Cheryl from Canton, Ohio

I had to quit my job. It did not make sense to a lot
of people, least of all to my family, but working for
that company was robbing me of my sanity and my
self-esteem. Every morning I awakened with a sense of
dread of going into that dark place. I was in a
strange, unhappy place and although I had only been
there just over two years, I knew that I had to
escape. Throughout the day, I felt the negativity
flowing from people, who like me, really hated working
at the company; except they had been working there for
ten years, or longer!
 
My escape plan culminated when I was accepted to an
MBA program and in two months I handed in my letter of
resignation. That part was easy and I rather enjoyed
the liberating feeling of walking out the door on my
own terms.
 
The first semester of the MBA program was completely
uneventful. I studied; I made friends; I taught on the
weekends; I slept and started over again on Monday.
Spring break came and went and I realized that I
needed to begin searching for a summer internship. In
Ohio, jobs in engineering and business were fairly
plentiful so I found a few placement opportunities.
However, the companies in the area, much to my
chagrin, were very similar to the company I had
recently left. During the interviews, I felt as though
I was about to go right back into a place where I did
not want to go. I ended up sabotaging every
opportunity and I finished the semester without a
J-O-B!
 
Out of school and very unemployed, for the first few
weeks I spent time at home cleaning and surfing the
Internet. I was not getting much done at home so I
started going to the library branch near my home to
read and contemplate my situation. I drove to the
library a few days every week and over time, I got to
know some of the staff and they started to recognize
me as a frequent patron. Before long, I decided to
stop wasting gas driving and rather walk the mile and
a half to get to the Perry library.  It was the sort
of dual-purpose/dual-benefit activity that motivated
me; I was able to exercise my body and my brain!
 
At the library, I usually sat at a table by the rear
window, reading foreign language books and
occasionally self-help guides. I had always enjoyed
studying foreign languages and had taken classes in
Spanish, Chinese and French at my former universities
as electives or just for fun. I considered it only a
hobby until I met a woman at the library who was
interested in learning French for an upcoming vacation
in the south of France.
 
Heather offered to pay me $16 per lesson and since I
clearly had nothing better to do, and I needed a job
anyway, I agreed to teach her lessons at the library.
Later during the summer, I happened across another
woman who had a friend who wanted to learn Spanish to
help her in her job. I taught Jean lessons in her home
while her dog nipped at our ankles, seeking attention.
 
The library became for me a place to stay current on
world events, and entertain myself with special
programs, rented videos and books on tape. It was a
place to socialize and it represented a source of
potential income through the people I met there. I did
not earn much money but I learned that it was possible
to become economically self-sufficient, using my
skills and employing them in a manner that pleased my
heart and mind. As a result I registered my training
business, Two Talk LPS with the state of Ohio that
summer.
 
The Perry library branch was intentionally set fire a
few years ago by someone who has yet to be caught.
Each time I drive by the location, I recall with
affection the important role that building and people
inside played in my life. I am grateful that the Perry
branch library was there to welcome me when I needed
it during the summer of 2001.