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Lifestyles
The School of Hard Knocks Print E-mail
by James Reza    Thu, Mar 7, 2013, 10:02 AM

My dear friends, though I’ve had some college courses and credit hours in the area of computer software, I never have received a diploma from an accredited college.  But, as the heading of my piece states I’ve learned a lot in the School of Hard Knocks.  I wrote this piece some 12 years ago but I honestly feel that in this downward economy for the last 5 years I’m compelled to re-release it. Particularly for those who are out of a job or will soon be graduating and be seeking employment in a harsh economic situation our country is facing with this anti business, anti oil drilling in our country and over taxing socialist group that is putting a burden on all hard American workers and business owners.  Hopefully, my work and financial experience in my life can help some of you.

“James, I am sorry, but I am going to have to lay you off.”  That was the bad news my supervisor had for me early one morning in January 1991. Though shocked by the news, my supervisor’s explanation as to why he was laying me off was more jolting.  “James, you are a better word processor than the others in my department and you’ll probably fare better in obtaining a job. Besides, I have been told you have rental property and make extra money playing music.”

Lesson No. 1:  Never reveal any outside business ventures you may have.  Some bosses who are downsizing their workforces will try to be compassionate and keep employees who barely are making it, regardless of how good a worker you may be.

As other workers were given our separation papers from the aircraft company, several cried and lamented the loss of their well paying jobs we all enjoyed.  “How will I pay for the new house I just bought?’ one asked.  “How will I pay for my kids’ college tuition?” another sobbed.  “My wife is pregnant! How will I adequately take care of my new born baby!” yet another wondered.

Lesson No. 2:  Never spend more than you make.  Tear up your credit cards, especially if you tend to overuse them.  And more important, save enough money to cover your house, grocery and utility bills for at least three months or longer.

In all fairness, my soon to be former employer was extremely good to his soon-to-be ex-workers.  We were given a two-year training certificate to any accredited college, and I eventually enrolled at a community college and took every available new software courses in word processing, my work trade.  I was able to attend college because my wife was still employed and the TEC would pay me unemployment benefits as long as I attended school to improve my job skills.  But, the ace up my sleeve was the three pieces of property that I owned, which help me pay for my house mortgage.

Lesson No. 3:  Don’t assume that because you have a degree or a skillful trade you will easily find employment in your given profession or trade with the same pay.  Many of my fellow workers took advantage of the two-year free school program and actually changed careers.  Many did just as well or better than before.

After I finished my schooling, I took my time in looking for a new job.  I searched for one that offered security, good benefits, decent pay, and hopefully a retirement investment program.  After searching the job market, I targeted government-related jobs (city, county, state, and federal) and school districts.  I also kept in touch with fellow co-workers for job leads and unashamedly told friends and fellow parishioners at my church that I was looking for work.

By sheer coincidence, I ran into a good friend who happened to be a Tarrant County commissioner who used to hire me to entertain with my music group at his political gatherings. He invited me to his office to chat, and during our visit I told him I was searching for a job.  Unaware that I was unemployed, Commissioner Johnson asked me if I had taken the county’s civil service test.  I told him that I had and passed it with flying colors.  “How fast can you type?”  “Seventy words per minute,” I said,  “Are you familiar with Word Perfect?” he continued.  “I just finished a course in it at a local college,” I answered.  “Good, you are just the type of office worker I am looking for.”  I shook his hand and thanked him.  At the age of 55, I embarked on a new career as a Bookkeeper II for Commissioner J. D Johnson’s Precinct 4.

Lesson No. 4:  Though difficult to do at times, due to unforeseen circumstances take time in looking for a new job.  Sometimes in haste, once can get into a dreadful job situation that you regret getting in to.  Never be ashamed of letting others know you are out of work.  Remember, even chief executives get the ax. No one is immune particularly in this dire economy our country is in today.

At the age of 61, I was asked by my county supervisor if I would like to learn to be a heavy equipment operator due that I never miss work, was always on time and never turned down working overtime.  My supervisor told me, “James, I like your work ethics and you will definitely earn a better salary than working in the office.”  I told him that I never drove anything bigger than my pickup.  He responded, “James, I will send you to a heavy equipment operator school run by Texas A&M and I’m almost sure that in several months you should be able to operate heavy equipment.”  After attending the heavy equipment operation school for 5 months I was awarded a Heavy Equipment Operator Certificate.  Later, I passed my test for a commercial driver’s license that I still have.

Lesson No. 5:  You are never too old to learn!

 

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Comments (4)add comment
...
written by Jiveman1 , March 07, 2013

Lesson No. 6:
Be honest with the facts, so that you can see the truth. and "REALLY" learn.



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written by JC , March 08, 2013

Experience talking here! A man that had a plan and who had NO plan to fail!

Good advise throught this article. I hope many struggling within this economy will read what james has shared.

Thanks for taking time to encourage us, Jaames.



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written by Jiveman1 , March 15, 2013

"Thanks for taking time to encourage us, Jaames."

Do you "REALLY" believe Jaames will get the economy going? If you've learned anything from him. it's that he likes to blow his horn. Not only that, he thinks everyone should go his way.

Who's going to do the "LABOR JOBS" that really keep this country moving. And some think 9$ per hour is "TOO MUCH"?
If you ask me, he's disgusting. "PITIFUL."



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written by jiveman1 , March 24, 2013

Freedom of speech: I'll try again.

#2:
People losing their jobs must be hitting this blog very hard. When I try to post something, it takes more than a week for some-one to allow it to post. We must be running out of moderators. I posted this about a week ago.

"Thanks for taking time to encourage us, Jaames."

Do you "REALLY" believe Jaames will get the economy going? If you've learned anything from him. it's that he likes to blow his horn. Not only that, he thinks everyone should go his way.

Who's going to do the "LABOR JOBS" that really keep this country moving. And some think 9$ per hour is "TOO MUCH"?
If you ask me, it's disgusting. "PITIFUL."

Quote:
"A man that had a plan and who had NO plan to fail!"

There are many ways he/you can fail; and it's very obvious that he has "FAILED."





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