My daughter was a year old when I got out of the Navy and I needed to find a job. I applied for a position as a Nuclear Medicine Tech at the University of Washington in Seattle, Sacred Heart in Eugene and the Health Sciences Center in Portland with no luck. I also applied at Good Samaritan in Portland and they didn’t have a position for a Nuc Med Tech available, but they created one. If they hadn’t, I probably would have gone to work in the paper mill in Longview. There is nothing wrong with working in the mill but once you get started, it tends to be a life sentence.
I was a tech at Good Sam for several years and then I took a job at St Mary’s in San Francisco. I worked there for two years and picked up enough training hours in the evenings and Saturdays to become licensed as a Clinical Lab Tech. I returned to Good Sam as a Nuc Med Tech for four more years and then I worked for eight years as a chemist at Reynolds Aluminum in Longview. I took evening classes at Portland State while I worked at Good Sam and I worked nights and took day classes at Portland State the last two years I worked at Reynolds. Folks that knew me well, told me that I couldn’t do it but I regarded that as encouragement and I used my degree as a springboard to get back into Nuclear Medicine.
I worked as a tech for Kaiser in Portland for 24 years before I retired. When I had worked there for fifteen years, I got a bright idea that if I worked three ten hour shifts in the lab, I could go to school full time at Oregon State in Corvallis. I signed up for a graduate program in Radiation Health Physics and my friends were concerned that I wouldn’t be up to it. My critics were pretty sure that I couldn’t and they were waiting for me to stumble. I had to work at it but I did reasonably well and I enjoyed it. The classes that I took at Oregon State allowed me to become the Radiation Safety Officer for Kaiser’s Northwest Region.
When I retired, the bet was that I couldn’t survive without a job and even if I could, my wife would kill me. The secret of my success has been that I have been able to roam around Oregon and Washington taking pictures of wildflowers, scenery and critters. I also keep a blog and five days a week I send out photos to my friends and to anyone else that is interested.
Looking back, my family might have been better off if I had taken a job at the paper mill but I had a dream and I was able to do it. There are still lots of places where I would like to go and photos that I would like to take but what I need is for someone to say that it would be too difficult for me.