My Success

(Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash)

I thought I was never good enough
At least, that’s what I was told
Just when I thought I’d be a-okay
And my life would be paved with gold


Given what I had been through
From the tender age of eight
It’s hardly surprising my dream died a death
I’d never amounted to anything great


I failed my exams at eleven plus*
I flunked most of my GCSEs
My teachers couldn’t understand
Everyone else passed with ease


I wanted to be a speech therapist
For people who’d pulled through a stroke
But, without a university degree
They thought I was a bit of a joke


Instead, I became a secretary
And learned to do shorthand and type
I worked in the City of London
Learning Office Practice and Skype


I applied to a shipping company
And there had a wonderful boss
I came on leaps and bounds
I was far from being a loss

I worked in whole life insurance
And then, I went on to a bank
I proved all the teachers wrong
I was NOT as thick as a plank!

(Photo by Romain V on Unsplash)

* The eleven-plus is a standardized examination administered to some students in England and Northern Ireland in their last year of primary education, which governs admission to grammar schools and other secondary schools which use academic selection. The name derives from the age group for secondary entry: 11–12 years

Taken from Wikipedia

Author: Ellie Thompson

Writing my memoirs, musings, a little fiction and a lot of poetry as a way of exploring and making the most of my life ... ... Having had a break from writing my blog for more than three years, I decided to return to write my memoirs, some day-to-day observations, views and feelings. My passion is non-fiction poetry. I have a disability and use an electric powerchair called Alfie and let nothing get in the way of living life to the full. I believe that you can never do a kindness too soon and should give credit where credit is due. A smile or a kind word could make the difference between a good or bad day for a person - we never know what's going on for another soul. Those little things, perhaps, practised daily like a mantra, could mean so much to someone else. Thank you for visiting my blog and reading a little more about me. Please, make yourself at home here. You are very welcome. Ellie x 😊

67 thoughts on “My Success”

  1. Feel so glad that you ultimately got to the place you could be proud of. It’s really heartwarming to know that you have proved your teachers wrong and carved out a successful career. If there is a will, there is a way.
    My very best wishes to you Ellie!❤❤❤

    1. Thank you very much, Mousumi. It’s been a long journey and I still have down times, but at least, I can see the good in my situation now. My best wishes to you, also, my friend Xx 💜💕💛

  2. I’ve long joked that the job doesn’t matter for me, what matters is the boss? I’m only half joking. With the right manager, the most mundane job could be fascinating. With the wrong manager, the most exciting job could be painful. Glad your boss believed in you!

    1. Thanks, Brian. My boss was lovely – I really got lucky with that job. It was simple work,, but he made me feel like I was worthwhile. I haven’t worked for many years now (I am medically retired), but this post is my story of my journey from failure at school to success in my career. I am very lucky. 😊

          1. Well, I would think that on more than one level you and I totally relate; we understand each other’s turmoil and pain… yes, BUT… we also know how to FLIP that into wisdom and care/assistance for others who need our “shoulder to lean on.” Yes? 😉

          2. Yes, I agree with you, Dwain. We do relate and understand each other’s pain very well. Even in the depths of my despair, I still manage to care very much for others in whatever they’re going through. I love the song; it’s one of my favourites. So meaningful. Thanks for all your support, encouragement and friendship. X 🥰

  3. Well done on making the best of yourself Ellie. I think school itself can be something some children have to overcome. Whilst some teachers are inspirational, some are the opposite and should really not be in the profession.

    1. Thank you so much, Kate. I totally agree with you; school can be the making or breaking of a person in many ways. In my case, it was one of the teachers who caused me so much damage and pain. He should never have been allowed to teach. When everything came out, he got fired, glad to say, not that could undo the damage he did. I haven’t shared that part of my story before, and I am still in two minds about it. However, I wouldn’t want to trigger off any bad memories for (possibly) any other readers. Who knows what skeletons are in other people’s closets, after all? Love to you, Kate Xx 🌺💕

    1. Thank you, J. I hope there will be more soon. Each day is different, but I’m trying to keep looking at the positive side of things (not always easy, but I am a very determined person). Xx 🌻💛

    1. Thank you, Mick. I am doing my utmost to stay positive. It’s not always easy and each day brings different challenges, but, at least, I seem to be going in the right direction. I got ‘written off’ as a waste of time at school, and I believed it for a long time. Since then, I have learned differently. Oddly enough, my son, Tom, went through a similar experience at his school (he had Dyspraxia, which we didn’t hear much about all those years ago). He, too, has proved the doubters wrong and is now the Senior Commercial Director of a large in-car technology company. Thanks for your encouragement, Mick. X ✨

      1. From what you have written in the years I have known you, Ellie, I’m sure you have quite a lot of self-belief and confidence now, even if the doubts creep back every now and again (as would be natural!).

