I was sixteen when I told my parents that I wanted to be a logger. My dad almost cried. Dad worked as a logger (and practically anything else he could find) for many years and his only wish was for me (and my siblings) to do something better.
They both coaxed me to do something else, like college or even trade school. I didn’t think I was ready to leave home at 16, so I opted to do a program at a local college. Clerk Accounting was the only program where there were seats available.
Armed with a terrible set of math skills, I attempted the program. I hated math throughout grade school and I hated it in trade school. One thing I did like were the girls in the business courses…perhaps the only reason why I continued the course.
The instructor told me that my writing was atrocious. Not knowing what the word meant, I thanked him for the compliment and continued to do my writing as sloppy as I had been, sometimes even more sloppy in hopes of another great compliment from him. I didn’t get one.
By Christmas it was obvious I wasn’t going to work as an accountant. BORING! Even if I could manage to finish the course, I wouldn’t want to work at this. I missed the outdoors and wanted to work along with my dad, in the woods.
After Christmas, all students in the Clerk Accounting program had to go out on a work term. Mine was with a now defunct building supply company. The owner was insane and never spoke one word to me the entire time I was there, (Two of the longest weeks of my life) and his sons (the manager and assistant manager) were as rude as the senior.
They wouldn’t let me do anything. Each day I was to sit and stare at an empty general ledger. This was done while sitting in an abandoned office next to the toilet. What a smell!
The only time anyone spoke to me was when the toilet was occupied. Being sixteen, nobody took me serious, not even me!
Back at the college for two more months of suffering. Typing and office management courses. I must say, the only thing I took from the entire program was my typing knowledge. I learned to type on an old manual Sears typewriter. I was second fastest typist in the school, bet only by a limber fingered girl who I had a crush on.
Trouble with learning to type on a manual typewriter? I pound the keys. I usually go through two keyboards per year, (Even now!!)
One day the instructor approached me. He said that my math grades weren’t high enough to pass the course (big surprise), and that he recommended that instead of working to obtain a Clerk Accounting diploma, I should work towards a Bookkeeping certificate instead. This meant that I would be moved from the CA class and into a female filled Bookkeeping classroom. Of course I agreed!
I didn’t do well with that class either. I spent too much time looking at all the girls. Remember, I was sixteen. (youngest graduate in high school that year) I bet I would have scored 100% if I was tested on the names of the women in the classroom!
Anyway, once I finished the school year, bookkeeping certificate (worthless anywhere in the world) in hand, I quickly traded my general ledgers and pencils for a chain saw, and did what I always wanted to do….for twenty years.
I am working at a great job now, but still look back fondly on all the years I worked alongside my dad, cutting pulpwood, chatting, and basically loving life.