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

John A. Moeller on Turning Points

A major turning point in my life was taking a personal and financial risk against long odds. One day at work, after seemingly being fired by a new owner, I went out to play golf and shot a career-best 76. I’m not that good, so obviously somebody was talking to me.

Shortly after that, my father passed away and I was sad and depressed. However, management and union factory workers urged me to step in and try to rescue them from the new owner of this company of 1,500 folks. We had no significant capital and would need to almost totally leverage the company. With assistance from many unexpected sources, we succeeded in our takeover and, more important, succeeded in the ensuing years.

We, the investors, took an extreme risk. Even with the help of employees, suppliers, customers, and friends, it wasn’t only our work, skill, or wisdom that produced our success — the stars lined up and God was smiling on our endeavors. The fruits of this experience have given me a reasonably comfortable retirement and a broader view of life, family, personal relationships, and miracles.

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