  4. Loved that one Ellie! When people talk of “success” I say “ define success”. Only we get to define what success is for ourselves. There is no objective standard for it really.

    1. I agree with you, Andy. You are quite right. Success means different things to different people. One person should not be a judge of another’s success. Glad you liked my poem.

    1. I think I can say the same thing, Andrew. There is still so much to learn as we go through our lives. There is no need to stop learning if a person is determined, as I am. I didn’t enjoy learning at school but have made up for it in my adulthood. Thanks for your comment, too. ✨

  5. Aww, bless!! I honestly don’t think anyone is as thick as a plank – it seems really easy to make assumptions about people based on qualifications, job title, salary etc it’s a shame we still (as a society) judge and measure people so harshly by these standards, leaving people feeling like they’ve either failed or need to prove something to others – tick another box in order to be deemed worthy.

    When children underachieve – I believe there are usually lots of reasons for this (nature/nurture), and shouldn’t be a forgone conclusion on the individual – that’s very damaging.

    Happy, fulfilled and good hearted human beings over fancy job titles and status – anyday!!
    Have a restful day today

    1. Thank you for your comment, Cherryl. I totally agree with you. So often, people are quick to judge and make assumptions, as you said. Box ticking seems to have become a required thing to do these days. I agree, too, that when a child is struggling, there are nearly always underlying reasons. In my case, it was the lack of nurturing on the part of one person. My parents were both very bright and had good jobs. My dear Mum was so kind, although my father was very neglectful and cold. However, it wasn’t him who was responsible for my difficulties in my early years, although I do not doubt if he had been a more loving and encouraging parent, it would have added a plus into my life and childhood. I, too, think that qualities such as compassion and empathy count for way more than how much money a person earns or how much power someone has, i.e. the government, but don’t get me started on that one!

      I’ve had my son, Tom, and the children staying this weekend, which has been lovely. They’ve not long gone; it did me a power of good as it was something really positive to be doing. Hope your Sunday has been a good one, too. Xx 🌻💛

      1. I glad you had a good weekend so far, sounds lovely – just having the right people around can be all we need sometimes.
        Enjoy the rest of today 💛🤗

    1. Aww, Pamelap, what lovely comments you have given me. I’m very touched by them. Thank you for being proud of me and for your kind wishes and encouragement, too. Xx 🌻✨💛

  6. From what you say, and what I read on another blog, school in England is not a happy place to be. It does not seem to be oriented to discover the child, but rather to shape the adult to fit into predesigned pigeonholes. I hope Canada’s education system does not do that, it mostly did’not when I was in school, but that was in the 50s and 60s. So many things have changed since then.
    For me it was my male parent who cursed me and told me I would never make anything of myself, and school was where I was allowed to shine — until one teacher discovered I had indigenous nlood in me, and suddenly I got no support from anyone. “Savages are not worth spending time on!”
    In ways my world was almost as cruel as yours, so I can understand some of the things (certainly not all) of what you have gone through.

    But you have risen above them. We all respect you for that.
    Take dare, Ellie. Keep on rising above.

    1. Many schools over here have significantly improved since I went, mainly in the late sixties and the seventies. My grandchildren are definitely encouraged to be the best individuals they can be, but from what they tell me, this is done very kindly. I don’t doubt that some teachers are a lot better than others. I’m glad to hear schools in Canada are better, apart from the teacher who pulled you up and criticised you extremely unkindly and unacceptably. What a terrible thing to say to a child. I’m sorry your male parent wasn’t much nicer.

      My dear Mum was very kind and helpful with school matters, but my father was very neglectful and emotionally absent. In my case, it was a teacher at my school who made everything so awful for me. I still find it hard to forgive what he did. I know I ought to be able to work towards that for my own benefit, but I think I have an awful lot further to go in my therapy before I’m in a position to be able to do that (if I ever do, that is.) I haven’t written much about what happened there, but I know many of my feelings about this come across in my poetry. I do try my best to rise above these matters, but I don’t find it easy right now. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and experiences with me, J. I’m humbled 💗.

      1. Why humbled? Our lives are what they were. I for one do not believe in forgiveness, what was done was done intentionally, for whatever reason. And we were left to pick up the pieces of our lives, not forgive them for theirs.
        Acceptance that these things happened is where I am. They added challenges to our lives that we could use to make ourselves stronger. It does not matter when acceptance happens. It happens when we are ready. Being ready is where the struggle comes in.

