The Letdown that was a Blessing

The Letdown that was a Blessing


When I graduated from Rutgers University in the spring of 1966, I set out to find a job with my Liberal Arts degree. This was essential since my wedding was planned for late August and though Geri did have a full time job, it wouldn't be enough for the two of us to live on and the only job I had was working on the Del Monte research farm and that was just a summer job. The Field Department at Del Monte would have hired me, but I didn’t have an Ag degree and they couldn’t justify it.

After countless (at at this stage in my live unremembered) job applications and interviews, in late July, Hercules Chemical Company in Delaware offered me a job at $7600 a year to work in tandem with a development engineer. They had been having problems with engineers not understanding how consumers would use products. They also wanted me to think of ways the products might fail under uses that the engineers would not think to try, even thinking outside the box on how a product might be incorrectly used and fail.

I reported to work the second Monday in August and checked in with HR for my assignment, etc. He asked me to sit down and informed me that the job offer was no longer to be had. He went on to say that I didn't have any military experience and that the company could not protect me from the draft with a deferment request since my job would not be critical to government contracts. Did I forget to mention that Vietnam war was going on and I was certainly in line to be drafted? (See the stories, "John Dodges the Draft" and "John goes for a Draft Physical"). I pointed out that I had clearly indicated that condition and he apologized for missing it and wasting my time.

Since at one point I had begun to change my major to Education, I decided to see if the school systems were interested. I knew that teachers were in short supply and nearly all of them in my county were looking for teachers. So, I applied to three or four elementary schools that I knew were looking, including my hometown of Pedrictown, NJ (Oldmans Township Schools).

On the last week of August, I left a softball game (Mom came anTd got me to tell me I had an appointment with a school board), drove 10 miles home to shower, then 25 miles to the school in order to meet the personnel committee of the board. I was offered the job that night for $4600 a year teaching for the Quinton Township School. This was $3000 less than what the chemical company had offered and had less potential but you know what they say about a bird in your hand.

I worked there for eight years and discovered I was good at the job. I taught a self-contained 7th grade for 3 years, 6th grade for 1; and then 7th & 8th grade math for the last four years I was there. My students liked me and responded well to instruction, the school board liked me, since I was faithful to the job and only missed 2 days of work in all that time. The parents liked me because they knew I liked their kids and tried to give them the best education. 

Even though I eventually left (see “How I got into Data Processing”), I still think that those were the most fulfilling and satisfying years I could have spent. I also received a deferment since my skills (?) were essential, so even the draft and Vietnam were not an issue in my life. That blessings come often through disappointment, is another life lesson, I would not trade. 

Davdan @ 2008-2018