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The Time of Your Life -- Invitation to Write #70

For Writers:

I was stuck and I knew it. The problem was, I worked 40 hours/week in a paper factory, and by the end of the shift, I was simply too tired to figure out my how to escape. My take-home salary was just about $1000/month, which was just enough to pay the rent and put food in the fridge. But into my third year of employment, when the company asked if I wanted to go on voluntary layoff, I was torn. That would mean going on unemployment for up to six months at just 60% of my salary. How could I afford to do that? I reluctantly declined.

A few weeks passed, and a lot of people took the offer, but the company still needed more people to "volunteer." They asked me a second time, and I decided I couldn't afford to decline again. They were actually offering me the chance to escape, and the government was going to pick up the tab!

For the next five months, I had the opportunity to think a lot about my future. I applied for a graduate assistantship at the local university, and I practiced my job interviewing skills. When the end of the voluntary layoff period came, I would have some things lined up, and I'd be damned if I was going back.

By the time I got the call back that summer, I actually did go back to work at the factory for a couple of months, but I did so with the knowledge that I'd won my assistantship, and I'd be entering graduate school in the fall; and just a few short weeks back at the factory, the local community college -- where I'd bombed an interview the year before -- offered me a couple of sections to teach. This was the beginning of my future, and I owed it all to having the time to reflect, as well as to think forward in a way that I never had before. I wouldn't be forced into factory work ever again.

Is there a time period in your life that made a real difference to your future plans or success? Describe it, or describe another time when you found a way to climb out of one of life's pits.

"The secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes." -- Benjamin Disraeli


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