By Fred Weinberg

As long as I can remember I believed my dad wanted me to follow in his footsteps and become a dentist. The first failure was being rejected by the University of Pennsylvania, his alma-mater. I managed a last minute acceptance to Tulane University and struggled with chemistry in a very competitive pre-med program. Eventually I flunked out.

With some assistance from an older sister, I was accepted at the NYU Pre Social Work program. I did well and was rewarded with a scholarship to the Graduate School of Social Work at the age of 24.

Yet I was still unsure about a career in social work and dropped from the program.

On a snowy and hazardous car trip to Trenton, NJ, when I was feeling especially blue, I inadvertently found the Central Office for the New Jersey Bureau of Parole. Four hours later I was offered a provisional appointment as a parole officer. That snowy day in March 1958 that started so badly would be a turning point in my life and set the stage for a 40-year successful career in criminal justice.
After retiring 27 years later as Chief of the Bureau of Special Services at the New York State Division of Parole, I was looking for another career.

A friend suggested I do some volunteer work and put me in touch with a New York-based Elderhostel program. This led to doing hospital work where I was offered a job helping to formulate an advocacy program for patients in the hospital’s ambulatory care center and was offered a part-time job as Team Leader.

I now volunteer in the hospital’s pediatric department once a week.

At 81, I don’t have a plan. I take it one day at a time and I don’t think in terms of age. I recently expressed interest in another Reserve Inc. job and I’m hoping to get a shot at an interview because I know this one is right for me. If not, who knows what’s around the corner?

*Follow Your Own Dreams
*Learned Skills Can Often Be transferred from one career to another
*If you wish to continue working in old age, develop skills while young.

Author's Bio: 

Fred Weinberg is author of a recently self- published memoir, SOCIAL WORKERS WITH GUNS, reflecting on his 30 year career as a parole officer in New Jersey and New York between 1958-1988.