in Martyrs and I definately gave her like 18 warnings. I think that was the last suite I ever wrote up, too.
On a random note, Pagano is moving in with Vina. Now, that's an amazing story... and I still, to this day, take the credit for setting them up. I know when we went out, Patti used to say it was her idea, but that would be kind of hard since I was the only one to know both Andrew and Vina at the time. :) Either way, even if I only get half credit for the setup, that's a windfall as far as setup track records.
Anyway, I'm glad Pastore's back in the city, or will be come October. I think he'd get along with Holian really well. They're both big college football fans, and they like their beers of the world--and they travel a lot, too. If they were gay, they'd probably be another great setup. I suppose I can just set them up as friends anyway. :)
Alright... I'm off to bed. Kayaking tomorrow, and dinner at Gino's for my parent's anniversary. They'll be married 43 years on 9/2. I wonder when I'll get married...
So the Stanford MBA application essays are as follows:
Essay A: What matters most to you and why?
Essay B: What are your short term and long term career aspirations? How will an MBA education further your development? Why does the academic experience offered at the Stanford GSB appeal to you?
Bring it on...
Yes, I'm alive. And now, because of my delay, I know have lots of stuff to post.
First off, some current notes:
1) The sneakers I bought in Tampa are amazingly comfortable. They're bouncy and nicely snug and very quiet, too. Its such a pleasure to walk in them. They're New Balance I think.
2) The GM finished its season with a win, finally. We won 16-6 tonight, making our final record 7-5. We could have done better, but obviously, this is a big improvement from 2-10.
3) I went to the Fordham Young Alumni Happy Hour tonight, which was highlighted by the exposure of huge fake boobs. Some trashy blonde chick just decided to kneel up on the bar and flash everyone, prompting chants of "one more time" from the whole bar when she left. She did not comply however. Do you think people like that realize how little they've made of themselves at some point, or do they just continue bottom dwelling?
Anyway, let's recap on what I need to post about. First off, last Thursday, Brian and I had dinner at Ben Benson's. The feeling about the food was that the appetizer and the desert were excellent, while the steak was above the bar, but not great. If we could have combined the tail ends of the meal with a Del Frisco's steak (and waitress), it would have been perfect. Peter Lugars is kind of a different animal, so that's not really comparable.
We've been making a semi-tradition out of these steak meals, and we agreed to make it more of a regular thing. We should probably make it quarterly or something. $400 of steak a year with Brian is definately worth it. One thing we talked about extensively was the sense that, at this point in our lives, things, specifically people, were coming up short in our view. Its kind of a difficult time, I think, to be 25. There's a book on the "Quarter Life Crisis" out there that focuses more on people who took directionless jobs or jobs for the wrong reasons and now they're realizing the life they created for themselves sucks. I don't think that's really the case with us... I think we're as close to the path we want to be on as we can, but to some extent, that's part of the problem. I think our good fortune to this point has, to some extent, let our expectations get ahead of us. Things that are probably non-issues to other people are now splinters in the back of our minds--other people that can't seem to figure themselves out or who get caught up in the small things become really frustrating, and no longer challenging. We also acknowledged that we need to be better at making time to see each other, too, because its too easy to get caught up in responsibilities. The one thing I do like, though, is that its never taken personally... that there's always this mutual underlying understanding that there's a continuing friendship there no matter what circumstances bring, which is probably why we've been friends for as long as we have. Its solid. The trick is maintaining this stability of quality in our own respective lives on a pace that maintains reasonable growth.
On Saturday, I kayaked down the Bronx River. That was quite an adventure. Victor invited me, and as soon as I figure out how to post pics up, I'll put some of them up. First of all, for 3/4 of the trip, you'd have no idea that you would even be in the Bronx in the first place. We put in at 215th Street, where the river is like 12 feet wide and 2 feet deep. It goes all the way through the Bronx, into the Botanical Gardens and the Bronx Zoo, and empties out later into Hunt's Point, which isn't so nice. In fact, its full of trash at that point, which is a real shame. However, the trip for the most part was beautiful. Trees form a canopy over the river in the early going, and its really kind of surreal. I'll bet you it would make a really spooky night trip.
The other thing I want to mention this week is that I learned something. Time spent does not mean emotional investment. That's one thing I've always done--easily confused the two. If I think back, there have been many times in my life where I've failed to really go out of my way to show someone an effort on my part, even though I may have been putting in time. Maybe its forgetting birthdays or seeing disinterested, or whatever... Its all a matter of focus. Admittedly, there are many things to be focused on during the day, but we should make it a point to focus, even if it might not mean commit time, on someoene else for a few moments a day.
So Larry and I are on a conference call at 2:30 today, and within about 5 minutes, the sky turns pitch black... like nighttime. Crazy.
Just want to take this chance to welcome our new reader from the Boathouse. :)
PS... I'm a hurracane now, although I'm spelled wrong. Its "ie."
(CNN) -- Florida emergency officials ordered visitors out of the middle and lower Keys Wednesday as newly declared Hurricane Charley rushed in from the Caribbean and Tropical Storm Bonnie approached the Florida Panhandle from the Gulf of Mexico.
At 2 p.m. ET, the National Hurricane Center declared Charley a hurricane, with maximum sustained winds near 75 mph, just over the hurricane threshold.