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Michelle Tandler, C’08

Category Manager, Thumbtack

San Francisco

Intellectual History Major

Over the course of my career I have often found myself thinking “I have no idea what I want to do next. I have no long-term plan.” Whether it was during my senior year in college or four years later at Microsoft, I kept wondering, “Where is this leading?” I’m a decade out of school, and I think this is the first time that I can see a vision of what 10 years out looks like. I’m in a role that feels like a true fit. It’s a really neat feeling, but it took me a long time to get here.

I’m in a role that feels like a true fit. It’s a really neat feeling, but it took me a long time to get here.

I think my senior-year self would have seen what I’m doing now as being consistent with the intellectual passions I developed while at Penn. I studied Intellectual History which focuses quite a bit on how society’s ideas and ideals progress and change over time. My first semester at Penn I took 17th Century Intellectual History with Professor Alan Kors. We started the course by learning about a world in which most people were illiterate, mass famine was the norm, and individuals were put on trial for asserting that the world was not flat. The invention of the printing press changed everything; people had access to knowledge in a way that had never existed before, the pace of scientific discovery sped up exponentially, and the quality of human life changed dramatically within just a few short decades.

The world has never been the same since, and I continue to be enthralled with the power that technology can have to change human lives. I think my senior year self would have been inspired to know I would be working on a high tech marketplace that connects individuals with one another to do work and get things done in a way that has never existed before. That is the kind of step change that makes history. — May 10, 2018 • Photo by Loraine Terrell

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