js_interview_at_nace_1979It’s just after three in the morning and I can’t seem to sleep. Maybe it’s because I seem to have lost a crown on my root-canal tooth. What does one do in such a situation? What else but look at old photos.

This is a Polaroid of me taken by my interviewer, Dale Miller, during an interview for the job of Assistant Technical Activities Director at NACE International, then known as the National Association of Corrosion Engineers.  Despite my obvious babyhood, I got the job. A year later, I was promoted to Technical Activities Director. Then, three years after that, the Executive Director (T.J. Hull) promoted me, again, to Associate Executive Director responsible for the Operations Division (membership, technical activities, meetings, and certification departments). Those were heady days. I thought I was something special, until I came to the conclusion I got the job and the promotions because I was willing to work for a lot less money than people who had equal or even inferior qualifications. I never did quite learn the lesson that realization should have taught, though. Actually, my willingness to live in relative poverty wasn’t the only reason I got the job and the promotions; I worked hard and did a good job. That was my first job in association management. Subsequently, I moved to Chicago to join my wife after she got a job there. This first association job evolved into a career and, eventually, led me to form the business from which I retired early at age 58. I got used to poverty early, so I can adapt to it late. Well, not poverty but certainly not wealth. And I no longer look twenty years younger than my chronological age. We adapt.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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