What I learned from my worst job ever

See this?

Image credit: Mom’s photo album

That’s me. Freddy. A couple of years out of high school, cleaning machine parts for oil rigs at PGI International. My mom, who worked as their HR director at the time, got me the job there. She could have gotten me a super chill job for the summer. Maybe one in the mail room. Maybe as her assistant’s assistant. But nope. She put me in that room. And everyone who worked in the shop reminded me of it. Every. Single. Day. “Man, she could have put you ANYWHERE!”

During that summer, I worked 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. All the covering up still didn’t keep me from burning my skin with those chemicals. And the mask made breathing SLIGHTLY easier. Most days, I spent my half hour of lunch taking power naps and/or chatting with the my temporary coworkers.

At the same time, I also had the chance to work evenings at Super Tejano 108, a now defunct radio station. In the evenings, I sat on Cloud Nine, which was actually the twenty-fourth floor (if my memory serves me correctly) of the control room, and talked on the radio. In the morning, it was back to hell on earth. And it was quite the hustle, bouncing back and forth from the 1960/Veteran’s Memorial area, to the Beltway 8/290 area, to the Galleria area.

It was an emotional roller coaster of a summer. Doing something I hated with a passion AND doing something I was in passionate about.

The point of the story is simple and it took me a while to truly get it. Nobody is above any kind of work. Period. You better believe that if Freddy Cruz disappeared from KRBE and cleaning machine parts was the only job left, then Freddy Cruz would strap on all that gear and start cleaning those machine parts until he found something better.

I’m thankful my mom got me that terrible gig because if she didn’t, my work ethic would likely suck. And Freddy Cruz would probably not have worked hard enough to get on KRBE. She helped me, as former Navy SEAL David Goggins would say, “callous my mind.” Something hard to do with an entitled young brat like me. But she did it.

None of us are born with the exact same intellect, physical skill, etc. But the great equalizer is discipline. And while nothing in life is guaranteed, you’re more likely to get to your preferred career destination if you make discipline your best friend.

Now, do this. Think about what you want in life. How bad do you want it? How hard will you work for it? Will you mire yourself in struggle to get there? When you fail, will you learn from what went wrong and then stay the course? And when you do, will you continue to grind so hard, people question your sanity and loyalty to family and friends? Will you be willing to do 99% of the things that 99% of people won’t do to get there?

So, Class of 2020. Ponder these things and enjoy this temporary moment in the spotlight. Then, get after it. I’m rooting for you.