The Early Days..
In the early days I made some bad decisions.
Before I knew it I was a “natural” entrepreneur selling drugs in the bathroom of the high school. I’m not talking about weed, because weed was just small game. I’m talking about coke, cocaine, rocks, the great white buffalo…
Whatever you want to call it – it was making me serious money. Money I could use to help my mom out with the groceries. Money I could use to get that pair of Jordans that I’ve always wanted.
Man those shoes were nice. I loved watching Michael Jordan on TV while growing up. Yes we had a TV growing up. That’s all I wanted. One pair of Jordans would be the world to me. In Peru the only way you would get jordans was to order them from the united states.
Ordering from the united states is serious money, and not the kind of money that a 12 year old kid has. Mom knew I’d just grow out of them anyway. That didn’t change the fact that I needed them.
Sure enough I got my first pair of jordans from my extracurricular actives in the bathroom. I wasn’t proud of it, but my English wasn’t that good. No one wanted to hire some kid who looked like a grown man that didn’t speak a world of English.
I was a big boy, sitting at 6′ 2″ with 220 pounds of solid muscle. I had always been a big boy since I was young. My mother told me that my father was a Spaniard, and that we’re not even Peruvian. In Peru people are very small. The gringos say Peruvians look like Mexicans. People in Lima were mostly Spanish, but as you got farther from the capital of Peru you saw more “Peruvians”.
Surely enough, looking relatively white, but not speaking a word of english didn’t get me very far with getting a summer job. I knew my mom needed extra money, so I decided to take the easiest route.
I wasn’t proud of selling coke, but it proved to be a blessing. At the age of 17 I got arrested for the first time. I felt like my life was over. I was the stereotypical minority drug dealer, and treated as such. Looking back on that experience; it was the whooping that I needed to get my life right.
The Wake-Up Call
I really needed that wake up call. I didn’t get into college. I spent my first year after high school working at a bowling alley. The lanes were the only ones who’d hire me. No one wanted to hire something with a record.
I thought since at least I was working instead of selling that I was going somewhere. My mother’s close friend was a Doctor, and he told me that if I ever wanted to get ahead in life that’d I’d need to do own something. He owned his practice in West Haven.
I looked up to him, and having never really known my own father, it was nice to have someone to look up to. I decided since I didn’t have the money for college that I didn’t really want to go anyway. He suggested that I needed some additional schooling because clearly I wasn’t getting ahead working at the lanes.
I needed to step things up, and be come my own boss. My mother wanted to be proud of me, but I needed to make her proud of me.
Trade School – my 1st Step to Greatness
I was never book smart. I was damn good with my hands though. I played a lot of basketball in high school, and despite my size I had what was known as “soft hands.” Big hands, like bear claw hands, but soft hands. I was really handy growing up. Wood shop was my only “A” and everything else was about a C, give or take a letter.
I excelled in trade school. I was great at fixing everything, from dishwashers to refrigerators. It was a gift they said. I would make a great employee, they said. With their fancy certifications, great cars, and family by their side; I slowly bought into the easy life of an employee.
Shortly after graduating from trade school I began my apprenticeship as a plumber. I worked about 45-50 hours each week during my apprenticeship. I was getting paid while I learned how to do what was going to make me more money.
The job – my 1st Step back on the road to Greatness
Now I realize my biggest mistake of my life. My biggest mistake wasn’t the fact that I was arrested at 17 for selling coke in the boys bathroom. That was a blessing in disguise because that made me get a real job. If it wasn’t for getting arrested, and getting barred from every decent paying job then I’d probably still be there.
The biggest mistake was getting a real job. This “Real Job” was the top of mount Everest for me. I was triumphant, like I actually climbed the peak myself.
I came to this country without speaking a lick of English and now I had a real job.
I had financial security, and I met my now ex wife. We’ll talk about her later. My mom was proud of me. My little sister looked up to me. Life was good, heck life was great!
I couldn’t be more thrilled.
Life as an employee
After 2 years as an employee I started to realize that my hard work was only getting my boss richer. He already had a corvette, a huge home, and was on his 3rd wife. I thought to myself “What does he need all this money for?”. Later I would understand exactly why he needed it.
I was starting to take advantage of the system. My work friend’s and I would plan as to when we’d use our paid sick time. We’d figure out how late we could be to work without getting in trouble. We found that we could be 30 minutes late almost everyday as long as we were right on time on Mondays.
We tried leaving early, but couldn’t get away with it more than 3 times a month. Our raises, bumps and bonuses started going down. Our boss told us that the economy was bad, and we might need to work less hours.
Late that year, right before the holidays my bonus didn’t even show up. On top of that I took a huge pay cut. I was used to going out for drinks every night after work with the boys. I had just bought a used Acura and some shiny new rims.
I accepted that the economy was bad, and just kept working.
Working, and working.
You are either working to make your own dreams come true or someone else’s dreams come true! #grantcardone