For me it was all about being at the right place at the right time. Looking back however at most points in my life, I didn’t see it that way. The world economy was not doing well when I graduated out of high school and jobs were few. To make matters worse, I never paid much attention to my studies. Somehow the young mind never understands the seriousness of life until it hits you in the face. I can attest to that because that is exactly what happened to the younger me.
Two months passed by and I still had no job. In the mean time I pottered around the house and found one of my Dad’s old books. It had some corny title like ‘The ABC of Electricity’ or something. I don’t really remember it any more. It piqued my interest in the complex network that an electrician battles everyday. It was after all the only part of my science class that held my interest. All that I remember about the book was the complex diagrams and even more complex words. That didn’t stop me though. Somehow difficulty is never is an issue when curiosity plays a role. All my friends had found jobs and I had nothing to do. So the book kept me company on those lonely days.
That was the way life unfolded until I found a newspaper article. It was all about an apprenticeship program for an electrician. I was ecstatic. If I got selected I would have a chance to work under an electrician in the Sacramento area. Yes, you heard it right! Sacramento California! The chances of finding a job in the city I lived in were slim and here I had a chance to apply to be an apprentice to an electrician! I thought that happened only in dreams.
The rest is history. I applied and I got the apprenticeship. In a few days I found myself face to face with a man that has become both my friend and mentor. He has turned my life around with his positivity. He is none other than Joseph Galo. During our first meeting he put me at ease and asked me to call him Joe. That is how I know him today. Joe had this infectious full belly laugh which he let loose when I told him that I had been trying to become an electrician by reading a book. Joe had this simple philosophy. He said that what we learned with our hands and through experience no book could replace. I was taken aback at that time but as time went along I realized that what Joe said was true. Books don’t teach you the tricks of trade, people like Joe do! It’s experience that teaches you how to place a ladder and it’s a book that tells you to switch of the mains before starting work.
Joe and I spent many weeks together. We completed small jobs like fixing lights to large jobs like rewiring a whole house. The most important thing that I learnt from Joe is that no job is ever too difficult. You need to take a step back and focus before approaching it with a smile. Joe believed that a smile was always the most essential ingredient. That is why all all his clients loved him. His cheerful nature always filled the room.
Today I am no longer an apprentice. I have an apprentice of my own. I’ve moved out into the big bad world as a determined electrician with a smile plastered on my face. Why? Because that’s what my mentor taught me. If it wasn’t for Joe I wouldn’t be here and I wouldn’t be what I am today.