Monday, September 19, 2011

100 Days of Gratitude - Day 4: Ann Corwin

"Why are you looking so down?" Ann asked.

"Dunno," I replied.

"Where are you going to work next year?"


"Well, where have you applied?"

"I haven't really applied for any jobs yet."

"Dennis, you have to apply for jobs to get them," she said, looking down over her glasses at me. "They aren't going to just fall from the sky for you."

"Maybe.  Yes, I guess you are right."

"So what about the World Bank.  Why don't you apply to the World Bank?"

"Are you crazy?  The Bank takes only PhDs.  They haven't hired someone with only a masters degree like me in years. The application even says PhD strongly preferred."

"Well, Dennis, I've never noticed that you have particularly great respect for authority or for any of the rules around here.  I would say stop your whining and apply to the World Bank.  What the heck, the worse can happen is you waste a few hours."

The  date was late 1985, and the scene was the placement office at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School.  I was sitting in front of the desk of Ann De Marchi (now Ann Corwin), who was then the secretary to the placement director (now she is the director).

"Now go away; I am busy," Ann told me, and she handed me an oatmeal cookie from the large glass jar she kept filled on her desk.

I did go away.  And I filled out the application.  And nine months later, I was sitting in an office at the World Bank, beginning the career that has brought me to where I am today.

Ann has been a good friend and colleague ever since. And for that, I am very grateful.