In my quest to eventually end up in my chosen career/life/whatever you want to call it, I have ended up working at several different places. Starting out as youngster doing yard work, working at a camp for six summers, two call centers for about 4 months total (didn’t like that), a hardware store, college (RA), church, car rental company, and currently a driving school.

My job is working for one of the larger and most influential driving schools in the nation (the first “parent-taught” driver’s ed program (meaning not as a part of school); the first web-based driver’s ed program; wrote legislation for 28 states and counting; etc). For the first time in a very long time, I feel respected by my employer. My opinion is valued. My abilities and experiences are appreciated and used.

Compared with the last few places I have worked, it is amazing.

There seems to be 2 major factors. The first is the fact that the company I work for is actually a respectable company trying to make a difference, who has a product that is very good, most likely the best available (there are one or two others that are comparable). Not only have they worked to help make it possible for parents to teach their own kids how to drive (novel thought), but also made it easier for driving schools to get those tools to parents. Compared to other programs, our statistics (accidents, tickets, fatalities) are typically 1/10th of other programs, including no fatalities (according to a study done by UCCS a couple of years ago). Not too bad with 50,000 students.

The second is that I am treated with respect. In almost every other job I have had (other than working at camp), no one cared about my background, experience, and abilities. In several others, I attempted to help out – sometimes beyond my responsibilities, sometimes as a part of them – resulting is basically being brushed off as someone barely qualified to handle the menial job I was working. I mean, how hard is it to clean cars and land them in spaces? (Apparently quite, based on what I saw there.) Just because someone is working a simple job does not mean they are simple minded. I even tried to help a manager out who was having staff problems by drawing on my management experience and counseling education, but even after having a long discussion about it (at her prodding), nothing happened except that we all went back to the normal frustrations (even now trying to get my W2’s to no avail).

In my current job, I was helping to revise curriculum within my first week. I barely knew the subject matter, but they were putting my background to use with applying my skills to the problem at hand. They actually ask my opinion. Regularly. And they listen to it. And sometimes go with it. I can actually come up with an idea and follow it through. Totally different. It is great to actually be respected as a person while at work. It is an amazing idea.

And I get to hang out with teenagers. Had some counseling situations that would make many youth pastors jealous. I still want to be a youth pastor, but this works for now. Not quite so desperate to settle for any youth job like so many out there do (you know who you are), but can actually hold out for the right fit. Now if i can just find one in Springs.