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Three Meter Zone | JD's Bunker | Poetry | Chapel | American Journal


Thoughts While Running Teaching Drill to Fourteen Year Olds

J. D. Pendry

Unless you've been very lucky in the stock market, your spouse has earned tons of money, or you hit the Power Ball chances are you'll be looking for work after the Army. You'll find lots of help and advice on how to go about looking for the job so a little more from me probably isn't going to hurt.

First, you'll struggle to write 10,000 resumes only to never arrive at one you're completely comfortable with. Everyone will insist that you must de-green each version, but each time you do it sounds less and less like the person you know very well - you. You'll give those resumes to all of your friends and acquaintances that have jobs because that's what they tell you to do. Networking it's called. Some of them will pass your resume along to folks who can hire you and some will file them away.... All along you'll observe your retired and working friends and you'll ask yourself some tough questions. Can I do that kind of work? Will I be happy? Will I earn enough money to maintain my standard of living? What exactly is important to me?

Next, you'll look at endless job announcements - civil service and others. Ever time you find one you think you can do you'll ponder it for awhile, and then you'll most likely move on to the next one. Each time you do this you'll question your own ability, but you'll always come back to the burning questions - is this what I really want, is it going to make me happy, can I do this work? After a long career in the service you need to be able to answer those tough questions for yourself. You've been enough places and doing enough things that probably didn't make you very happy - now you're in control.

The bottom line is that you are going to have to decide what is best for you and your family. What is it you want to do, where do you want to live, what will your spouse support? If maximum income is your motivator, act accordingly. Decide what you want then go after it.

It was funny. When I told some of my friends that I was taking a High School ROTC job the expressions on their faces said "why, couldn't find a real job?" One guy said to me at church one week, "I guess that'll be OK for a while until you figure out what you really want to do?" I just let it go. Then one day a good friend called me up, one who is doing quite well for himself I might add, and said his company wanted to interview me for a job. When I told him that I was going back home to accept the High School job he said, "I wish I had done that." His salary is double mine and his response kind of set me back a bit. He's doing fine and at this point living a comfortable life - I just sensed that satisfaction wasn't there.

I haven't discovered utopia by any stretch of imagination, but after a long discussion with my partner we decided what things were most important for us at this stage in our lives. The maximum amount of leisure time together, reasonable work hours, quiet neighborhood, little bit of property, no loss in our standard of living, no beltway rage, and limited contact with career motivated politicians wearing uniforms just to name a few. Her biggest thing was that she didn't want work following me home each night - too many middle of the night calls during the years. We've achieved those and that's what's most important. I also have a little trick whenever I start what-ifing. The trick is that I go to the city comparisons on the Internet. There you can compare everything from air quality, to public schools. You can also compare salaries. To have the standard of living my salary produces here in Wild Wonderful WV, I would need 106K a year in the Metro DC area. I suggest you run some comparisons too before you make the leap. Figuring out what you're going to do in the next life is the toughest retirement woe you have to face.

You know it takes a lot of patience to teach drill to fourteen year-olds. They giggle a lot, and it's tough to do facing movements in platform tennis shoes while walking on the cuffs of your trousers. Take care.

P.S. Su's new kitchen is almost done tomorrow is the fourth day of workers in the house - I think she's winning.

© J. D. Pendry