Good luck Job Offer Rejected: Did your recognized good luck go untapped like mine?
Have you ever had good luck happen to you and you not fulfill its promise?
What about what you feel is a good luck job offer, but you are not ready for it?
We never hear about such circumstances, but they surely happen, and to the best of us.
I’d be curious to know who reading this had toyed with the idea of essentially rejecting good luck that has come their way.
Of course you may not have recognized good luck when it presented itself, but I’m not talking about such times.
I mean when you realize there is good luck facing you smack dab in the face and yet you still refuse to take action, the action the good luck is beckoning.
Sometimes you only Realize A Good Luck Job Offer After the Fact
Yes, one never knows what is really good luck until sometimes well after the fact.
But other times one had a strong feeling of good luck present or a good luck opportunity just waiting for you to take some action.
Well it has happened to me, and more than once, but here’s the one time I recognized a good luck job offer and had to make a decision whether to take advantage of it or not.
I was twenty-two and would be getting out of the Army shortly. A few weeks before, or maybe a couple of months previous, I had visited a relative in Chicago.
That was about an eleven hour’s drive from where I was stationed in the 101st Airborne.
My job at the Army Post was a communications operator where I had my own secret communications truck.
It was secret in the sense that I was one of the two or three enlisted persons in my battalion that had a secret clearance.
As such, being “privileged” I handled the secret messages for Headquarters Company.
It was great for me because I was isolated from my previous sergeant who disliked me and had made me hate the military.
That happened once I saw how unfair my sergeant was to me and my friend. I had been fortunate enough to know electronics and communications.
I drove from Ft. Campbell Kentucky to Chicago Illinois many Times
Unfortunately for me I didn’t get to travel, except to a few states when the military. That’s one thing I did miss from my military duty. Relatively short distances of up to 1000 miles were within driving distance.
One of the times I drove to Chicago, usually on the weekends, I stayed at a relative’s house.
My relative in Chicago had a cousin that had a very good job as an Air Traffic Controller(ATC).
He was making big bucks, lots of money, back then, several times what my father, and most ordinary people were making. My father had an OK job, not a big salary, but acceptable and about average for the times. Especially for minorities.
My relative’s cousin, whose name I have forgotten during the forty or so years since I got out the Service, convinced me to apply for an ATC job.
How could I possibly qualify for such a prime job?
I was pretty darn sure I had no chance because I read the Federal bulletin about the job and the requirements. They were overwhelming!
I definitely didn’t meet them and certainly did not have the military experience handling airplane traffic that they wanted. Me applying would be a big waste of time.
It seemed like the only real candidates would be those in the Air Force, Navy, or Marines who had been an air traffic controller.
Maybe only those people who worked directly with guiding planes upon takeoff or landing for the military would have a chance.
The only experience I had with airplanes was jumping out of them! Oh, and riding in them as a Civil Air Patrol cadet who operated radios back before I went into the Army.Nevertheless, I was coached into applying for the Air Traffic Controller job. After filling out the application and mailing it I forgot all about it.
Well that was that – A Possible Precursor to Other Job Rejections
I just knew I had no real chance. Not one iota of experience like they wanted for that Air Traffic Controller job.
I was discharged from the Army a few weeks later and drove to Chicago to look for a job. Looking hard and long no job was to be found.
I applied for an electronics related job with Western Electric and wasted a week of interviews only to be turned down as being overqualified.
Did I get jinxed somehow by the silly idea of applying for that Air Traffic Controller job? Maybe I just should have said no thanks to considering that Air Traffic Controller position.
How could I be overqualified? Western Electric was the company that made all the telephones in the US at the time. It was a huge corporation.
My first job as a 17 – 18 year-old had been part-time with the Post Office. That certainly wouldn’t qualify me for much.
I moved on to Detroit where I was sure I’d get a job with one of the auto companies only to strike out there too. No luck, I was really discouraged.
I had had two years of college and still could not find a job. Here I was, able to repair virtually anything electronic, but no job could be found.
Actually during high school myself and another “Ham Radio Operator” had operated the school’s electronic repair service. Not too many 16 – 17 year olds could do that.
I Dreaded the Idea of going Back to California
After the no luck situation of finding a job in Chicago or Detroit, I started thinking of the dreaded idea of going back to California. Which I really didn’t want to do.
One of the major reasons I joined the military was to get out of California. I had joined to go to Germany, but that never materialized due to a change in military qualifications.
The job situation didn’t look good. So I resigned myself to driving back to Pasadena California where my parents were.
Back to Southern California and My Luck Changed
Because I was not swimming in cash after having spent a tidy sum living in Chicago and Detroit for a month or so, I decided to look for a job immediately. Once back home in California I lined up three job interviews right away. The very next day (actually about a half-day later) I went on all three job interviews.
Amazingly I was offered a job with all three companies! But I wisely accepted the one closest to my home(10 minutes away) and related to computers, which were very new at that time.
It was a decent job at Burroughs, which made mainframe computers.
I became an assembler, a job I really didn’t want. However, I figured it was a stepping stone to a much better job in the future. That actually happened a year later.
I assembled discrete parts for the guts of a mainframe computer. There were resistors, capacitors, and diodes on a small assembly that was a part of a much larger assortment of similar assemblies..
I had been working about a month at Burroughs when one day after arriving back home (I was living with my parents) my mom mentioned a letter I had received.
I Received a Letter(Rejection?) from the FAA(Federal Aviation Administration)
When I saw the mail was from the FAA(Federal Aviation Administration) I was shocked. I figured it was my rejection letter for the Air Traffic Controller job I had applied for.
