I was visiting my local Chic Fil A restaurant and there was a young black employee who ended the transaction with the phrase, “My Pleasure”. His friends were in the lobby of the restaurant and they were laughing hysterically at him. The “My Pleasure” comment is kinda corny but it’s the company policy, everyone said it. I could see the laughing kinda bothered him. I said to the young brother, “Don’t worry about them laughing bro, at the end of the day you’ll have money in your pocket and they’ll be still trying to find a job, trust me.”
I was thinking back to my days in college when I worked at the Hechingers during my days at Morgan State. The same thing happened to me…I was working as a cashier and my classmates walked pass laughing and pointing at me while I was ringing up customers in my blue uniform. It didn’t bother me much…I thought it was funny. It was a vindication the next week when one of those friends laughing asked me if Hechingers was hiring.
The first job is significant to creating your identity. It’s that first step away from the allowance or asking relatives for money to becoming independent. There’s a fear of stepping out on your own, beginning your own journey. It’s the fear of leaving the safety of your friends to possibly being different than your friends. There’s that point where you go your own way and sometimes, most times, the path is a solo path. Leaving the comfort of friends is sometimes “uncool”, but you have to do it. It’s necessary to understand your unique talents and strengths as an individual. Your real friends will adjust to the change, whether you’re seen as uncool or not, your real friends won’t treat you any different. They will support your courage to try something new. Those other people or “friends” might try to talk you out of it or hate on you or treat you different, leave them alone, they were never your real friends in the first place. Those people don’t matter and they never will. Once you weed those people out, it will become easier to weed out any possible obstruction to your goal.
For example, some entertainers or celebrities start out in a group or duo. Some started out as rappers and became business owners or actors. Phil Collins started out with Genesis, Beyonce started with Destiny’s Child, Busta Rhymes, Q-Tip, Justin Timberlake, Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Ice Cube, George Michael and Lil Wayne all started out in a band or group. Most them faced deep opposition and criticism to them leaving the group. Two people that stick out to me are Ice Cube and Will Smith, I remember these two because Cube was called a sell out because he left NWA and Will’s rap wasn’t “hard” enough. Will’s big hit was “Parents just don’t understand” it was the first rap to ever win a grammy. Will and Cube were both pioneers with going from rapping to acting. Will commands well over 20 million dollars a movie now, do you think it was a smart decision? Now all rappers try to get into acting. Some rappers are now titans in business. Shawn Carter(Jay-Z) net worth 500 million, Curtis Jackson(50-cent) net worth 125 million, Christopher Bridges (Ludacris) net worth 70 million are iconic in their successes. All of these rappers didn’t necessarily leave a group but the set out on an endeavor that was their own.
In the movie, “After Earth”, there’s a pivotal point where Jaden Smith’s character, Katai Raige, has to either come back to the ship and hope to be rescued and die with his father or go alone past the point of no return to get a access to emergency supplies and a beacon. Katai had to face environmental, physical and emotional challenges but he faces them alone and survives to rescue his father.
This symbolic point where manhood is taken in a great leap is very real and it’s very necessary. You alone have to embark on this journey. This leap into masculinity is a obligation of all young men, prepare for it. There’s this break away point, where the eagle leaves the nest, where the young lion leaves the pride. To get those riches and successes and possibly become your own iconic symbol you have to break away from the pack.
“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
Next Blog: Learning how to lead (Blog 2 of 2)