Many years ago I opened a fortune cookie with the message "You will be lucky for life." I always trust fortune cookies as the most reliable predictor of the future. The Lucky for Life message was already mostly true, since I had been very lucky in my life up to then and up to now.
There are two kinds of luck ? big luck and small luck. Small luck is winning a million dollars in the lottery. I admit I buy lottery tickets every week and mail back entries from Publisher's Cleaning House to win the $5000 a week for life, but I have not won anything from them yet. I'm lucky for life because I have "Big Luck."
Big luck means having a good life, a smooth life without anything terrible happening. I was born and raised in New Rochelle, NY in a nice suburban environment. My parents weren't perfect, but they did their best for me.
I moved to California in 1972 to attend graduate school. I was accepted into the MA in Cinema at UCLA and USC. Both schools had and still have a great reputation for film studies. I chose UCLA because I was more interested in film history at the time and UCLA had an excellent program in Film History & Criticism.
I received my MA in Theatre Arts (Film History) in 1974 and looked for a job in educational or independent films. I wrote film reviews for a magazine startup called, "Yesteryear," but it didn't pay and it didn't last. The closest to a movie job I could find was handing out tickets to Preview House, which recruited audiences to review pilots of new TV shows.
I couldn't find any other opportunities in writing, production, or archival work, so I crossed town to USC and started a Doctorate in cinema there. My first class was a seminar in film research and testing. I wasn't sure what this would be but it was about measuring the effectiveness of instructional films. That's how I wound up getting my Doctorate in Instructional Technology, which is about the use of film, TV, even computers (as primitive as they were back then) in education. Believe it or not, I consider this blog to be an application of instructional technology.
After I completed my Ph.D. I took a job as a technical writer for a small company in Canoga Park called Xyzyx. One day someone brought in a corporate newspaper from Hughes Aircraft. I thought it would be great to work for Hughes.
A year later Hughes spun off a branch from Radar Systems into the new Electro-Optical and Data Systems Group (EDSG). I answered an ad in the LA Times for a new IT Training Dept. in this new Group. I was hired and I worked in EDSG for about two years. Then I transferred to Space & Communications Group as Supervisor of a new Training Dept. in the Program Management Department.
I worked for Hughes from 1980 to 1992 when the Groups were broken up and sold off to different companies. Most of us over 40 were laid off. So I decided I wanted to get into radio. I took broadcasting classes at Santa Monica College and in 1994 I sold my house in Culver City and bought an AM/FM combo in Morro Bay.
I moved to beautiful Morro Bay and ran KBAI/KWWV for a year and a half. I was close to running out of money supporting the stations when my luck came through again. I found buyers for both stations and tried starting a gourmet food business. I made fruit sauces and fruit catsups with recipes from old cookbooks.
I took the money from selling the stations and had Running Deer Ranch in Paso Robles make sauces for me to take to a crafts fair in San Mateo. The San Francisco Chronicle had a booth at the show. I took a copy of the paper and there was an ad for Customer Service Consultants for Relevant Business Systems, a software company in San Ramon.
I wasn't sure where San Ramon was. I thought it might be up near the Oregon border. I looked at a map and saw it was near Walnut Creek; so I faxed my resume to the company when I got home.
The Vice President, Dave Thayer, phoned me half an hour after I faxed my resume. Relevant Business Systems turned out to be a very small company with a very big Enterprise Resource Planning system. I drove back up the next day to meet with Mr. Thayer. He needed a Technical Writer to write the documentation and help for 18 modules in their ERP system. That was in March of 1997.
I worked for Relevant until the end of 2002. The company was sold or merged into a bigger software company. Fortunately for me in I started teaching part time for University of Phoenix in 2002. So every time one thing ended something else popped up. I have been lucky for life.