Can't Teach An Old Dog…

During high school, well probably even as far back as elementary school – I had no desire to learn anything they wanted to teach me. It was boring. Time would have been better spent reading a comic book, watching tv or day dreaming about anything. I wasn’t engaged and didn’t see the purpose of learning. I loved reading stories though, loved my comics and the books I managed to get my hands on and thought deep down that someday I would be a writer.

When I graduated high school with the bare minimum requirements everyone said “You have to go to college”. As a poor foster child there were many grants and available loans for me to choose from. I managed to get into the local college and signed up for astronomy, philosophy and some kind of statistics class as I think it was a mandatory class and I wanted to get it out-of-the-way. I didn’t want to be there at all and barely went to class on sober days, rarely on days when booze was available. Needless to say, I didn’t do well in 1989 in college and soon I was academic probation – so I left, not worth my time.

Factory jobs for a few years and writing stories on an old Apple computer in my free time when I was stoned or drunk (made for some interesting plot holes). This was, I thought, what life was all about – a factory job, beer and not a care in the world. I was aiming pretty low at the time, but I would have been content at some level to just do that for the rest of my life – but alcoholism got in the way.

When I started to learn to be sober they not only shared with me their experience strength and hope – they taught me how to read, how to study and how to retain that information. I don’t know if they know they did that but it’s what happened. I was taught to read the preface, forwards, appendices… and to underline and highlight in my book… (not something you should consider for your comic books, just an fyi). They had me read and re-read, write and think about what I had read and have other people read what I was reading and try to pay attention. I had a vested interest in learning though – I wanted to find a solution to alcoholism (I thought they’d teach me how to drink like a normal person, but I found much more than that).

After 9/11 I, like many Americans, was inspired to do something for the country – to give back to the country I was a part of. I decided for me the best way to do that was to become a superhero – or the real world equivalent, a police officer. This meant I had to study and AA had taught me how to do that. I was given study materials to pass an entrance exam for the police academy – and I studied every day. Read and re-read, created flash cards and knew the contents of that book backwards and forwards. I got an 85% on that exam and was so damn excited I couldn’t believe it. I was all set to go be a police officer. What happened thought was I was honest – I answered truthfully on the exam about my LSD use before sobriety and they said that was a no go. I was rather disappointed.

In 2005 my boss retired and I didn’t really care for her replacement – so I looked at going back to school. I enrolled in a community college – just to prove to myself that I was smart. Honestly, that was the whole purpose. I signed up for classes that interested me – writing 101 and psychology – they made me take remedial math, beginning computers and some kind of “pretty you for college class”. I did quite well in my first semester – Aced writing and computers, Satisfactory in remedial math (I think that’s all you get) and a B in psychology. The next semester I took three writing/reading classes and remedial math part 2 and I did well again… I certainly was smart – I made the Honor Roll, which is pretty crazy to me. Being smart, it didn’t take me very long to discover there wasn’t any money being made going to school, and I like money. So that was the end of that.

I then found a job working with American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA) specialists and an office manager type. I was soon exposed to all part of that law and ended up typing up the reports my boss hand wrote. As a result of seeing the same sections/laws referenced for the same violations and recommendations again and again I started to pick up on the ADA and soon was noticing in my every day life when things weren’t accessible or were downright barriers to access for people of many disabilities. I even got to the point I could usually eyeball a mirror to determine if it was low enough just passing by. The ADA rubbed off on my due to constantly being around it, having to know it and reference it again and again. It is still ingrained in me. (probably makes my boss Jim very happy)

Going into my latest job in insurance I didn’t get the experience that can relate to any of the above. I work every day, very hard at my job in insurance. I’m exposed regularly to many terms and concepts of insurance. I took a 2 1/2 day class on insurance and studied at home for my insurance license and I failed that test four times . It’s a rather big blow to my already damaged ego. You need a 70 to pass and three of those exams I hit 68, which was especially frustrating.

So now I’m signed up for a class on insurance with a carrier that our company writes with. Four of my colleagues are going to take the class with me – two of them are licensed agents and all of them do vastly different things than I do (or so I think anyway). Today we met in kind of meeting before the class to talk about the class (corporations love meetings) and I realized I’m in a different league than these people, they’re talking about things I have no direct knowledge or experience with. My primary focus at work is making sure the things get done – and that the right people are doing them when they’re asked to do them.

I’ve been studying every night, per the upcoming class guidelines and I seem to retain the information even though some of it is extremely boring. But I’d really like to get this behind me and do well, but I’m not exactly feeling very confident about myself.

After you fail the insurance exam four times you are not allowed to retake the exam again until one year after your last failure – which is rapidly approaching. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results – so I’m not really sure I even want to take the exam again – I get it, I’m a failure… I don’t need a fifth example to show me how. But I feel that my efforts at work aren’t appreciated because I don’t have that little piece of paper – it’s probably a silly thing in my own head, but I can’t shake it, so I’m giving myself more pressure which is such a great idea right?

anyway.. I’ve been sitting here writing instead of studying and that’ll probably bite me in the ass shortly.

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