Was it the Right Decision?
Did I make the best decision of my life? I'm currently 30,000 feet in the air, traveling to Seattle Washington for business. I never really used to know how I got myself into these situations but it seems every time that I leave the city I'm from, it all makes a little more sense. The title of this post is "Did I make the best decision of my life" and I'm sure you're wondering what the decision is. Around 2013 the year I was graduating high school, I felt like I was living 10 different lives. I had a pretty solid idea of who I was as a person but that clearly wasn't that solid. Junior and senior year of high school I knew I wanted to be something more, and I knew I wanted to be different.
When you're in high school you're living in such a small environment with a limited amount of people. It's almost like living in a gated community that you aren't able to get out of and check out other cities and towns. A majority of the students are there to get that diploma and wait for an acceptance letter to a college that they fell in love with. Once senior year came around I honestly contemplated on just dropping out but I knew I could fight through the struggle and then go out and get what I truly wanted in life. When I say I contemplated on dropping out, it had nothing to do with being lazy. You'd be crazy to think I just wanted to stay home and play video games all day so I could amount to nothing in life. The main reason was that I'd be sitting in classes knowing I had this work-ethic in me like no other and I wanted to put that to use as early as possible. I applied for about 7 different schools to be like everyone else and was denied from every single school I applied for. I knew I wasn't meant to go to college but this was most likely a blessing in disguise for the better. I'm sure I could go on and on about my experience of those long four years but lets move on.
"Teachers Open The Doors, But You Must Enter By Yourself.” – Chinese Proverb
I started working when i was about 13 as a paperboy in my neighborhood. I then had got my first somewhat "legit" job working at Market Basket. Working here was my first taste of this so called "ladder". The ladder that you start from the bottom, step up to more opportunities with the end goal earning the top spot. I started bagging groceries, and then made my way up to stocking shelves. It was nice to get a little taste of my own money. Of course wasn't the best waking up for a 6 AM shift on a Saturday morning when I could be sleeping but I figured I might as well get used to it. I couldn't even get up for school but with work it was different. I wanted to be there.
After I left Market Basket an opportunity came up to work at Radio Shack at the mall. I'm now 17 years old. I started off just being a sales associate, helping customers with basic requests and then ringing them out on the cash register. After my first few months I was then able to get on the floor and make commission of products I sold. This is when I got my first taste of the hustle. The time where you realize that things aren't handed to you and if you don't want to work for it, you're not going to get it. My parents both were always employed and did well for themselves but I always had a mentality to get it on my own. When I look back on life years from now I want to remember the struggle. The struggle that at the current time was hell and seemed so negative but shaped me into who I am as I'm typing this.
“The separation of talent and skill is one of the greatest misunderstood concepts for people who are trying to excel, who have dreams, who want to do things. Talent you have naturally. Skill is only developed by hours and hours and hours of beating on your craft.” – Will Smith
The Real World
Fast forward a year and this is where the real experience started. When I was 18 I decided to take the leap and progress my life further by moving out of my parents house and taking on all the responsibilities life has to offer. I ended up getting a job through a friend, and started working for W.B. Mason in Boston. I walked in blindly not knowing what I was getting into at all. I knew it was an extremely successful company; I seen the trucks and branding around everywhere, and I was hungry for the possabilities that were available there. I started at the bottom stacking boxes and picking orders and I knew I couldn't settle for that. One thing that I immediately picked up on in my first year of working there was that some people were so content with collecting their paycheck and doing the same thing every single day for who knows how long. I think being surrounded by this gave me more motivation to find a way that I could keep working my way up. I ended up working my way a little further up loading trucks and eventually becoming a lead which had a lot more responsibilities. I'm still currently here working on advancing my career. One thing I slowly started to pick up on were there of course were some people that started to dislike me for somewhat "furthering" my career. I'm not writing this claiming I make a million dollars but this is the what I experienced as I worked on moving up within the company. At this point I realized how people will leave opportunities on the table and only the hungry people are going to take advantage of anything thats available. As far as I'm concerned you can do anything you want but you have to be willing to put the work in.
"There are two types of people who will tell you that you cannot make a difference in this world: those who are afraid to try and those who are afraid you will succeed." -Ray Goforth
I never really had specific "role models". Of course my parents will always set the standard of what I want to grow up as but in the work force my role models were the higher ups.. the managers.. the CEO's .. the people that set the example of what I had to do to get to that position in life. Now that you somewhat have a brief background of my life, I'll explain why I made the best decision. Just to be clear I'm not knocking anyone that goes to college, I just wanted to share my experience from the other side. My college was the work force. I've gained so much value to my life by going through real life experiences that I would of had to wait 4 years to get to start with. Rather than being at the party every night in the dorm, surrounded by a bunch of alcohol, I was instead surrounded by an endless amount of adults that both were successful and some not successful. I used to always think that my focus had to be set on the people that were successful but I kept a close eye on the people that weren't. I wanted to find out where these people slipped up and took that into account on what I didn't want to do. I became the person I am today by these real life experiences. I've had wins and I've had many loses and I'm only 23 years old. By the time I was 21 years old I had over 38,000 dollars in credit card debt. How? I don't know, some of it was equipment i purchased for my business, other things were being young and dumb, buying whatever I wanted. What was I going to do about it? Sit about it and cry? Beg my parents to bail me out? No, none of those questions are how life works. I had to work for it. Some weeks I'm putting in 80-90 hours and I'm now sitting here with about $4,000 dollars left due to business expenses before I am completely debt free.
This is where it concludes for now because I'm far from finished. I took these working experiences and passion for photography and in 2017 I opened my own business "Matt Surette Productions". I've been so fortunate with the opportunities that I have had between the amazing people I've met, to the places I've got to travel and everything else that comes this way. Because I have had experiences in the real world with very successful people, I now have the confidence to walk into a corporation thats asking me to work for them and be able to gain their respect and handle myself appropriately. Anything in life is a slow process for sure but theres nothing better than watching something that you built from the ground up continue to grow. I'm still currently happily employed full time on top of running my own business but thats the way life goes. Its the way life will continue to grow. Why settle now when theres so many opportunities and resources available in this world.
"Entrepreneurs Are Simply Those Who Understand That There Is Little Difference Between Obstacle And Opportunity And Are Able To Turn Both To Their Advantage." – Victor Kiam
I know not everyone will agree with any of this but I wanted to put some of my thoughts down as I continue this journey. If anyone has any questions please don't hesitate to reach out. Thanks for the continued support and for checking out this post!