One of the fun facts about me is that I was once a security guard at a GM plant in Detroit. Actually, it was one of the most fun summer jobs I ever had. Definitely the most unusual and interesting! I was sharing the story of how I found myself in that position with my friend Mary recently and realized how a seemingly unimportant decision can actually set off a chain of events that help determine your life path.
My story started with my being the third-grade teacher of a student whose mother felt it was her duty in life to set me up with a “nice young man”. Her husband was the Personnel Director (shows you how long ago it was…) at a nearby GM plant. The mother would invite me over to dinner with some regularity, where (surprise, surprise!) there would be a nerdy and uncomfortable young and single engineer for me to try to chat with while my student’s mother looked on encouragingly. It was more than awkward. However, after a few of these “get to know you” dinners, and perhaps because he felt sorry for me, my student’s father mentioned that GM plants often hired teachers for summer jobs – and he could get me one if I was interested. Which I was. And then he told me the little detail that it would be as a security guard.
Two words: Curiosity and Adventure
I have found that these are the keys to moving forward in life. If you approach life with an air of curiosity, anything that comes into your path could become a real adventure. And so it was for me.
Looking further into the job, I discovered there were no guns involved, and the pay was really good, so while this would be unlike ANYTHING I’d ever done before, I accepted the generous offer and chose to view it as an adventure. And it was! I met people I would NEVER have met before, saw what it was REALLY like to work in a factory, made some good money in a few short weeks, and was even told by one trucker, as I was weighing his truck (tare vs gross weight…), that he had heard about me at a truck stop in Pennsylvania. Now how often does that happen? And here is what that summer adventure led to:
- The next summer I got a summer job working as…you guessed it…a security guard at an IBM plant in Vermont, where I was living while going to grad school at UVM
- This led to being offered a full-time job as a secretary at IBM at the end of the summer
- Which led to being an administrator
- Which led to moving to Boston to become a marketing rep
- Which led to meeting my husband
- Which led to his getting a job in NYC and us moving to NJ
- Which led to having 3 Jersey kids
- And so on, and so on…
- Which leads to today
If I had not accepted that dinner invitation, I may not have gotten the job offer. And I may have continued on as a teacher, living in Michigan and living a FAR different life than the one I am today.
Living your life with a sense of curiosity and adventure can take you places you can’t even imagine. Let your adventure start with saying just one word: “Yes”.
Great story – and good fodder for thinking about choices made earlier in life and savoring the good things that they led to, even if everything was not perfect all along. Thank you, Janet!
Dont forget the special perk of getting safety glasses so your friends could wear them at a wedding!