  7. Hey, it’s neat to get a summary of your life. I was saddled with low expectations too, Sometime I think I fall back on those and don’t try very hard.

    1. Thank you, Jeff. I’m sorry you were given this impression, too. Although, when I was much younger and working, I did push through what was expected of me and ended up in a job(s) where I was reasonably successful. That was a very long time ago, though. I don’t think I’d be able to return to the workforce now; apart from this, I’m not physically able to do what I used to do then. I forgot to mention in my poem that after I’d had my two children, I worked part-time as a home help and carer for about ten years (naturally, before I had my disability.) I enjoyed this work as much, if not more than my job in the City. From what you write, you sound like you are quite successful at your work (or am I wrong?) I’m glad you enjoyed my summary.

  8. Schools are hopeless in my view, they are only able to help those that fit the box perfectly to scceed and they see little value outise of that in my experience.
    My story is similar to yours, I found my success despite their claims I wouldn’t make it.

    1. I’m sorry you had a similar experience at school, Simon. I think you are right; schools used to pigeonhole children into worth encouraging and those who were no-hopers in their eyes. I like to think schools are better these days as my two youngest grandchildren are encouraged to be the best they can be, even in my young grandson’s case, where he struggles with his concentration and finds school a bit of a challenge. Nevertheless, he is keen to learn and is helped to overcome his difficulties there. I’m so glad you found success and didn’t remain permanently affected by your school’s poor opinion of you. It just goes to show, doesn’t it?

  9. I am too old to have been scarred by the eleven plus exam. I hear so many stories, Ellie, of people who were written off by a dubious education system in the UK. It is good to read about someone who rose above that and achieved what they wanted to achieve.

    1. Thank you for reading my post and for kindly commenting, Davy. It’s much appreciated. I think the education system over here has improved a bit now. I have four grandchildren aged seven to sixteen, and the younger two seem to be having a better time at school than I did, even though my youngest struggles with his concentration and finds things difficult. His teacher encourages him to be the best he can be. The older two girls are different – it seems the secondary schools concentrate more on exams and getting to university. There’s far more to life than going to uni.

  10. A very nice poem that highlights a very important problem! Not only in the UK but worldwide. The educational system focuses on a few intelligence types mainly logical intelligence (math, physics, science… ) With the competitive environment in schools, any student with low grades is considered a ‘dum’ or a ‘failure’. Instead of empowering students, the educational system is mentally destroying any child with a different type of intelligence (musical, special, linguistic….) The world doesn’t only need scientists, it needs everyone.

  11. Thank you, Doer Mindset, for reading and being kind enough to leave me a comment. I tend to agree with you about the education system. I think it also very much depends on the individual school. Some are better than others. Luckily, my two youngest grandchildren, seven and nine, go to an excellent school where they are encouraged to be the best they can be. My grandson, who’s seven, struggles with concentrating and sitting still. I feel he is fortunate to be at that school as they are helping him to overcome his challenges. My nine-year-old granddaughter has Sensory Processing Disorder (on the Autistic spectrum, as they say). She has different challenges, and her teachers have been brilliant with her, too. All very different to when I was at school. I do appreciate that lots of places outside of the UK have problems with their education systems in the exact ways you describe. My son, who is now a father himself, had a very tough time at school as he had Dyspraxia, which wasn’t recognised back then. He did poorly in his exams and received no support at his school. However, now, with the aid of technology, he has worked his way up his career ladder and is now a senior commercial director. If only his old headmaster could see him now. Needless to say, I’m very proud of who he has become.

  12. It’s not a surprise given the trauma you endured as a child you didn’t do well in school. I’m so glad you didn’t let it define you. Schools, at least in the US, are designed for a type of student in mind. They teach a particular method and unless that happens to be the exact way you learn, it will be a struggle. I’ve taught both my children to never ever see grades as a measure of their worth. It’s not.

    1. Thanks for such a kind comment, Bridgette, and for your understanding. I missed so much of school because I was always ill, but now recognise that it was my way of coping with the trauma I was going through. The teacher who was inflicting the trauma was a teacher at my school, so I guess it’s hardly surprising that I got ill so often and didn’t want to go there.