Oh no! I really didn’t like the idea of being rejected, but decided to open the letter anyway.
Surprise, surprise! It was a job offer for an Air Traffic Controller position! A very high paying job that almost anyone my age would be happy and proud to have been offered. It was a very high paying, very hard to get, Federal Government job. Amazing! It was a double shocker! A job offer for a job I just knew I couldn’t get because of no experience whatsoever. I had none of the experience they required.
I just couldn’t believe my luck. The time I really wanted that job (although I knew I had virtually no chance of getting it) I heard nothing from them. Was I lucky or what?
I had totally dismissed that job right from the start and hadn’t thought about it since the day I applied.
Knowing I had virtually no chance of actually getting it, my thoughts were elsewhere. I had applied for it with a wish and a hope, not really believing I had a decent chance of landing such a good job.
Now I had a decision to make. What to do. I already had a decent, but very low paying (compared to an air traffic controller job) job right then.
I had already applied and started school at Pasadena City College. As much as I had wanted that job before it was now not looking so good.
The big disadvantage of the job offer was that it was located outside of Oklahoma City. That’s probably well over a thousand miles from where I lived in Pasadena, California. Unfortunately I didn’t know anyone there or close by there.
If I took the job I’d have to drop my classes in school and I didn’t want to do that.
What a Stroke of Extremely Good Luck!
I recognized how lucky I was to have that job offer. It was a stroke of very good luck. Air Traffic Control Jobs were very difficult jobs to get, and openings were few and far between.
I had a good reference by someone working as an air traffic controller and it may have made the difference of the job offer or not.
After careful deliberation I decided it was better to continue on the path I was already on and not take advantage of that job offer.
Who knows how that job would have changed my life had I taken it?
I certainly would have made a lot more money than my job at the time was paying.
Often over the ensuing years I have thought about that job. Especially during times I went looking for new jobs over the years and times when I was not working.
But one never knows how life will turn out. I’m convinced my life would have been totally different had I taken that job. Thinking about it now, some 50+ years later, I think I made the right move.
How do I know? I don’t know for sure. But if my first job at the Post Office had any affect on me, and it most certainly did, I had promised myself never to be in a position where my job was so important I’d never quit it.
Because of the very high salary of that Air Traffic Controller job, I almost certainly would have ended up in that situation due to very high pay and extremely good retirement benefits. Just speculation, however.
On with my Life after My Big Rejection of that Great Job Offer
As it so happened, my measly assembler job I had at the time of that good ATC job offer occurred lead me to a precision assembler job in electronics.
Then a year later to an electronic technician and eventually to a Sr. electronic technician.
A few short years later I got a Radiotelephone First Class License that allowed me to operate any radio or TV station transmitter in the USA. I still have that license some 50 years later.
I also became the president of the Pasadena City College Amateur Radio Club for a short while. During those post Army years I talked to hundreds of people from my amateur radio station.
I had my parent’s garage loaded with electronic equipment (see Amateur Radio Station image on linked page). At one time I even had an 80 foot antenna attached to the garage. Unfortunately it blew down during one of the strong Santa Ana winds.
My G4ZU mini beam antenna, just a dozen feet off the ground, allowed me to talk all over the world with just a hundred or so watts. I could even talk with most continents from my car with a first generation solid state transceiver. It’s an antique now sitting in my garage.
And not to forget computers, I got a two-year computer science degree. Shortly afterwards I became a computer operator for an optical engineering company. Then about 4 years later a short stint as an Quality Control Technician and later as an electronic technician.
Did my Decision hamper my chances for the future?
So did my dismissal of that good luck job offer hamper my chances for the future? I don’t know. I never did get the good salary that that job would pay until I was a computer programmer. Even then, I never had a really good salary.
But I did get in on the newest technology with mainframe computers, minicomputers, and PCs. Plus I learned and programmed in many languages.
I was right up there experimenting with lasers shortly after they were invented. I got in on programming almost right from the start.
Oh what a life! Good luck or bad, one sometimes never knows until much later in life. In my case I suspect I had good luck even though I turned down the best job offer I ever had. Probably that friend of my relative put in a good word for me. It might have been a case of who you know that pushed my application through government bureaucracy. I’ll never know.
Update: April 28, 2021
Unfortunately I have been unable to find the ATC salaries for 1962. This is the best I can find about that job, but it doesn’t have the historical salary data I need.
However, I do remember the Federal Government bulletin about that job was approximately $18,500 to about $23,000/yr. That was a really high salary for those times.
The previous many years he had the same position in Chicago where his salary was about $4000/yr. My mom was a nurse and didn’t make much more, if any, than that.
Looking back now that I’m months away from 80 yrs old, I think very few people in their early 20s, like I was back then, would ever refuse such a good job offer with excellent benefits.
Did I make a mistake not taking that premium high paying Government job?
Oh, in case you’re wondering about my salaries since then. Unfortunately the very most I ever made as a salary was my last job in 1997-2007. It was about $43,000 a year. A pitiful salary for programmers.
However, I did have a lot of contract programming job back in the mid 80s. Generally I made about $35/hr in overtime hours. Sometimes while working at Sony in San Diego as a contract programmer I made overtime pay which was about $35/hr.
Do I regret not taking that high paying Air Traffic Controller job?
No! Definitely not! Had I taken it I would not have been in business and have gone to Hong Kong, then the Philippines many years later. I haven’t made much money but we’re doing OK.
What would you have done about such a good job offer, especially at 22 years old?
Leave a comment if you can.
Copyright © 2013-2021 Charles Harmon