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Social Insecurity - Personal Essay

Essay by   •  October 13, 2018  •  Creative Writing  •  1,740 Words (7 Pages)  •  130 Views

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        As a child I was always taught that I needed to go to school, get good grades and get a job.  1st through 12th grade we spent roughly 14,000 hours being taught this basic theory, and then most of us spend the rest of our lives trying to figure out what went wrong.  Why did I follow the mainstream, and do what I was “supposed” to do?  And now I find myself in a situation where I am going to work for the next 40 to 50 years of my life only to retire and still have to get another job in order to make ends meet because “social insecurity” just isn’t what we thought it was going to be.  This story ends with the majority of us working until the day we die.  Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with working hard for as long as you can.  I truly believe that many people begin to lose their health and minds when they retire because their body starts to shut down.  The trick is to find something that you can work hard at that you actually enjoy and that will pay you enough to give you the lifestyle that you desire.

        Now let’s not forget that this 14,000 hour battle does not end for everyone at 14,000 hours.  For those of us that chose to get a higher education, depending on the type of degree being pursued, you can add another 6,000 to 10,000 hours on top of that.  I fall into this latter category.  I chose to enter college with a Computer Science major because myself and a buddy did really well in a computer programming class in High School. I was also working full time in the restaurant industry as an entry level manager.  I quickly got behind in my math and computer languages classes.  This did not bid well for my computer science career, so I decided to switch to a Computer Information Systems major, because that is the natural transition for someone who could not manage a CS degree.  This transition into the CIS department was going about as well as my CS quest.  The problem was that I was young, and had very little guidance.  I chose the night life and work over going to class and applying myself towards my degree.  For the next 2 years I toiled away in my classes wasting not only my time, but the time of my professors and basically anyone I came in contact with.  I did not feel like I was accomplishing anything.  I was going through the motions and doing a poor job at it.  All the while my actual work life was going well.  I had started to advance up the ranks solely based on my merit.  It was then that I was told that WKU actually had a Hotel/Restaurant/Tourism major.  I went and talked to one of my advisors and I quickly made my transition into my newest area of focus.  I just knew that I could still focus on my career and actually take some classes that were relevant to my interests.  I took classes for the next 2 years and did ok, but never really hit my stride.  I was still advancing at work and realized that being in the restaurant industry did not require me to have a degree.  It was then that I made the decision after 6 long years at the University to throw in the towel.  I was going to focus on my restaurant career, where my experience trumped my education.  

        With school no longer in the way I was able concentrate on making a living at what I knew best.  I spent the next 16 years doing just that.  I started in the restaurant industry as a pimply faced 16 year old kid washing dishes, and worked my way into a management position with that company which allowed me to transition into a larger management role at a different company and finally into a District Manager role at another company.  I spent 12 years in this role working my tale off and getting desired results.  One Monday in January I was called into the conference room for an impromptu meeting and was informed that due to cutbacks, my position was being eliminated.  Talk about taking a punch to the gut.  I worked hard and was good at my job, but all of that mattered not.  I was being released back into society as a 41 year career restaurant manager with no degree.  I had worked in the industry for over 25 years, made many sacrifices with my family and friends and now had nothing but a pink slip to show for it.  It was time for me to do some evaluating of my life.  I was married with 3 children at the time of my termination and was about 2 paychecks away from bankruptcy.  I did not realize until then how vulnerable my situation was.  I had let myself become complacent in my life and felt secure in my paycheck every 2 weeks.  I had traded my time for money for so long that I had been tricked into thinking that it was okay for me to miss seeing my kids grow up and miss family events.  I was fooled into believing that as a grown man I needed a job that I had to ask someone if it was okay if I went to the bathroom.  I had to ask someone if I could take a week off to spend with my family going on a vacation to escape my life.  How could I have allowed myself into being tricked into this illusion of allowing a company to dictate my entire existence.

        Shortly after my termination, I met a gentleman that at the time I did not realize it, but he would go on to be a very important mentor to me.  He showed me how we had been lied to and tricked from such an early age.  He also showed me that with some humbleness and sheer determination, I could turn things around.  I could take matters into my own hands and take control of my future without having to rely on a company to ensure that my family was taken care of.  If I did it right, not only could I take care of my family, I could help take care of others as well.  

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