During a time where jobs are scarce for people graduating from college, college students can use all the help they can get from an alumni of West Chester University.Thomas Faustman is a WCU alum, Vietnam vet, businessman and writer. He came to WCU to play basketball, but eventually dropped off the team because he was “burned out.” Faustman didn’t totally quit basketball though. He coached grammar school teams during college in order to keep his skills up. At first, he wanted to do coaching as his career because teaching was his passion, but he ended up graduating with an English degree before the draft.
After graduating, Faustman was drafted into the army and was sent to Vietnam. “I had the misfortune of having a draft number with the birth date they wanted,” he remembers. “If you didn’t go to graduate school, you were drafted. People tried to fail the physical by drinking excessively to raise their blood pressure,” he says.
Faustman served as a military policeman in Vietnam, which gave him some tools for his future job. After getting married right after he returned from Vietnam, he had to take any job that he could find. Faustman says that the general public was skeptical of the veterans who returned home. They were viewed as bad people to hire because they were “screwed up in some way.”
A friend from WCU was the one who set Faustman up for his first job as an insurance fraud claims investigator. “I could read, I could write, but in the business community, the people were mostly business majors.” Back in those days, many people didn’t have the luxury of their parents helping them out in regards to career advice. “You did it yourself. It was a different time looking for jobs,” he says.
His first job took him on contingency because he didn’t have an Ivy League background but his English degree helped him turn a 10 page description of screws and bolts into three paragraphs. He made $4000 a year at his first job and another job at Traveler’s Place opened up that would give him a company car and $6000 dollars a year. “We had enough to make our apartment payment. We had $5 leftover. Dinner at the parents’ homes was frequent,” Faustman said.
Eventually, Faustman worked his way up to become a vice president at the company he worked for. He embarked on a self -study on what he needed to do to get ahead. “A lot of it was luck and this and that,” he says. He was formally trained in mentoring and was stunned by the lack of common sense training. The people he worked with had no ability to read people, to dress well, or hold meetings. He started keeping track of his study and eventually wrote a book on it.
“Chameleon Skills: An Irreverent Guide Up the Corporate Ladder” is based on Faustman’s experiences as he climbed the corporate ladder. It offers advice to aspiring businessmen and women on how to study your boss. He says, “It’s the right thing to do. You won’t get this in business school.”
He uses humor to explain the different ways to succeed in business, which is why he feels that college students will relate to it.
To learn more about how you can purchase Faustman’s book and read reviews on this book, visit his website www.thomasfaustman.com.
Margaret Weaver is a third year student majoring in English. She can be reached at MW678077@wcupa.edu.