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My Evolving Story
"My eyes seek reality,"
After graduating college I started to get the notion that I wanted to settle down. I had been a nomad in the previous segments of my life, for one reason or another: Whether it was work-related or to seek better opportunities, I had noticed that I had always used it as a way to get out: Moving had become a maladaptive behavior. I found myself working in marketing for a defense contractor, as a concierge at a world-class resort, and a pizzeria as a general manager.
I was wooed by three things that I love very, very much one day in class at WDTI: Science, the military, and business. RealTronics was designing and planned to build a device that could see through walls. At the time the time the major use was for the hunt for Osama bin Laden, for instance. Today it is being marketed across multiple markets for multiple uses. Scott, the day he had came to our class that day, was seeking someone to do their books and their marketing. Instead, the found Gary and myself: Gary is someone who I have every belief is the John Nash of accounting. He has the capability to look at financial statements and envision what a company is doing. Me, on the other hand, brought a marketing and sales background to the table. We were both hired before graduation. On the morning that we started our jobs, we both arrived in suits with ties, both being very similar in style and cut: It was hilarious and exhilarating at the same time. I loved what that job was and what it could have turned into; in the end, I found my immediate supervisor to have enough moments of unscrupulousness to be the potential cause for problems in the future. In my efforts to take the moral high ground, I decided to cut my losses and find another avenue of employ. It was difficult, walking away from that instance, as working with Gary on a daily basis was something that was very fun for me.
My next job took me to Custer State Park in the Black Hills of South Dakota. I would work there as a concierge for the summer and find gainful employ when the season ended. I came for the views and stayed because of the people.
The next year I was in Pittsburg, KS. Here, I planned to return to college and a job. Instead, I found just the job: General Manager for a local pizzeria. While it paid well (even though there was some dispute initially over my compensation) the hours were more than I cared for: Each week I would spend no less than 60 hours at the job and face constant disparagement from my supervisors. After several months it was time to part ways. I found myself spending another summer at Custer State Park.
This summer I planned constantly about which move to make next. Yes, I had fallen, but I would pick myself up again. This time I would be more successful than ever before in getting back up.
"My fingers feel for faith."
Ever since my teenage years, I had dreamed of a home in Colorado. I didn't know where, but figured that life would fill in the blanks as I lived it. For the past couple years I had been trying to find an outlet to move to Colorado, and had been doing some research to answer the question of "where." Denver, per an ex-girlfriend of mine, was too expensive. Colorado Springs had a depressed labor market. Many of the towns in the far east were too agricultural for my ambitions, and Pueblo (I had heard) was dirty and had problems with organized crime. The answer that seemed to float to the top was Grand Junction.
Situated in a geographically interesting location, it has mountain to the east (including the world's largest flat-top mountain), minor mountains to the north, and the Colorado National Monument and other mesas to the south. A few hours to the east you could find Aspen and Vail. Spotting the Grand Valley was some agriculture (including orchards and wineries) and a few hours to the west was Moab, UT and with it places like Canyonlands and Arches National Parks. More south one could find Monument Valley and, further south yet, the Grand Canyon. It was unlike any other place on earth that I had seen before and based on what I had read and the information I had drudged up on the Internet, I decided that was the place where I wanted to live next.
Everything was planned with military precision: Routes were investigated, weather was looked at; alternate plans were drawn up; an apartment rented, lease signed via mail. Over the course of three days and a convoy of three vehicles, Grand Junction was finally reached.
As luck would have it, AT&T Wireless had contracted with a local call center in town under the management of an international provider of business process management services named StarTek. I took a job there in November of 2004 as an agent in their receivables management department. After some weeks of training and a couple weeks "on the phones" in a quasi-training environment, I was sent to a production team "on the floor." My drive and ability to adapt and conquer quickly lent me the capability to collect an unprecedented amount of money in my first 2 weeks in a production environment. This success begot other successes that helped me achieve the fastest promotion from the production floor into the the Resolutions Support team than had ever been achieved before. Confided in and respected in my new post, I was quick not to rest on my laurels. Seeing there was a need for agents to help track their various call statistics and seeing that there were some attempts to solve the problem already, I picked back up my programming skills and formed a team that would go on to program no less than 7 applications for various internal customers. Remnants of this team still exist today in the organization.
We programmed, led beta testing teams, launched nightly builds, and supported programs that helped agents in both a receivables management, customer service, resolutions, and supervisory standing be more efficient and effective at their jobs. Our belief was that awareness of the situation would be integral in strengthening weaknesses and developing strengths further. Additionally, I found my place learning new systems and being one of the foremost experts on the new systems that AT&T Wireless would use after converting to Cingular Wireless. People consistently came to me seeking answers to their perplexing problems and their hypothetical ones.
However, all good things have a bad side. I worked in the Receivables Management Department: People who haven't paid their cell phone bills that need to pay them in order to reinstate service. Yes, I dealt with several nice people; but I dealt with that 20 percent of the population that is mean, rude, ignorant, and feels that the world revolves around them. As part of my work I routinely fielded escalated calls; for the uninitiated, that is taking over the call when a customer asks for a supervisor (as contrasted to what we called "advice calls" where we assisted the representative with policy, procedure, and system issues). Escalated calls could be the most fun part of the job, but they could also be the most draining part of the job. It often soured my moods and took its toll on the rest of my life. There are some people that had developed a thicker skin to it that I had, but after a certain amount of time I just couldn't take it anymore.
Seeing an advertisement one day for a "computer technician needed, will cross-train on printers," I immediately prepared a resume and sought a job interview. Hired the same day, I would go on to learn the printer trade.
While life's trials and tribulations would often find me back down in the dirt, I have always sought reality and felt for faith. Sometimes moving along with the ebb and flow of life, I more often found myself seeking to blaze trails and seek out the larger dream that lies within.
I've been working at Laser Junction and with my own entrepreneurial ventures since then. If you'd like to learn where Laser Junction is, please follow this link.