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   Dropouts Welcome
Odds Were Against You
Why People Drop Out
My Favorite Dropout - Mom
And What About my Dad?
   And What About Me?

Dropouts Do Get Jobs…
Financial Security
…and almost anything else if they want it enough
Here's How !


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Dropouts Welcome!
Everyone says dropouts can't get a job…

Don't believe it. Don't buy into it.

Most dropouts are perfectly capable people who simply need to find the right ‘niche' in life and they will blossom on their own.

You are a worthy, capable person in your own right.
Most successful dropouts, like most graduates, continue life-long learning – usually training on the job, then taking courses that teach them to do the things they want to do.

If you're a dropout, that's okay.
Lots of people drop out of school, college or society for all kinds of different reasons .

Western society has unfairly decided that being a ‘dropout' is not good.

Odds Were Against You
Dropping out was just a choice you made…it's not who you are.
And in fact, at school the odds were against you from the start.

So the first step in getting a job is to get over the label that society has put on you.

Where do you want to go?
For dropouts, the trick in job-hunting lies in knowing:

  • who you are
  • what you want out of life
  • what you can do
  • and how to present yourself.

Graduates rely on their credentials – as a dropout, you have to ‘prove' yourself in different ways. This web-site will show you how.

I believe you have a great future ahead of you…
I believe that being a ‘dropout' should not be a curse upon you forever. Society has turned the word “dropout' into a label. This web-site is designed to help you fight back, protect your interests - to get a job….and a future.

Is it important to try and finish school and not drop out? – YES.
Life will be much easier without the discrimination against your ‘drop out' status. But if you have already dropped out, or if you just can't go on at school, then accept it and go forward with the next stage of your life. Thousands of dropouts have succeeded in finding a comfortable, happy place in life. You can too.

Reasons Why People Drop Out of High School
Most dropouts are not stupid. Many A and B students are also dropouts. Many C students who drop out simply aren't interested in higher learning – they want to run a small business or work with their hands. They aren't interested in a college or university degree. And they often do very well in the trades or service industries.

In fact, teachers often say “The A students teach the B students who end up working for the C students.” So cheer up!

Here are the main reasons why people drop out:

  • Boredom
  • Difficulty with higher math
  • Reading problems, learning disabilities
  • Desire to work and earn instead of sitting and learning
  • Trouble at home – divorce, death, alcoholism, drugs, disabled family members
  • Lack of social support – few friends, moving or changing schools a lot, family who don't feel schooling is important
  • Poverty – people who are hungry know they need money to buy food; many people drop out so they can work and help the family

High School Dropouts - The Odds Were Against You
Did you dropout? Were you pushed out? Or maybe weeded out!

Did anyone ever tell you that high school and college are designed to weed out people? No! They tell you ‘everyone should graduate from high school' forgetting to mention that:

  • Only about 17% of all students in high school are ever expected to go to university! Yet in most places in North America 100% of the students are channeled toward university.
  • Schools and teachers like to keep their statistical averages high. So if you are a poor student, sometimes instead of helping you learn…they help you out… Out the door!
  • 90% of school classes are taught through a lecture format. The teacher talks and you listen. However, only 10% of the population can learn effectively this way!
  • School doesn't really teach you to do or be anything. School teaches you learning skills. School teaches you basic information. Yet every new job requires training…..often this training is the kind you can only get on the job!
  • 80% of all business in Canada is done by small businesses. Lots of these are owned and operated by high school dropouts .
  • Persistence, will power, ideas, a friendly nature and desire to do things are crucial factors for success! The ability to learn and remember in order to pass a test at school is not the same as the ability to work and get a job done, or the ability to get along with your fellow workers.

My Favorite Drop Out – My Mom

My favorite story about my Mom's job-hunting skills comes from her time in England during World War II. She had dropped out of school in grade eight, years earlier when she lived in Canada. Her family was poor. She couldn't ‘afford' to waste time in school.

When she signed up for army service, they asked her to list her three choices of work. She wrote:

  1. drive truck
  2. drive truck
  3. drive truck

As you can see from the picture, she ended up driving a truck.

What did I learn from my Mom's success in ‘getting the job' she wanted in the army?

1) Define what you want to do
2) State it in specific terms anyone can understand
3) Be persistent
4) Do what you want, not what society expects you to do

My mom is small and short – just 5'2”. No one expected a small woman to want to drive a three-ton truck in 1942! She wanted to do it. She did it.

