Since Sep 24, 2007
Born in Tenn. Extremely poor. Very limited education. A very hungry childhood.
Dropped out of high school at 13 in the 10th grade when family dissolved due to divorce. Lived on the streets until enlisting in the Navy at 17. My youth was rudderless and without much guidance. Had little sense of responsibility until roughly 20 years of age.
Marriage and fatherhood gave me the sense of purpose I think I had always sought. Became the proud father of two beautiful little girls. Nothing like them in this world.
Life took on a new meaning. I approached each job with gratitude and thanks for the opportunity. Whether a job as janitor or in an assembly plant, each day began with an intensity to do the absolute best I could that day. To have the cleanest toilets in any plant in America. To set new records each day in productivity and efficiency when working in manufacturing.
Never sought “job protection” other than what I could earn by my own merit. Vowed early in my work to always remember “Day One”, just how happy I was the day I got the job and how fortunate I felt. Lived a motto that should I ever fail to remember that day, I owed my resignation to all involved, myself, my employer and my fellow employee. I felt I was hired as much for my attitude as my talent and usefulness. If the attitude were to change, it was a breach of contract on my part.
When not making money enough to provide as my family needed, I found part time work to supplement and at times carried my full time job along with two part time positions at once.
A $1/hr janitor/lead smelter job and my dedication to task led to an apprenticeship position in typesetting (unionized). Took this position as seriously as any other job but the going was rough with a great deal of peer pressure to perform at a lower standard than I was capable of.
Was granted journeyman classification after five years and worked for another twelve years in all available phases but primarily as a linotype operator. That was an absolutely amazing piece of machinery and a pure joy to operate each and every day. Magnificent memories.
Despite not having a HS diploma, at 30 years of age I tested ready for community college entry without any preparatory requirements. With an eye on the future, I worked full time (typesetting) while operating my small woodworking business all while studying mechanical engineering. At this point in my life, I was ready for further education and ready to pay the bill for getting it without leaning on others to pay my way.
In short order, I became wrapped up in maintaining my 4.0GPA over all else and soon burned myself out with self inflicted pressure. My papers, my work, my attention to detail and my love of the subject matter would pay off in years to come but my exhaustion led to my never completing the last six courses required for a degree.
In time, I garnered my talents, interests, attitude and GPA into a very entry level position as a draftsman. This in turn offered me contacts and many opportunities for growth and enrichment. Within a few years, I was offered an engineer in training position at a GM facility. This was bending all the upper management/HR rules where such hiring is based solely on educational credentials strictly-no exceptions.
Fortunately for me, I was blessed that some saw more in me than your normal human resourses cares to take an interest in. And as blessings tend to come in pairs, I was soon contacted by my old community college with interest in my teaching a course in my field of engineering expertise. I took their offer and for 18 years, it was a small chance to give a little back for all the good that had washed over my life.
As a working engineer through the years, I was rewarded in many, many ways. Good pay, wonderful challenges, exciting assignments and multiple promotions leading to my eventual position as Sr. Facilities Engineer with more areas of responsibility than I would even care to mention.
Life has been very good to me and I have many great people to thank for helping to make my career possible and as enjoyable as it was.
At 60, I retired and now concentrate on enjoying my woodshop, making special creations for family and loved ones and getting the biggest thrill out of the smile on their faces along with the hugs and kisses. My woodshop and the projects therein provide me great comfort, enjoyment, peace and escape.
Naturally, my idle moments are spent with FR where I began freeping in 1995, finally took the time to register in 2007, and may even someday post an article IF I think it has appropriate merit and would be of interest to other Freepers.
Time will tell.