(First Published: Jun 04, 2007)
Right about the time I quit attempting to reach my salvation through Amway is also right about near the end of the concrete mechanic job.
My buddy James and I were replacing a 150 pound steel mixing arm inside the mixer for the batch plant. This is where the rock, sand, and cement came together to make the concrete.
We had to crawl through a little access hatch then wind our bodies around all the staggered mixing arms to get to the worn arm.
It was about three feet from the floor to the cap of the mixer so we were bent over.
We were wearing dust masks so we could breathe as we air hammer chiseled the concrete off the securing bolts.
We got the old arm off and out of the mixer (no easy feat) and threw it two stories to the ground below.
Then I got the new one (did I mention it weighed 150 pounds?) and carried it up the two flights of stairs and we muscle-f***ed it into position inside the mixer. Bolted it up and called it a day.
This took four hours and it was about 100 degrees that day.
We were physically destroyed and had minor heat stroke. Both of us. I was an ex Marine and James was ex Army Special Forces AND from Texas. We were still in our twenties.
It took a lot to destroy either one of us at this point, is what I’m trying to tell you.
James and I took a seat inside the air conditioned mechanic’s office and I proposed “The New Plan”.
“James,” I said, “we always talk about other ways to make money besides a job. So pick one. I don’t give a f**k if we have to cross dress and sell Mary Kay Cosmetics. I’m never doing a job like the one we just did ever again.”
And he did pick one, which leads to:
- The Ascension Celebration
We put together an expo. Sort of a trade show if you will. It took nine months to construct. James and I each spoke to over 1,000 faces individually.
We got incorporated. Had a seal and stock. Our stock was worthless but how cool it was to hold your own stock certificates!
We had a three day show in which thousands of people attended. We had 132 vendor’s booths each paying $400 to $600 a booth to us. The show was deemed a success.
It was a metaphysical and holistic health fair. This was actually a gigantic market in the west. Tripped out bunch of people! It was a blast.
James and I parted ways shortly thereafter, because his world was falling apart and my bipolar symptoms were nearing uncontrollable levels. I couldn’t deal with both. But he was a great friend.
- Sports Superstore Gym Equipment Salesman
Boring to the point of tears. Think this one lasted about three weeks.
- MLM’s, Network Marketing, Ponzii Schemes
You’d think I’d’ve learned my lesson after Amway but no. My manic side was in full swing by now. I was an endless fount of dreams, big goals and glittery desires. The mania gave me endless energy.
I got signed up to what ended up being the biggest Internet Ponzii Scheme of all time. It was run by an arm of the Gambino crime family. No shit. Not that any of us knew that. We thought we’d be rich. The Attorney General of Florida closed it down.
But the group of people that had come together to do this decided to keep going with other ventures. We had a large office suite on the 17th floor of a building in Denver. We pursued many other ventures. Too many to list. One by one, they all failed.
One bright spot: Beverly Sassoon started an MLM involving oxygenated health products. That went bust too but I got to personally jam with Beverly. She was the coolest! Very smooth lady. Hates her ex-husband Vidal. She was quite abrasive when speaking about him.
- Security Guard
I managed the front desk at a millionaires condo. I dressed well and looked sharp. Met a lot of very nice, very rich people. The job was nowhere and my attitude started failing.
I got moved into a uniform and put in a hotel across the street from the biggest strip club in Denver. I had some very interesting nights with some of the strippers. Almost interesting enough to make me stay a guard for awhile longer but not really.
- Sunday Newspaper Insert Stuffer
It was supposed to be a weekend thing for extra cash. I fled after 1 1/2 hours. Took the word “tedium” to a whole new level.
- Tire Servicing Franchise
Started out as a laborer changing tires at the 4th busiest outlet in CO.
Ass busting labor. Ass busting. Ass busting!
You could not do this job for long if over the age of 21.
The point was to gain experience and someday run my own store. Turned out competition was fierce. My back was not going to handle the wait for a manager position to open up.
I had a lot of fun with the young guys who worked here but I eventually ran for my life. Actually, I crawled away from this one.
- Texaco Gas Station Repair Tech
This was the most complex job I’d ever undertaken. We repaired everything at a gas station: electronics, fuel delivery systems, point of sale equipment, ceiling video equipment, phone lines, mechanical systems on dispensers, even the car washes that were attached to some. We traveled about 300 to 600 miles a day.
You people really have no idea how much electronics and technology is involved in getting a gallon of gas into your car. No idea.
I had a business card with twenty 1-800 numbers on it to all the help desks for all the different computerized equipment we faced in a day. Twenty help desks! And there’s no way we could do the job without those other techs.
There’s a lot I could say about this job and it’s all interesting. But it’s too much for now. I will say this: the guys I worked with were the best crew of men I’d partnered with since the Marines. I had a hell of a blast with these guys!!
Everyone was very intelligent, very driven, slightly psychotic and unbelievably foul. I miss these guys to this day. They taught me more than I thought my brain could ever hold. This job was like college every day.
- Plant Mechanic/Fasteners? (I don’t even remember)
Production line shit…again. I only made it to the end of the one month probation period. Then I left peaceably. The boredom on this job was suffocating.
- Security Guard/Bouncer
I was hired to work the party hours – late Thursday night to late Sunday night – in an ER near a fairly violent city. I handled the schizos, the psychos, the drunks, ODs, the suicidals, bipolars, bad trips, and gang activity on site.
I was paid to fight. Period. I fought A LOT! And I loved it!!
The city police, whom I often fought side by side with, nicknamed me “Hammer.” I never lost a fight in two years.
This was the least amount of money I’d ever been paid and the most fun I’d ever had on a job. Still is the most fun thing I’ve ever done. I have a thousand whacked out stories from this job. Easily.
But the laws changed and the very reason they’d hired me now made me a liability. Too violent. Go figure.
This is the job where I met my second wife. That’s still a fond memory.
- Spinal and Head Trauma Center
This is where I first learned how much I loved helping people. Our patients depended on us 100% to get through their days.
I got paid nothing but I loved how good it felt to assist these poor souls who were once whole. Got fired from here and never knew why.
- Barbed Wire Production Plant
Another factory. Another experience dripping in claustrophobic inane boredom. Four hours and I walked.
- Pepsi Plastic Bottle Plant Mechanic
—This was a close second in complexity to the gas station job. I had to know hydraulics, electronics, pneumatics, programming, robotics, heavy duty electric, cooling systems, water systems, lasers and a bunch more to do this job.
It was hard but I got good at it fast. The scope of knowledge was breathtaking but had a ceiling. At least the technology stayed the same unlike the gas station job where systems evolved constantly.
I made it about two months before my panic attacks took me clean out of the picture. I actually began losing control of my nervous system by now. Couldn’t make my body do what I wanted it to.
And that’s it! Most of it anyway. There were other little piddly shit jobs but, whatever.
I always found jobs to be too stifling. All of them! Except the ER Guard job but that was only because I got to work out my frustrations physically.
Bipolar people don’t do well with jobs. Using the system found in It Takes Guts To Live Well, I was able to finally figure out what to really do with myself, and it wasn’t another job.
But most of you probably want a good job or be able to hold on to the one you have. We’re not all in the same boa there. Some are suited for employee life and some aren’t. I simply wasn’t.