WILLIAMSTOWN — Thomas E. Glickman learned the hard way that the knowledge gained in earning an academic degree does not guarantee a job.
That disappointing experience proved to be a catalyst that inspired the North Adams native, now 61, to write a book that helps young adults make the best decisions as they start out in the world independently.
It is fitting that I became aware of the book called "Life After School: A Reference Guide" when I was visiting the Milne Public Library in Williamstown. But it was not a librarian who brought it to my attention, nor was I searching the catalog for material to read.
"My friend Tom wrote a book that makes a great graduation gift," an acquaintance told me when we happened to meet at the library in early June, and our conversation round wound to graduations and graduation gifts.
About two weeks later, I spoke, via phone, with Glickman who now lives in sunny Florida. He was generous in giving of his time to satisfy my curiosity.
"I graduated from Drury High School and went on to University of Massachusetts Amherst. The day after I graduated from UMass in 1977, I left for Washington, D.C., to start a summer job," Glickman said in answer to my first question.
When his summer job ended, he looked for a permanent position, but his resumes did not bring favorable results.
"At a store, I stumbled on a book about finding a job and writing a resume. Since I was having no luck finding a good job, and college had not prepared to write a resume, I bought the book, read it, and it changed the direction of my life by helping me write a better resume which led to better opportunities, Glickman said.
"A resume is one of the most important pieces of paper we write in our lifetime," he said.
After submitting a revamped resume, Glickman, who holds a bachelor of science degree, received a couple of good job offers. He accepted a position with American Hospital Systems and stayed in their employ for 10 years.
In a total of nearly 40 years of business experience, Glickman started and managed his own medical products distribution company, worked for two fortune 500 companies, and is currently vice president in a $500 million financial institution.
Five years ago, Glickman decided to start writing the book that would be a dream come true for him: A book that would educate young people on transitioning to life outside the cocoon of institutions of learning.
"While in school we are taught English, math, history, geography, science and many other topics," Glickman said. "But when it comes to life after school and living and coping in the real world, students are not prepared [for] the many challenges they will face."
I asked why he had let so much time go by before he wrote the book. " It was not until I started working at the [financial institution] in 2007 that I learned a great deal about credit scores, finances, cashier checks, etc., that I could combine my life experiences, education and new financial expertise to write a book worthy of its title," he explained.
His first self-published book, he wrote "Life After School" on his lap top in textbook format with chapters followed by exercises. It is comparable to a 10- or 12-week curriculum, he said.
Chapters include "The Job Hunt," "Moving Out (of your parents' home)," "Buying a Car," "Starting Your Own Small Business," "Insurance" and "Investing."
Among Amazon customer reviews praising the book, one states: "This book helps [the reader] understand the ins and outs of life. Everyone wanting to be independent should read it!"
For Glickman, such comments must be rewarding. After all, he told me, "I did not write the book as a job or to make money, but because I thought there was a need."
Phyllis McGuire writes from her home in Williamstown.