Every week, the WoW! community and our invited guests weigh in at the Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week’s question: If You Could Have Had A Different Career What Would It Be?
Bookworm: I’ve never liked being a lawyer, although I’m reasonably good at it. It’s honed my analytical abilities and my writing skills. It makes possible the blogging I enjoy doing, although I don’t seem to be able to make money as a blogger.
What I’d really like to be is a member of the idle rich. My favorite pastimes are reading books; writing short, horribly proofread essays off the top of my head; and eating chocolate ice cream. I’m really not sure there’s a career pathway for all of that.
Rob Miller:I have to giggle a little when I think of the word ‘career’ applied to me.Everything I ever did that was reasonably successful, I just sort of fell into.
One day I accidentally strummed a cheap guitar my parents brought home from a trip to Mexico and fell in love. I never wanted to do anything else afterwards, so that became my ‘career.’ even if I wasn’t earning anything from it. I had a lot of different jobs,(I left home at 18) some of them quite interesting, but they were always just to finance and pave the way towards playing music for a living.
Eventually I managed to do that after a few false starts and made a fairly decent living out of it. It also was something of a fascinating sort of sub culture in which I was a ‘semi-celebrity.’ In other words, I wasn’t any multi- millionaire, but I was known, sort of, whatever that means. I could get into clubs for free and into their VIP sections all across the country, get backstage at concerts to ‘say hello’ and enjoy the adult refreshments and other diversions, drink for free in certain watering holes (thank you, Esther and George Wong) meet a lot of interesting people and fulfill a fair amount of fantasies. And the money wasn’t bad at all.
The way that sort of ended was that I became a hired hack basically playing music I didn’t really like at all for other people. And for someone who loves music the way I did, that made it just another job, a way to make some money. About that time, I met my wife and we married, and I wasn’t exactly rabid with excitement over the offers I had. So I went back to just doing sessions, mostly commercials, and working as a customer service manager for a large office supplies company.
When business went down at the office supply company and I was fired, it was time for another accident in my ‘career.’ I met an Israeli contractor (we knew some of the same people in Israel) who I got some jobs for in exchange for some baksheesh, and he told me about an Israeli friend of his who was ‘doing loans’ and that it was commission only, ‘but you talk nice to people chaver, and you could make some nice money.’
Well, OK. Todah rabah.
I had a friend who was refinancing her house and I knew she’d give me the job, so I figured I’d do this once, make some money, hate it and move on. The Israeli broker hired me and I proceeded to learn about the paperwork and other things I needed to know. Instead of hating it, once I saw that first commission check I wanted nothing more but to master this new occupation the way a Samurai wanted to master his swordsmanship and do a lot more business.I ended up being pretty good at it.
After three years working for my Israeli boss (lots of fun!), I got my broker’s license, opened up my own business and ended up being rather successful. For me, the 1990’s and early 2000’s were literally golden years. Aside from mortgages and refis, we also listed and sold houses and I also did quite well buying foreclosures once I learned how to do it properly. I’d refurbish them and either sell them or rent them out.
I sold my business right before the nasty stuff hit the fan in 2008, and I’m still not exactly sure why I did but the timing was right. Now, I’m semi retired, mostly manage my properties, and partner up now and then with a couple of brokers I know to find refurb houses, fix them up, and sell them. It bothers me a bit because it’s mostly investors buying them to rent out rather than families who want a home of their own, but so be it.
All in all, considering where I started which was basically with nothing, I’m quite grateful to the Almighty for the life I have. I wouldn’t change a thing.
Jeffrey Avalon Freidberg: Like one of my personal idols, Bookworm, I am really really really good with ice cream.
However, I tend to specialize in Hagen Dazs chocolate covered ice cream popsicles and Julie’s Organic ice cream sandwiches, which kind of limits my style and reach.
I too think I’d be really good at being filthy rich like Diane Feinstein and practically the entire senate.
Amazing how they go to DC poor and leave rich as kings and queens, with unlimited lifetime medical, insurance, pensions, and all….
I guess they get smarter when they get off the bus?
Of course John McCain married the Beer Queen and had so many houses they were almost as many as Obama has—but not as many as John Kerry.
