I currently live in Florence, Wisconsin, part of the beautiful Northwoods and known for its excellent outdoor recreation all year round. I studied at the University of Wisconsin-Madison – graduating from the business school with a double major in Information Systems and Management!
People have often asked me where I studied, assuming I graduated with a degree in the arts. I enjoy their various reactions when I reply, “Oh, I went to UW-Madison…and graduated with a degree in Information Systems Analysis and Design, and Management.”
The next obvious question is how does someone who graduated with a degree in business info systems end up making marquetry and furniture for a living. Well, that’s a very good question and sometimes I wonder that myself. :-)
Right after I graduated, I started a job in the Madison, WI area working as a technical services rep for a growing healthcare software company. The people were nice, the job was somewhat interesting, and the pay was excellent for being just out of school.
However, the compensation was commensurate with the demands of the job. The company was growing very rapidly, and resources were stretched pretty thin at times. This created an awful lot of stress and long hours.
Now, I don’t mind working hard, but more and more I found that I was really only working hard for financial gain. That was fine if I had large financial commitments or debts, but luckily, I had none. I did not have a family to support, or a mortgage every month to worry about.
I started seeing myself at a crossroads. Down one path I kept my stressful, though very well paying job, and followed through the path of financial escalation by buying a house, “settling down” and raising a family. I pictured myself 20 years from now, still sitting at my desk job, content that I was working to support my family and future, but always wondering “what if”.
The other path presented a much greater risk, because it involved a lot of unknowns and much more financial uncertainty. However, I could see the rewards of that path being equal to the risks. Better health because of lessened stress and more physical activity (I hope!), greater motivation to put in extra hours, and a general satisfaction in being able to create something tangible and beautiful.
So, for the first time in my life I took the risky path, and I still believe it was the correct one. My future is still very uncertain, but there is an excitement and motivation that would not be there if I had played it safe.