I Know The World Isn’t Fair, But Why Isn’t It Ever Unfair In My Favor?


Life is funny, it’s not always what you know, just like the story of John Kallam, the world renowned criminologist.

John Kallam graduated with a BA in criminology and joined the US Army. He served about 20 years and was investigating Nazi war criminals during the Nuremberg trials. He set up the new civilian police force in Germany, which took him about 20 years. During that
time he wrote numerous text books on criminal justice until he retired from the army as a full colonel.

Back home in California, he started teaching criminology at what is now called California State University, Fresno.

His teaching was well respected, but after about ten years of service, he was called to report to the president of the college.

He was informed that he could no longer teach with just a bachelor’s degree.

Times were changing, he was told, and the school demanded that faculty members hold a graduate degree.

Twenty years of experience was no longer considered adequate qualification to be a professor.

New faculty were being required to hold a doctorate, and the college had actually been doing him
a favor by letting him keep his job with ‘only’ a master’s degree.

Not put off, John enrolled in a summer program at an out of state college. 90 days of intensive seminars and then 9 months of home study would get him his new degree.

On the first day of class, the instructor was taking roll. He stopped when he read John’s name.

“Are you related to the John Kallam who wrote the textbook we’ll be using?” he asked.

“I am the John Kallam who wrote the textbook you’re using,” came the dry response.

So, success is not about what you know in the past, and it’s not about what is fair. It’s about the things we must do to move forward in the changing times we are faced with. And many of these things we need to do are not fair. Just like life was not fair to John. But he did what he had to do, just as I’m sure you will do too.

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Jetro Olowole

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