Hey Readers! Can you believe this weekend is already July 4th? I guess it’s true what they say—the older you get the faster time passes. At this rate we’ll be talking about ringing in the New Year in a week or two! I remember when I was in my late teens, a year felt like, well, a year. I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up, but I figured I had enough time to come up with something. As you may recall from previous posts, I ended up taking a job in college at the local movie theater that earned me just enough to help pay rent, buy a few text books and to eat three square meals of fast food, pizza and ramen noodles a day. I thought I was on top of the world, making enough money to scrape by every month, confident in the knowledge that I was in charge of my life. Independence Day was every day in my 19 year old universe. But then the bottom fell out…
Celebrate Your Independence This July 4th With Job Training From Horizon Goodwill
I graduated, barely, from a liberal arts college with a degree that I thought was cool, but didn’t offer much hope for gainful employment. There wasn’t much hope for an English major who decided not to take any teaching courses. There I was, a proud graduate with a huge student loan debt and absolutely zero job offers. But I got lucky. I had advanced from cleaning restrooms and soda spills at the theater to actually be responsible for changing the letters on the marquee each week. During one hot summer day I was asked if I could let our projectionist in to do some work before the first show. His name was Jim and this guy was literally like something out of a movie: beat up tool box, grizzled beard and hands the size of catcher’s mitts yet able to move with surgical precision. As anyone who knows me can attest, I’m inquisitive by nature, so I followed him upstairs. I was fascinated with this guy, picking his brain, asking him questions and becoming more and more intrigued by his answers.
It was almost like watching a magician reveal the secrets behind his illusions. Jim asked me if I ever considered being an apprentice. At that time you needed to be licensed in Pennsylvania to operate film equipment. I accepted his offer and immediately received on the job training, finding I actually had a knack for working with my hands. Well, one thing lead to another and about ten years later I found myself as the Senior Vice President of Operations for a multi-state movie theater circuit. It all started with one person who cared enough to teach me the art of his craft. Don’t kid yourself, it was hard work and I wasn’t out purchasing a new car every year, but I was able to pay my bills every month, including those darn student loans. Most importantly, it gave me the ability to truly be independent, which led to a career in an amazing industry that lasted until we sold the business…which gave me time to finally figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up.
Take That First Step Towards Personal & Financial Independence
I look back to that initial meeting with Jim and the amazing opportunities that followed. What if I didn’t strike up that conversation? Where would I be if I didn’t follow him into the projection booth to watch what he was doing? If I failed to accept his offer of job training all those years ago I never would have become a projectionist, then an assistant manager, general manager, district manager and so on. Life is funny like that. There’s opportunity waiting for anyone, all you need to do is take that first step. It’s been Horizon Goodwill’s mission from day one to help those with barriers to employment gain personal and financial independence, but they can’t do it without you! Learn more about how they can help you earn the skills required to find the job that just could change your life. Take action. Fill out the online application. Everyone has the right to become independent. Help is available—the choice is yours.
Fourth Of July Memories
I have to share this one last memory that took place July 4th Weekend back in 1991. I was ready to run the projection booth alone, for the very first time, giving Jim the opportunity to attend a cookout with his family. I built the print of Terminator 2, threaded up the projector and nervously struck the lamp as a sold out auditorium waited to see this much anticipated movie. Everything went off without a hitch! The pride I felt in my work that day was something I simply can’t put into words.
It’s funny, because I saw online that the next installment in the Terminator series, Terminator Genisys, opens today, exactly 24 years later from when I walked into the projection booth for my first solo shift. I have to wonder if somewhere out there a young projectionist has nervously agreed to take their first shift alone, hesitantly hitting the start button of a modern digital projector, beginning a career that was sparked by a caring mentor…
Have A Great July 4th!