I’m entering the fifth week of a new job, doing something that I was never previously trained to do in a formal manner, something for which I never earned a college degree nor a near-4.0 grade point average in college nor a dean’s list honor like I did in computer programming.

The Careers Day poster they rejected
The Careers Day poster they rejected (Photo credit: Alun Salt)

Computer programming was “starting over” career-wise for me way back then, about 19 1/2 years ago.  It was a college education which helped that “new starting point” to bear some decent fruit, financially speaking.  It was at a time when the “Year 2000” was looming, and mainframe programmers were a hot ticket.

It was a fresh, new starting point after 16 years as a newspaper journalist where I learned — mostly on the job and through hard knocks, through observing some of the real journalistic pros of the day and developing my own style through them — enough to work my way up from a sports stringer’s job to a reporter to a sports editor to a managing editor of a small daily paper.  I worked very hard, took pride in my craft, and advanced as far as I could at the time without the benefit of a college degree.  The pay wasn’t great, but I was doing something I enjoyed, something that was honest and that served in the public’s interest.

I worked hard in the newspaper business.  I worked hard as a computer programmer.  Except for the last five years of the latter career, I earned some praise for my work and I have the performance reviews to prove it.  Those last five years … well, let’s just say my performance didn’t slack off, and there are bosses in this world who could learn a few things about how to motivate their people without resorting to ridicule and intimidation.

So, now, here I am, only five weeks into yet another career change and the “rewards” are closer to where they were in the old days when everything cost less.  But even now, I’m still working hard, putting in my absolute best effort, trying to learn as much as I can as quickly as I can, taking some pride in what I do.

And it’s being recognized.

Here I am, only five weeks into a new career in customer service, and I’m already in line to possibly move up from an agent’s position to a trainer’s position, where I can put some previous training and coaching and motivational experience to good use.

That’s what can happen when you put in your best effort, and you’re working for and with people who recognize and appreciate it.

After five years spent mostly going without that recognition and appreciation, leading up to over one year of being unemployed, it feels good.

The non-motivational ones still have a thing or two to learn, I’d imagine.

I’m still keeping an eye on the jobs front, still watching what happens as our lawmakers squabble over the non-jobs business without really getting down to the heart of what could help turn this economy around — creating jobs; creating decent-paying jobs that keep people housed properly, fed properly, clothed properly, cared for properly.

I’ll still be keeping an eye on what comes out of the mouth of President Obama Tuesday night in his State of the Union speech when it comes to the jobs front, and an eye on any action or inaction that follows on the jobs front.

I’m still very much like a lot of people out there these days, just struggling to survive despite busting my butt, thinking it’d take a second full-time job to do it and not even being sure that’s a sure thing.

It gets tiresome.

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One thought on “With one eye on the jobs front, an appreciation for appreciation

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