Fred Weinberg is the author of a recently self-published memoir, SOCIAL WORKERS WITH GUNS, reflecting on his 30-year career as a parole officer in New Jersey and New York between 1958-1988. I learned of Fred through Francine (Fran) Silverman, an online publicist who gets her clients on the radio, a radio host, compiler of 16 ebooks of talk radio shows and editor of a bi-weeky newsletter for authors.In today’s post, Fred via Fran is allowing me to share an excerpt from his memoir. I suggest when someone asks about being too old to write, share Fred’s name and approximate age with them (he’s over 80!). Obviously 80 plus is not too old to write.

From Campus to Career

By Fred Weinberg

Following In His Footsteps?

As long as I can remember I believed my dad wanted me to follow in his footsteps and become a dentist. The first failure was being rejected by the University of Pennsylvania, his alma-mater. I managed a last-minute acceptance to Tulane University and struggled with chemistry in a very competitive pre-med program. Eventually I flunked out.

With some assistance from an older sister, I was accepted at the NYU Pre Social Work program. I did well and was rewarded with a scholarship to the Graduate School of Social Work at the age of 24.

Unsure of My Future

Yet I was still unsure about a career in social work and dropped from the program.

Turning Point

On a snowy and hazardous car trip to Trenton, NJ, when I was feeling especially blue, I inadvertently found the Central Office for the New Jersey Bureau of Parole. Four hours later I was offered a provisional appointment as a parole officer. That snowy day in March 1958 that started so badly would be a turning point in my life and set the stage for a 40-year successful career in criminal justice.


After retiring 27 years later as Chief of the Bureau of Special Services at the New York State Division of Parole, I was looking for another career.

Volunteer Work

A friend suggested I do some volunteer work and put me in touch with a New York-based Elderhostel program. This led to doing hospital work where I was offered a job helping to formulate an advocacy program for patients in the hospital’s ambulatory care center and was offered a part-time job as Team Leader.

I now volunteer in the hospital’s pediatric department once a week.

At 81, I don’t have a plan. I take it one day at a time and I don’t think in terms of age. I recently expressed interest in another Reserve Inc. job and I’m hoping to get a shot at an interview because I know this one is right for me. If not, who knows what’s around the corner?

*Follow Your Own Dreams

*Learned Skills Can Often Be transferred from one career to another

*If you wish to continue working in old age, develop skills while young.

Do you have stories you’ve not yet shared with your children or grandchildren? Think you’re too old to write them down or speak them into a tape recorder? Or maybe even publish them? Take a lesson from Fred. We all have ups and downs in our lives, and sometimes they can help younger generations make wiser decisions than we did. Write now!