Personal Stories of America at Work

Monthly Archives: May 2011

How a 70-something Finds Purpose in a Post-Retirement Job

Bellman Jack Edwards ushers in all types of people to his New Jersey hotel

"At my age (I’m 77), it feels better than staying in the house doing nothing, and you meet a lot of interesting peoples.”

It’s a rainy night in Georgia

I’ve been working as a bellman at this same hotel in New Jersey since 1982. I started part-time; it was an after-hours job in addition to my regular daytime manufacturing jobs as a painter, material handler, belt splitter, jobs like that. When I officially retired in 1990, I started full-time. To me, it’s kind of fun working at the hotel. At my age (I’m 77), it feels better than staying in the house doing nothing, and you meet a lot of interesting peoples.

When a big sports star or someone famous comes to the hotel, everyone tries to rush in to see them. I don’t really go for all of that. But if they come in and they’re by themselves, I speak to them and everything. Over the years, I’ve met some interesting people—James Brown, Bill Cosby, Shirley Caesar (the “First Lady of Gospel”), and Billy Dee Williams. I even got Billy to take a picture with my grandson. Another time, Ray Charles was here . . .

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molly | May 31, 2011 | Hospitality | 0

5 Myths of Entrepreneurship

With the economic plunge of the last several years, many professionals either have made the leap to running their own businesses or have thought about doing so. What it’s like to live in the shoes of a successful entrepreneur who makes a living helping other entrepreneurs? Enter Jim Horan, CEO and founder of The One Page Business Plan. During our interview with Jim, we cleared up some misconceptions about entrepreneurship.

Myth #1: Entrepreneurship is a lonely business.

Horan says that an entrepreneurial support group was one of the keys to success for starting and building his business. When he was invited, his host emphasized that this was a place to give to others, not to take from them. “I am stunned by the generosity of the entrepreneurship community. It is amazing what entrepreneurs will do for each other for free. I think it’s because people who are successful in small business are incredibly grateful.” Horan says, “The really successful entrepreneurs I know are always asking, ‘What can I do to help you today?’”

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molly | May 24, 2011 | Entrepreneurs, Innovation, Small business | 4

One Page Business Plan Author on How to Reinvent Yourself after a Lay-off

Jim Horan is a former Fortune 500 CFO who invented The One Page Business Plan and reinvented himself as successful entrepreneur. The One Page Business Plan is called “an out and out winner” by Tom Peters, author of Thriving on Chaos and co-author of In Search of Excellence. His book is recommended by Oprah Magazine.

The Working Chronicles: What has been your career journey?

"I think we’re all capable of doing a lot more than what we have done."

Jim Horan: I was fired from my job as a CFO on April 1, 1990. April Fool’s Day. It turned out that the joke was on me—I was unemployed for two years and then underemployed for the next three to five years as I explored entrepreneurship. But it ended up being absolutely the best thing that could have happened. I discovered a whole series of talents I had no idea I had. I think we’re all capable of doing a lot more than what we have done.
While looking for a job, I found myself becoming a consultant. I began to work with small businesses and discovered that business plans are not understood by damn near anybody.

Out of that came the idea of The One Page Business Plan.

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molly | May 17, 2011 | Entrepreneurs, Innovation, Job Search, Publishing, Small business, Unemployment | 0

How a City Boy Trades Driving the Freeways for Flying in the Bush

"Nobody else is out there, no air traffic control, no runways, no designated procedures..."

LA city boy Rob Norberg lives off the grid as a bush pilot in the Alaskan frontier

Conquering a fear of flying

I have been flying for twenty years and work as a seasonal bush pilot for a fishing lodge in Dillingham, Alaska. People stay for a week, and we take them fishing in the wild.

I grew up in LA, so I am a city boy, but I always yearned to see Alaska. For a year or two I read everything I could find on Alaskan bush pilots. Alaska still has that sense of frontier and freedom that allows you to be your own person, be somewhat off the grid, and not be so exposed to the crowds and the rigmarole of society. Flying is the ultimate extension of that because you are going to places only accessible by airplane.

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molly | May 03, 2011 | Fishing, Job Search, Small business, Sports | 7

The Working Chronicles

  • The Working Chronicles captures an intimate look at work in 21st century America through candid interviews with people from all walks of life and all corners of the country.

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