Year Seven: 2006
By the end of the Spring semester at UALR I was wrapping up my last few classes and trying to find a “real” job. The same buddy I had been in construction school with had gotten hired on at MDH Builders, a local commercial construction company, and had managed to get me an interview with a guy named Chris. The interview went well and a few days later I stepped out back during my shift at Ozark Outdoor to take a call from MDH Builders. It was Chris, and he was calling to offer me a job as a Project Manager for a grand total of $25,000 a year. It wasn’t much but it was better than $6.25 an hour. I took it.
I had a couple of weeks before my first day and Micaiah and I planned a last minute celebratory trip to Mexico to relax before I buckled down like a real man. We got the all-inclusive package at a tiny “resort” south of Cancun, in the Riviera Maya part of the east coast. There were probably only five other people staying at the place, and it was more of an embarrassment than anything else to just be there. It was the kind of place where the drinks at the bar came in dixie cups and you had to get a bakers dozen of them just get a little buzz going. It was cool though, in a really stupid way. We rented kayaks and smoked cloves on the beach and played travel Scrabble.
By the time fall rolled around I was already hating my job at MDH Builders. Chris and Matt were there, which was cool - Chris and I became great friends, but other than that the place was just a black hole where all my time went and none of my fun. They had exiled me from the office to a construction trailer at a funeral home I was building in Cabot. Three things I tried my best to avoid: Construction trailers, funeral homes, and Cabot.
Christmas and the holidays went by with little fanfare, and by New Years Eve we found ourselves at a cabin in northwest Arkansas with some new friends, Ben and Angie Shy. We got along well and enjoyed the same kinds of things, the same music, etc. Ben and I were outside grilling and smoking Backwoods when we started reflecting on the years and thinking towards the future, as you tend to do around New Years. We carried the conversation inside and eventually went around with everyone saying what their dream job was, and then what their DREAM job was. The dream job was realistic, something practical that you might actually attain. The DREAM job was more fantastical. Own a vineyard in Napa Valley, that sort of thing.
I said that my dream job would be to own and run a small residential construction company building spec houses and doing some of the work myself. When asked about my DREAM job I had a hard time thinking of one at first, but then it hit me. I said that I wanted to be a photographer. After everyone else had said theirs, I found myself making some pretty convincing arguments for everyone to pursue their DREAM job - why not? You only have one life, right? After nearly talking everyone else into committing to pursue their biggest and craziest dreams, I realized I now had to take my own advice, lest I never preach it again.