I probably could have continued my Hardees career, but after going from cook to cashier to Production Supervisor it didn’t seem like it would be the best career for me. They didn’t make enough money and there wasn’t enough challenge. After about two years I decided to quit and go on to something else. The Monroe paper was advertising a job for Prince Electric Company in New Salem, which was a neighboring community. I set up an appointment and went to talk to the man. His name was Chuck Prince. He lived with his wife Marlene and twin daughters Donna and Dana. They lived on a 100+ acre farm in a valley. He operated his residential wiring company from the farm. They had a house down near a pond and upfront on the property was a shop and a couple of out buildings. I worked for him for two years. It was a very difficult time as far as a working relationship. He was a very mean and angry man. He was incredibly demanding. He was a perfectionist and controller. He had one way of doing things and if it was not done his way, his lack of patience would thunder down on you. The first day of work I was not moving as fast as he wanted me to and he began hollering at me. I was doing something to a floor receptacle and was not getting it right or not doing it fast enough. He bore into me. I was shocked. I never knew what hit me.
I went to Penny’s house that day and sat down on the back step of her father’s house and cried. I told her I had made a horrible mistake by quitting Hardees. It was an irreversible mistake that I wanted to take back, but I could not. I persevered, went back the next day and continued to work for him for two more years. I got used to being cussed out, hollered at, not meeting expectations and messing up.
The night before I went to work for Prince I got out our old Encyclopedia Britannica books and looked up electricity to learn about it since I was going into the electrical field. I studied electrons, protons and other dynamics to electricity in order to act like I knew what I was talking about. From my perspective I was being proactive. When I got to work on my first day I was given some side-cutters, screwdrivers and a pouch to carry my tools in. It had nothing to do with what I read the night before. I was crawling around in mud, pulling wire and pushing it up through the floor to go into some plastic boxes in a house that only had studs, with no sheetrock or anything else. I was working with cussing roofers and brick masons. There was an oil burning heater to keep us warm. It was called a salamander. It was smelly, dirty, cold (or hot depending on the season). It was an unforgiving world. I was roughing it in ways that my child rearing did not prepare me for. I was not in school anymore. It was cut throat, survivor of the fittest in some of the most challenging ways. I was all alone now. There were no more classrooms and teachers and safe environs. I was in the workforce for real. It was a hard time.