68-Year-Old Who Spent 50 Years At Same Company Without Degree Has One Regret


The story of Kip Turner is just one remarkable detail after another. He pursued two very different but equally intense fields at 18 before becoming an engineer, an occupation he maintained at the same place for 50 years – all without the associated degree. But throughout this whirlwind life, Turner, now 68, only has one regret.

Turner has been with AT&T since the early ’70s, when he made a trek to Little Rock for a job interview – and the rest is history. He says retirement is very likely on the horizon – within the next few years or so – and he’ll leave behind around eight different roles he’s served at this very same company for five decades. Armed with so much unique experience, here’s what Turner has to share with the next generation looking to shape their endless tomorrows.


Kip Turner has carved a winding path to get to where he is now


Going back to age 18 saw Turner wrapping up a year of studying animal science at Arkansas State University. But that year was just one small piece of a very large pie that required a lot more schooling. Turner felt he would need a job just “to even think about that” and dropped out.

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Turner had a job as a lumber truck driver but wanted a change of pace in that area too. He asked his dad, who worked with Southwestern Bell Telephone, if there were job openings in the telecommunications field in general. Turner’s first job with AT&T was that of station installer. By that point, Turner did not have a bachelor’s degree and learned all the relevant skills on the job.

Turner had around eight jobs with AT&T, most of them lasting from two to five years, with the biggest exception being his most recent job as product development engineer, which he maintained since 2009.

Kip Turner wants others to pursue what interests them and not let requirements stop them from trying

Turner’s educational background was not in engineering – in fact, he did not have any specific college degree that might have fit his decades-long work with AT&T. But he still pursued work there anyway.

“I’ve been to probably 150 different training courses all over the country on everything from basic troubleshooting to microwave radio engineering, fiber optic engineering synchronization, maintenance, maintenance support for microwaves engineering,” Turner shared with CNBC Make It. ” No degree. So, he urges job seekers, just give it a go. Apply to that position. Believe in yourself enough to trust you will learn what’s important for the job.

Kip Turner was at the same job for 50 years but has just one regret / Unsplash

On that note, though, Turner does admit, “I would have loved to have completed an engineering degree.” AT&T reportedly offers chances for employees to go back to college, but with retirement looming near, Turner does not see himself taking advantage of this offer, as he hasn’t after five decades, which remains his sole regret.

At the end of the day, don’t hesitate. Pursue that dream in your academics and your career.

Turner encourages others to pursue whatever interests them / Unsplash

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