work experience

Work Experience



dig automate prosperous
bricks grow up stimulating
excel suburban rewarding
steady major in do their bidding
secure fortunate break in (2)
mentor likewise challenging
reward sufficient implement
ditch daunting dedication
loyalty outright come to grips
field (2) alongside stick my head in the sand
burst distribute dedication
praise carpenter collaborative
leak brownie downsizing
pipe gratitude appreciate


Now, Listen to me

“Study hard, and go to university. Work hard—and you will be successful and prosperous……

But if you don’t go to school, you’ll end up DIGGING DITCHES for the rest of your life.” My parents would often tell me this as I was growing up.



My father himself had fallen somewhere “in between”. After high school, he followed in his father’s footsteps, and trained as a carpenter.

It proved sufficient: he had been able to secure steady, well-paid work, marry, buy a nice suburban, family home (made of bricks), and raise a family of five.


Math and Science

Okay, okay. So I did their bidding. I excelled in school, especially in math and science. I entered university and majored in chemistry. I went on to get a master’s degree.

Newly qualified, I then found work at a tire factory. I was fortunate to have some great guys mentoring me and breaking me into this field.

Our tasks were challenging and rewarding. It gave us a sense of accomplishment.



After many years there, management assigned us the greatest project in years: the implementation of a new, computerized, automated system.

It was ROUGH. It was TOUGH. But we pulled through and TRIUMPHED! We felt very proud of what we had accomplished.


Well Done!

Shortly afterwards, my boss called me into his office. “I’d like to thank you for all your years of service, dedication, hard-work and loyalty,” he said before handing me a pink-slip.

To be honest, I had seen it coming all along, but didn’t want to come to grips with it. I had chosen to stick my head in the sand.


Finding another job in a similar industry proved daunting. Many other factories in Ohio had also undergone downsizing, if not outright closure.

The same thing had happened to a friend of mine many years back. He then took computer classes at his local community college. Upon completion, he was able to secure work at a phone company.

Now he earns even more than he did in his previous job. “The Industrial Age is over,” he used to tell me over drinks. “We’ve entered the Information Age.”



And so I did likewise. I studied computers, then landed a job as a programmer at an insurance company.

Unlike at the tire plant, here I had to wear a suit and tie. The nature of my new career wasn’t as interesting as the old one. But it was still stimulating—and the pay good.



.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .

One day at the start of another big assignment, my boss introduced our staff to a group of young men. At first I though they were clients.

“These are some new hires to help distribute the workload,” my boss explained. They were to work alongside me and others, and learn how things worked.


True, there was a slight language barrier . . . but since they already knew computer operations, it was more about applying it the customer service section of our operations.

They proved to be fast learners. We got the project done in a three-and-a-half weeks. I rather liked working with them, and looked forward to doing more collaborative work in the future.


A Job Well Done!

The day after we had completed the project, the boss called me into his office. He PRAISED my performance. He THANKED me for all my years of dedication, hard work and loyalty. He then stood up, gave me a firm handshake . . .

.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .

Oh well. The good thing about fixing leaks, replacing burst pipes and unclogging toilets is that I am in constant demand, and people really appreciate me and my services.

And best of all, as a token of gratitude, they give me home-baked, chocolate-chip and oatmeal cookies, and brownies!



*     *     *     *     *     *


1. The writer’s father wanted him to follow in his footsteps. True or false? Or did his parents want him to become a doctor, lawyer or banker?

2. At his first job, he learned and picked up everything by himself. Yes or no?

3. Did he lose his job because he was lazy and incompetent?

4. What did he do after the tire plant? Did he find a job at another factory?

5. Do you think Craig was fired at his second job due to mistakes and negligence?

6. Is there an irony in his being laid off (made redundant)?

7. Why did he select his current job? What made him choose his current job?

A. What have your parents and teachers told you as a youngster?

B. There have been major changes in the economy of my town, city, region and, or country. Yes or no? If yes, describe it.

C. Have many people lost their old jobs, and had to find new jobs in totally different industries? How have people (re)trained or (re)qualified for new jobs? Do you know anyone who has?

D. How do people feel about changes in the economy, industry and their careers? Do they like it? Or do they dread and resist it?

E. What do you think it will be like in the future?

F. Elaborate on the saying: “It isn’t the strongest species that survives, nor the smartest, but the one most adapted to change.” Who do you think said it?




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