In my ongoing search for a better job, I have constantly been told to join LinkedIn as a way of connecting with potential employers. I was also told that LinkedIn was a better choice for serious discussions than other social media sites like Facebook. Yesterday was the day I signed up. I even put a picture of myself out there and added a new resume. I forced myself to go against conventional wisdom and started my chronological resume in 1964 when I started working for my dad. I was just 10 years old when he made me start cleaning the building.
The truth is, I learned an awful lot about work in those first few years of pushing a broom and frankly I’m really proud of that 50 cents an hour I got for keeping the place clean, so why shouldn’t I include that on my resume? All of what I am at 58 is the cumulative experience of nearly 50 years of hard work, making mistakes, looking foolish and never giving up. It seems to me, those are the attributes most employers should be looking for, not what my sheepskin says about me. I loved the college experience but four years there pales in comparison to 40 years of blood, sweat and tears.
The truth is, I’m older and wiser than I was last year. I can’t change my age but I can change the way people perceive my age. I have so much more to offer now than I did at 24, when I was taking over the company. I had virtually no clue what I was doing, even with my B.S. My dad was there to help me over the humps but he let me fail repeatedly just to make sure I learned the essential lessons. He knew I needed to figure it out for myself and avoiding the pain of failure wouldn’t help me in the long run. That’s what makes life interesting and the longer we live the more opportunities we get to test ourselves and evolve into something much wiser than we were in our younger days.
The truth is, my mind is the sharpest it has ever been right now. I see things more clearly now than I ever did 20 years ago. What I have to offer now is wisdom, clarity of purpose, honesty, dedication and integrity. I earned these traits the hard way and I am humbled by these gifts of character. I don’t think of myself as old and I wish the world would slow down long enough to consider the benefits of hiring those of us with lengthy careers. I don’t need to have the corner office or the big title but I do need to make a difference in the work I do. That’s why I have worked with foster children these last few years. I have skills that these kids desperately need, especially the ones without fathers. The things I have learned from these kids have given me a perspective on the true meaning of life that I needed to hear, even at 58.
The truth is, life is short and meaningful work is essential to any amount of happiness I will ever possess. I want to work as long as I possibly can and retirement sounds like slow death to me. I would jump at the chance to work for any organization that needs mentors for the next generation. I have a rare combination of experience and the ability to teach valuable lessons to young people and I enjoy doing that. I don’t have an ego that demands credit or needs validation. I achieved everything I ever set out to do in business and now it’s my turn to give back. I am eager to be the old coach who knows all the trick plays and who takes great pleasure in seeing his players succeed, just like my dad did for me. Life is more about the mark we leave on the world with our deeds than with our possessions. More stuff doesn’t appeal to me at all but more knowledge and more people to share it with, that would be great.
The truth is, I have to keep working and trying to make a difference. I don’t want to waste any of my remaining years sitting on my butt worrying about what might have been. But the other truth is, I need someone to believe in me and give me an opportunity to make a difference. So if you’re out there reading this on LinkedIn, please contact me and hear what I have to say. You might be amazed how much I have to offer and for a price you can well afford. Can you see now? Truth really is more of a stranger than fiction.
©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.