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Interview with Linda Decker
It has taken Linda Decker failing many times before she finally succeeded. From the time she graduated high school to the present time, Linda has excelled in many areas, but not so much in others. Besides being a loyal employee and hard worker, I have the honor of having Linda Decker as my aunt.
Tricia: Where did you go to college?
Linda: I went to Purdue for my undergraduate degree in 1972 and I graduated in 1976 with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics. I went back to the Kennedy school at Harvard University in 1988 and I graduated in the summer of 1989 with a master’s in public administration.
Tricia: When you started at Purdue, what did you want to major in?
Linda: I believe when I applied, I was looking at Elementary education. By the time I got there in August in 1972, I was looking at Pharmacy.
Tricia: You ended up going to Harvard, what was your major for that?
Linda: My major at Harvard was a master of Public administration. It was a one-year, mid-career program.
Tricia: Why did you switch your major at first?
Linda: I switched my major a number if times at Purdue University. The first time I moved out of Pharmacy was because I got a D in microbiology. I moved out of elementary education because I could not do another semester of French. So it tended to be I moved out of majors because I could not succeed at them.
Tricia: What was you first job?
Linda: The first job I had was in high school and my church group was going to go to Europe and in order to raise money I tried selling fuller brush door to door. I hated that job.
Tricia: And after you graduated, what was your job?
LindaL After I graduated in 1976 from Purdue with a bachelor’s in agricultural economics, the economy was rough and women were, as one gentleman said to me when I interviewed for a job in a farm-type sales of seeds or equipment, farmers look as women as their wives or daughters, and they won’t respect you as a salesperson. It was a very honest thing to say and you can no longer say that legally. But after I graduated, I thought I was hot stuff, and people would be beating a path to my door, but obviously they lost the address. So I moved home and my first job out of college was hostess at the Magic Pan at Glendale.
When I graduated from Harvard I went to work at the Montgomery County Office of Management and budget and I thought I’d be there two to three years. I ended up staying there five years then I went to the department of public works and transportation for six years on capitol budgeting. Which is building things, um, roads, buildings, bridges, that type of stuff. Then I went to a private internet company provider and they went bankrupt. And I went back to the Montgomery county revenue authority.
Tricia: So it didn’t relate to your degree in anyway?
Linda: No, it did not relate. I applied for jobs and then I went to Chicago to work on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange where they traded contracts for commodities and that related to my degree. However, the work I did was basic, um, office clerical work.
Tricia: When did you move away from home?
Linda: I moved away from home twice. The first time was when I moved up to Chicago to take the job at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and I lived with friends from college. From that job, I went to insurance jobs and I worked for Liberty Mutual as an insurance adjuster. Then I went to a company called North American Car and I worked internally on those workers’ compensation. I turned 25, I got all the information about retirement and I thought, I don’t want to do this for the rest of my life. For the next 40 years, because I was 25 and I had no interest in spending 40 more years doing that. So I applied to get my master’s degree out west and I applied to both Idaho and Washington State and so I moved out to Idaho and decided after a semester why was I borrowing money to get a master’s degree when I never used my bachelor’s degree. And at which point I went to Florida for my family vacation. My grandmother was not able to live by herself. So my family went back to Indiana and I stayed in Florida, not hard to do in January, February, or March. And we moved my grandmother back to Indianapolis and I moved back home. So I left home twice. The second time I left home, I had volunteered on Dan Burton’s campaign and worked for him in the Indianapolis office. I went to Washington in August of 1983 and that was the second time I left home. My mother is very concerned there might be a third coming back home.
Tricia: You’ve switched jobs multiple times, where are you now?
Linda: I am currently a contract employee for the United State’s treasury teaching budgeting and public financial management skills to other countries.
Tricia: Where has this job taken you what have you been doing?
Linda: I got this job, because I had fifteen year of hands on public budgeting skills and this job I got in October of 2005 and I lived in Baku, Azerbaijan and that put me there until August of 2008. I am now in Washington DC working at the office of technical assistance headquarters.
Tricia: What was your best experience working, at all?
Linda: I think the best experience is working with people and learning things. I have found sometimes I am very hard-headed and it’s hard for the information to get in. and so sometimes I’m miserable. But I’ve also learned that how you approach the job with your positive attitude and willing to do what needs to be done makes a big difference.