Now, for those of you just tuning in, yesterday I talked about my first job, and what I did and how I managed.
Today? I'm going to talk about some of the jobs that made me who I am today.
After leaving the glorious job at McDonalds, I took a little time to myself, and just decided to be a "free teen" with only the task of continuing my education.
However, that didn't cut it, and I had to get a job.
I was lucky enough to know a man who owned his own construction business, and he was willing to teach me what I'd need to know in order to get by, if I was willing to put in the work.
I agreed, and started my fascination with power tools and building stuff.
At first, I was relegated to cleaning up areas, and prepping new areas for work.
This meant picking up scraps, or sweeping out stuff, or running the "tamping" machine so that the ground was firmly packed, or taping off areas for painting, etc...
After about six months of this, he deemed me ready to learn some real stuff. That's when I learned about hanging drywall, and mudding and taping.
I then graduated to painting.
After that? Cutting lengths for framing.
Then reading plans, and putting up walls and stairs.
Then roofing, and finally installing electrical lines and plumbing.
By the time I'd hit 2 years, he'd gotten quite trusting of me, and gave me a small team of workers to oversee.
Basically, I was a foreman of an 8 man team. We'd go in, clear out an area, prep it, then put up the skeleton frame of the house he was working on.
Once this was done, then we'd head for the next spot, and begin work there while a new team would take over where we'd left off.
I made pretty good money doing this, and I actually loved the work.
It was at this time that I also had my near-death experience.
Once, while working a job, we were required to tear down an existing apartment complex before getting started with the new building.
The new complex was actually 6 stories, and was in poor repair, so the idea was to take down entire floors as quickly as possible. This meant basically gutting the inside of the building, and then dropping the exterior walls down towards the dumpster.
I was walking an inspector through the site one day, and we were talking about where we were going to be running the water and electrical from, because the old headers were bad, and needed to be replaced.
As we were talking, a support beam gave way, and the upper story (I think it was the 5th story wall) fell toward us.
The inspector didn't have any safety equipment on, and so I shoved him out of the way, and then got a 2 ton piece of wall dropped on me. I was knocked unconsious immediately, and I don't know how long it really took for them to get me out. I only remember waking up in the recovery room the next day. I'd dislocated my left shoulder, I had a major concussion, a slight fracture of my L-3 vertebrae, and four broken ribs.
Considering the height that wall fell, and the weight of it, I am one lucky man to be able to be writing to you today about this.
Anyway, because of that accident, I decided to change careers. Since I was still in college, I decided to see what else I could get into.
Information Technology was still HUGE at this point, so I decided to get my degree in networking administration. I also decided to get some programming experience, and maybe even some hardware knowledge.
However, while going to school, it's great to be an academic, but bills still need to be paid.
Because of this, I took up another job.
I became a Certified Nursing Assistant at a local nursing home.
This was a job that I loved. Not for the work, but for the people.
The work SUCKED. I don't know about you, but you really can't pay a person enough money to go wiping butts, or emptying urinals, or giving showers. There's just not that much money.
However, some of the most interesting and entertaining people you'll ever meet are the ones that know that you're there to help them in their hour of need.
Sure, some see you as Satan incarnate. But others look at and treat you like their own personal guardian angel.
Yes, it was (and probably still is) an unwritten policy to not get attached to your clients, as most were elderly, and destined to eventually die.
However, I don't think that's really possible with the amount of attention and care that you provide for someone in that situation.
Yes, I saw death. In many forms. But I also saw love. I saw peace. I saw contentment. And I saw laughter in the face of adversity.
That, more than anything taught me the strength of the human spirit. It also gave me an even stronger dedication to family.
Since then, I've gotten my degree, and my extra classes, and I've got my dream job.
Sure, the pay isn't what I want, but it still provides very well for me and my family. I'm sure I could go somewhere else, and make much more. However, would making more make me happy?
I don't think so.
As of now? I'm content with my life and where I'm at. I've done what's needed to be done, and now I'm focused on helping my kids get there.
Now that's a journey and tale well worth living, don't you think?