As I recently described, I had a one week trial period at Tip Top Shoe Repair & Moccasin Shop. It was clear to me by mid-week that I really enjoyed it. Although I didn’t want to be overly confident, I also felt fairly certain that Wayne liked me and would offer me a job.
I don’t remember exactly how it happened, but my recollection is that at the end of the last day of the first week, Wayne handed me my own lip-knife (a knife widely used in shoe repair shops that has a blunt tip and allows you to quickly trim soles and heals as well as trim thread, etc.), my own shop apron, and a key to the shop. He smiled and said that he’ll see me Monday morning.
I was really amazed at how good that felt! I had worked several jobs up to this point, including the amazing river running job, but this felt like a real job and a career.
Getting this job was also a significant moment for me, because I realized–perhaps for the first time–that there were interesting alternatives to the kindergarten-college-professional career path; that I could actually do useful work with my hands; that people appreciated good repair work; and that there are many talented and hard-working people like Wayne who learned a trade and made an honest and reasonable living without college. (In retrospect and as a father myself now, I can feel the shudder of worry that my dad must have felt at this joyous moment in my young life…)