Post-College – Adventures

Daniel moved from college into a mobile home in the next town so that his brother could commute for his final year.   A high school friend from home that was more like another brother moved in with the boys.   The friend and brother were both in school, so Daniel took the only job he could find – a cashier at Walmart to help pay the bills.

Daniel worked as a volunteer for a local museum while looking for work.  Eventually, he got a job at Barnes & Nobles – which lasted a few weeks.    He was given the task of straightening up some bookshelves and when he took hours to do what they wanted done (but failed to explain) in minutes, they let him go.  He was devastated.

He then applied to Wal-mart and was accepted as a cashier – we were worried, wishing it had been a less customer-oriented position.  He actually received a couple of raises and did his job well, but two missteps in communications with customers, the stress was too much for him.  He feared dismissal everyday he went to work.

His Dad and I contributed monthly to Daniel’s checking account and helped him prepare a schedule so that he could pay the basic bills.   He never missed a payment or a day of work.

After six months of Daniel working at Wal-mart, we learned of a program called AmeriCorps.  As a residential volunteer, Daniel would receive a stipend, housing, one meal a day and an award to help pay down his student loans.

So Daniel and his brother (now a college graduate) moved into the Americorps Program for the next year.   Both did very well.  Daniel worked in grounds maintenance and brother worked as a tour guide.   Daniel was considered a hard, dependable worker and worked independently on a variety of tasks.   He learned that he could survive getting his hands dirty.

Since a BA didn’t appear to be adequate for finding a career, we encouraged him to attend a local college for a MA in Multi-Media Journalism.  He excelled in his classes, but nearly missed graduating due to lack of clear instruction for his final project.  While he attended the MA program, Daniel worked on a residential facility/ranch for at-risk teens.  They provided him room and board and a small stipend in exchange for tutoring in the on campus school.   He unfortunately was sharing quarters with another young man that took an extreme dislike to him, so after a year and completing all his on campus courses, he returned to Texas (2009) to look for a job.

Of course, his return home coincided with the latest depression/recession.   Every job application was in competition with many other job seekers.   He did manage to receive offers of several interviews, but no job offers.   He practiced interviewing skills and did his best, but after a year, still no job.   He found an online job as a content editor and did quite well, receiving many accolades, but little pay.  Then that company closed down after 3 months.

We learned of DARs in 2010, and thought we had found Daniel a resource for help.  They basically referred him to the same jobs we were seeing on Craigslist.   He did secure a part-time position as a tutor, and DARS closed his file!    He worked as a tutor successfully but never making more than $200 a month.  Then that company moved out of state.

I sent him back to DARs in 2012 and to this date, they have provided him no job placement support.   We learned of nonPareil during this time, but DARS said too expensive.  We put him on the waiting list anyway and are still hoping to be admitted into their program in Plano.

In 2012, Daniel’s Dad and I bought a cookie distribution route (selling, stocking cookies at local grocery stores in the mid-cities area).  We thought Daniel could help us and earn some work experience.   In Feb. 2013, Daniel’s Dad was injured on the job and Daniel had to step in a take up the slack.   Daniel and I ran the route for the next six months and I began to realize that he was really good with the business.   So good that when Dad wasn’t able to return to the business, Daniel took on most of the work load by himself.   As a start-up business, we didn’t have money to pay Daniel other than to continue to support him and pay his student loans, so we have continued to support him in his endeavor to find work that he would enjoy (he doesn’t enjoy the route sales, but he gives it 110% effort).   After both Daniel’s DARS career counselors quit the program, we called our DARS rep for an update only to be told that his case file had been closed again – for some reason they thought he didn’t need their help.

We are hoping that Daniel’s personal growth over the past two years and his two years of current work experience will help him in future career searches – but i so wished that we had encouraged him to study computer science instead of English!


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