During my (relatively) short time here on this earth, I’ve held several jobs. Each of them has either taught me valuable lessons or lead me to meet interesting people whom I befriended; sometimes both. Some of the people I met along the way I became friends with, some of them I would rather not ever have any interaction with at all – ever again, and some of them, well some of them just were people who came and went never really having much effect on me.
Lamb Farms – One of my earliest jobs that I recall having was detassling corn for Lamb Farms. It was a job that only took place during the summer when we were out of school. And it always seemed to be during the hottest days of the year. I don’t remember exactly how old I was, but I remember I was young enough that I didn’t have my driver’s license yet. I had to have one of my parent’s take me out to Lamb’s Farm where a group of kids around my age would wait for the bus to pick us up to take us around to the different fields that day. We always started before the sun even came up which was nice, but on the other hand it was nasty. It was nice because it was cooler in the mornings, but cooler meant that there was a lot of dew on the corn still. This made it a wet nasty job. Even though I was well equipped with a rain suit, I would still get soaking wet, mostly due to sweating from having the suit on all morning. Lunch time would roll around and it would be time for a break…finally! During lunch we would all try to find shade to sit in to take a break from the heat. It was then that we were all actually able to talk to one another. Even though I remember having conversations during lunch, there really isn’t any one person that sticks out in my mind. The main thing I took from that job – corn detassling – was that hard work and dedication pays off in the end. It took working all summer to get a single large paycheck once we were done with all the fields. Definitely one of the most laborious jobs I’ve ever held.
Wal-Mart – Yes, I worked for the evil empire commonly referred to as Wal-Mart. I began working there when I was in high school as a cashier. I met a lot of people working at Wal-Mart and I had a lot of fun coworkers that I am proud to call friends still to this day. Eventually my days as a cashier came to an end and I began working loss prevention (which would ultimately lead to me working security for other places.) Loss prevention was a really fun job. I got to walk around the store in everyday people clothes pretending to shop while I just people watched. The brunt of my duties was to identify and apprehend shoplifters.
Being from Lebanon, I ultimately wanted to work the Lebanon store so I could be closer to home. It just seemed like a perfect fit. I was in there so much anyway, that even the people who knew I did loss prevention didn’t know if I was working, or just in there actually shopping for items I needed. While I was working there, I met this guy named Josh. Josh was a different breed for sure! I recall many a day where he would stop doing whatever it was that he was supposed to actually be doing, just so he could walk around the store with me. Josh quickly became a really good friend of mine. We would talk about all kinds of things during our treks around the store. We started hanging out outside of work to and guess where we ended up a lot of times – Wal-freakin’-Mart. We would take late night trips up to Lafayette, just cruising around and we would end up at Wal-Mart looking for Hotwheels and West Coast Choppers – which we both collected. Still to this day Josh and I are friends. He’s one of those special friends, the kind that you can go for awhile without talking to, but still pick up right where you left off once our paths cross again. Speaking of – Josh – we need to get together soon!
Initial Security – I’ve worked security for several different companies and at several different locations. Though the jobs were different, the overall gist was usually the same. With each company, the goal was to protect other people’s property. I worked for one specific company during my days of working security that I will always remember. It wasn’t so much the company that I worked for, but the people I worked with that is what makes it so memorable.
During several evening shifts I worked with an older gentleman, a retired US postal worker who went by the name of Jenkins. He was in his late seventies, and you could just tell that he was someone who had seen a lot in his lifetime. Jenkins was one of the quietest guys I’ve ever met, but even when he remained so quiet, he said so much! Working night shift with Jenkins allowed us a lot of time to talk. I found out that he had been married to the same woman for over 50 years, he had served in the United States Army and his main passion in life was spreading the Word of God. Although Jenkins never really said too much voluntarily, whenever he was asked a question, as long as he felt like you should know, he would give you an answer. Jenkins always told me that no matter what happens in my life, I should trust in the Word of God. He said if I followed it, I could do anything I wanted.
Sometimes when I’m going through my day to day things I wonder what ever happened to Old Man Jenkins. I’d like to think that he’s sitting on a porch somewhere down in Mississippi where he’s originally from, rocking in his rocking chair whistling that tune he always whistled when he would do his rounds. But even if he isn’t with us anymore, I know where Jenkins is – he’s at home, with the Lord!
CCSO – Clinton County Sheriff’s Office. The source of so many stories, so many friendships and so many life lessons! Perhaps it’s because I’m older now and that’s why I’m getting so much from working at the Sheriff’s Office. (Well, now in central dispatch, we’re a separate entity – but it’s still the Sheriff’s Office to me!) Or perhaps it’s because I’ve worked here for the longest amount of time; nearly 8 years now. Either way, I’m glad that I’ve been able to experience this path in my life. Like I’ve said in other blog entries, CCSO has created a lot of really good friendships for me. Some of the friends I’ve already written about, and some of them I have not. I probably could have made a completely separate entry for CCSO, but I’ll sum it up here with some of my other jobs.
CCSO changed me as a person. When I first started working here, I was a corrections officer. That entire experience led me to a bad place in my life. I went from being somewhat of a people person, to automatically assuming everyone I came into contact with wanted to hurt me in some way or another. Be it physically, mentally or emotionally, I went through a time in my life that I just assumed everyone wanted to do some kind of harm to me. It was just easier to think that way, to protect myself. I trusted nobody. I went from the kind of guy who would freely give trust to people until they did something to prove otherwise; to the kind of guy who didn’t trust anyone until they did something extraordinary to prove that I could trust them.
Eventually I got out of the jail and began dispatching for the Sheriff’s Office. It was a completely different world in dispatch. I no longer had to worry about my supervisor setting me or my coworkers up for failure. I no longer had to worry about coworkers stabbing me in the back (figuratively of course.) And overall, it was just a HUGE stress relief. Unfortunately, the damage had been done. I still always looked at people like they wanted to do some kind of harm to me, like their intentions were less than pure. Over time that feeling started to subside. I can now take people at face value. I don’t just freely give them trust anymore; I don’t know that that will ever happen. But like I said, these experiences have made me into the person I am today.
I’ve had several more jobs than the ones I’ve listed here. I’ve also met a lot more people than what I’ve discussed here. It’s not that those people are any less important, because that just simply is not true. I believe that every interaction one person has with another person, known to them or not, ultimately shapes them into the people they become. People, by nature, are ever changing, we’re evolving. While most people stay, in large part, the same people they’ve always been, every experience changes us a little bit. Some people just have crazier experiences in their life that will change them just that much more. Working at the Sheriff’s Office for instance, that will definitely either break a person completely or most definitely change them. I’m not sure what the future holds for me, but I am certain that whatever happens, I will learn new things and I will undoubtedly change a little with each thing I learn. That’s just who I am, a human, adapting and overcoming.
For the Bible verse I want to share with you today, we’ll look at Hebrews. Chapter 13, verse 2:
“Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.” – Hebrews 13:2
With all the different jobs I’ve had, I’ve met a lot of different people. These people come from all walks of life, and who knows, perhaps in my day to day activities, maybe I’ve come across an angel. I may never find out, but wouldn’t you rather entertain a stranger – a potential angel – than to not meet new people and never even have a chance to meet an angel? Think about it!