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How I Talked My Way Into Another Job
YOU CAN DO THIS!... or that. Or even THAT! Just be confident!
Hey, Doc! Get off the flight deck!
Search & rescue medical crew, school admin, university clinical coordinator, Dr.'s assistant, O.R. Tech, comedy show producer, instructor...
I am a real "jack of all trades" but master at none? After I was trained I mastered a few. But getting your foot in the door is the hard part.
Ever heard of Frank Abagnale, jr? He's the famous man who held many job titles and performed those duties such as a doctor, a lawyer, an airline pilot all via illegal ways. He just had a convincing way about himself towards the public.
The character is portrayed in the movie "Catch Me If You Can" starring Leonardo DeCaprio and also features his constant nemesis that chased him from New York to Europe, the real FBI Agent Carl Hanratty, who is played by the great Tom Hanks.
Although not even near the grandiose scale and never the illegal method of going about acquiring jobs that may have been over my head, Mr. Abagnale spoofed the world. So, yes, I have been hired for jobs and held job titles that I probably had no business being associated with at all. Mainly because I knew how to convince employers that I was more qualified than I actually was for the job I was applying for!
Why am I revealing this now? I feel it is time to tell my story. One must vent when one has a troubling secret to reveal (and beyond any legal repercussions.) I have no college degree, I have the "experience of life." Nothing I have done in these job pursuits have been done illegally. Nor has anything I've done nor job titles that I've held were acquired through dishonesty.
But with the modern advent of extensive background checks, certifiably qualified candidates and legalese documentation, one cannot do these methods of acquiring these jobs then if I had done them today.
The beginning of my lifelong "on the job training"
I believe being tall for my age has been a great beginning advantage and basis for this pursuit of trying to be more than I actually was. At 17, I walked into a local hole-in-the-wall bar, acted like I knew what I was doing by ordering a drink. The bartender asked, "You ARE 21, right?" With an irritated, half-smiling face I said although I do look young, of course I am 21! From then on, I could drink freely in that place.
Now, being somewhat articulate helps tremendously. Literacy and charm have always been easy to come by traits of mine. Skipping to 6th grade helped me to grow up faster than most my age but no one knew because I generally was and am the tallest where ever I go.
I graduated from high school barely 17 and announced to my parents that I was moving out. "You're 17, you can't move out legally!" my parents exclaimed. After much arguing, they allowed me to move in with my hard-drinking uncle. I was upset because I felt that I had "a babysitter." But I quickly realized that I was, in fact, the babysitter for an alcoholic.
On to Las Vegas at 19 years old with my friend. I followed his lead. He was 21 and the association with him, revealing for any proof that he WAS, in fact 21, the assumption that I was also, as I just ignored the person who might ask him.
Also when you win at blackjack, the house would offer and even buy you a drink. So when you had a drink in front of you that needed to be refilled, that was easy to attain another and another and another, etc.
You can be what you want to be in the Navy
I joined the Navy at 20 and was determined to run it MY way. Boot Camp was impossible but I played "their game." Finished in the top 10 out of 80. Even getting a rating of Corpsman took some smarts because I had received advice to not let the guys at the AFEES station (processing to get into the USN) in Los Angeles talk me into a job I did not want.
I wanted be a Corpsman because, well, that's where the few women in the military were as RNs, nurses and Corpswaves. I waited until there was no time to negotiate and swayed the petty officer to give me the rating I wanted at the very end of his work day.
My first duty station was Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton, California a brand new facility. Waiting in line with other Corpsman, we were assigned duty wards within the hospital. Most went to boring "bed pan" wards. I let everyone go in ahead of me.
Then when I was the last one, I closed the door and spoke on a less than military level with the scowling Commander head nurse who doled out our future to us. I purposely asked for something way over my head that I knew I would not be granted to me in hopes of getting the next step down. The Emergency Room. After convincing her that I indeed had some smarts, she assigned me to the M.I.C.U. floor.
"Don't ever let 'em see ya sweat" as they say.
Getting in "over your head"
Now, when one gets in over their head, one had better quickly prove themselves also. It goes without saying. My next duty station was at the end of the world, the northwestern-most naval hospital in the continental U.S. in the Puget Sound of Washington state.
Whidbey Island Naval Hospital was on a Naval Air Station. There I was the only Orthopedic Technician on the base. I had my own office, cast room and assisted a high ranking GS-11 civilian orthopedic surgeon.
The base had a top flight Search and Rescue fleet that had only trained corpsmen assigned to them. One had to go through some training before you went on any missions. There were many. Retrieving stranded hikers, boats in distress and even small aircraft crashes into the ocean and mountains.
I was determined to get on the crew but had to wait for classes... or wait for my opportunity. It came one day in the form of a sailor that had a badly fractured femur and had to be airlifted to the big Army hospital, Madigan in Seattle.
I, being the only Ortho Tech, told the pilot I wasn't going to let MY patient go down there without expert care from me. The decision was made in a matter of seconds. And so, from then on, I was part of the SAR team while learning on-the-job.
Oh, trust me, I'm qualified
From then on, I have talked my way into being a Doctor's Assistant, a Certified Ortho Tech, an Operating Room Technician, a school administrator, a non-profit school fund raiser, an X-ray Instructor, a Medical Assistant Instructor, a Clinical Coordinator, a stand-up comedian, a live show producer, a propane truck driver, a Search and Rescue Corpsman and my toughest task yet, a real live author. But, again, one must always prove it as your next step.
Many times the staff will teach you everything they know to make sure you do the job right. There's my "OJT" (on-the-job-training.) Sometimes I had to go reference books at the library before I walked into work on my first day.
Looking, dressing, acting, talking the part with some research and studying beforehand is a must. Knowing that I, in fact, wanted to do the job, COULD do the job and asking the right people for advice beforehand was very necessary.
Exuding a confident (not arrogant) manner goes without saying. Acting like I'd done it before and that I knew what I was doing was reassuring to most employers. I'm also a good actor.
But now I have these past jobs and titles on my resume now while supervising up to 80 people at a time. This all means I don't have to convince someone that I CAN do it. No need to oversell myself anymore. It's all right there. Because now I actually HAVE done the job before!
The author Dan W. Miller is a real live person even though his qualifications are and were sometimes "embellished." His job title of "author" IS an actual title that he is entitled to claim as the truth.
Trailer for the movie, "Catch Me If You Can." Yup, that's me!
- Catch Me If You Can Trailer - YouTube
Trailer for the 2002 film Catch Me If You Can.