Some of you had a clear idea of what you wanted to do after college. And you did it. Others, like me, had a few false starts (Did I mention the job packaging supplies in a cold barn with only mice for company?). Read about your classmates’ dreamy and not-so-dreamy first jobs below.
Lisa Ferguson ’84
My first job was as a teacher in Mingo Junction, Ohio. Teachers were in demand at that time, so I began teaching at the end of my sophomore year and finished my degree during summers and evenings. I retired in 1994, after 30 years as a teacher and principal. Most of my years were in Shawnee Mission, Kansas. Here it is, 2014—still teaching, subbing in Montgomery County, Maryland—and loving every minute of it.
Diane (Bilby ’66) Perry
My first job was in industrial management in 1969. No, I was not happy with it, BUT it paid the bills, and I did a good job considering my last math class was in high school. The job market was very tight back then (worse now), but my English major background was wonderful. Mine is a story of failure, and at times frustration, but I believed in the confidence our school had provided. I made wonderful, long-time friendships there, and these helped me beyond belief.
Today, as an investment advisor, I am always on the lookout for opportunities to promote contributions for this great University! I am not Catholic, but know the great importance of a solid Christian upbringing. The bottom line is that the College—now the University—was a wonderful influence for me and for others there now.
Steven R. Clark ’69
My first job was in Public Accounting. I worked there for two years, did not love it, and took an accounting job at Borden’s. When I got my CPA certification, I ran into some brick walls there because I was a woman (and this was 1980, when the head of HR said that there wasn’t much opportunity for female CPAs there). I simply walked down a few floors where American Electric Power was interviewing and have been there for 33 years and counting. For the last 15 years, I have been managing director of Investor Relations, a very fun job that takes me to a lot of exciting places all over the U.S. and also to Europe.
My son, a senior at Ohio State, told me he is not sure how much passion he has for any particular field. I told him to ask God for wisdom and guidance with respect to work, and he will not steer you wrong.
Bette Jo Rozsa-Feeney ’75
After graduating, I knew I wasn’t going to look for a bookkeeping job. I ended up delivering newspapers and pizzas until I got a job as a telemarketer for a small computer company in Pittsburgh and began an inside sales career. However, one day in 1998, a Christian counselor asked me if I had ever considered becoming a counselor myself. Two years later, I returned to Franciscan University for a master’s in counseling. I worked as a professional counselor for three years before getting married and starting a family. After moving to Buffalo, New York, I transitioned back to inside sales as a recruiter for a travel nursing company where I have worked for almost seven years.
I converted to Catholicism at Franciscan, prepared for two successful careers at Franciscan, met my wife, Theresa (Knecht ’00), at Franciscan, and love Franciscan University with my whole heart. Praise be to God who blesses Franciscan University and her students so richly!
Russ Blackstone ’90, MA ’03
I could not find work right away so I moved home to Clarkston, Washington. I knew I would not find work in my field in my small town, but I prayed for the great gift of being with my family for one more year. I went to work for Wal-Mart, and exactly one year later, the Wal-Mart home office in Bentonville, Arkansas, hired me as a software engineer. Later, I worked as a software engineer for Caterpillar and Motorola. God has so blessed my career.
Sandy (Flerchinger ’93) Wiseman
Growing up on a family ranch in eastern Oregon, I always wanted to be a cattle rancher. My senior year of college, I started looking for jobs and found nothing that motivated me like ranching did. Through God’s timing, the hired worker at my family’s ranch quit unexpectedly. I went back to the ranch where I work alongside my father and learn new skills about ranching every day. Being a rancher allows me to spend time plenty of time with my wife (Liz Conte ’10) and kids (Cecilia, 2, and John Paul, 4 months) and involve them in everyday tasks of the ranch. I am living the dream!
Sean Cunningham ’10
Originally published in the Winter 2014 Franciscan Way magazine.
Your turn: Have you found your dream job? Tell us about it! Send replies to FranciscanMagazine@Franciscan.edu, and we will share online or in Franciscan Magazine (submissions subject to editing).