Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ex-CEO as Nebraska Volunteer Coach / Not too Late for Career Changes

Very cool story I came across the other day from CNNSI.

Written by Jon Wertheim, "Nebraska's billion-dollar assistant" is all about former Ameritrade (now TD Ameritrade) CEO Joe Moglia and his current volunteer position with the Nebraska Cornhusker football staff.

The story struck me not necessarily for the writing (Wertheim is a solid writer who seems to write on tennis more than any other sport for SI), but the story itself. Moglia is the classic example of a guy who decided to follow his passion... in this case for football and his work seems to have made him an important "consultant to the program" at Nebraska.

Now, you could say that having made himself rich through business has enabled Moglia to pursue his coaching dream, but a counter to that would be that many people who amass piles of wealth simply make it their goal to amass bigger piles.


I'm so interested in this whole concept of people changing careers mid-stream. To look at the idea through the lens of writing as profession... there's certainly people like Stephen King who knew at a young age he wanted to write and always worked towards that end, but there's also alternate stories.

One good one I saw firsthand the other day was that of Skip Horack, author of "The Eden Hunter." In a library talk he made, Horack discussed how he graduated with an English degree, went to law school and then practiced law for three years... all while kind of thinking of himself as a writer, but not really writing.

He then saw lawyer colleagues who loved what they did, realized that he didn't have that for the law and gave writing a shot. Nothing profound at first, just an hour in the morning before starting his day... but, that led to finishing some short stories and then submitting them to writing journals. After a bit of success, he applied for and got a Wallace Stegner Fellowship in Stanford's Creative Writing Program. With this new path opened up, Horack left the law firm he was at and headed off to the two-year program.

Very cool story from the perspective that Horack wasn't one of those people who knew what he wanted to do at a young age and single mindedly pursued it. Rather, he realized mid-stream want he wanted and proved that it's never too late to go after a goal. Hey... that's just like the story of Joe Moglia.