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Chasing After the Garbage Truck

Updated: Aug 13, 2021

When I was young, I'd say less than four or five years of age, I had already figured out my career. I observed professionals first-hand from the back window of my house, and from what I could tell, nothing would be more thrilling and rewarding than the life of a garbage man - or sanitation worker, to be more accurate in today's terms. My parents reacted with funny looks or nervous laughter when I would proclaim my career choice, but it did not deter me from obsessing over my dream job. As one typically does, I chose my career based on my experience, albeit limited. And for me, it came down to observing a fascinating ritual that happened in my own backyard: the collecting of trash using a really cool truck equipped with a lifter and compressor. What more could a boy need?

As the years went by, that dream job of becoming a sanitation worker morphed into a Taco Bell cook (again, out of observation), then a veterinarian, then finally weather-man. I must say, the dream of being a meteorologist stuck around for a while. My family always knew the forecast thanks to my daily announcements. Fast forward a number of years along with the discovery of my values and realization of my skillsets, and I finally landed in education.

Unlike many, I didn’t settle on this career choice in high school, or even college for that matter. It took me a long time of trial and error, researching, and really getting to know myself before I would finally become a college counselor. And today, my career may very well be immersed in college counseling, but my calling goes far beyond that. My career is one piece of the pie that is my calling, and the other pieces are determined by something rather morbid, but of the highest importance: what others will say about me one day when they get up to speak at my funeral. Sorry to take a dark turn, but I can’t think of a better way to express the idea of a calling. It is, in a sense, the objectives or mission statement of our lives. As it turns out, college was a critical setting for me in developing my calling.

I attended Point Loma Nazarene University, a small, Christian liberal arts school in California, and it was at this place that transformation began and the early seeds of what would grow into my calling started to take root. Whether it was certain classes, my professors, chapel services, late night conversations with friends, or host of other experiences, I was shaped and molded in a very critical time in my life which set me up on the trajectory to where I am today. My education, as strong as it was, ultimately did not point me directly to the career I ended up in, but I would argue that it set me up to actually thrive and be successful within this career - a testimony to a liberal arts education. And even further, it set me up to become a caring citizen, husband, church member, leader, and friend, all of which have their role in my calling.

So in a nutshell, this is why I do what I do. Knowing the impact college had on my life, I take very seriously the research in and approach to prospective colleges for high school students. Whether they dream of one day becoming a doctor, business-person, architect or perhaps a sanitation worker, my hope is that they will be shaped and molded in the right way to be not only the very best professional they can be, but also the best citizen, spouse, community member, leader and friend.

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