“Be yourself everyone else is already taken,” was spray painted on the concrete wall of the overpass. I drove by it every day on my way to the job site. It was about here on the drive that the engine started to get warm. The floor heater of the Chevy Blazer kicked up the smell of effort from a pair of steel-toed boots well past their prime. Those boots were both pride and shackles.
The boots were a source of pride because I finally stuck with something and saw the electrician training all the way though. I did the hours and was qualified. But those boots were also shackles because they meant I did what someone told me to, when they wanted me to, for however much money they wanted to pay me.
I pulled into the parking lot for the monthly safety meeting. In forty five minutes I would be back on my way to the job site to wire up an electrical panel.
That’s what I thought. Forty-five minutes later I was jobless.
After four years of an electrician apprenticeship I was laid off yet again. The work came and went as jobsites popped up and then became finished. Finish at a jobsite and you worked your way out of a job. It was a real disappointment to say the least. After all, I gave up doing what I really liked doing to be responsible and get a stable income.
When I was a personal trainer I had all the time in the world to workout. Matter of fact, I got paid to do it. I ran with clients and sometimes even worked out set for set with them if they asked me to.
Since then, I’d gotten out of shape, developed new aches and pains and was generally pretty disappointed with the way life was going.
Doing ten hour shifts plus travel time didn’t leave much time for anything except comfort food and some TV at the end of the day.
On my way home, I passed the writing on the overpass again. The walls of life felt like they were closing in. I was getting older, my body was rebelling and I hated losing my job every few months.
The fact of the matter was I was trapped. Trapped by uncontrollable income, a body that was rebelling and debt that got bigger each month.