Monday, February 3, 2014

"Put Your Faith in Love?"

What do love and faith have to do with career? Read on.

“Don’t put your faith in love, my boy, my father said to me….I fear you’ll find that love is like the lovely lemon tree.” So began a Harry Belafonte song, “Lemon Tree.” The refrain went, “Lemon tree very pretty, and the lemon flower is sweet, but the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat.”

To love is to lose?

IBM and I sort of fell in love in June of 1964, shortly after I graduated with a B.A. in physics from Cornell University and three days before I was scheduled to enlist in the U.S. Army to be sent to their renowned language school in Monterrey, California, to continue my training in the Chinese language and become part of the Army Security Agency.

My parents called my attention to an ad IBM had recently placed in our local paper. They were looking for scientists and engineers for their Kingston, NY, location, a half-dozen miles from our home. I went, interviewed, and received an offer by the time I had driven home. I worked there six months, with nice, intelligent co-workers, seeking to improve IBM products through the maintenance of standards, like our National Bureau of Standards.

Then, I was drafted. The U.S. Army and I did not fall in love, but we made it through two years together. I studied at Penn State and Harvard, worked outside Boston, taught at Harvard, got divorced, then re-united with my college sweetheart, Tina Su, and looked for a job.


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