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Still Searching For a Career?

Updated on September 26, 2011

What do you want to be when you grow up? No one asked me that question when I was a kid. Maybe it was because they assumed I would follow in my father’s footsteps and become an ad man. My father was very successful in advertising. He often would say that was because he was a professional generalist meaning he knew a little about a lot of things but not a lot about any one thing. The reality of it was that he was a great salesman. He was able to sell himself and in doing so gain customers; first for the agencies he worked for, and eventually for his own very successful agency.

He wasn’t always in advertising though. Started out as a navigation officer on a PBY in the Navy. Upon returning to his hometown in West Virginia, he obtained a college degree in Journalism and landed a job with the FBI or was it the CIA? That part of his life was very hush, hush. Once he decided covert operations weren’t his forte, he quit. Well, he tried to quit. Apparently it isn’t that easy to quit the FBI/CIA or whoever it was that signed his paychecks.

My father’s father had spent his life working for the railroad and as it turned out that particular company owned a famous resort located in White Sulphur Springs, WVA called the Greenbrier. My father was hired as the Public Relations Director and he and my mother lived in a cottage on the hotel’s grounds. As a first class resort it attracted many celebrities and in fact at one time my mother’s dog got loose and paid a visit to Francis Gumm better known as Judy Garland who played Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz.

During the fifties a ‘secret’ underground bunker was built to house the political elite in the case of nuclear holocaust. As a teen I was given a tour of the facility along with people much more important than I. The facilities were made known in a news story around 1992 and now are primarily used for record storage.

My father’s career advanced as our family grew. Eventually his career path would lead him to Virginia and North Carolina where he would open and run along with my mother their own successful advertising agency. And I did work for him for a few years, though there was little doubt in anyone’s mind that it wasn’t what I wanted to be when I grew up.

I’ve done many things in my life. As a teen there were jobs in construction, a theme park, a service station and a lot boy at a car dealership. I maintained tennis courts and worked as a groundskeeper at a golf resort. For the heck of it I joined the military but after my four years decided it wasn’t the career I had dreamed of and received an Honorable Discharge. I went into the high tech alarm business but it didn’t offer much job security.

You could call me an entrepreneur as I have owned several businesses some more successful than others. And I’ve sold cars and trucks…both entry level and high end luxury. I’m in my mid-fifties now and have been sort of retired for six years. If I had better financial security that would be what I would like to be when I grow up…successfully retired. Not going to happen, unless I win the lottery. Yeah, that’s what I want to be when I grow up…a mega million lottery winner!

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