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  • Yet, here I am, retired, not working. Or not working at a paid job. This wasn't how I had planned it.

    Teaching in an inner city school is very hard. It wears away at one's soul because no matter how hard you work, you really don't make much of a difference. The problems keep coming, only faster and bigger. Having helped one generation through their high school years, I was hoping they would turn things around, and by the time their children showed up on my doorstep at the big urban high school, their lives would be much improved. It didn't happen that way.

    I was not only up against the students, the parents, the community, but also the district. Testing became more important than learning, growing, maturing. I taught subjects that weren't on the state test so money could not be allocated to those classes. Nor could students. They needed remedial math and English, not marketing and multimedia. So, when the time came when I could retire with a small pension, I took the opportunity and left, thinking I would start a third career since I considered myself to still be young enough to do that. It didn't happen that way.

    The plan was to get a studio apartment in San Francisco, overlooking a street, and look for a job in a nonprofit organization. I have superb skills that I thought anyone would be happy to utilize. But my degree in marketing, with experience in sales and publishing, could not overshadow the retired school teacher label. It became quickly evident that those young college graduates were getting the jobs that I was very qualified to handle. Totally unlike when I was the young college graduate and all the job openings required experience. Experience now seems to be a dirty word.

    I signed on for as many volunteer positions as I could locate that matched my skills with organizations for whom I wanted to work. One such job had me setting up phone system, email marketing, and ordering office equipment online. I wrote advertising copy, set up travel itineraries, and started a Twitter account for the startup. This was two years ago and social media wasn't as big as now. The lady for whom I did all this had no idea how to handle social media and let me find my way into this method of networking. It was exciting and I could see it was the way to spread the word. She wasn't as sure. After they ran out of work for me to do, I moved on to volunteering for another organization. The lady? She went on to become a social media specialist who now touts herself as an expert.

    After 15 months in San Francisco without a job offer, I moved back to our house in Fresno and started doing volunteer jobs here. I stay busy but this is not how I planned it.
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