When I was 16 I graduated from High School. I didn’t do well, but High School was such a nightmare for me, I was not going back there, in fact, I had no plans to ever go back to any school; and I did everything I could not to go back.
My first job was a student job in my community. We used chainsaws to clear land for a playground. Although the other kids were using the chainsaws, my dad made me promise I wouldn’t touch one. I thought it was because he thought I would hurt myself, but that wasn’t the reason. When I asked him why he said this, his reply was that I was too good to be a pulp cutter like him.
My dad worked at any job he could find. He didn’t have a lot of education, or confidence in himself. That being said, he was (and still is) a very hard worker. I remember Dad coming home from working in the woods all day, his clothing wet and filled with mud and balsam, and him being beat out from the hard work. God I wanted to be just like him.
After this job, and a lot of preaching, my parents
talked me guilted me into returning to school, this time at a local community college to do an accounting course. Did I mention I have always sucked at math?
At 16 years of age, I was the youngest student in the Clerk Accounting class. I was young and green, especially around girls. I felt like a kid (because I was) in the class. I did horrible on the tests, mainly due to my lack of math skills, the other reason was my overall hate for school in general.
One day the teacher called me into his office. He said my writing was atrocious. Well, I was so proud. No teacher ever praised my work like that. In fact, back in high school, I was actually asked to print, as my writing was unreadable.
I had to go home and brag to my parents and friends about the wonderful compliment the teacher gave me. My buddy heard me bragging and suggested I check out the dictionary, to see what the word meant. He didn’t think it sounded like much of a compliment at all.
I shouldn’t have looked in the damn book.
of a very poor quality; extremely bad or unpleasant.
Well, maybe my writing skills had not improved. Upon realizing this, I lost all interest in my future as an accountant. Even so, I had to do a work term at a local building supply company. What a nightmare. They didn’t trust me because I looked so young. I only just turned 17, duh.
I sat in a cold office all day staring at an old ledger. I wasn’t allowed to mark in it, just stare at the numbers. I was so bored. I could not imagine doing this for a living, even if it paid well. After two weeks, I was ready to quit. I went home to
talk plead to mom and dad, I had to get out of there.
My dad’s advice was to never give up. “You are working in a warm place with a roof over your head. I have never been that lucky. Stick it out, don’t give up, think of how hard I have to work.”
Once the work term was done, it was back to class. The only thing I was now interested was the bookkeeping class next door…all girls. I did so poorly in accounting, I got another call to the teacher’s office.
“Ted, you are not going to pass this program. We don’t want you to quit. Instead, we want to put you in the bookkeeping course. You can earn a certificate in bookkeeping, maybe make a few buck doing taxes or something.”
I didn’t hear anything past “we want to put you in the bookkeeping course”. The rest was just’ blah blah blah’. I was overjoyed. For once, I wanted to come to class. I was the only guy in the class, and unfortunately, the youngest person in the class. No matter, it was me and a crowd of girls.
I didn’t get the bookkeeping certificate either. I sucked in math bad enough, I couldn’t even achieve a certificate. The program ended after the grad. I may not have graduated from the program, but I did meet friends I still stay in contact with to this day.
Well, after that I knew school wasn’t for me. I applied for jobs but without an education besides a high school diploma with a 50% average, the jobs were not plentiful. Most of my friends were now heading for Toronto, where there were plenty of jobs. I had no desire to leave home, I knew where I wanted to work, if only I could convince my parents.