So, I’m teaching now. I got a job as an adjunct professor in the communications department at Columbus State University.
I sat in the unemployment office three years ago, feeling like somebody just hit me with a baseball bat. The counselor conducting the seminar opened with,”One of the best things you can do if you find yourself without a job is to go back to school. Learn a new trade. Take on something you think you cannot do.”
So I did.
After two semesters in undergrad and five in grad school at the University of Memphis, I am retrained and productive. And I could not have done it without help…excellent professors, unemployment benefits, and student loans. Those who curse the government for what it “gives” people can put your comments where the sun doesn’t shine.
This situation was not totally imposed upon me. I chose this journey.
I chose not to accept a job with the company that bought the newspaper group for which I worked. I chose not to take less than minimum wage to do a job that required maximum output of energy and time. I chose to make a career change the year I turned 60.
Am I writing this in order to receive accolades? Absolutely not. I am writing this because I am convinced that retraining and educating are how we put folks back to work and make employed workers more productive and more efficient. Companies and businesses that wish to grow and sustain that growth must pay their employees what they are worth and invest in educating them.
Why? Because the world has changed. The digital revolution has impacted how we communicate, how we market goods and services, how we educate, how we entertain, and how we govern. Displaced workers who lost their jobs as a result of the 2007 economic collapse must retrain. The workplace is different. And the gainfully employed must take advantage of every educational opportunity their employers offer. There is someone with more qualifications just waiting to take your place.
Nothing will lift up our communities, our states, our country, and our world like education will. Guns won’t do it, armies won’t do it, wealth won’t do it, exclusivity won’t do it, anger won’t do it, and religion won’t do it.
Getting smarter will do it.