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When You Think You Are Done Learning, It's Time to Go to the Beach...or Have Children

3.29.2011

As a parent, I have been humbled. Prior to having children, I thought I knew everything I needed to learn and attained

much of the American dream - college degree, MBA, great wife, a successful career, and a nice house. Why not start a family? "Sure, no problem" I thought. I like kids, they're fun. I had two dogs and they liked living with me and were easy to be around. Having children was a logical next step. And then my wife and I had our first and my life changed - for the better. But all of my prior training, professional skills, and problem solving skills went out the window. As my son took his first breath, I knew instantly, I had as much to learn from him as he did me.

A few examples:

· I had never changed a diaper before having kids.

· Who knew that there is more than one type of car seat?

· Babies cry sometimes and there is nothing I can do or bribe them with to make them stop.

· Any fragile possession needs to be under lock and key or be somewhere in my house above the critical 48 inches (the height where my sons cannot reach).

· I learned that my time is not my own. I had forgotten what life is like without kids, though when my parents and in-laws take the kids for a night or two every once in a while, I remember. Having the rare night off without kids and date with my wife is like a reunion with an old friend.

· But aside from the tangible things, being a parent has taught me more about unconditional love, patience, and the wonder and magic of seeing things through a child's eyes - the joy, awe and amazement of watching a tractor and crane at a construction site, the pain of not getting a second cookie (I get that), etc.

At The Alexander Group, we seek opportunities to learn. We openly share lessons learned from current or prior search assignments - what worked, what did not, and seek each others' feedback and input and what we can do better going forward. If there is any one thing I know and love about executive search, it is the opportunity to learn from my peers, our clients, their companies, industries and the candidates with whom we meet. We believe that you never stop learning and that career success and learning are strongly interconnected - one begets the other. So, while you focus on building your career, or if you become a parent for the first time, remember that you never stop learning.

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