Opportunity to me is the ability to work my way up the ladder of life as high as my skills will allow me to do so.

That does not necessarily mean I want to work my way up the ladder of life.

I grew up in a small ranching community.

I have worked in the oil field overseas, and here in America.

I have served in the navy as a radioman.

I have worked as an electronics technician, quality assurance engineer, document control, and internal auditor.

I have fixed scales, mechanical, and electronic.

I have worked as a software developer on a contract by contract basis, nationwide.

My point is, I could have been happy at any level, but when I discovered that there was another level higher and that I had the skills to climb to that level, I chose to do so.

Opportunity to advance in life is dependent on somebody at a higher level making that opportunity available to you.

Somewhere around 2003 I no longer had that ability to work my way up the ladder.

Even though my skills were as strong as ever, the only jobs that I was considered capable of filling were those of a janitor, or convenience store clerk.

So I worked those jobs seeking the opportunity to once again climb my way back up the ladder of life.

I even attended and graduated from the Department of Labor and Department of Veteran Affairs VRAP and VRRAP retraining programs where they would offer employment assistance if you graduated.

I even pursued my college degree which left me owing student loans and no way to pay them back.

As you can see by my chart of lifetime earnings, I was on my way to the top until that opportunity disappeared, and I have struggled since.

I’m not ashamed of it because I’ve continued to try and find ways to sharpen my skills until I could find the opportunity to begin climbing that ladder again.

I would be ashamed of myself if I didn’t try and find a way to explain it to you because if it is happening to somebody like myself who has the skills to climb the ladder, what will happen if it happens to your family and they have not yet had the opportunity to climb as high as they have the potential to do so?