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Maintenance worker finds faith and turns away from life of crime

Maintenance worker finds faith and turns away from life of crimeAre you handy and interested in a career where you can use your hands? In this interview with an apartment maintenance worker, he shares how through his faith and job training, he has been able to turn his life around, from dealing drugs and spending time in prison, to becoming a family man with a steady job who shares his faith with anyone who will hear.

What is your job title and what industry do you work in? How many years of experience do you have in this field? How would you describe yourself using only three adjectives

I am a maintenance technician in the the apartment industry. I would describe myself as assertive, patient, and optimistic.

How would you describe what you do? What does your work entail? Are there any common misunderstandings you want to correct about what you do?

It can be really tiring but yet fulfilling. There’s a certain joy I get out of having a problem, finding it, and repairing it. Not just anyone can’t do this job you have to be a people person.

What’s your ethnicity and gender? How has it hurt or helped you? If you ever experienced discrimination, how have you responded and what worked best? Do you speak another language, and has it been helpful in your career?

I am African American, and it hasn’t hurt me.

On a scale of 1 to 10 how would you rate your job satisfaction? What might need to change about your job to unleash your full enthusiasm?

I have to say a 10. I love what I do.

If this job moves your heart – how so? Ever feel like you found your calling or sweet spot in life? If not, what might do it for you?

It does move my heart. I get to meet and encounter all sorts of people and work with my hands. A smile or kind word can make a major difference in someone’s day.

Is there anything unique about your situation that readers should know when considering your experiences or accomplishments?

Before working this job, I was in prison with no skills at all. I had dealt drugs up until that point. Four years later, I’ve turned my life around. I have a wife and family and the best part of it all is I became a minister. I’m able to tell all these people about the love of Jesus!

How did you get started in this line of work? If you could go back and do it differently, what would you change?

I heard from a friend about a grounds keeper job that was open. I applied and got the job. I learned as much as I could, and was promoted to maintenance technician. I wouldn’t change a thing.

What did you learn the hard way in this job and what happened specifically that led up to this lesson?

If you’re in an apartment making a repair and see another potential problem, fix it. I was in a unit repairing a faucet and heard the toilet running and pretty much ignored it. Well, a couple of weeks later I got a call after hours. That same toilet was stopped up and because it was running it flooded half the unit! So now, no matter what I’m in the unit for, if I see a problem I fix it!

What is the single most important thing you have learned outside of school about the working world?

You must learn to deal with different personalities

What’s the strangest thing that ever happened to you in this job?

I went to a unit to repair a garbage disposal. The resident let me in and went upstairs. I completed my work, and called for the lady to sign the work request. To my surprise she came down stark naked!

I was so nervous I left my step ladder there, which I needed for my next work request. I searched for that ladder all day. The next day my manager called me to the office to tell me I had left a ladder in that resident’s apartment. Yes, it may have had something to do with her coming down stairs naked!

Why do you get up and go to work each day? Can you give an example of something that really made you feel good or proud?

I go to work each day to provide for my family. One thing that made me feel very good was that I was replacing a kitchen light once and through my conversation with the resident, and the work of the Holy Spirit, the elderly resident got saved. She was 62 years old. That had to be the best feeling ever to lead her to Christ.

What kind of challenges do you face and what makes you just want to quit?

Nothing makes me want to quit, but its really hard talking to a resident who has a problem with management.

How stressful is your job? Are you able to maintain a comfortable or healthy work-life balance? How?

It’s stressful when I have to leave out of the pulpit at church when I’m on call at the apartment complex. I try to keep a healthy work-life balance balance by leaving work at work and home at home.

What’s a rough salary range for the position you hold? Are you paid enough and/or happy living within your means?

$22,000 to about $30,000. I think I am underpaid, but I am thankful for what I have.

How much vacation do you take? Is it enough?

I get two weeks of vacation a year it’s enough for me.

What education and skills do you need to get hired and succeed in this field?

You should have a HVAC certification, as well as skills in carpentry, plumbing, painting, minor electrical, appliance repair, heating and air conditioning.

What would you tell a friend considering your line of work?

It’s not for everyone.

If you could write your own ticket, what would you like to be doing in five years?

I would be contracting doing this kind of work for myself.

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  • Your story is one I can really relate to having family members going through that sort of trauma, and turning it around. So its very nice to hear its not just our story its a story a lot of people can relate to. Continue to make your great life changing choices and give it one hundred percent and anything is possible.

  • I am very inspired by your positive outlook in life, how you turned something negative to positive. I think that everyone should be motivated to grow and be a better person in life. The fact that you’re underpaid and still thankful and loving what you’re doing says a lot about your dignity,personality and character. Being close to god is the key to all the happiness that you’re feeling. God believes in you when you believe in him for sure. Keep going and may god bless with more happiness.

