Weekend Wisdom

Nancy Van Duyne ’76

“When looking for the right career fit, follow your instincts.
“I always believed finding my first real job/career would go smoothly . . . wrong! In the spring of my senior year at Williams, I had two great offers — the first to work for a U.S. senator in his Washington, D.C., office (where I had interned during my junior summer), the second to begin a management-training program for a large bank in New York City. The decision was a difficult one, but because my mom had terminal lung cancer, I picked New York to be closer to home.

“Mom died 10 days before I graduated from college but I couldn’t undo my choice, so I moved to the city and started a six-week internship on Wall Street. I loved the opportunity but didn’t have a trader’s brain. I hoped the bank’s management training program would be a better fit . . . wrong! Two weeks into the program, I resigned because my gut told me this wasn’t what I wanted for my future. Through D.C. connections, I went to work for a new member of Congress, from New York, in his Brooklyn office. I was sure this was the right fit . . . again, wrong!

“Then the senator who originally offered me a job had another D.C.-based position for me, one that depended on my writing skills (thank goodness for Kent Place and Ms. Eleanor Moulding). This was job number three . . . and I finally found my career happy place. I spent the next 27 years as an airline lobbyist.

“Finding the right career isn’t always a smooth or easy process. Listening to your instincts is critical for long-term professional success.”  

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Kent Place School is an all-girls K through 12 independent college preparatory day school with a coeducational Preschool, located in Summit, NJ.