My Role Model Is A Drop Out

Role models are very important. My role model is my Mom.

Her name is Phil. She's a housewife now that she has retired. Though she has slowed down a bit, through most of her retirement she was still (at age 91 as I write this) doing most of her own household tasks like simple plumbing repairs, gardening, painting, writing, and maintenance of the family home. She does her own cooking and sewing. For fun she does crossword puzzles. She donates blood, volunteers at election time, participates in the Canadian democratic process by writing letters about her views to government officials, the Prime Minister, the President of the U.S. and anyone else in the world.

She visits shut-ins, makes her own occasion cards out of pressed flowers, freezes foods, and is still learning new melodies to play on her piano. She cares for the earth by carefully separating glass, tin, reusable garbage and sorting it for recycling. She spots unusual wildlife for the local district agriculturist, snaps photos of nature scenes and enters them in contests.

She cares for the house by laying carpets, putting down linoleum, upholstering furniture and making drapes, and washing windows.

She cares for herself well. She eats modest meals of vegetables, salads and small quantities of meat or chicken. She exercises for 15 minutes every morning. She walks and works a bit in the sunshine each day. She drinks several glasses of water a day and takes time out to enjoy friends and family.

And she plays Scrabble with such finesse that her son the lawyer usually loses.

That's my mom.

In her work life she has worked as a truck driver, a psychiatric ward aide, an unofficial jazzercise teacher, a legal secretary, a film theatre manager, and a model. She is a terrific ballroom dancer, and part-time winemaker. That's not all… but it's all I can think of right now.

My mom didn't know about ‘women's' liberation. She grew up in a time when very few women went to university. But she knew about curiosity, determination, persistence… and taking little steps to reach big goals.

And she knew ‘ how to work '. Show up on time, ready and eager, do the work and make the work lighter by being in a good mood and cheering up co-workers.

My Mom was born into a poor Canadian prairie family. Her mom died when she was eight and she was sent to care for a sick grandmother in England at the age of thirteen. Despite the “limitation” of an eighth-grade education, my mom has never been held back by anything in life.

My Mom always said:

“If you put your mind to it, you can figure out pretty well anything.”

And she is living proof.

Throughout my years, she envied my access to education. She and my father always encouraged me to:

  • Learn
  • Think
  • Do

They both taught me to read. Our house was always full of books and magazines on all kinds of subjects. Though the TV was often on in our house, usually it was a backdrop to reading and discussing ideas, world events and opinions.

My mom never put up with any ridiculous socializing influence that would make girls less able or less comfortable than boys. So if you are a woman reading this and you think you would like to be a carpenter or plumber or mechanic – go ahead.

How Did My Mom Get What She Wanted in Life?
My mom usually gets what she wants.
She decides what she wants.
She makes a plan.
Then she does it - step by step.

Role models not only inspire us to great heights-but also to great lives, full lives, rounded lives, creative and rewarding lives.

What are my Mom's secrets of success?

  • enthusiasm
  • excitement for living
  • a sense of resourcefulness
  • a willingness to make do with what you have
  • creative thinking to make ‘something out of nothing'
  • the optimism and will to make ‘lemonade' when life hands you some lemons.

People like Phil Stirling show us that circumstances do not make us what we are, they reveal us to ourselves .

Did my Mom get rich?
… as all those self-improvement books tell you that ‘you too can'?
She's not a millionaire – but she is rich in comfort, freedom of choice and she is financially able to treat herself and her family to special outings.

She did get a good job, with good benefits and she is still enjoying the ‘fruits of her labour' for all her hard work all those years as a ward aide.

She and my late father enjoyed many holidays together, they lived within their means and put some money aside in savings every month when they were working so that they would be able to live comfortably in their retirement.

And What About my Dad?
When people read my book (which is a lot about my Mom) they say “What did your Dad do?”

Well, my Dad was well educated in useful things like Greek, Latin and the classics. He had gone to the Rye Grammar School in England and was completely unprepared for ‘real life'. World War II broke out and he ended up driving a motorcycle, carrying orders to and from army bases (Sound boring? He loved it!).

Near the end of the war he and my Mom came to Canada. He worked selling cars, teaching driving, as a sales representative for various oil/gas companies…and then he became very sick with infectious hepatitis. This disease took away all his energy. Though he could work again within a year, he was never the same and often could only work half days.