  • Finding a job that you love doing is far more important then a job that you don’t like doing but pays well. Reading this story you can tell the passion that he has for what he does. it isn’t necessarily the most glamours work, but it is more then enough for him. This is what we should look up to. Finding something that makes us happy. Nowadays all we are taught is that we need to find a job that pays a lot and that it will bring us happiness. This goes to prove that money isn’t the whole of life. Money will never be able to buy true happiness and fill a gap in our hearts that faith should fill.

  • I genuinely love to see someone who is happy with their career because they love what they do regardless of the salary. I pray that my educational journey will lead me into doing what I love so it won’t feel like “work” but instead a labor of love.

  • Having had supervised maintenance teams at a Power Generation plant, I have come across various individuals who have broken their shell of ‘do nothing but lax’ and taken responsibilities for turning their fortunes around, albeit via hardships and in some cases, cruel lessons. If there is anything constant in life, it is ‘change’. Persistence always overcomes resistance and we see this clearly in the story told above. I had a worker in my team who had a daughter diagnosed with Leukemia and had a very rare blood group (Bombay). Instead of giving up and leaving her be, the guy regularly searches for blood donors since they are rare but makes sure his daughter gets the requisite transfusion. Dedication and sincerity to responsibilities always light up one’s life and pays dividends; if not now then surely later.

  • His story is something that is all too familiar to me. Growing up poor and Black in this country, I found myself in a community plagued by crime, violence, teen pregnancy, and overall stagnation. My uncles were always in trouble with the legal system – all 9 of my uncles having been to or currently are in jail. Dealing drugs was the mindset of most of the males in my family, and my most likely route, had God not had other plans for me.

    Society views dealing drugs as a crime and labels drug dealers as criminals rather than people, stripping them of both their humanity and their freedom. This view ignores the fact that, historically, this country, through structural and institutional racism created to oppress whole groups of people, has robbed the African-American man of a fair chance to “make it” in the traditional sense. It ignores the everyday struggle and pressures that come along with simply being a man of color. It ignores the fact that once caught up in the system, the chances of getting out and finding an employer willing to hire someone despite the person’s background and previous decisions are slim to none. It ignores that the underlying reason for dealing drugs was to simply make a living and provide for their families. The fact that this man was able to turn his life around and find a stable job is a true testament to God’s grace. His ability to minister others and share the gospel is a blessing to all those he now touches.

    The part of the story that stood out to me was his statement that “nothing makes [him] want to quit.” Quitting is not an option when the goal is bigger than just you. I can truly relate to that in my journey to become a doctor and making a difference in underserved communities like the one I grew up in. I often struggled with all the opportunities I had, knowing the struggles that still plagued my family and community. I had doubts about my own abilities and purpose. Accepting Christ as my Lord and Savior and going to church has had a profound impact on my life. I realized that it is only by God’s grace that I have been able to accomplish what I have accomplished. I walk by faith and not by sight. While there are many challenges come with studying in the field, I am truly blessed to be studying at Harvard Medical School, something I would have never even imagined growing up.

  • This story was great story on how you have control to change your life for the better. He had hit rock bottom and in this story he found his way back up. With the help of Family and God and determination he was able to make a goal and his aspirations into something he really enjoys. As many of us can relate and have obstacles in life that are so hard to overcome but with determination and motivation your able to achieve your goals. The best part is how he talks about God and how much it made him overcome his demons with drugs and being in prison.

    I can relate to this story as I have two children with special needs, a father who needs 24- hour care and still work a full-time and obtain my associates degree in business. I have worked three jobs to help pay for school and at times was a true struggle but I was able to maintain a 3.80. I felt so proud and I would love to continue with my education but with limited money to help, its a slow process but I know I wont give up on my dream to continue my education goals.

  • I truly agree that this type of work is not for everybody. Seeing the fact that this guy was a drug dealer and has now turned his life around is truly an inspiration. This guy knew what was wrong in his life and he decided to make change and fix it. Unfortunately, not that many people these days do that. I barely see people turn their life around, and especially not like this man. And one of the most fascinating parts about his story is that he says that he became a minister and tell other people about Jesus. I can tell that Jesus played a huge part in turning his life around making me really proud of him!

    Although he is underplayed, this is a way better outcome than being in jail and being a drug dealer. I love the fact that he has a passion for his job. I learned through people like this that it doesn’t matter how much you get paid, you can live a good life just be doing what you love to do. I hope this man keeps doing what he’s doing. I will make sure to get a job, not because of the money, but because I enjoy it. This man who used to always get in trouble managed to get his life together and support his family, I believe that anyone else who is willing to change their life in any aspect is able to do so as well.

  • This man’s story relates to almost every human being in that we are all on a roller coaster. He had low points in his life and battles he was facing but there was a turning point in his life. This reminds me of my life that it is not always perfect but with God in my life he can turn the battles into graces and give us more than we can imagine. John Paul II said “that life with Christ is a wonderful Adventure!” This man had a beautiful experience in helping the elderly women. Similarly, I believe it is important to take time to help the elderly and not forget about them. Small acts of kindness can go a long way!