Recently in the Edmonton Journal, there was an article that stated Alberta had the highest student drop out rate in Canada. We all know the reason the youngsters are going. The oil patch beckons and the kids are taking the oil patch fork in the road. What is appealing to them is the wage. In the latter 70’s and early 80’s kids were earning twice as much in the oil patch as those working in town. The reality is 20 or 30 years later, the kids who rushed to the patch were behind the kids who stayed in school and completed their education or trade. Even in the latter 50’s, I watched pulp cutters with power saws earn 10 times the wage that Pete Chalick and I earned as retail workers. The sad truth is only one or two of those terrific hard workers have become reasonably comfortable and none are rich by any stretch of imagination.

As we journey trough life we are often presented with different forks in the road. If you are like Yogi Berra, who said,“when you come to a fork in the road take it.” then its OK. Unfortunately each of our forks presents options, some lead to job opportunities, new positions or promotions. Each fork presents two faces one of opportunity and better life and the other presents danger. If the chosen path is right for you, in a well meaning organization, the road will be fulfilling, you will grow and prosper. If the fork presented is by deceitful and non-caring people, even though the entry may be pleasant the journey will sour.

It was one Friday evening after all the staff had left for the day, I was sitting in my office downtown when I heard someone trudging up stairs. I went to the door and a middle aged person asked if I knew who he was. I said his face looked familiar but I couldn’t remember him. He mentioned his name and I remembered he worked for us as a part-time boy in 1956. He also said, “I made the biggest mistake of my life.” I wondered what he was going to admit to. When he said, “I shouldn’t have quit the job I had with you.” I was astounded, this meeting took place in 1990 or 34 years later. It seemed Roy moved from one job to another, always picking the one with the biggest carrot. He worked on construction, industry and the oil patch and all kinds of jobs in between. What Roy recognized after 30 years was, all that glitters in not gold. He saw many like Pete Chalick, Dan Lovsin, Joe Dobrich and some of his other contemporaries who stuck to what they were doing in the grocery business becoming successful, while others like himself were directionally lost. I felt sorry for Roy, but we both realized we couldn’t turn the clock back.

In his authorized edition of “As a Man Thinketh”, Author, Philosopher James Allen sets forth the premise that: “Man is made or unmade by himself; in armoury of thought he forges the weapons by which he destroys himself; he also fashions the tools with which he builds for himself heavenly mansions of joy and strength and peace. By right choice and true application of thought, man ascends to Divine Perfection; by the abuse and wrong application of thought, he descends below the level of the beast. Between these two extremes are all the grades of character, and man is their maker and master.” Allen goes on to say, “Of all the beautiful truth pertaining to the soul which have been restored and brought to light in this age, none is more gladdening or fruitful of divine promise and confidence than this — that man is the master of thought, the molder of character, and the maker and shaper of condition, environment and destiny.”

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