What’s your dream job? If you could pick one job that you would do for the rest of your life, what would it be? Some of you are already good at what you love—and you’ve been doing it for years, either as a career or as a personal passion. Kudos to you!
For all others…how do YOU find your own dream job? Here’s my honest answer. I have no clue! But I can tell you how I found my dream job. First, let’s set the scene.
The first job I remember falling in love with was architectural drafting. I started doing architectural drafting and design at age 13 and became really good at it—good enough to where I made lots of money and was able to purchase my first car – a 1991 Dodge Shadow, in cash. I was 16 years old when I bought that car.
After I graduated high school, I decided (after being strongly encouraged by my dad) to learn another trade, preferably one that would compliment my drafting skills, so I pursued a career as an electrician. I worked as an electrician apprentice and worked my way to a full-fledged electrician—one test away from becoming a Licensed Master Electrician. I did residential and commercial electrical work for a few years and really enjoyed it–not as much as I loved drafting, but enough to get up and do it everyday.
She was an intuitive, astute, slender and beautiful chocolate queen with flawless skin and a gorgeous smile.
In addition to working as a draftsman and electrician, I attended college full-time. But college was my dad’s idea, and for that reason, I really did not take it seriously. In fact, for the first two years of college, I did not attend any of my classes—well, except two. One class was a typing class, for which I am eternally grateful. And the other class was a math class, where I got to interact with the first ‘woman’ who gave me the time of day. She was an intuitive, astute, slender and beautiful chocolate queen with flawless skin and a gorgeous smile. I was 19 and she was 24. I know you want details, but that’s for another post.
Four months before my twentieth birthday, I bought a two-way ticket and left paradise (St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands) for New Orleans, La. The purpose of the trip was to accompany my younger brother who’d just gotten accepted to a small private university in Huntsville, AL. My intention was to see him off to school, then spend my remaining time with my aunt in New Orleans, which I did…and of course I had a blast!
As the time got closer for me to return to the VI, my dad suggested that I apply to the same school my brother attended. To this day, I’m still not sure why he made the recommendation, and more importantly, why I listened, especially since I had two decent paying jobs. Anyway, I gladly obliged my father’s wishes because I knew that there was no way that the college would accept me—not with my GPA, which was so low that it started with an * asterisk followed by a period, then a couple numbers.
To my dismay and shock, I was accepted—but on academic probation. And I had no clue what academic probation meant. But I would soon learn its meaning on my first day at the college. Mr. Miles was my academic advisor and I had to report to his office three times a week. The condition of my acceptance was that I had to finish the quarter with a 3.0 or above GPA, or I would not be able to return. I finished the quarter with a 3.28 grade point average. I would attend that school for another two semesters and drop out.
I dropped out because the decision to attend college was not my own. I was living my father’s wishes. For the next three years I worked as a ramp service agent for American Airlines. And I liked that job—mostly because I had an awesome boss (Robert), who became a mentor and father figure of sorts. Robert and I would later learn that his wife was the OB/GYN nurse who attended to my wife during her first pregnancy.
During my time at AA, I learned so much about myself…about my strengths and growth opportunities. While I enjoyed my job as a ramp agent and had long forgotten about drafting and electrical work, another passion started to brew inside of me. For as long as I remembered, I had always wanted to fly, but never took the time to act on that thought—until I did.
In the spring of 1998, I enrolled in helicopter flight school for what would be one of the best experiences of my life. At the end of flight training, I sat for my written exam and scored a 97%. which was highest score in my class and the flight school at that time. I then passed my checkride with flying colors and received my private pilot’s license. I went on to build more hours for my commercial license and scored a 99% on the commercial written exam. I flew actively for a few more years, then moved to New Orleans.
By that time, I had my third child and decided that I wanted to spend less time in the air. After a few stints at dead-end jobs, I found another passion-music. A popular local artist took me under his wings and taught me the fundamentals of gospel music. I relished every moment playing bass and played regularly until two years ago. While in New Orleans, I had the opportunity to learn from and play with legendary New Orleans jazz pianist/organist Rickie Monie.
It is this freedom that has prepared me for my next big adventure.
It was also around this time that I had my fourth child. Three years later, Hurricane Katrina would force my family to relocate back to Huntsville. And it was during those years as a bassist that I would have the opportunity to play for and with several gospel and pop artists including, VaShawn Mitchell, Dorinda Clark-Cole, Jonathan Nelson, Anita Wilson, Michelle Prather, Kenn Orr, and others. I also had the awesome privilege of playing with Grammy-nominated producer, engineer and multi-instrumentalist Kelvin Wooten for a few years.
As I sit back and contemplate on the passions that I have had as it relates to career options, I realize that I did not necessarily love doing those things; rather, I loved the freedom those passions gave me—the freedom to build, to create, to improvise, to think outside (of) the box, and see the world from an eagle’s-eye perspective.
It was this freedom that spurred my academic interest in sociology, theology, psychology, and business—earning over half-dozen licenses, degrees and certificates along the way. It was this freedom that molded me into becoming an author of several books. It was this new found freedom that gave me the opportunity to travel the globe and meet incredible people.
And it is this freedom that has prepared me for my next big adventure. I will share how I found and created my dream job in Part II of this blog series.