Judd Nelson Made Me a Business Major

Of all the things I wanted to be when I grew up, the aspiration that was strongest from elementary school to high school was the desire to be a teacher. I even collected recipes with inexpensive ingredients figuring I would need them since teachers don’t make much money. My love of reading and writing meant that I honed in on English as a preferred specialty. I would be an English teacher. Yet I never became an English teacher. I am an IT project manager, and I blame Judd Nelson.

According to the Internet Movie Database, the mini series Billionaire Boys Club came out in 1987, but I feel like I didn’t see it until a few years later. Whenever I saw it I completely missed its point, and that changed my life.

Billionaire Boys Club starred Judd Nelson as an ambitious young businessman whose greed was so great that it led to murder. The movie was based on a true story, and it should have conveyed the message that the yuppie desire for wealth was bad. What I saw, however, were guys in suits. GUYS IN SUITS! In fact, the only scene I remember from BBC involved a bunch of guys in tuxedos on motorcycles. GUYS IN TUXEDOS ON MOTORCYCLES! Suddenly, this aspiring English teacher wanted to be a business major, after all, that’s were the guys in suits (or possibly in tuxedos on motorcycles) were.

Okay, there were probably some other things that led to my change in career plans. For instance, I spent some time as a teacher’s assistant in high school. I had always been in honor’s English with kids who read all the assignments and loved to talk about what they read. Being a TA let me see how different a “normal” classroom can be. Most of the kids did not do the reading and those who did were reluctant to answer the teacher’s questions, much less ask any of their own. I suddenly realized that teaching was much harder than just talking about literature, which is all I had really wanted to do.

Even so, when I decided I didn’t want to teach why did I end up as a business major rather than anything else? The only direct motivation I can recall for an interest in business is Billionaire Boys Club.

When I started at business school I planned to be a marketing major, although I really had no idea what that meant. I didn’t enjoy my freshman marketing class, but I found my freshman management information systems (MIS) course interesting and easy. I enjoyed computers since I was a kid and had taught myself BASIC on my parents’ early TRS-80, but I never thought about focusing my career on computers. After all, computers are just tools. You can’t major in hammers, can you? Still, after that easy intro course I became an MIS major. I’ve worked in and studied information technology (IT)–and it’s many acronyms–ever since.

To recap:

My entire career is based on the fact that as a teenager I thought guys in suits were cute and that MIS classes could get me easy A’s.

39 year old, feminist me is appalled.

Regardless of how I got here, IT has been good to me. I’m employed at a time when many are not. When I was laid off in 2001 I found a new job in less than two weeks. I’ve always made enough money to not have to worry about my bills, and I’ve worked schedules that allow me hobbies like writing and theatre. I met my husband at one of my jobs, so I have IT to thank for my marriage and subsequently my children. This is not about regret.

Still, I can’t help but wonder what my life might have been like had I never seen that movie.

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