Every Generation Throws a Hero Up the Pop Charts

I hate LinkedIn, but I have a LinkedIn account. Why? Well back in the day when I was teaching Business Communication I had to make sure my students were ready for the post-graduation job-search and that meant I had to teach them how to set up a LinkedIn profile.

My profile might be one of the most anti-LinkedIn profiles on the platform. It verges on hostility. I set most of the features to “private.” As hostile as it is, it’s been MORE hostile than it is now. It used to say, “I’m retired. I’m no longer teaching. I am not in the least interested in making connections or writing recommendations for former students.” When I retired I had reached the point where I was disgusted by my students. It’s true; the final few batches were — well, thinking about them (with some notable exceptions) still makes me shudder. I haven’t included my teaching in the section labeled “experience,” either. I doubt I ever will.

Among my 33 connections are some old friends, a legit business connection or two, one former colleague and four former students.

Periodically I go to my LinkedIn page to see how the former students are doing. Are they famous? No, but they are truly wonderful. There is Travis, a tall, gangly kid from Trinidad, Colorado, who came bounding into my writing class asking to add. The room was tiny — and packed. There were not enough desks. I said, “OK, but you’ll have to sit on the floor.”

He did. I put the tabletop lectern on the floor in front of him to use as a desk, and for the rest of the semester, Travis sat “in Japan.” Travis is gay, obviously not an easy thing to be in Trinidad, Colorado. He was so happy to be in San Diego. We became friends and remained so for years. He was a drama major and exceptionally talented. Among my many great memories of Travis was his decision to stage the “Witches’ Kitchen” section of Goethe’s Faust as a 1970’s disco for his final project. We had a lot of fun figuring that out. Now he’s teaching screenwriting and working as student affairs coordinator at an arts university in the bay area.

There’s Manny, who was a tough gang-banging kid from Oakland when I first met him. He’d had trouble with the law and had finally decided to come to school and pursue a law degree. His dream? To be a public defender. Manny was hilarious and completely real. He spent hours in my office doing his homework, joking around, talking about his plans. He was in an alien world at the White Bread University that was SDSU at that time.  He graduated, got into law school in Florida, finished, did his clerking, and is now an assistant public defender in Jacksonville, Florida.

I see these guys doing so well, doing what they hoped to do as younguns, and I feel warm inside and proud of them. I taught many, many remarkable people in those 30+ years, but I never got famous. I will always be grateful for that.



8 thoughts on “Every Generation Throws a Hero Up the Pop Charts

  1. Interestingly, I deleted my linked in account yesterday. After all this hacking, I realized that linkedin offered far more information about me and my life than ANYTHING else on the internet and since I’m no longer job hunting, it was just a hanger-on from earlier days. It is ironic, because I still got occasional work offers from them. I’m not in any shape — mentally or physically to work full time at anything. I’ve been out of work too long — 10 years — and I don’t have the kind of memory I needed to do the work. What I didn’t like was losing track of many colleagues on LinkedIn — old bosses and co-workers and all that, but getting hacked left me feeling pretty vulnerable and LinkedIn is an open book about your entire past, including addresses and previous relationships with companies and co-workers. If I was still hunting, it would be worth it … but otherwise, I decided to dump it.

    The cop I talked to at the police station yesterday ALSO got hacked and I was able, because of all the back and forth with Microsoft, to tell him how to fix is computer so he doesn’t have to buy a new one. It’s stupidly easy, but enormously, painfully, time-consuming … but in the end you wind up with a brand new computer, just like you got it out of the box. With no applications and it takes so long to get it to work like it used to — assuming you actually CAN get it to work like it used to, which I’m finding suprisingly difficult. It’s a new version of Windows 10 and old things don’t want to install the same way and I’m finding it pretty awkward to work with. If I get my wits about me and spend some money — if I ever have any money EVERY again — I can fix it. Meanwhile, though, I’ve got it 3/4 working. That final quarter, I’m waiting on responses from various groups to tell me if the new version of 10 is the problem or if I’ve installed the piece of software in the wrong part of the system or something. At least the computer is working perfectly.

    Those little bastards in India locked up my computer because they felt like it. They tried to get money, couldn’t do it and they spend hours trying to get money and found themselves with a lot of wasted hours and nothing to show for it, so just for fun, they locked the computer down.

    They said “We wiped out your data.”
    I said “No problem, it’s backed up.”
    “We stole money from PayPal.”
    “No, you didn’t. It’s all been put back into my account.”
    “Well, you can’t use your computer.”

    Yes I can. It was a pain in the butt, but it’s functioning again, witness that I am actually working on it right now. So essentially what they cost me was two days of high angst, a lot of incredibly tedious work, a trip to the cop shop where I was able to tell our one full-time cop how to fix his computer (which felt VERY good and I think we made a friend in the police station!) … and I’ve been getting lots of information from various companies on what I can do about hackers. It used to be viruses and worms. Now it’s actual HACKERS. Seriously? Me? I also ordered a new router and so did my son and a bunch of other people because the old routers are apparently hackable and the newer ones, less so.

    I think these asshhole sewer rates can hack almost anything. How much can we stop them when they’ve already hacked major companies including Adobe, BOA, Experion, and several smaller states in the U.S. and about half a million home routers in Europe?

    We are ALL DOOMED.

    Beware of LinkedIn. There’s an awful lot of information in there and it isn’t hard to get to it. They pay a few dollars and pretty much ANYONE can go look at it. If you are looking for work, you probably need to take the chance but you, me and all the other retirees? Maybe it’s a chance we can skip! It’s hard to close the account, too, by the way. it took a lot of determination to finally find the “close account” clicker!

  2. I imagine that seeing your students go forth and thrive is a fine reward. I like it when I find out that someone I knew as a child is fully launched into a life of meaning for them.
    I have Linked in, and find it useless, and have not gotten around to shutting it down. One of these days, perhaps.

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