He had lots of great ideas and became an entrepreneur. He opened a few businesses (mostly farm machinery) but his lack of practical business skills, plus the difficult realities of farm finances, usually lead to his defeat.

He had the good fortune to meet Colonel Saunders (of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame) before the Colonel got famous. At the time Colonel Saunders was already over 60 and he was traveling the country trying to sell franchises for his chicken recipe. A couple of years later my Dad saw him on TV in an ad…and it seemed to inspire him to keep on with his dream.

His dream was to provide industrial arts training machinery to schools. At that time, the molded plastics industry was just starting out and there was a need for semi-skilled workers. This type of work fit perfectly into a high school industrial arts program, but there were no scaled down versions of the equipment and supplies were hard to come by. He started this business with a friend, but soon his lack of financial skills forced him to leave the business.

Late in life he went to work as a gas pump jockey.

It was hard on his pride at first. He knew what he was capable of, but he also knew he had to save money for retirement and to pay the bills at home. And soon he found new things to do at work and new ventures for that business. He took a propane gas course. He and his buddy bought a big digger and his friend ran it on weekends and they earned a bit more cash this way.

And then, a miracle happened. A new fellow bought my dad's old industrial arts business, and he invited my dad to come back and work for him. It was a perfect match. The new fellow had all the practical business knowledge and skills my Dad lacked, and my Dad had all kinds of the forward-looking ideas and practical knowledge of the field. They built a strong team and the company went international.

The crowning achievement was that the Alberta Teacher's Association honored my father with a special award.

What can we learn from that? Persistence, a willingness to work hard at something you don't love - so you can later do something you do love, desire to help others, the ability to dream and to hang on to a dream, can all lead to ‘success'…but if we look at life as a ‘journey' and not a ‘destination', then every day you live well, happy, healthy and with optimism is a success.

My Dad loved to read – anything and everything. And that's probably where he got a lot of his great ideas. He took concepts from here and there and put them together his own way. And he was quite inspired by Colonel Saunders, still pushing for his dream so late in life.

So, never give up. As they say in the old song “You've got to have a dream, if you don't have a dream, how are you going to have a dream come true?”

And What About Me?
I'm a high school dropout.
I was 18 and out of work. I went to my local government employment office. They were useless. My counselor said:
“You're a dropout.”
“Yes,” I said.
“No matriculation. You don't even have Math 30,” she said.
“Uh, no…I like languages better than math,” I said.
“Hmm. Too bad. Any employer will look at this resume and know that you can't think logically,” she said, sighing. You do qualify for placement as a housekeeper. When can you start?”
Housekeeper? Me? I'm a slob!
Of all the things I am qualified for, housekeeping is NOT one of them. When I saw this soul-destroying bureaucrat, I was bilingual in French and English. I had dropped out of school to work as a nanny in France for half a year. I could type – not well, but I could type. I had taught swimming. I'd worked as a carhop for a short time. I knew I was ‘qualified' for something different than housekeeping, and I knew that I could think logically WITHOUT Math 30.

Reluctantly I went to the local college upgrading program – only to find out I didn't need to take Math 30. I could take Phys. Ed. and finish my matriculation. I did that and a couple of other courses and in the summer I went back to that employment office.

This time I saw a job posted for a writer at a local TV station. This interested me – but the counselor refused to send me, saying again that I was not qualified. It was true that I did not have any formal training in TV, but at that time, almost no one did! I decided it was time to help myself instead of relying on someone else's judgment of me.

I prepared myself well. I put together a ‘portfolio' of some things I had written at school and college. I wrote up a resume that listed my volunteer work, the fact I was a swimming teacher, my interests and my goals. Then I went to the TV station and asked to apply for the job.

I got it.

Now – I had to learn LOTS of things on the job and it was sometimes difficult for me to understand what people expected of me…and I made some mistakes. But I learned. And because I took the step toward getting a job I wanted, I ended up in a career I still enjoy today.

I knew what I wanted. It was a job close to the things I liked to do (writing). I was willing to take the risk of asking for the job, even though the ‘experts' said I was not qualified and they were not going to refer me. I prepared myself as best I could for the interview. And I tried.

I hope these personal stories inspire you.

There are lots more of them out there.

I recommend that you read the biographies of successful people. Lots of them started with nothing, but they had a desire to do something interesting with their lives, and the persistence to hang on to their dream - that's what helped them along.

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