This I Believe

Caleb - Wylie, Texas
Entered on April 24, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: work

I believe that success is built from hard work. At fifteen my mom was already letting me know that it was about time for me to go ahead and get a job. This is typical of the high school parent, I guess, but like most teens, I felt was totally unfair. So one Saturday afternoon a friend of mine asked me if I would like to go to work with him at a paintball field.

I had just recently underwent a shoulder reconstruction, so I thought, why not go and help out at least its something to do besides sitting around in my room all day. The prospect of just getting to hang out was appetizing because I couldn’t exactly play because of my “handicap.”

Immediately I started to help out, just doing odd jobs for the workers up there, doing things that they really had no time for, the only downside was the fact that I got no pay whatsoever. After helping out for several weeks the field manager asked me if I would like anything for lunch. Yes, this doesn’t mean a whole lot I mean its just lunch it signaled more progress in getting the job. Plus I mean lets be honest who will turn down a free lunch.

Two additional months of working for food passed, the only change was an occasional five bucks here or ten bucks there for working 12 hour days with no breaks other then lunch. When the owner approached me late one Sunday evening and asked me if I would like to work there, I accepted with a vigorous handshake and a promise that I would be at work every weekend for the duration of the time that I wanted to work at Fort Paintball.

For the next several slow, agonizing weekends of getting hazed by the older workers I found myself doing the worst jobs imaginable. At first the only thing I was allowed to handle while working was to pick up trash and either put it in a huge dumpster, or burn it. Then gradually over the course of several weeks I made friends with several of the older workers and the hazing finally stopped. Then I made my way from the “trash guy” to the air guy, which means I got to sit in a freezing room for ten hours every day and fill containers of CO2. This was especially fun, because my fingers would get frost bitten and would peel for several days after.

After many moons of being the “air guy,” I finally was allowed to ref, which to most of the workers perceived as a comfortable position especially for a guy who has only been working for several weeks, or maybe a month tops. Nevertheless, I got to work in the field where the days aren’t as boring, and the pay is usually much better for the amount of effort put into the job every day.

Slowly the dedication to working the long hours week in and week out, has allowed me to move up on the totem pole slightly. Yes, maybe working at a paintball place isn’t the average American’s view of a “job” but to me the hard work put into my first job has in some ways made me “successful.” I believe that hard work builds success.