Back When I Was Lucky: Unemployed, In Debt and Living with My Parents at 24 Years Old.
I look around and I don’t think I have ever met anyone as lucky as me. Yes, I was born in America, so I already won the lottery, but it gets better!
I was born in 1984! Why is this important? Because it meant I graduated from High School in 2003!
Stay with me…
Because I graduated High School in 2003, this meant I began college in the fall of 2003. Despite spending a few quarters (University of California Schools are on the quarter system, not semesters) on academic probation (including a personal letter I had to write to the Dean begging to keep me enrolled), I managed to graduate in 4 years, meaning I entered the workforce in 2007!
Do you remember 2007?
In Real Estate history, 2007 is not looked upon as a positive year. In fact, most of our economy doesn’t look back on 2007 as a positive year.
You can track the peak housing market to between 2005–2006, depending on what part of the country you are in. Prices kept skyrocketing… until they stopped.
Think of 2007 as Wiley Coyote from The Looney Toons. Prices are about to collapse, but as long as nobody looks down they can buy themselves a few more seconds of ignorance and stability.
So here we are: it’s 2007 and I enter the workforce! Corporate America here I come! How lucky am I?!
I am hired as an assistant marketing consultant for an environmental consulting firm. Sounds pretty neat right? It wasn’t.
But lucky for me, after I returned from a 2-week training program in Indianapolis (I was based in Newport, California) I discovered the boss that hired me had left the company!
So now I had several bosses! Thats cool right? And no ‘real’ job description any more. That’s sustainable, right?
Here’s the thing. I hated my job. I hated my job more than you have ever hated a job. I don’t need to go into details about how I travelled 25 days a month, worked 60–80 hour weeks for extremely low pay while living in a very expensive city, one that I barely saw other than when I was flying into an out of John Wayne Airport.
It is very possible that the greatest attribute any entrepreneur can have is a complete disdain towards working at a job. I consider myself very lucky to have this attribute.
Did I mention I was a coward?
Maybe coward is too strong of a word, but maybe it isn’t. I absolutely despised working at this job. My friends saw it in me, I was terrible to be around, and any free time I had was usually filled with a lot of alcohol. It went on like this for WAY longer than any sane person should allow.
I was completely unappreciated and at any time I could have put a stop to it.
(My wife and I are currently watching Orange is the New Black on Netflix, and all I can compare it to is voluntarily getting up every morning and driving to prison for the day, only to do it all over again the next day simply because it was my routine.)
So why would I do this? We already established that I was a big fat scaredy cat. But what was I afraid of?
Was it fear of the unknown?
What would I do for money?
What would my friends think if I was unemployed?
What would my parents think if I quit my first job?
What would my mom think if I no longer had health benefits?
Whatever it was, it was strong enough to keep me doing something I despised for quite a while.
But lucky for me, I was lucky!
By the time the recession reached the west coast, my company had seen at least 3 rounds of layoffs before it was my turn.
I was promptly “Up in the Air’d” (See: George Clooney and Anna Kendrick)
It wasn’t as bad as getting fired over the computer, but it was someone I had never met before from a firing company doing my 7 boss’s dirty work (and I thought I was a coward).
So its 2008. Mid-Recession. I am 24 and unemployed, so I moved back in with my parents! How lucky!
All of these things were happening to me, (for me), and I had no control over them. I was too afraid to quit a job I hated, but was eventually fired! How many people get to experience this level of good luck in their lives? I assume not many.
But I did!
2008. Crazy recession going on. Living at home with my parents, back in Scottsdale and out of California where all my friends and “business connections” resided.
All of my biggest ‘fears’ had come to fruition. How lucky!
Do you know how freeing it is to be so afraid of something, and then to experience it?
Its pretty hard to be afraid of hitting rock bottom if it means moving up a level.
Armed with my only attribute of “never wanting another job again”, I decided I would never have another job again. What was the worst that would happen? I’d end up at home with my parents at 25 instead of 24?
So I took a risk. And then another. And then another. Now these were very calculated risks. In fact, they weren’t really even risks.
After studying Robert Kiyosaki for a few years, I was well aware that he made lot of money in real estate after the savings and loan crisis of 1987. In fact, he did it in Phoenix. Phoenix is where I was, and there was a new crisis. How lucky!
I begged, borrowed, and stole all the money I could find, in order to buy single family homes in Phoenix. People told me I was crazy to be buying houses. Today, they tell me how lucky I am.
I tell them, I know!!!
I was born in America in 1984. The way the American education system is set up, this meant that if I followed society’s rules and did what I was ‘supposed to” then I would enter the work force in 2007.
There was a global recession underway that I had no control over. It didn’t start earlier, it didn’t start later.
I was fired from a job I was too afraid to quit.
At age 24, unemployed and a complete failure, I moved back in with my parents.
No one is luckier than me!
In the following years; several companies founded, many houses bought, rented and sold, websites developed and books written, a loving wife and beautiful family. All because I am nothing but a big scaredy cat. At least I was.
No one is luckier than me.