When I was young, about 17, I found myself out of high school, with no dad (divorced & moved 3,000 miles away), a mom who was recovering from abuse while trying to survive (without alimony/child support), and three brothers.
I was also broke.
I lacked any special talent such as music or art, college was out, and it seemed I had no real options other than work… to the point that I didn’t even think about it. (That in itself may have been the reason I didn’t see any other options. Whatever, that’s what happened.)
But, I did like to learn; liked to see what was going on and how things worked. To learn about cars, I ‘apprenticed’ at a garage by pumping gas for free, in return for being able to hang out, help a bit, and train or explore. I learned a lot.
I just went and got a job.
I looked for the best of whatever was available and that I could do. If the job was just for the money or in a bad environment – whether managerial, physical, or social – I’d look for the next best one and switch as soon as I could.
When I stopped learning or moving upwards on the money scale as needed, I found another job. This process was not always easy but I survived.
During these 46+ years, 50+ jobs, and 3 arguably successful business ventures, I found out a few things…
– I don’t like being told what to do. Shown what to do, yes. But not told as in “obey orders”.
– I don’t like working for people for money… which tends too much to reinforce the ‘obey me’ syndrome.
– And I found out I’m not very good with people; especially talking, though I have had some really great experiences.
I also found that for reasons that exist on many levels, I ‘had’ to be around people. I tend toward solitary, but apparently a hermit existence was not to be as I was always put in people situations, both work or social, even in the more solitary jobs. I believe that for some reason it was necessary for me to learn some things about people.
Eventually I discovered computer programming which agreed with me… and came with better pay. Besides, I didn’t really like some of the factory environments anyway and figured physical/manual work could be tricky when I got older. So, once again, since I did not have the resources to survive, learn the skill, or to support myself (alone) in this field, I kept working but switched tracks from factory/manufacturing to IS/IT.
Starting out as a cook in 1966 at the $1.20/hr minimum wage, in 2003 I peaked at $80,000/year as an IS/IT manager and Director of Warehouse Operations in a Natural Food Distribution Co-op with annual revenues of $150 million. I was responsible for close to 200 people, the computers, inventory, warehouse infrastructure, plant safety, and more. The job had its good points and its bad ones… good: totally cool!… bad: lots of time & stress.
In 2012, I finished off as a programmer (what I really liked to do, with minimal people interaction) at a local college (5,000 students), maintaining the course/students/grades/financials database, related software & its attendant operating system, with support for the hardware.
Through all this and as a result, I kept learning and growing in many different ways. Parts of the process really sucked but overall I’d say it was a good and mostly happy experience. Worth it…
Besides, that’s what life is about anyway, isn’t it?…
surviving, supporting oneself, keeping busy, and having some joy?
Just a thought