John Kaufeld’s entire demeanor is joyful.
He welcomes a complete stranger with a big smile and a friendly handshake, and within minutes he begins talking in funny accents.
John is a published writer and like many of his stories, when asked about his life, he is an open book.
But he never planned to be a writer. That aspect of him, like the majority of his life, was unexpected.
John went to Ball State University to become a professor. He said he had it all planned out: get his undergrad, his master’s degree, and finish with his Ph.D.
But that never happened.
He overslept the graduate management admissions test his senior year, and that one misstep changed his life-long plans.
So, instead he graduated with a business management degree and got a job.
Right out of college, John’s first job was working with PC tech support in Indianapolis.
“I’ve always been a people person,” John said. “But, I had a passion for computers. With this job, I got the opportunity to work with both.”
After that, John’s career started its rollercoaster ride of unexpected twists.
He worked for a network installation company, a computer graphics firm, did system analysis work for a few companies, PC programing, and analysis report writing.
During that time he got married and had two children, a boy and a girl.
“And then the story takes a very weird turn,” John said. “A past coworker of mine asked me if I would be a tech editor for a ‘For Dummies’ book.”
This book was supposed to be a “do it yourself” troubleshooting guide.
John said that when he went to edit it, the book was awful and the original author didn’t have the expertise on computers that he did.
So, they asked him to help write it.
Little did he know that this would lead to him writing “For Dummies” books for 10 years.
“I have 36 books published for the company,” John said. “With just under 3 million books in print, and a total of 15 languages around the world.”
He said he loved this time in his life, but it was very stressful. Each book was about 385 pages and they had to be written on an 8-week schedule. John said that’s about 5 pages per day.
After a decade of writing “For Dummies” books, and homeschooling his two children with his wife, John felt like it was time for a change.
So, on a whim, he decided to open a retail store in 1997.
His store, “More than Games,” sold American and well-known European board games.
John said he loved having the store open because it gave him the opportunity to work with people after being behind closed doors writing for so long.
In 2000, John and his family decided to move away from Indianapolis. John closed the store in Indy, but opened a new one here in Fort Wayne.
He kept the store open for a few years in Fort Wayne but eventually ended up closing in 2005. After that, John worked for a trade association. For that company, he helped buy and sell different types of games.
During that time John, unsurprisingly, had yet another twist in his life. In 2003 John and his wife welcomed another baby girl to the family.
John said after all of that, and much more, he ended up at a university. Since 2009, John has worked as the chief communications officer at IPFW.
He said that his favorite part about this job is the social media aspect and getting a chance to work with students.
“There are times that I feel like I live in your back pocket,” John said. “I hear the thoughts that are posted out there that have IPFW in them, and I get to help them even when they don’t ask. They have no expectation that I’ll actually respond to them.”
John said he never would have imagined that he would be working with social media the way it is today.
“When I got out of college I remember the first time that one of my friends explained to me, ‘Dude there’s this crazy thing called the internet and computers connect,’” John said laughing, mimicking his friend’s voice. “And I remember being like, ‘No way! That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard!’”
A lot has changed since then in John’s life, and in the technological world. Now-a-days, John likes to call himself “the secret voice of IPFW.”
When people complain about a problem they’ve had with the school or the school itself, John now has the ability to reach out and help students.
He said, even though it is through social media, John loves his job because he gets to work with people and help them solve any issues they might have.