All my life I heard people say that “you cannot teach and old dog new tricks.” This just is not so and I recently had the chance to prove that at any age you can still improve your education and your thinking.
I am 55 and was fired from Asheville Metal Recycling. This was devastating to me. I took the job for a friend, Jerry, who owned the business. Jerry needed someone he could trust to handle the large amounts of money used in his every day business.
My job went well for several months but I began to see the dark side of Jerry. We would be talking and suddenly he’d yell that I had an attitude and he would “fire my f—ing a–.” I needed the job, so I just brushed it off. But the third time, I ask him what he meant. He yelled, “I was “f—ing fired,” so I walked out.
At my age I knew it would be hard to find a job. So I went to the local unemployment office. With gas prices high, I could not waste time driving around when one place had a list of jobs available. After tons of paper work and what seems hours of waiting, I got interviewed. Because I lost my job through no fault of mine, I could draw unemployment and take advantage of a program called WIA, which pays to train for a job skill. But, like any program, I had steps to follow.
First was an all day class on how to prepare for a job. What could this person possibly tell me about job hunting I do not already know? After all in 30 some odd years I have gotten several jobs all by myself. This would to be a waste of time.
I was there from 8 till 4 and when I got out I had a different view of myself and what I had to do. The main concept of the talk was I am worth something. To make the best of this I had to set a goal for myself. Setting a goal is deciding what the goal is, information to accomplish the goal, and biggest of all, following through with the goal.
Right then I decided my goal was to get a job with good pay, good benefits, and last for twelve years. To do this I needed more education than what I already had. So I headed to Blue Ridge Community College.
Jason, my WIA counselor, told me that along with my classes I can take a test on things I have learned in life and earn a Career Readiness Certificate. Prospective employers will accept this as work knowledge.
I finished my first semester and registered for my second. This whole ordeal has not only taught me book lessons but it has also taught me new ways to look at myself. As it turns out, this old dog did learn a few new tricks.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.