Monday, August 24, 2015

Work ~ My column from Sunday's paper

For the first time in many years, I’m doing work that I love which makes it fun going to work.

This past week it got even better when I moved into a new office at Bevill State. My old office wasn’t much bigger than a broom closet, but I work part time, so I guess that a spacious office with its own bathroom wasn’t practical.

The new office is a little bigger. It has two large bookshelves and floor to ceiling windows. My heart soared when the planner took me around there and asked if I liked it. I would have hugged her on the spot, but I didn’t want to freak her out and blow the deal before I got the key.

Last week I moved my books, binders and phone to the new space. The view outside the window is of the courtyard, full of crepe myrtles the color of watermelon. Though I don’t spend much time looking out the windows, I have to say that having them makes going into the office even more enjoyable.

My last few years with MaBell were grueling. My team, which consisted of me and three other guys, were responsible for hardware maintenance on all the mid-range computers in the continental U.S. If a computer failed, one of us was on the phone, coordinating technicians, parts shipments and manning the outage line.

You would not believe how snippy upper-level management gets when they are losing thousands of dollars every hour a computer is broken. If the outage was extended, the responsible manager forfeited bonus money. There were days I went home wound tighter than a tenor banjo. It was a thankless job. I think working as a credit collector would have been more enjoyable.

At Bevill State, I work helping people over 50 years old find work by getting them training and helping them get their ducks in a row so they can find work.

This much I know for sure. The people who come through our program, improve their skills, and get aggressive in their job search are finding jobs. Almost half the people I’ve worked with are now gainfully employed.

We helped a woman recently who had not worked in years. She’d gone through a nasty divorce and was having a hard time making ends meet. She was told during that ordeal that a woman her age and with her skillset was unemployable. Those words were tough to swallow.

She attended a BTW 50+ session, and we were able to offer her a training scholarship to attend truck driver training. She aced the course. A few days after she got her Commercial Drivers License, she landed a job delivering produce to military bases around the south.

She called me the day she landed the job. I got a lump in my throat as I listened to the pure joy in her voice. My heart soared along with hers.

Don’t tell my boss, but I would do this work even if I didn’t get paid. The new office with windows is just an added benefit.

Courtyard drama club last spring


  1. If you wake up and want to get to the job, it isn't work.

    All that and windows too...GREAT!!

  2. Anonymous8:54 PM

    Work is something you HAVE to do--not WANT to do!!

  3. Ahh, I can imagine the pride in knowing the RIGHT ending, or beginning.

    Oh and about the job using the phone to walk folks thru repairs, I was once responsible for the IBM gear on GITMO and on an Aircraft carrier. I didn't need the phone assistance many times, but when I did it was sure good to know someone on the other end knew what they were doing. So I do know the OTHER end, and relief it was....

  4. You must feel such satisfaction when you can help anyone especially someone like the "unemployable" woman. And good for her too.

  5. An office with floor to ceiling windows. Bliss!

    Ms Soup

  6. The job sounds amazing Rick... and having a window is great. I had one, then had to move... I miss being able to look out... hopefully I 'll get a window back in the near future. Have a great day :-)

  7. To have a job you like is wonderful. When you like what you do it isn't really work at all.

  8. Your own work is a success story. I'm glad you have found your niche and are happy at what you do. I would give up dairy farming in a blink of an eye right now as it's hard dirty work seven days a week. I'm tired and burnt out and I'm going on 69. Certainly not very employable at my age.

  9. Oh, Rick, that's so great. Congratulations, not on the office but the way you help people.


  10. You're doing a great thing, Rick. Glad you get to do it from a BETTER office! The view really helps, believe me.

  11. Windows make such a big difference. I use to be in a broom closet for an office but now it is much bigger and nicer. Isn't it nice to hear when someone is so appreciative of your work and they let you know. You should be proud of yourself. If we can help one person we make all the difference. I just had a lady in my office who is not in good shape physically but she can type and learn etc... I gave her a place to start to see if she can find something where she can work from home. As long as it doesn't entail standing, walking, etc... she can do what she can. I felt bad for her.

  12. I can keep a secret and won't tell anyone.


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