This I Believe

Les - Lewes, Delaware
Entered on November 17, 2008
Age Group: 65+

My dad told me work hard for your boss and you will rise up the company ladder and retire with a pension.

My father knew the Depression up close and until the Second World War and the improvement in the job market, there was not many jobs to go round.

But I listened to his philosophy and believed that I would probably work for one company for the rest of my life.

I was well on my way to that goal when I discovered that the man I worked for never really knew or appreciated what I did for him. What’s more, I discovered that the president of the company he wanted to merge with had a son who wanted my job.

Good bye plans!

I decided I would quit but along the way everybody cautioned me that I was throwing the baby out with the bathwater including my family.

Headstrong, I went ahead buoyed by the support of my wife, I decided to start up my own business.

It was the height of a recession and I had never run a business before and I had a mortgage and two infants.

The family was lighting candles.

But we made it and I learned one of two lessons that have stayed with me: Listen to yourself before you listen to others because although they may mean well, they are often wrong.

The second lesson I learned working for business and industry. I discovered that most business people I met cared nothing about their impact on people’s lives and the environment. I realized that the only way I could change that was by becoming an activist in every sense of the word.

I retired early to do just that.

By that time, global warming was raising its head and people were emitting pollution enough to affect the health of everyone on this planet.

It was time to do something.

I started something I called the Power of One Society and its aim was to change something for the positive. That meant writing a letter, taking a poll, putting together a petition, calling your congressman, picketing, marching with a group of friends in protest, etc.

And gradually I saw that it worked and it convinced me that there is nothing that one person cannot do to change the world for the better.

That has become my personal philosophy now and I still practice it as a writer and a teacher.