If I Knew Then Advice on careers, finance, and life from Harvard Business School's Class of 1963

Eugene C. Bell


I cannot do better than repeat Joseph Campbell’s admonition: “Follow your bliss.”

Seek work that you love and do it.

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Marriage & Family

Most of us would do well to delay getting married until we are established on a career path. Then we should delay having children until we are sure we’re prepared for the challenges of raising a family. While we’re meeting our responsibilities as parents, we must remember to maintain a strong, loving relationship with our spouse.

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I do not agree, although I did until I had worked many years. Find work that you love, as long as you can earn enough to provide for your family and a reasonably comfortable retirement. Those who persist in believing wealth brings happiness are to be pitied.

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Charity & Spirituality

We have a duty to share our assets with those less fortunate. Without faith in the basic goodness of human beings, how can we live?

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Life's Lessons

I developed a profound respect for the necessity of perseverance to achieve success. I came to appreciate more and more Churchill’s admonition to “never give up.” To succeed, we must keep working out solutions to problems that so often seem unsolvable.

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A successful leader must be a champion delegator. I wish I had spent more time mastering this all-important skill.

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Growing Older

When work becomes too difficult and no longer brings pleasure, it’s time to retire. Become a mentor to the young and stay a loving friend to your spouse. Listen to your physicians.

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Turning Points

The key turning point in my professional life was leaving a fairly successful business career to pursue a doctorate in organizational behavior and management. I wanted to teach, do research, and consult — and I was able to do all three.

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Happiness & Success

At 25, I had no idea how much joy was possible in raising happy, successful children. I did not realize how difficult it would be, either.

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