Anyways, I got into the private eye biz by accident and stuck with it for 35 years. I guess I did everything there was to do in that line. I wooda been something else, except I think I liked the private eye gig. I got to be outdoors and run a lot.
Then one day I just could not open one more file and walked away…
…what a DUMB THING TO DO!
Now I have no income, no job, and temp’ services won’t touch me because—even though I built and ran a million dollar business—I don’t appear anywhere in their “categories.” I was never—say—an accountant, lawyer, or secretary. No listing.
As bugs Bunny said, “Ehhhh…I knew I shoulda took that left toin at Albu-qoikey.”
Laura Rambeau Lee: Once I got past my childhood obsession with dinosaurs and wanting to be an archaeologist I set my sights on becoming a physician. I studied hard and was a pretty good student, often studying beyond what was available in school. Growing up outside of Philadelphia in a small college town the college professors would give me text books which I read voraciously. In junior high I was attacking texts on abnormal psychology, organic chemistry, and books on human anatomy and physiology. I began college with a premed major. That changed when my father died when I was nineteen. At that point I decided I did not want to become a doctor and deal with life and death issues on a daily basis. I quickly lost interest, got married, had a daughter and divorced within six years. At age twenty-five I was a single mom who needed to make money, and make it without a college education. As a vice-president of a local bank my mother introduced me to an owner of a title insurance company and I was hired as a processor. My wages went from $145.00 a week working in a bank to $175.00 a week. That was a big jump back then, especially when child care alone was $45.00 a week.
I learned the business and after a couple of years went to work for an attorney doing real estate closings. Then I went into business with my mother for ten years, she having a mortgage company and me running the title insurance side. After my mom retired my company was bought out by a national title company owned by a national builder. (I had let the mortgage company dissolve due to the savings and loan crash in the late 80s early 90s. It became nearly impossible to be a mortgage broker at the time). I worked there for thirteen years until the crash in 2008.
One thing I realized early on was the chairman of the Federal Reserve really controls our country. I would tell people that whoever controls the cost and flow of money controls it all. I was still in my 20s. As I looked into it more I realized how correct I was in my analysis.
Then around 2004 I began to see it coming apart. The mortgages they were selling were certain foreclosures. No doubt about it in my mind. But it became personal when they started selling purchase money first and second mortgages. People could get one hundred percent financing by taking out an eighty percent first mortgage along with a twenty percent second mortgage. They avoided private mortgage insurance and avoided having to put money in escrow with their payments for property taxes and homeowners insurance. We called them NoNo loans – they required no asset and no income verification to qualify for these mortgages, all under full approval of FNMA guidelines. At that point I understood that now we would have a situation where we would have millions of people in homes they couldn’t afford and they would not be able to pay their property taxes either. That would severely cripple our local municipalities and county revenues, meaning we would not have money for schools, firefighters, police, transportation and social services. Where I was naïve was in believing that these lenders would go out of business. I never would have believed our government would steal our savings and wealth to bail out the banks. Americans collectively lost over 19 Trillion Dollars in wealth between savings, stock market accounts and real estate! That was my wake up call. That was my call to action and when I started blogging. It helped that I was laid off from my position as division president of the company I worked for and gave me time to write, get involved with the Tea Party and also help care for my mother who was terminally ill with cancer at the time. I also returned to college to finish my bachelor’s degree, which I did with high honors in American Studies with a major in communication and media. It was also an eye opener to the open Marxist ideology indoctrination occurring on our college and university campuses. I was the token conservative on campus.
Thinking back on everything I am content with the path my life has taken. I am back in the title insurance business, doing real estate closings. It is interesting and challenging and I have always enjoyed the business and the work. I find it amazing that when I was still in college back in 1975 and knowing I no longer wanted to pursue a career in medicine I took a test to see where my interests and abilities might take me. The results came back that a career in politics or the law, or writing and reporting would best serve my personal interests and career goals. Interesting, huh?
Dave Schuler:If I knew then what I know now, I would have swallowed, sucked it up, and remained in the corporate world rather than going off on my own and starting my own business. I would have been less happy then but probably happier now.
Well, there it is!
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