Teddy Higgins '93
magine this scenario. You live in a materialistic society. You routinely hear about athletes, singers, and movie stars earning millions of dollars. You dream that someday it could be you living that kind of life style. Doesn't take too active of an imagination to feel that you won the lottery if you could ever be in a similar position.
Now imagine that you've been blessed by our creator with extraordinary mental and physical abilities. You're even gifted enough to receive an athletic scholarship to the University of Notre Dame. God must really love you!! Soon you'll be having Fortune 500 companies competing for your services.
You can see it now. Living in a big city like Chicago. Driving a nice car. Making good money. No college debt. The sky is the limit. The future is so bright there aren't strong enough sunglasses to wear.
And then you decide to give it all up.
Impossible you say!
Stranger than any fiction you've ever read!!
Doesn't fit the profile of the xennial generation!!!
Not really, for this is the career path taken by Teddy Higgins from Saint Peter and Paul School's Class of 1993.
Teddy ran cross country and track at Naperville North and was good enough to receive a scholarship from the Fighting Irish for whom he competed in both sports for all four years. He was a business major and was hired by Price Water House Cooper upon receiving his degree. His first day of work was September 11, 2001 and he found himself on the 105th floor of the Amoco Building in Chicago. While that may not have been a life changing moment in and of itself, it certainly gave him pause to rethink his future.
The summer following his senior year in South Bend, he had taken an EMT basic class and was fired up about a possible career change. He liked it so much that, after a year with Price Waterhouse, he enrolled in a paramedic school at Malcolm X College (Chicago) run by the Chicago Fire Department. That led to an internship with the CFD and his degree in 2003. After applying to houses in Evanston, Oak Lawn, Champaign, Hanover Park, and Madison (WI) among others, he was ready to accept a job with Hanover Park when the chief at Madison called to inform him he was one of 16 candidates chosen out of a pool of 1500 applicants.
Last October he celebrated his 15th year in Wisconsin's capital city. He began as a firefighter, took classes to be a firefighter / paramedic, and then was promoted to be an engineer and assigned to drive one of the company trucks. In January of 2016 he was made a Lieutenant which means he is in charge of one of the 3 platoons his station employs.
Not to fret that Teddy wasted his Notre Dame business
degree. As firefighters work shifts where they are on call for 24 hours and then off for 48, Teddy is also a principal officer for the Fire Department union. His responsibility as secretary/treasurer for Firefighters Local 311 includes dealing with 11 different Fire/EMS collective bargaining units representing 450 members in Dane County on issues ranging from contract negotiations, grievances, pensions, benefits, and workman's comp claims. He recently spent five days in Washington DC lobbying Congress for new laws.
Teddy and his wife, Liz, whom he met at a South Side Irish parade in Chicago, have three children. Maggie is 11, William 9, and Patrick 6. All attend Our Lady Queen of Peace in Madison where Teddy also coaches basketball and volleyball. In addition, Teddy is a pipe major and has played the bagpipes at funerals and celebrations since 2006.
Does he ever regret that his college friends have surpassed him with their careers and lifestyle? "Absolutely not," Teddy says emphatically. "I have great balance to my life, have a career that is super exciting and equally as rewarding, and my 20 days off a month allow me to enjoy a great quality of life," he said.
"Actually it's my friends who are jealous of me," he said with a smile on his voice. "They're fighting the rat race, developing ulcers along the way, and are expected by their employer to put in long hours. Their work travel also wreaks havoc with their health and home life. I'm perfectly content with my decision and have never looked back with regret for even one minute," he stated happily.
Teddy is proof of the famous axiom attributed to Confucius.... Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.