Facebook is a fun site where you can chat with your friends, and see pictures of what they’ve eaten for dinner. It’s also a great place to look for work. I didn’t need a job, but I wanted one. I had put aside a nest egg for my golden years but still wanted to earn a few more dollars to feather the nest and keep the egg warm. One of my main philosophies has always been “take care of the day to day, and swing for the fences at the same time.” That way of thinking means I can work on speculative projects that might not pay off, while still handling the daily responsibilities of life.
I wrote “jobs near me” into Facebook’s search bar, and waited patiently for the millisecond it took to get the results. I didn’t want to commute, so I was immediately interested in any work that was being offered in my home town of Pinole. My options were limited because I don’t have a college degree or a traditional resume. I also need to be able to enjoy anything I end up doing for work. I believe in the Greek aphorism “know” thyself not in the Biblical sense of the word, but in the idea that self-knowledge leads to self-fulfillment.
I don’t like to toot my own horn unless I’m driving in New York where honking your horn every two seconds is mandatory. But, I must say, I’m an excellent driver. I’ve been driving for almost forty years, and I’ve never gotten anything more serious than a parking ticket. On the other hand, my wife Karen had extreme driving phobia when we got married, and hadn’ driven in a long time because of a bad experience she’d had with her high school driver’s education teacher.
I knew if I started slowly, and had patience, I could teach Karen to drive. On our third wedding anniversary, Karen became motivated to conquer her fear of driving. She even copied out the entire DMV handbook in longhand. She was so well prepared for the DMV written test she had no problem passing it on the first try.
Karen got her learner’s permit and was ready to learn to drive. We began by working on the basics in a parking lot. Before long Karen graduated to making circles around a nearby business park, and finally we drove around our neighborhood and on to the city streets. My wife showed great perseverance and courage, and after a few weeks of practice, she aced herbehind-the-wheel test, and got her driver’s license.
The first couple of jobs listed on Facebook that got my interest were sales oriented. After finding out that one only paid commission and the other one was located over an hour away at the San Francisco zoo, I knew they weren’t for me. When I saw the Local Driving School job listing, I got a little shiver of recognition. Because I had taught Karen, I knew this was a job I could actually do. Not having had a real job in years, I was hesitant to call the school’s phone number set up an interview. I thought of my mantra “Other people may tell me, no, but don’t say no to myself.” I dialed the Local Driving School, and got an appointment to meet the owner. I knew I would need to bring a resume, so I added my three years of volunteer experience working at San Quentin Prison to the one I currently use to get juggling jobs.
I decided if I went to the Local Driving School, and if the owner seemed like a jerk, or didn’t take me seriously, I could just walk out, no harm done. Luckily the owner of The Local Driving School Mani Sondhi turned out to be very easy going and seemed honestly intrigued by my former career as a professional juggler. He explained how the job worked, and what training was required. He told me I would get minimum wage to start, but would then get a pay increase once I got my teacher’s permit. I walked out feeling pretty good about the interview, and the rapport I had developed with Mani. I knew he still had a few more people to interview, but I hoped I had made a good impression and would be hearing from him within a few days telling me I had gotten the job.
No sooner did I get home and start telling Karen about my meeting when the phone started ringing. It was Mani saying that he wanted to hire me to become a driving instructor. He’d decided right after I left that I had all the attributes he was looking for in an employee, and he didn’t need to see anyone else before offering me the job. Mani told me if I wanted to come back down to the driving school, we could fill out the paperwork right away, and he would take my wife and me out to lunch. Wow! I thought a new job and a free meal too. I wasn’t sure what to expect or how to feel about this new job, but at least I know I wouldn’t be starting it on an empty stomach.
Author – DANIEL HOLZMAN