A Voice From the Dust

Just today, I read a comment from a job seeker who was giving up on pursuing his goals. He was frustrated, and quotes from famous people that were very, very successful only seemed to make him more depressed. I wrote a response, because I was in the same position. Believe me, there were times when seemingly inspirational quotes only reminded me of how low my position was. What I needed then was a voice on my level. Thankfully, I have access to such a voice.

No quotes from famous people here. Just my great-great-gradnfather. In 1912, he had to flee Mexico with his family – children and grandchildren – because of the revolution there. He left everything behind. This was not the first time in his life he had to abandon everything and take his family miles and miles away from where he had settled.

He was 65, and arrived at Tucson, Arizona just before summer started. Summer in Arizona is brutally hot. He and his family lived in tents. Although he was a skilled teacher and had started schools across the West, he had no teaching jobs. Although he was a skilled brickmaker, there was no demand for that trade, either. So he got a job pulling mesquite tree stumps out of the ground. In Arizona. In the summer. While living in tents.

When asked about his situation, he said, “Next year will be better.”

And it was.

It wasn’t better because he knew it would be better. It was better because he believed and hoped it would be – and he took the actions he needed to take in order to make those hopes and beliefs become a reality.

If you want to give up hope, that is your choice and your decision. As for me, last year I was ready to leave my career of teaching and become a networking professional. At this time last year, I was saying “Next year will be better.”

Well, I took my great-great-grandfather’s example to heart. I worked hard – thankfully not pulling up mesquite stumps in the desert heat – and got my CCNP. I had some very very old experience in systems and networking, but I know it was the CCNP and the skills I learned in pusuing that cert that got me my internship, first job back in IT, and from that, the job I have now, which I enjoy greatly.

If you decide right here, right now, that “Next year will be better,” and are prepared to make great sacrifices in order to realize that goal, you can do it. You will prevail at finding the goal that others have abandoned, simply because you will still keep trying and the ones that abandon your goal will make room for you.

This much I do know – if I had kept my certifications active during the 11 years I had been a teacher, I would have had an easier time in my initial job search. I had an expired MCSE and CCDA. I’m going to recertify on the CCDA this year and then pursue CCDP/CCNP R&S after that, because as nice as things are now, I have decided that “Next year will be better.”

So never mind Edison, never mind Michael Jordan, never mind Martin Luther King, Jr., and never mind Gandhi. Never mind Thomas Jefferson, never mind Abraham Lincoln, never mind Steve Jobs, and never mind any other inspirational quote from someone that attained heights you think are unattainable. Listen instead to my great-great-grandfather, Edward Milo Webb, Jr. Listen to a voice that speaks from the dust, the dust from which he pulled up mesquite trees, and the dust upon which he spread his tent. Listen to a voice that came from behind a smile that endured the hardest of hard times and that spoke of a hope that fueled his soul all the time it was on this earth. Listen to the voice that spoke truly, and make it your own voice:

Next year will be better.

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