In the fabulous world of industry there are many, many job descriptions held by many, many people. The practical consequence of this is that there are a great number of channels in which the river of your career can flow. Opportunities come and go like eddies in the stream. We advance and sometimes retreat.  Our enthusiasms can reach flood stage or can reduce to a trickle in draught. Our intentions can be muddy or clear.

In the end, though, all rivers run into the sea. Careers can flow narrow and fast or broad and slow. But the unique social status and circle we enjoy in this stream of time is eventually lost into the brackish waters of retirement. 

For academicians and industrialists alike, a PhD buys a seat as a lower level dignitary- a prince. For the academic prince, with hard work and luck, one rises through rank and tenure to become a lord or cardinal living the courtly life of intellectual privilege under the glow of eternal admiration. A prince of academe has but to walk into a classroom to gather the attention and fear of post-pubescent underlings. Through midterms, they hang on your every word. You are golden, and every year brings a new crop of young admirers.

In industry, the fierce hydraulic pressure of what-have-you-done-for-me-lately constantly tips the crown from your head. An industrial prince or princess can be expected to labor in a more diverse variety of capacities. Negotiating raw material prices, feasting with customers, or building a corporate trebuchet. Ominously, an industrial prince may find him/herself in oversight of activities that might one day be filmed by helicopters from a safe distance up wind.

An industrial prince can find himself suddenly in full battle dress swinging an axe from a wounded horse. The Viking warlords of mergers and aquisitions will storm the palace with their corporate siege engines and announce a restructuring of the kingdom. Programs throughout the principality will be halted. Serfs will lay down their scythes in the field and let the barley rot where it stands. Lesser princes will be sacrificed to Odin and upper middle-age cardinals will be sent to the moors in the north to live in sanctuary with the Brothers of Eternal Consternation.

What remains will be a thinner core of chastened cubicle-courtiers huddling behind the organizational battlements. Survivors of the siege. One day the new archbishops and cardinals will arrive in their red silk vestments during the antiphon, bearing their strange implements and unfamiliar liturgy. Thus begins a new age.

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