      Schools here are pretty much the same, although the school that my two youngest grandchildren go to is very understanding of children’s special needs if they have them. My nine-year-old granddaughter has Sensory Processing Disorder and they are very good with her, thankfully. It’s great that you’ve taught your children to see they are worth so much more than their grades. That’s such a good message to give them. It will make a lot of difference to their confidence as they grow up. Your children are very lucky to have you as their mom. Xx 💖

      1. I’m sorry school was never a safe place for you. You deserved so much better, Ellie. So much better.

        Thank you for the kind words. I’ve been very open with my kids about how I was an A+ student and it set me up for failure in so many ways. I never take chances because if I’m not certain I’ll be the best at something I don’t want to try. It also set me up to crave and need constant approval. It’s taken me years to heal the damage school did to me, and in some ways I’m still healing. My kids have their own paths and demons to slay, but I hope by being so honest with them I’ve at least given them a fighting chance.

        1. Thank you for your understanding, Bridgette. School was a nightmare for me with having that teacher there, staring at me, knowing he was going to get the better of me again after school. As a result, I flunked my exams and my dream career became just a pipe dream. I’m also someone who needs approval from others just to be able to be me. I’m sorry you had a bad time at school, too, but I’m glad you are managing to heal from your experiences. I think you’re a wonderful mom and being so open and honest with your children. I’m sure they will benefit from that. How’s your daughter doing? You don’t have to comment on that here, but please do feel free to email me to let me know if it would help. No pressure at all; please just know my inbox is always open to you. Take good care of yourself, Bridgette. Love Ellie Xx 🦢🤍🕊

  13. When people dream of being the next Tom Brady, or the next Jerry Seinfeld, or the next Madonna, or the next LeBron, or the next Bill Gates, or even the next Poe or Plath, they must not ever forget that it is a very narrow and even impossible path and the math is simply not there for everyone to be at the top all at the same time.

    It isn’t discouraging to tell the truth. It is far more damaging to pretend and omit the truth. It is ok to dream, it is ok to act on your desires. But that spotlight is rare for most. Aim high, as high as you want, but always be grounded in knowing that it is a crowded pond and everyone is in competition.

    The most important thing to me, isn’t the fame, or money, but merely doing what you love because you love it, even if it can only be a hobby. If any poet, not just you, but anyone gets noticed and becomes big, every other poet should be happy for them. But at the same time, fame has a dark side too.

    Ellie, it is very rare that I take this much time to respond to anyone. There countless poets that put me in awe, but you, out of all the unknowns that I know, you take a baseball bat to my skull and grab me, and I have no choice but to read. No matter what road or fortune you have, you have a talent that is priceless.

    1. I’m so sorry I’m this late in the evening replying to you, Brian. I got distracted earlier in the day and then started writing a short poem (more of a ditty, really) to publish on my blog. It’s not one of my best, but I wanted to keep it simple. Writing and poetry are something I’m passionate about, although I appreciate that I am very much an amateur and that suits me fine. I have no desire to be famous or even well-known, although I have been thinking about self-publishing a book of my poetry, not for money, but to, perhaps, make another person feel less alone in their experiences. It’s only a vague thought at the moment – no solid plans.

      I so much appreciate your extremely kind and generous comments, especially your last paragraph. I don’t take your views or feelings for granted. Each word means something to me. I am really glad that you’re able to get something from and relate to my work. I am honoured and very humbled by your words. Thank you so much again, Brian, for being such a lovely blogging buddy.

      1. Don’t ever underestimate yourself. Neither of us will likely be as well known as Mia or Plath, but I am quite sure even prior to our meeting online, you have affected countless people that may read your work and never say a word to you. And I take Visa, Mastercard, and pocket lint, your choice.

      2. In all seriousness, keep writing, and if you want to self publish, do. If you get noticed that is ok too, but it is a comfort issue and only you can chose what you do. I am being to selfish I guess in saying I want you to write because I want to see what you do next.

        1. Thanks, Brian. I’m quite keen to try and publish a book, although haven’t a clue where to start or even whether I can afford it these days. And I don’t think that you’re selfish at all; I will always keep writing in. I need to. It helps to keep my heart and soul together and gives them a voice with which to express my feelings. I wrote a short poem earlier this evening, called, “Hands Off”. I wasn’t going to publish it on my blog as it seemed to simplistic and amateur. I was going to refer to it as a ditty, but one of my lovely readers, Ann Coleman, said she thought it was one of my most powerful poems. I was surprised, although flattered, as I really did wonder whether to trash it minutes after I’d pressed the dreaded ‘Publish’ button. I’m still working on my letter and intend to do some more work on it tomorrow. Thank you so much for standing at my side, for your support and encouragement. Ellie

    1. Thank you, Phil. I was feeling more positive when I wrote that piece. I still get many times when the negativity creeps back in. Thanks for reading my poem and being kind enough to leave me a comment.

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