My First Career

So what are you waiting for? If you wait for everything to be right you’ll always be waiting. Jump on and take your career, business or life where you want to go.

Between 1975 and 1981 I was an air cadet. I belonged to the best unit in Toronto. Well I believe it was and that’s all that counts. I love the program. I really don’t think there is one better for creating leaders. The Royal Canadian Air Cadets were formed in 1942 as a means to pre-train young men who wanted to join the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Girls were allowed to join only a few years before I signed up and up until then it was men only. If you think at 13 you’re a man mind you.

I started out just like everyone else a raw recruit. We were in the “Manning” flight. That’s what it was called back then. Now a days they’re known as recruits and belong to the “Recruit” flight. Back then you were called everything under the sun except recruit. “Herby” was the favourite. That was a common term throughout the entire program from coast to coast from what I can gather. We could get away with that then. Better not do that now.

Your sexual orientation was questioned if you as much as diverted your gaze from “burning a hole” in the skull of the person in front of you or the wall if you were in the front rank, and looked toward the NCO (Non Commissioned Officer) yelling at you. “Whatchya looking at Herby? I’m not your girlfriend.” the male sergeant in charge of the flight would yell. And it usually included an expletive or two when an officer wasn’t in the room.

You were belittled or chastised and made fun of if you made a mistake or stepped out of line. Punishments were usually calisthenics like push-ups or jumping jacks and your name was dropped if the instructor felt that you needed help from the entire flight or squad.

Even with all of this I found it FUN! I didn’t resent the treatment. I didn’t run home and cry to my mommy. I sucked it up. We all did. Those that didn’t like the treatment usually quit. I think that was the whole idea behind the treatment. Who can take it? If you can take it you get to stay.

It reminds me of the chapter in Napoleon Hill’s book “Think and Grow Rich” called “Persistence”. For some reason I knew that I had to persist in order to be accepted by the unit. Once I was in uniform I was in and there was no stopping where I could go.

Persistence got me through the door and because I loved being part of the organization and I felt like it was my second home. I excelled. I lived for that unit. I slept, ate, and breathed 631. I learned what they taught me and I passed that knowledge to my subordinates. I was always eager to help out. I attended every function that the unit was taking part in. Camping trips, familiarisation flights in private and Canadian Forces aircraft, summer camps, parades, dances, and parties. I can safely say that up until now that has been the best part of my life.

I retired in 1981 at the age of 19 as Chief Warrant Officer. The highest rank possible for a cadet. I was in command of 120 cadets and I’m very proud to have been a part of that very special group. I still have good friends that live hundreds to thousands of kilometers away and when we get together it’s like we’ve never been apart and it’s really sad when we part company again.

I did so well because I really embraced it. Now I get to do the same sort of thing, learning what I need to know and passing the knowledge along to my clients while embracing the program. If they embrace it as I have chances are they’ll do better than me and that’s what I really want to see.

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