Almost a Millionaire

The year was 1999.  I was back at Stanford earning a master’s degree in Education with a focus on Language, Literacy and Policy.  My life of research and writing about standards-based reform and electronic literacy was worlds apart from my life in the trenches of public school. I was deep in conceptual models but detached from helping kids. It was a strange dichotomy.

I was doing well academically, but I was restless. So I looked for an internship as a possible bridge to a new career. I  landed three internships which I worked concurrently. One was as a research assistant for WestEd, a nonprofit educational research agency. Another internship involved writing content for educational video games at The Learning Company.  The third was a part-time job (where I was paid like an intern) with a rapidly growing startup company writing directions for customer service inquiries using the language of the adopted software program.  My roommate Karen invited me in. The work was dry and I was concerned about finishing my thesis, so I quit. If only I kept that job and quit the other two. The company was PayPal.

It was an exciting time to be living in the Bay Area. I lived just a couple doors down from the first Apple Store. (What a strange concept, who would go there?) Little companies with odd names like Google and Facebook were hiring. New businesses and startups were popping up everyday, and everyone, it seemed, was energized by possibility.

Within a month of graduation my wish to transition out of teaching and into the “real world” came true.  I had two job offers. One was a technical writing position with Verifone (think credit card reader) which involved frequent travel to India.  The other was a marketing position with another large, multi-national corporation which leveraged my background in education. It had new buildings, an impressive lobby, a sit-down restaurant, free gym membership, and did not require travel.  So I chose the latter.





Author: Patricia Tina Wu

I'm a teacher educator, realtor, mom, and now also a blogger. I've worked in corporate sales and marketing and as an elementary school teacher. Settling into a career has always been difficult for me. I hope that my experiences will help career seekers, young people, and their parents navigate what is sometimes a confusing and difficult area of life. I'm not out of the desert yet, but things are finally starting to make more sense.

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