I've Been a Cabbie and a Stock Clerk, and Soda Fountain Jock Jerk

My time in high school

Attended high school in the

Overall high school experience
2/10.  It was awful. I could not relate to kids my own age, perhaps because I was the youngest of five.

Grades in high school
C's and below. I was super bright in middle school, but I simply did not give a fuck about classes in high school.


Best subjects
English, History / Social Studies

Struggled with...
Math was torture for me. I nearly missed graduating because of an F in government. I later went into a PhD program in the subject.

Favorite extracurricular
Nothing having to do with school interested me.

Life since high school

As long as one learns from their mistakes and doesn’t repeat them, there are no wrong turns. What I feel worst about is the times I have treated other people shabbily.

Attended college / university at
Mostly I worked, at cafes and restaurants, and later in technology. I started college (architecture) at CCSF, dropped out, took more classes at SRJC, moved, started my own business (bed and breakfast, cafe, and bar), then returned to U Maryland to finish my degree. From there, I went directly into a PhD program in political science (the course that nearly prevented me from graduating at [high school name omitted]).

Post-graduate education or training
I spent six years on the city council of a small town. Immensely influential on my character, my confidence, and outlook. I highly recommend the experience -- I learned a lot about how government and politics really work.

Places lived in US
California, Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico

Places lived outside the US
Italy, seven months working as a busboy in a restaurant. Highly recommended.

Current occupations / past occupations
Owner operator of cafe bar and bed and breakfast. Later worked as an urban planner. Now I am retired and can spend my time hiking and skiing.

Industries I've worked in
- Retail Trade
- Management of Companies and Enterprises
- Accommodation and Food Services
- Urban planning

Did your education prepare you for your career or occupation?
Not really. Though it got me in the door for an interview.

Has your education or career/occupation trajectory ever changed? How?
Gosh yes! I went from living in my car at age 19-20 to managing a cafe, working with computers, living in Italy, owning my own business, serving in local government, and only then getting the education that got me an eventual professional career. 

A little introspection...

To me, being successful means...
Having time and resources to spend doing things that are meaningful to me.

My definition of success has changed over time. 
I realized while having a business that some things are more important to me than money.

My greatest accomplishment to date and what I’ve learned from it
Keeping a marriage together for 20+ years. It has been a struggle at times, but it has proven to be deeply rewarding. 

My biggest mistake or regret so far and what I’ve learned from it
As long as one learns from their mistakes and doesn't repeat them, there are no wrong turns. What I feel worst about is the times I have treated other people shabbily. 

An unexpected event that changed my life and how it impacted me
My oldest brother died when I was 20. It made me realize how we never know when death comes for us, and how important it is to live life feeling fulfilled from day to day.

Anything else you'd like to share?
I found that life got much better once I left Palo Alto. The world is a much bigger place than Palo Alto, and I only found like minded people once I was gone. Years later, I found that there were many people who felt the exact same way that I did about school and [high school name omitted]. 

This alumni is open to your questions and follow-ups.
In order to protect anonymity, we will pass along your message and they can choose whether to respond.

My favorite spot in or around Palo Alto

Past: the New Varsity. Present: perhaps among in the eucalyptus woods across from Paly
[map pointing to El Camino Grove]