Derek Hunter

It’s a tradition as old as time – blaming someone else for one’s own problems. It’s called “scapegoating,” and humans have a long history of it. We blame others for our own hardships because, well, it’s easier than dealing with the fact that most, if not all, our problems are the result of choices we made.

How many people do you know who’ve been fired from a job and said something along the lines of “My boss hated me?” People have been fired out of spite, but for the most part, it doesn’t happen to great employees. Know any good carpenters unable to find work? I mean really good carpenters, craftsmen who show up on time, don’t over-charge, do great work and don’t leave a mess? I bet you don’t, because they are in demand, no matter how bad the economy is.

I know plenty of people who are or have been out of work for long periods of time, and most of them have attitudes that make being around them for extended periods of time a difficult proposition. Not only do I know them, I was one of them. I’ve had more jobs than anyone else I know, and I dare say anyone you know, or even any three people you know. At last count I’ve held, for varying lengths of time (mostly very short periods of time), 63 jobs. No, that’s not a typo.

You name it, I’ve probably been paid to do it, for at least an hour or two before quitting or being fired.

Roofing, construction, concrete, electrician’s assistant, deli counter, softball scorekeeper, busboy, waiter, bartender, fast-food, slow-food, bulk-food, a boat radiator factory, aluminum brake factory, door-to-door sales. I could go on but you get the idea. And I was fired more times than I can count from many of those jobs because of my attitude. I hung around with people whose days revolved around having enough money to get drunk or high as many nights as possible. That was our priority; that was our lives.

I couldn’t really afford college after high school, and it wasn’t a priority. My parents didn’t graduate high school, and my siblings (I’m the youngest of five) hadn’t gone to college, so it wasn’t discussed. My high school wasn’t exactly a conduit to great things, so college wasn’t pushed on anyone. I’d applied to one school, Wayne State in Detroit, because the application fee was only $20 and they were coming to my high school to give immediate admission to people who qualified. You needed only a 2.0 GPA and a few other people were doing it. And the idea of college beat the thought of working for a living, so I did it. They accepted me.

Derek Hunter

Derek Hunter is Washington, DC based writer, radio host and political strategist. You can also stalk his thoughts 140 characters at a time on Twitter.