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    Autobiographical History of Learning Essay

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    This is an autobiographical outlook at my personal achievements. The people who had a huge influence in making me the women that I have become today. The many who influenced my career and the path that I have chosen. It is also a reflection of my strengths and weaknesses. I have divided this biography into the following: childhood, adolescence, my first experience in the world of work, building my career as a trainer in the IT field, learning about industry as a freelance trainer, and rethinking my career. Childhood “There is no such thing as a ‘self-made’ man. We are made up of thousands of others.

    Everyone who has ever done a kind deed for us, or spoken one word of encouragement to us, has entered into the make-up of our character and of our thoughts, as well as our success” George Matthew Adams Being the youngest of three siblings I ended up living alone with my father from an early age. I remember my mother taking me to pre- school on my first day, but sadly my parents divorced and soon after my mother was no longer a part of my everyday life. My father was an Accounts inspector and worked for a very reputable furniture company at the time. Although he was a collar and tie guy, he was a very hands – on person.

    He was also extremely good at appraising people especially me. Some mornings before school he would have me make some entries on his work documents example; entering dates and together we would add up numbers and I would enter the totals. This made me a confident little girl who developed a love for numbers and puzzles. I remember when he would do little jobs I was always his assistant, from hanging doors, to painting, to even fixing his car he always had me around learning. Looking back I realize not only did he groom me for the business world, but for life in general.

    He was extremely strict but a loving and devoted father. The disadvantages of growing up without my other siblings taught me to be a loner and independent. Adolescence “Know thyself. ” – Chilo (BC 560) My high school years came and went within the blink of an eye. When I was thirteen life decided to throw me a curveball. My Father decided to remarry and I was shipped off to live with my mother and three other siblings ages 27, 19and 16 . This was an terrifying experience to say the least, however the advantage of living with my mother was that she taught me marketing at an early age.

    Weekends starting Friday afternoons I would go door to door selling spices and toddlers garments. I would also scrub, wash and polish neighbor’s floors and do other house hold duties for pocket money. She always said nothing in life is free. My mother was an excellent cook and you don’t need to look very far to know where I got my culinary skills from. And I’m sure my beloved mother tried her best to make me happy , and to fill that emptiness I felt inside of me. However at the age of fifteen all that hurt, confusion and anger was extremely overwhelming and led me to run away from home.

    I quickly learned that life was no bed of roses and being on my own and at the mercy of other people was not the life I had pictured for myself. Running away was not going to make it better. My father was the centre of my universe and even though I loved my mother, my father and I shared a much deeper bond. At the age of sixteen I returned home. I can still hear my father saying to me: Do you want to end your life at the age of eighteen? Whatever happened to I want to see the world? When all my friends were just starting to enjoy their lives, I fell pregnant with my eldest daughter.

    I’ll never forget the look of sadness, disappointment and regret in my father’s eyes. Although his main concern for me at that time was, what the impact of having a child at that age would have on my future. For him it was as if all the hopes, dreams, and potential he knew I had seemed to have vanished. I only realized that many years later, being a parent of two teenage daughters. The lesson I have learned was the importance of being able to Adapt to change and that our beliefs and perceptions about what is right or possible prevent us from exploring new solutions.

    I then discovered that, if u cannot generate new solutions keep an open mind to others ways of doing things and see if they are worth copying which takes me to the following chapter of my life. My First Work Experience So what could I do with an in completed high school education or junior high certificate? Not much? I started working nightshift in a textile factory trimming electric blankets in the finishing department. I was a very competitive person by nature and still remember my co-worker Jo-Anne .

    She was the most productive worker and I just had to challenge that, which in the end enhanced both our productivity and I enjoyed every moment. It did not take me long to realize that I was being under paid and had to move on. I then started my next job as a layer upper in a cutting room of a medium sized clothing factory I remember my bosses name was Mr. Dell and the co-workers nick named him “mad max” there I stayed just long enough to develop my skill. I was extremely helpful and very interested in the other departments within the factory. Whenever help was required in the other departments I would go and assist.

    This afforded me the opportunity to become a multi skilled worker and also broaden my communication skills. I worked for eleven months and then I was retrenched. After being at home for a while I started my next adventure in the shoe making industry. This time around I got to work in the planning department. There I learnt to make shoes from start to finish. Two years down the line I was retrenched again. It was then that I started to realize that I needed to make some changes in my life. Building My Career as a Trainer in the IT Field After my 21st I ventured into the IT field it seems as if all the previous jobs led me to this field.

