Howard Schultz, the founder of Starbucks as we now know it, is no stranger to hardship. At 7 years old his father broke his ankle at work. In his words, they lived on the “other side of the tracks.” His father was a diaper delivery and pick-up man. In their world there was no such thing as workers’ comp or health insurance. Consequently, the family was left in dire straits, without income.
That experience changed him forever. Today, he provides health insurance to all, including part-time employees. Starbucks currently spans the globe with stores in 65 countries, and annual sales approach $20 billion. His net worth is estimated at $3 billion.
It wasn’t always that way. When seeking investors to fund the fledgling idea/company, he was turned down 217 times. What if Howard had given up? Fortunately, he didn’t. The rest is history.
Early on in these writings I mentioned the fact that too many people in today’s world are unwilling to make the kind of sacrifice necessary to get them where they want to go. From my perspective, it appears that these traits are more prevalent than ever. My intention is not to demean any particular segment of our society, but the sad fact is, our streets are littered with those who are held by the grasp of passivity. The unwilling. Those who refuse to pay the price and consequently fail to obtain the purchase.
Instead, they circle faster and faster, going nowhere, collapsing in their own footsteps, tripping over their own inability to persevere. If you cannot manage yourself, forget about managing others.
New Year’s Eve 2017, San Diego
I am a writer, self-titled or not. I tell the story. True or false, right or wrong, I get it said. I play by imagination. I play my own song, even when no one listens. I play it and I play it loud. I write, and the proof is that you are reading what I’ve written right now.
Nearly 49 Years Ago, Somewhere Else
I locked eyes on a lady today. More accurately, a girl I guess. She is 17. Me too. Oh, my gosh, what a fox! Eyes like blue diamonds. Not to mention the rest of her. She (all of her, every bit of it) hit me like the blinding glare of a set of headlights across a 4 lane highway. But it was my highway, literally in front of my high school. She was either trespassing, or this was an intersection. It turned out to be the latter. She was on my turf and I was all over her. Not like you might imagine. We had an incident. One of those, once-in-a-lifetime moments. Completely innocent in every way. But afterward, I was stuck on her like glue.
Next stop. The high school dance a month later. I felt someone brush against me as she blew by. When I turned to look, it was her. I was fixated. What did I do? Nothing. I am an introvert, but she seemed to pick me out. Otherwise none of this would have ever happened. I would never have gotten to her. I am far too intimidated and as I said, introverted and shy. She held me completely in her blur.
Current Reflection: This girl would ultimately be my wife. There’s plenty of time for drywall and management; wait for it. Writing this is all about my life and who I would spend it with. She would one day (in the not too distant future) become my wife and bear my children.
The Class of 1970
That never happened. Never did graduate. Never got my GED either. I’m not advocating that anyone drop out of anything unless they are wasting their time and as far as I was concerned, I was. Time has proven that. One of the few things I suppose I could say I was right about.
Union Apprenticeship, 1970–1974
By 1976, I would be licensed and in business. But saying the pathway was riddled with setbacks, disappointments and difficulty is an understatement. Know for certain that there was nothing easy or lovely about it. It was a very hard road to hoe. Especially the union’s so-called apprenticeship program. Four weeks from now I’ll give you an earful.
Doug Bellamy is former president of Innovative Drywall Systems Inc. dba Alta Drywall, Escondido, Calif. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.