Friday, June 4, 2010

My Illustrious Career...Part Twelve

I was laid off from ITT Cannon Electric in 1982, the year I
turned 27. 1982 proved to be one of the most challenging years
of my life career-wise. Not only was I an unskilled and
un-educated 27-year-old during a recession, but I really didn't
have any kind of proven track record for anything that was

Now, as you have seen from my past posts, and will continue to
see in my future ones, I am not lazy. I may be un-hirable in
any kind of meaningful work because of a lack of direction and
education (and I totally concede that this is nobody's fault but
mine) but lazy I am not. I knew I needed money to live, but you
can see that I didn't look for handouts from anyone, nor did I
turn to a life of crime. I worked at whatever I could find.

I hadn't enjoyed any of the jobs I had taken so far, and even up
to today, that has not changed. I took what I could get, like
it or not. I am telling you all this so you don't think that I
am lazy because I ended up taking unemployment benefits for a
while during this wonderful year of 1982.

Before I applied for unemployment, I tried my hand at a few
more sales jobs, since they were pretty much the only people
that were willing to hire me for anything, and sales-type jobs
are always available, regardless of the state of the economy.
(This is because they are commission-only, so they lose nothing
by hiring you).

I sold a menagerie of miscellaneous gadgets by taking my
sales kit and cold-calling on businesses, and going door-to-
door in residential neighborhoods.

I cycled through selling little pillows with small vibrating
massaging motors inside them, car alarms, car stereos, etc.
It was a dark depressing period for me, because as you can
imagine, this type of cold-calling hard sales is scary and
intimidating. I didn't like it, and I wasn't making any

I was running out of money, rent was late on my apartment,
and I can remember going to the grocery store with five bucks
and buying a jar of mayonnaise and some bread so I could
have mayonnaise and salt sandwiches.

And as a side note...understand that I was a 'normal' 27 year-old
male that was not really in a position to attract any attention
from any eligible females that I may meet...which is one reason
that I never got married until I was 32.

I hated to do it, because I felt guilty for taking free
money, but I finally applied for unemployment benefits, and for
several months I took a break, did not work, and managed to
stay in my apartment.

But even then, I was not idle. My best friend Ray and I were
approached to sign up for Amway during this year. Now, I know
there are people who say these multi-level marketing companies
are scams...but as these things go, Amway had been around a
long time...and are still around today.

We could see the potential, and we had to admit that there ARE
people who actually make money at it. And Ray and I worked it
hard. We didn't just sit around drinking and sleeping all day like
we were tempted to do...we really tried to make it work. We
plugged away full-time trying to recruit people and make sales.

We had a positive attitude, we tried, but we eventually had to
give it up. I had to find a job as soon as I could. I was very
glad to see the end of 1982.

Peace be with you.


  1. Oh shoot, Joe! I keep coming back here hoping that these stories would lead to a life of crime! (Just kidding.) You are right when you say you were out there hustling! Have you unleashed these stories on your daughter? You have LOTS of ammunition about why she should go to college. I am so glad you are writing these!

  2. I can tell by all your employment up to date that you are anything but lazy! I am only sad when I read that you still have not found something that you love. I know the feeling. For many years I was not sure about my job choice. It was really in the last five years or so that I realized I actually love what I do. I don't think unemployment is anything to be sorry for. It is not like you were working the system like many other people (which I do resent). I am sure you did a lot of self-reflection at that time which is a job in and of itself. I am glad I met you in blogland. You are an interesting man. Thanks for the great comments on my blog. I a really appreciate it!!

  3. Other than working with the family, so far, all the jobs you've mentioned don't seem worth loving. They just sound like WORK! I'm sure you aren't the only one who hasn't found something you love, but I bet you will love, love, love retirement. You can play music and shoot photos, till your heart's content.

  4. I've always thought that Amway was more legit than other MLMs.

  5. MLM's are so tough to get past after that first layer. I too have tried!


    Good Post!@

  6. Sorry, Betty, no crime, just boring old me!

    Dr. S...I know you must have worked very hard...and spent a considerable sum of arrive at your profession, so you deserve to be happy in your work.

    Ms. are 100% my retirement that's exactly what I plan on doing! Also, staying up late at night, and sleeping late in the morning.

    TS...I never bore any ill-will to Amway, we personally met some people who became very wealthy running Amway, but you really have to be a great people person, and you need to know a lot of people that have a high opinion of you and trust your judgement...most folks I knew in those days didn't really have a stellar opinion of me...

  7. You are most certainly NOT lazy. In fact, your work ethic is to be commended and admired...

  8. Joe...anybody who would try as hard as you, is not lazy....I think in 1982 you should of just written a book...You now be a published author and we would be trying to get your autograph :)

  9. From the previous posts, Joe, I never got the impression that you were work hard and you'Re definitely perseverant (I love Bendigo's idea ;)

  10. joe, you could never bore us! i gotta say $12 in 1983, that's unreal! seriously.

    i don't know anyone who has ever made it with amway or any of that type of selling... seriously. i know so many people who worked hard at that type of pyramid selling and it's nearly impossible!