In the New Economy, many of us will have to deal with mid-life career change. Many of us who assumed their future was secure are having to make unexpected adjustments. Take Erik Prince, for example. Mr. Prince is the founder of Blackwater, a private security firm. In case you didn’t know, Blackwater is the primary private contractor retained for various services in the surge in Iraq.
What has Blackwater been involved in? Just imagine a worst case scenario for American activities in Iraq. Then give it a caption: Blackwater. They’ve been involved in everything from the random execution of Iraqi cilvilians, to the bribery of Iraqi officials who threatened to expose those assassinations, to “extraordinary rendition” (i.e. kidnapping “persons of interest” and transporting them to countries with lax laws on torture for “questioning,” i.e. waterboarding), to participation in the CIA’s secret assassination program. And for the most part they’ve been operating without direct military oversight. But then, during Dubya’s golden era, wasn’t all that pesky government intervention something we outgrew?
Lately, however, it seems that the Feds have been showing a distinct lack of gratitude for Blackwater’s patriotic service. The fact is, Blackwater has been hit by a barrage of federal investigations and lawsuits which are costing the firm (now renamed Xe, pronounced “zee”) upwards of $2 million per month in legal fees. Ouch! This is the reward you get for selfless public service.
Naturally, Mr. Prince is feeling a bit disillusioned. He’s reached a crossroads in his personal life and his professional career. Sound familiar? Mr. Prince is in that zone of discomfort where you ask yourself, “What does it all mean? What am I working for? What happened to my youthful dreams?”
Apparently, Mr. Prince’s youthful dreams involved building the world’s largest private mercenary training complex (the Blackwater 7,000 acre facility on the North Carolina-Virginia border), and assembling the world’s largest, and most highly-compensated corps of mercenaries (nee Blackwater, now Xe). But never mind that, Mr. Prince has taken stock of himself, as we all must during our middle years, and has come through the other side like a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis.
And what is the result? Mr. Prince realizes that, surprise of surprises, he wasn’t meant to be the commander of an elite corps of mercenary killers after all. No, he was meant to be…a high school teacher! That’s right, as Mr. Prince told Vanity Fair, “I’m going to teach high school. History and economics. I may even coach wrestling. Hey, Indiana Jones taught school, too.”