The Journey of Work Firsts

Today, I started work as a contractor for the Government. It wasn’t a big departure from what I was doing a week prior while in uniform. I sat at the same desk, surrounded by the same people, but wore civilian clothes.

However, it was still a #workfirsts—I’ve never worked as a contractor for the Government.

I wouldn’t have chosen to work as a contractor had the Marine Corps extended me in uniform (didn’t happen because of money issues and my needing a high active duty waiver) or if I was independently wealthy and able to support myself while establishing #365Firsts. I much rather be doing the latter full time.

However, the reality we all know too well is that in order to carry on in life; we need income to pay the bills and do the things we want—so we do what we have to do. But then again, we also spend the vast majority of our lives working, and for the most part, obsessed about all things related to our jobs and careers.

My jobs and life have definitely taught me a lot and made it clear what I want.

My First Job(s)

My first job is a bit of a blur. First because I was so young, probably seven years old or so. And second, my dad and stepmom, ever the entrepreneurs, had a variety of businesses in my youth, a restaurant and arcade being two of them, I remember working at. However, I believe my first job was in a corn on the cob stand my stepmom and uncle inherited from their father, which they opened during the Festival Western in Saint Victor (Quebec, Canada).

Association work is fun

I have wonderful memories of doing lots of hard work but also having an amazing time. I was entrusted with many responsibilities early on and loved it. I made an association in my mind that work is fun—an association—I always continued to pursue, although, it didn’t constantly hold true. An association that drives my entrepreneurial journey. An association that led me to stand on the yellow footprints at Parris Island, when I was only 17.  

I also learned, at a very young age, a bunch about work ethics and what it takes to run your own business.

When I was 11, we moved from St-Georges, Quebec to Thorndike, Massachusetts and things changed. I now only got to work two weeks out of the summer at the Festival Western. Otherwise, the work assignment I had were chores—lots of chores, and I didn’t like those. However, chores taught me to still give my best even to work I didn’t like.

It's okay to quit

At 16, once I could legally work in the US, I started out at Burger King but only lasted two weeks before getting another job. I didn’t like working at a fast food restaurant. That taught me I could quit things I didn’t like. I was hired at a local grocery store (not a chain store) and worked there until I left for boot camp. I enjoyed it because of the family who owned it and the customers who shopped there.

Because all my previous jobs had been with family, I had taken it for granted that what matters about where you work—are the people you work for and with.

My First Full Time Job

via GIPHY

My first full time job was as a U.S. Marine and that lasted for ten years. When the Marine Corps stopped providing me what I needed and the entrepreneurial calling became too strong to ignore—I left active duty and pursued my entrepreneurial ambitions.

The lists of firsts and lessons from being a Marine and of my entrepreneurial journey are way too many to write about in one post. They’re the stuff books are made of—especially since in contrast I’ve been successful as a Marine but have failed as an entrepreneur (multiple times…so far).

Marine Corps is an extension of my family and is like going home

Past lessons continued to apply though, the Marine Corps became an extension of my family—confirming how much it mattered who I worked for and with. I keep returning to the Marine Corps because each and every time, it’s like going home—I link back up with my brothers and sisters and make new ones.

I joined the Marine Corps because I expected it to deliver fun, adventure, and challenges. It did, for the most part, live up to that. It definitely taught me that the work might not be fun; however, if it’s meaningful, that’s just as, if not more, important to me.

I liked all the moving around, different billets, and opportunities to grow that the Marine Corps provided me. It became clear I was anti: monotony, boredom, and routines. I need change, challenges, and options in order to stay engage, interested, and working hard.

The Entrepreneurial Path

Being an entrepreneur

Being an entrepreneur is dealing with one challenge after another and a constant laundry list of new things to learn. I get to design what I pursue and the potential for both fun and making a difference my venture can have. The entrepreneurial quest is ideal for me which is why even after many failures and the inherent risks—I cannot ignore its calling.

I have a list of entrepreneurial firsts for #365Firsts I’m aiming for and ache to experience:
  1. First #365FirstsChallenge Participant
  2. First Interview on the #365Firsts Podcast
  3. First $120,000 earned – replacing my previous income from having a full time job
  4. First major partnership for #365FirstsChallenge (I have one in mind)
  5. First article recognizing the impact of #365FirstsChallenge
  6. First time on the Today Show or similar show talking about the impact of first times
  7. First major speaking engagement (5,000 people or more)
  8. First $1,000,000 – making my first million (in a year)
  9. First $100,000 donation from making my first million
  10. Taking first group of people on a trip of firsts
  11. Establish a First Time Foundation or join efforts with Make-a-Wish Foundation
The Entrepreneurial Quest

I’m celebrating my first day as a first time contractor although it isn’t what I want to be investing my time doing because it’s a blessing to have while I’m embarking on and establishing the necessary foundations for #365FirstsChallenge. I’ve learned that on the path to your dreams you do what you have to do—not just what you want to do.

It’s not my first time going down the entrepreneurial road but it is my first time being wiser about it.

Side note. I’ve never worked in Corporate America or in a nonprofit. If all goes well, those are just #workfirsts I just won’t have and I’m fine with that. I can continue to hear all about them from other peoples’ stories.

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