Wearing Birkenstocks with a Suit

At the University of Alberta, you could say that the Faculties of Business and Arts are connected by a hallway*. You might also say they are divided by a canyon. Next week I am going to cross the canyon.

I understand how I got to this point. My boss asked if someone would go talk to a group of business students about technology and business. I volunteered. I don’t mind public speaking. Well, to be honest, I like it. It’s a chance to organize and present my thoughts. Sometimes people even have other thoughts.

Back in 1997, when I started my undergrad degree, I almost crossed the canyon. In those days, you had to do your first year in some other faculty and then you could apply.  Midway through my first year, I realized that business students wore suits to class. I liked wearing band t-shirts and plaid shirts and my birks with wool socks.  I stuck to theories of social justice and economics and a love of Marxism. I have a degree in arts.

Somehow it worked out well. I work in technology, I do management consulting and you may have heard that I went back to school to get an MBA. I have the credentials to talk to them.

I’m still, well, I’m still kinda giggling about it. 20 years after I decided not to join the faculty of business, I’ll walk into the business building, into a classroom and I’ll lecture.

My topic? The virtues of being a polymath. In other words, I’m going to tell a bunch of business students to spend less time thinking about business.

*Actually, it’s an atrium but that sounds less poetic.

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2 Responses to Wearing Birkenstocks with a Suit

  1. Karen says:

    It’s interesting how we often start in one place with our careers and end up somewhere else. It was September 1995 when I started my BA (Psychology/Sociology) at the U of A, and then in 1999 I started my B’Ed After Degree. All these years later and I have spent my whole working life in Business – I wonder what would have happened if I had got my business degree.

  2. loribeth says:

    I hope they listen to your message. 🙂

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