This is a story for the people that might feel stuck in life right now. This is a story about how a man can go from making millions, to making $0, to making a respectable living wage over the span of a lifetime. This is a story about how my dad went from working with a drug cartel, being incarcerated for years, and reinventing himself later in life to become a successful electrician.
When I was born in ’87, my father owned a successful bar, was a licensed pilot, and was apparently involved in the drug trade. Sort of like George Jung but on a MUCH smaller scale, which is why you’ve never heard of him. Much like Jung, my father was eventually sent to prison for his efforts and had to rebuild his life from having nothing. I don’t remember the time well, because I was 2, but I remember what it took to get himself going again, because I watched it happen over the course of 20 years.
If you’ve ever seen the movie Blow, you know that in prison George Jung decided that selling marijuana was too small time, and once he was out, he moved on to selling cocaine. While that worked out for him for a while, he eventually succumbed to his trade and his demons, before being imprisoned once again. He was caught again and consequently, he spent much of the rest of his life in and on out prison. It’s a pretty unfortunate story to watch. If you watch Blow, for the first time perhaps, skip the last couple minutes or so to spare yourself from seeing an elderly Jung waiting for a visit for his daughter in prison.
George Jung in Prison in 2010. Source: Wikipedia
My dad probably had a similar decision to make once he went to prison. He chose to learn a trade during his incarceration and once he was out, he set about becoming an electrician. It’s probably not very easy to find a job when you’re a convicted criminal. In fact, I know it isn’t, because my dad wasn’t the only person in my family to experience this. But when you’re willing to work, and work hard, you’ll find some work; and work he did. Eventually he worked his way up to being a Master Electrician and earned himself nearly a six figure income primarily working for one employer. Had he pursued his own business more completely, he probably could have made himself a millionaire.
This isn’t a story about how hard life can be or a lesson about making the right decisions. This is a story about not giving up in life because it’s NEVER too late. You can go from nothing to something in short order in the USA. That’s why people keep coming here from all over the world. There are ALWAYS opportunities here. You simply have to be willing to work.
I can still remember my sister being released from prison and having, quite literally, her entire life handed to her in a single garbage bag in my car. While she was going through her rough patch, I was going to college and earning my degree. But guess who paid off her house and bought her car while I was racking up $50,000 in student loans? It was my sister. You really should have guessed that…
My story isn’t exactly like theirs, I certainly haven’t stopped balling on my tight budget, but I have reinvented myself and changed career paths more than once and I am definitely in a better place because of it. I went from working in a maximum security hospital to working in tech support while I was also making payments on my stupid student loans. It was tight, and I often times felt like I wasn’t going to make it out. But the fact that I faced that challenge head on, and made the jump, is what lead me to the happiest point in my life. And I hope that if you ever feel like you are in a tight spot and can’t see a way out, that you can take my words to heart and believe in yourself enough to make ANY change. Be not afraid, my friends. You are strong and you can make it!