The transition from high-school to college was one of fear and excitement. You start college not knowing anything (about college I mean). You worry about how to get from class to class, about the kind of professors you’ll get, how hard the work will be, what you’ll do for fun, and how you’ll survive on your own. But by your senior year, you will have the system down pat, you know what professors to get, none of your classes start before ten, you begin to like learning new things, and you like the freedom college offers you. Basically you have become comfortable. It’s usually about this time that you graduate and begin a new chapter in your life. And that’s where we pick up my story.
I graduated in December of 2004 a full semester early. Considering that most people told me to expect a fifth year of college, that’s a fact I’m proud of. I don’t remember much from the ceremony itself, it was typical bland almost boring, I don’t know what I expected maybe trumpets blaring or something else spectacular. But that’s not how the real world operates I guess. What I do remember is how proud my parents were, how much I appreciated them being there, and how happy I was to celebrate with my friends. The ceremony wasn’t the only disappointment about graduation, the other was waking up the next morning. Again I don’t know what I expected, maybe that I would wake up more mature, maybe I’d wake up the wise college graduate. But none of those things happened I woke up the next morning the same as the day before, feeling insecure about my future, feeling like I was eighteen again, young and not mature enough to handle myself in a bigger pond. In a word I was afraid, but I hid it, covered it up like I think a lot of high school and college graduates do. And maybe that is the essence of being a worldly person, covering up your own fear and insecurities in anyway possible.
After graduation I moved back to my parents house, for what would normally have just been winter break. Of course many people congratulated me, and then would follow that up with the dreaded question of the hour, “So what are your plans now?”. Plans?!?! I had no plan. My plan was to enjoy my Christmas break the way I always had. My parents let me slide a little bit, they let me enjoy the Christmas season, and thankfully after that was over they got on my case about finding a job. At the time I wasn’t so happy they were constantly bugging/nagging me to get a resume’ together, and go out to apply for jobs. Yep I graduated college and hadn’t really focused on putting my resume’ together. At first I almost resented their constant “So what have you done today to find a job?” interrogations, but they only had the best in mind for me. They wanted to see me grow and spread my wings, they probably knew better than me that if they merely allowed me to continue on hiding from the world, I would not become the man I was supposed to be.
So I started working on it, I put together a resume’ and posted it on every job website known to man. And then I waited. And waited. I got a few nibbles. A few phone interviews, but nothing serious. One company asked me to take a test, but they never called back after I took it. So to say the least I became discouraged. It was about that time, my dad, who I know was constantly praying about my situation, stepped in and started making a few phone calls. He set up a few meetings with friends of his, but before those could bear fruit. On of my friends from school sent me an IM saying that one of my old professors was trying to get in touch with me. It turns out that he had heard of a job posting and had sent a letter of recommendation for me. I got in touch with the company emailing them my resume’, and thanks to God they called me back to set up a time to interview. My Mom and Dad were more excited than I was, I think, this was my first real face to face job interview. My mom took me out to buy a suit, and my dad brought out his shoe shine kit (something rarely seen except for the High Holidays). So early in the morning I got up, drove out Ripley, TN to interview at Marvin Windows and Doors of Tennessee. To make a long story short, after about four or so interviews, during which I was insanely nervous, and jabbered on like an idiot at times; I returned home to wait for the phone call. I waited and waited during that time I put in an app to be a dock worker at the Memphis airport. And then one morning, I got a phone call, Marvin wanted to hire me on as an Associate Programmer/Analyst for $35,000 a year. Wow! For a kid just out of college that was a lot of money. On March the twenty-first I started my first real job.
The commute for this job was an hour and half, both ways! I remember waking up at 5:30 (now that was a real change from college) getting dressed and grabbing a banana on my way out the door. The drive wasn’t horrible, for the most part I was going the opposite way that the traffic was going, plus it was so stinking early in the morning that I rarely had problems getting to work. But the drive did start to wear me out. I made quick friends with another young fella who worked in the IT department, Brad. Brad had started three months or so before I had, so we were both somewhat new to the job and even though he was a few years older than I was were both new to the IT world. I could write a whole post on my experiences working for Marvin, but first they would mostly be technical in nature (and that’s not my desire for this blog) and second it would probably be boring to most of you.
One of my fondest memories of working at Marvin, was the time my dad got to visit the plant. I had been there a year or so when my dad was going to visit someone near Ripley, so he arranged it so that he would be in town around lunch time. For lunch we went to the local steak house (I think the sight of the Chinese restaurant scared him 🙂 ). It was awesome sitting there taking a lunch break with my dad. It’s one of the few times I actually felt like a grown up. We talked for a little bit and then I got to take him back to Marvin and show him around the plant a little bit. He was so impressed and so proud of me. I don’t think he ever understood what it was that I did, he had a general idea don’t get me wrong, but how I did it wasn’t something that was easy to explain or understand. But he was proud of his son, and that made me so happy.
It wasn’t too much longer after that, that I moved out of the house, and started sharing a place with my good friend Brad. I moved out of the house in March of 2006 and began a whole new adventure.