My recent article titled "What If…? What If…" garnered an unexpected wave of favourable responses from readers, the young and not-so-young.
There are actually many young persons who read this magazine. Maybe some of you are now starting your work life. Sometimes you may think you want a particular job or career and in years to come, you might change your mind. That's fine. Just know that everyone has to pay their dues; it's how you choose to do so — ethically and morally correct or not.
Many local guys and gals didn't start where they are now; they tried different things but kept that dream alive. Shurwayne Winchester, if memory serves me right, burnt the chicken or some such thing at the fast food restaurant at which he was employed. His employers made a decision! Swappi knocked on doors for years and years before finally snaring the votes of many with his infectious beats. Cassi tried for about ten years and was about to give up on music and the industry when his song "Town Ting" became a runaway hit. KMC penned songs during his shifts as a security guard, dreaming about "making it big".
I will now share some more inspiring details. Granted, all of the examples refer to foreign individuals. The point is, it's about people having a common element: a dream in their hearts and a passion for success. (Besides, Trinbagonian figures have this 'false pride' whereby they're hesitant to share their humble beginnings so information is always scarce).
Johnny Depp: He was a telemarketer for a company that sold ballpoint pens.
Carl Lewis: Before his Olympian status, he worked at a McDonald's restaurant. Note: Other celebrities who worked there include singers, Macy Gray and Shania Twain and talk show host, Jay Leno.
Bill Cosby: He was a shoeshine man and produce salesman.
Martin Lawrence: The hilarious actor was a store clerk, an amateur boxer and a gas station attendant.
Stephen King: The best-selling author earned a salary as a janitor, English teacher, factory worker and laundromat clerk.
Sidney Poitier: He parked cars for a living but was fired because of his awful driving.
Quentin Tarantino: Before becoming a movie director, he was a video store clerk.
Sylvester Stallone: He sustained himself with an income from cleaning up lion cages at the Central Park Zoo.
Jim Carrey: The Canadian-born actor dropped out of high school and lived in a VW bus with his family. They eventually moved into a tent on his older sister's lawn.
Leonardo Del Vecchio: This is the man behind the exclusive brands, Ray Ban and Oakley. One of five children and an orphan, he worked in a factory making molds for auto parts and eyeglass frames, where he lost part of his finger. At 23 years old, he opened his own molding shop and that eyeglass frame shop expanded to the world's largest maker of sunglasses and prescription eyewear. His is now worth $11 billion!
John Paul De Joria: He's behind one of the most popular shampoos and hair products in the world. Before he was 10 years old, he sold Christmas cards and newspapers to help support his family. He was eventually sent to live in a foster home where he became a gang member. He eventually took a $700 loan and created John Paul Mitchell Systems. He hawked the company's shampoo door-to-door while living out of his car. His business is now worth $900 million annually.
Justin Bieber: Whether you like him or not, he has a story to tell. Mere years ago, Bieber lived in a rat-infested home, slept on a pull-out couch and lived off mostly macaroni and cheese. His bank account reads $65 million.
Matthew McConaughey: This hunky actor, as an exchange student in Australia, earned money while cleaning chicken coops and washing dishes.
Warren Beatty: Most famous for his role in Bonnie & Clyde, at 17 years old, a theatre hired him to patrol alleys at night to spot mice!
Tina Turner: The raspy-voiced singer with a pair of enviable legs earned a paycheque as a nurse in a maternity ward.
Halle Berry: Struggling to make ends meet, she reportedly lived briefly at a shelter. Apparently, her mother had refused to send her money and gave her an ultimatum: either come home or find a way for herself. The bi-racial actress and former Miss World contestant refused to go back home and continued her struggle to find success.
Oprah Winfrey: This mogul spent the first six years of her life wearing dresses made from potato sacks. She eventually got a full scholarship to college, won a beauty pageant — where she was discovered by a radio station. The rest is history. Winfrey is now worth $2.7 billion. That's billion — with a 'b'!
Ursula Burns: She might not be a household name but her story is still inspiring. Her neighbourhood was 'infested' with gangs and her mother ran a daycare centre out of her home and ironed shirts in order to make enough money for Burns to attend school. Burns became an intern at Xerox and she's now Xerox's Chief Executive Officer and is the first African-American woman to be the head of a Fortune 500 Company.
Ellen De Generes: The talk show host and Cover Girl spokesperson, was a house painter, vacuum salesperson, bartender, waitress, and sales clerk…and an oyster shucker. (Oyster shucking involves opening the shell of the oyster with a knife).
Megan Fox: The stunning actress was once a 'banana'. She used to wear a banana costume to attract customers to a smoothie shop.
The 'moral of the story' is simply this: a journey is made up of many steps; don't be fixated on the destination, enjoy the views and experiences.