What a strange title for a blog. Maybe so, but many parents try to decide what careers their children should choose.
My father was a barber and, naturally, my mother and father didn’t want to persuade me to become a barber. Having said that, my mother always told me that ‘because I have an outgoing personality, being a lawyer would suit me fine’. She continued on that path, always telling me to become a lawyer. My father kept telling me to be sure that I choose a trade, any kind of trade; a barber, doctor, lawyer, businessman, engineer – anything that was a specialty.
Instead of choosing any of the above trades, I knew I liked children. And so I chose to major in Educations at UCLA. I wanted to be a 4th-grade elementary school teacher. On the other hand, I was a good salesman. I had been selling products since I was twelve-years-old, whether it was newspapers on a corner in Los Angeles where I grew up, or as a peddler – door to door - selling perfume or jewelry. Even when I was still at UCLA studying to be a teacher I longed for a part-time job selling, and that took me into selling encyclopedias.
While I had classes in the morning, I was on the phone making appointments with families in order to see them at night with my bag full of Encyclopedias Britannicas. I was quite successful doing this, and that job lasted almost two years.
As stated earlier - my father was a barber in Hollywood, and one of his customers was a man named Ralph Wonders. Mr. Wonders had a talent management firm, and one of his clients was Spike Jones who had his 1949 musical depreciation show about to go on the road for six months - a perfect time for me to get out of the house and be on my own.
Spike Jones needed a young assistant to do an assortment of things that the members of the show needed. I took the job right out of high school, and went on the road with Spike Jones and his troupe of strange musicians and dancers. Six months of experience travelling around the United States makes a young man grow quickly. I am happy in one respect that I took that job, and sad because I grew up too quickly.
When I decided to go back to college (UCLA) I immediately wanted to be a fraternity guy, and I did rush the ZBT fraternity. I tried to catch up with all the other guys who went straight to college after graduating high school, which I chose not to do. After selling books for almost two years I took a job at NBC television in Hollywood. I started as a paige, which is the bottom of the ladder for a young man wanting to get into the broadcasting business. Yes, that is what I wanted to do; sell commercial time for NBC television. Sweet wishes!
Before I began there, though, I found out that NBC television didn’t hire young, inexperienced people for their sales department. I had to get out of Los Angeles, so - instead - I started my broadcast career selling commercial time for a small 250-watt radio station in Palm Springs.
No, I wasn’t going to be a lawyer or a doctor… or an engineer. My father and mother didn’t object, although they had no idea why I took this starting job with NBC. They were not going to complain; they were against objecting to anything that I thought I could be successful at. The job in Palm Springs led me to a job with an FM station in Los Angeles in 1958, and then led me to ABC where I spent the next thirty-eight years doing what I wanted to do. I ended a thirty-eight year career at ABC - the last seventeen years as the president and general manager of KABC radio.
One of the reasons for my success was because my parents never tried to force me into anything I didn’t want to do. I had a goal and I pursued it without any pressure from home. I have a strong belief in young people doing what they want to do, without having making money as the first criteria for making the decision to do what is loved. I was taught to focus on the love of a job.
Money will usually follow if a person does the job that he or she loves. Not all the time, but it certainly did for me and most successful people that I know. One last piece of advice for my friends reading this… Warren Buffett, one of the most successful people in the world, personally taught me if it is not worth doing it is not worth doing it well.
In short - Follow your dreams!
Copyright George Green © 2016 Rancho Mirage, CA, USA