Hello everyone, today I will be talking about my beginnings of going to school and working in the travel industry. It all started when I worked at a company at Oak Brook, IL in March 1994. I was getting restless and needed a change. The company was housed in a building called OAG (Official Airlines Guides). The company has since moved and the building has been demolished and rebuilt. I have always wanted to be in travel industry. but I wanted to finish at Devry, earn my degree and work in the field for a while. In March 1994, I made an appointment at The Airline Travel Academy located at Oakbrook Terrace, IL. The people there were very nice and I told them I had a funny feeling inside me that I would laid-off at my job very soon. So, on April 15, 1994, I was laid-off from my job and I was free. On Monday April 18, 1994, I called the travel school and I told them I decided to enroll there. I had to wait in June to start school because the classes were in session then at the time. I had a couple of months to kill, so I just took it easy. In June 1994, I started taking the classes at the school, but it was relocated to a different location in Lombard, IL. The travel courses were two months long. I did very well and I enjoyed it immensely. I received my diploma in August 1994 and the school treated us to a congratulatory lunch at Carlos Murphy Restaurant in Lombard. The school had a job placement program, but I hardly used them. I sent my resumes out and then I received a call from an employment agency to ask me to work temporarily at McCord Travel in downtown Chicago. The woman told me that I will be working at the hotel desk. The one thing that makes me nervous is talking on the phone with strangers and I still have that fear today. I said yes, and started working there on September 1994. I was there for two months. The job was okay, and I wasn’t that nervous. But at least I was in the industry and was learning a lot of things. I liked the company and the people were fine, but I didn’t feel very comfortable there. My assignment was completed early November 1994. A couple of days later. the employment agency called me again and they said I have new assignment and it will be at the Kraft company that was located in Glenview, IL. The travel agency was American Express Travel. Little did I know then, that this company was going to change my life and make it a happy one. The commute was very long. I lived on Southwest Side of Chicago, near Ford City Mall at the time. I started working there on November 14, 1994 and I met a lot of good people there that I am still friends today. The Kraft account at AMEX was closing at the end of May and the employees were to be transferred to the AMEX office in Rolling Meadows, IL. I was ticket packager at Kraft Court, and operated the FEDEX machine to send the airline tickets and itineraries to the clients’ offices and sometimes to their homes. I liked the job very much, but it was crazy. Especially, on Friday afternoons when clients call right before the weekend starts. Luckily, my co-workers helped me when they got off the phones and I have always been appreciative for their help. My boss offered me a full-time job at AMEX at Rolling Meadows. I reluctantly accepted the job, not because the job wasn’t great, is just that the commute for me would be grueling. In November 1995, I moved to Oak Lawn, and then the commute was a little better since I was close to the tollway. I started my job on June 19, 1995. First as a ticket packager and then as a quality control agent, which means I looked at all reservations all day to verify them before I issued them. I loved that job so much. It wasn’t perfect at times. The month of January and Friday afternoons were the busiest for me and my co-workers. I worked there until February 23, 2007. I was displaced, but I knew that was coming. I was offered a job taking reservations, but I refused. I was still nervous when I talked to strangers on the phone that I developed anxiety later in my life. I worked at a couple of places since then, but the jobs lasted a few months at a time. I enjoyed working in the travel industry, but I should have done it earlier in my life. I love computers and technology, but it changes too fast and it gets very harder as times passes by and you probably have to go to school for the rest of life. I didn’t want to do it. My philosophy is this, if there is something you really love to do in your life, grab the brass ring and don’t let anyone discourage, or talk you out of anything. You will never succeed in life when you do that. I still miss my job, but I miss my co-workers and the people I knew at AMEX much more. There was so much laughter and weird incidents there, it made it a fun place to work. Thank you everyone for being in my family. That’s all everyone! Thank you. Pete Kastanes-Admin for Vanished Chicagoland Facebook Page.