    I did various short courses but focused on end- user training. While I was on training I got a lucky break, and was employed at a transportation company as a receptionist/ admin worker. Things really started to change for me in a big way. I was no longer a factory worker but a receptionist. Thinking about this a song comes to mind. ” working nine to five what a way to make a living” I really enjoyed this job. Each day as I would answer the telephone or use the switchboard I remembered my father’s saying to me “my darling always stands up when answering a telephone it adds sparkle to your voice”.

    This whole new world meant so much to me and I knew if I were to make it in this industry I would have to make my mark and an impression. I was on a six month contract and knew I had to move fast. Once again I embarked on a skills development journey. This time I ventured into adult education by the time my contract expired I was half way through my applications trainer course. While I was busy completing my trainer course I did some temporary administration work at the college. Within two months after completing my shadow training I landed a job as a trainer at a fairly new computer college.

    Talk about being thrown in the deep end not only was I a trainer but had to do sales, admin as well as manage the place. This was going to be a real challenge for me. I was busy shaping my own future. If there was one thing I learnt it was that there is no better time like the present. I was not going to put off anything for tomorrow that I couldn’t do today. I was starting to make my mark in the corporate world. It was at this time that I decided to register myself with a recruiting agency and started networking myself in a big way.

    What I enjoyed most about that time was writing those speculative letters and working my brag box(my achievements to date). I had a twelvemonth contract which could be extended however contracts are subject to change at any given time. My time slots were as follows: Mondays, Wednesdays and Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays was my off day which I would do my admin duties. Learning about Industry as a Freelance Trainer Networking finally started paying off and I would then freelance once a month usually using my off days. By the time my contract expired I had built up a huge client list and operated as an independent contractor.

    I had a contract with two major IT service providers Mcot and Smart source centre. What was funny was the fact that these two companies were based in Johannesburg so I never got to meet my employees at all. Everything was done via the internet or telephone, as well as electronic mail. I trained at Transnet, Edcon-group, and banks. These were just a few of the corporate companies I have trained at. The training consisted of me showing them how to do end user up until stress management. If I thought working in a textile or clothing factory was a challenge I couldn’t have been more wrong.

    Being a trainer in the corporate world this was a real challenge. At the college I had half hour sessions four days a week. I now had to teach everything I’ve learnt in one or two sessions at the most leaving me little time to bond with my students. My target group also differed. I was now dealing with freshman; school leavers, working class, middle class as well as the upper classes. I also did training with a few executives. I was now in the big leagues the movers and the shakers. I developed many skills, communication skills, social skills dealing with corporate executive officers of major companies.

    Who would have thought that this girl who wanted to end her life and who ran away from home had gotten this far in life which brings me to the next chapter in my life going solo. Rethinking my Career After two years as an independent IT contractor, I decided it was time to open up my own training centre and start helping my community. This was not going to be an easy task not only would I have to register my business but because it involved IT I would have to get me computers too. I decided to sit and plan what it all would entail. First I had to acquire office space to present my classes.

    Then follow this up with students who were going to need contracts, install computers, do my own administration. I would have to get advertising, see clients which meant I would have to get a driver’s license and eventually get a car. I would have to then work out my overheads. This would include petrol phone bills stationary and rental. The longer the list became the more I realized what I am getting myself into. I found myself as a single parent with two kids starting a business. How was I going to juggle my time between my work and family?

    Was I taking on too much of a responsibility trying to uplift a community be that as it may my life revolved around taking on challenges, helping other people to empower themselves and help them to grow as individuals. Conclusion Being from an impoverished community where abuse, HIV, gangsterism and drugs are rife, what better way to give back than providing them with life skills. If I could teach a group of executives, why not the youth of the community, psychologically and mentally by helping them to gain knowledge and become independent just like I did at their age. All this could not have happened had I not had this love for people.

    Looking back over the years at my careers it seems as though I have always been helping other’s to make sense of things. Throughout my life I have always built on skills that I acquired and moved on to the next level. I have always been interested in human behavior, and my next goal is to pursue a career in the psychology field. The decision to pursue a degree in psychology began just before the birth of my last child. I can clearly remember that overwhelming emotion as if it was yesterday, when I became driven by something new. Things started to fall into place, and I declared myself ready to live a more meaningful and purposeful life.

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