I wanted to share a story about Charlie, a 62 year old technician from a large Fortune 20 telecom company. At the time, Charlie told me he couldn't retire soon because he recently took custody of his grandson. So Charlie signed up for a Community College certification course that was customized (with the company) to help install, troubleshoot and connect home computers onto the company's new fiber-optic network. This was a 16 week class, meeting 2 days week for 3 hours per session. It was a theory and hands-on based class.
I met Charlie when he registered for the program and I constantly checked in the class to see how the class was going and how Charlie was doing. Well, Charlie loved the course and his instructor told me Charlie was the best performer in the class, always arrived early and most of the time took all of his computer equipment home with him. Also, his positive enthusiasm towards learning actually was infectious throughout the whole class. In fact, the instructor wished he had his on-going energy and positive outlook!
At the end of the training, the college would celebrate with a small graduate ceremony. We would invite both the college's senior staff and the client's staff to congratulate the technicians for the successful completion of the program. Each person would come to the podium to receive their certificate of achievement.
When Charlie's name was mentioned, Charlie walked up to the podium and asked if he could speak a few words to the audience. Charlie spoke about his grandson being in and out of juvenile detention centers, nobody caring for him, always in trouble and never was interested in anything. When Charlie was bringing his books and equipment home, he noticed his son started to take an interest in what he was doing. He started learning about computer hardware, operating systems and networking with Charlie. He stopped going out and started to work with Charlie in repairing and maintaining computers...
In registering for this course, Charlie, never in his wildest dreams thought his grandson would have any interest in computers and he was so proud of how a course like this helped to create a wonderful bond at this stage of his life! This meant more to him than the actual training and certificate he received.
Today, Charlie is semi-retired and works for his grandson who owns a computer repair and maintenance store in Tampa, FL...