I was on a straight line toward working as an adult at Wilson’s Dollar Stores in Winthrop, where my dad was a part owner, and I’d started working when I was 12 years old. I enrolled in the business school at the University of Maine in Orono in order to prepare for working at the store.

But during my years at the university I worked for a bank, and ended up taking a job with Depositors Trust Co. upon graduation. After training in Augusta, I was sent to Rockland to work at the branch there.

I really enjoyed that job, but I was also strongly opposed to the Vietnam War. And I decided I wanted to go to Washington, D.C., to participate in a march against the war. To do that, I needed to get to Bowdoin College in Brunswick by 2 p.m. on a Friday to catch the bus to D.C. So I asked the branch manager if I could leave at noon on Friday, and he said “no.”

Well, I went home for lunch on Friday and headed to Brunswick. When I returned to the bank Monday morning, the manager fired me. And that was really the first major point in my life where I had to start over. I probably would’ve spent a career in banking, so I have to thank the manager for firing me.

I was quickly hired to serve as driver and personal aide to future U.S. senator and Secretary of Defense Bill Cohen during his first campaign for Congress in 1972. That was an amazing experience for me, and one that would keep me in the political arena for the rest of my life.

After Bill won, I returned home to Winthrop and began selling real estate. But in 1974, David Emery asked me to manage his campaign for Congress. That was another amazing experience. Dave and I were two 25-year-old young Republicans, and we upset the incumbent congressman, Peter Kyros – an astonishing victory.

I worked for Dave, going back and forth from Maine to Washington, D.C., throughout his eight years in Congress. But when he lost the race for the U.S. Senate in 1982, I had to once again start over. I’m sure I would’ve worked for Dave as long as he stayed in Congress.

But I immediately started my own business, Mainely Marketing, and did everything from helping eight Maine towns write comprehensive plans, to managing political campaigns focused on bond issues and other ballot measures.

For the rest of my life I worked at home, even during my 18 years leading the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine. I converted a shed at our house into my office and began decorating it with lots of paintings, carvings, photos and big buck mounts. In addition to working for SAM, I worked on many political campaigns, from bond issues to the gubernatorial campaigns of Angus King.

In 2010, I started over yet again, leaving SAM to write full time. I’ve been writing for various publications throughout my career, including a weekly editorial page column for the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel for 26 years. In 2010, I expanded my writing to include an outdoor news blog and book reviews. And my wife, Linda, and I wrote weekly travel columns for the KJ and Sentinel for seven years, a job that was one of my all-time favorites.

I also started my own website, georgesmithmaine.com, and posted all my writings there. Quite quickly a variety of groups and businesses became sponsors of my website. I have thoroughly enjoyed my final career as a full-time writer.

If there is a lesson here for you, it is that throughout your life you should be open to new challenges and opportunities, many of which will be both enjoyable and rewarding. Do not be afraid of change. Starting over can be a very good thing.

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