…sum’thing they DID teach me at Harvard…

…nearly thirty years ago, the business group I worked with in the Far East decided my brain needed some retreading… the result was a place in the Advanced Management Program (AMP) at Harvard University Graduate School of Business in Boston… (how’s that for a neat bit of name-dropping, Mabel?)… the AMP is basically a two year advanced business education syllabus crammed into three and half months… there were 160 of us on the program, mostly older, well-established senior executives… to give yeez an idea, I was the second-youngest participant at the tender age of 38… so yeez can p’raps imagine the kind of stressful cramming on the case studies (three per day, each case shared three different times each day with different mixtures of high-powered captains of industry)… exhausting, frightening, and exhilarating all at the same time…

student

…the faculty numbered some of the finest academic teaching professors on the planet… but the one that made the most impression on this ol ‘Jurassic (then in my pre-Jurassic meta-form) was the guy who taught the human resources’ ‘soft skills’… the hows and wherefores of surviving as a human (heaven forfend, ‘human’?) in the rat race that often constitutes the murky universe of commerce and finance… he highlighted the fact that the majority of the attendees had probably spent the major part of their working careers excelling in the rarefied atmosphere of the corporate world… too often that means the subsuming of family life, of other interests, of friendships…of being part of Life... one helluva cost for far too many… his advice was simple… he said, ’every year, try to get immersed in some activity, however foreign to yeez, that has absolutely NUTHIN to do with yer job… and give that as much attention as yeez give to yer work’… at the time, it made a lot of sense to me, and immediately when I returned home to Hong Kong after the three and a half months, I decided to do something which had scared me all my life… at the age of 38, I learned how to swim… got a proper tutor, and spent three more months acquiring that skill set, the thought of which had terrified me all my life until then… it proved to be one of the best summers I’ve ever had…

swimming

…since then, each year I’ve tried to find some new pursuit… many of them with more or less success than others… different languages… guitar playing, Acoustic and Electric … professional singing lessons… six years ago, it was deciding to write my first novel… and since then, more and more of the SOSYAL NETWURK involvementNUTHIN is too scary now… I seldom seem to have any ‘down time’ and that suits me perfectly… I enjoy keeping what’s left of the grey cells moving up there… maybe a wee thought or three in there for some of yeez?… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

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16 Comments

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16 responses to “…sum’thing they DID teach me at Harvard…

  1. Now THAT was a wise man and it takes a courageous student to actually DO what was being asked Seumas – so WELL DONE BOTH OF YEEZ 😀

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  2. Sound advice for all humans! Thanks for sharing this experience with us, Seumas.

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  3. ….thank you, m’Lady , Susan 🙂

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  4. A wonderfully refreshing and honest lesson in objectivity.

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  5. I take it there were no heated, indoor swimming pools in Govan Seumas? I was terrified of the water as a small boy, until I was thrown into the pool on Walney island. Sink or swim. 😦 The lecturer made a great point about doing something outside of your work, I always had one hobby or another over time.

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    • …the only swimming pool we could afford was free… the one the primary school used to take us a few times to turn into wee dolphins (FAIL!)..the teachers spent more time chasing us in and out of the changing rooms to get into the water.. we were given what resembles styrofoam floats and shown how to do the leg-kick.. that’s about as far as it went…scared the hell out of most of us…:)

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      • That was a progressive school. We only ever went to the baths once a week until we went over to the island. the bliss of an outdoor pool in a northern summer. 😦 I can just imagine how much frustration your teachers would have been going through. They probably theorised that you would all end up anywhere but the navy, so you didn’t need the extra effort. That’s why I loved it out here, I was in the water that much I think I grew scales. 🙂

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    • Walney Island… as in Barrow in Furness Walney Island?

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  6. A lesson for us all Seumas… thanks for reminding us about the tbings that really matter!

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  7. Interesting. Deserving of as much attention as I devote to my work. Now, where are my darn shoes?

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