When I was like 21 years old I unknowingly worked for a dude who smoked rocks.
I’ve also worked for a dude who was addicted to Hydroxycut, but that’s another story for another time. But for now, back to the dude who smoked rocks. And I know what you’re thinking right now:
Now how did I find this out? Good question…very simple answer:
MY BOY WHO WORKED WITH ME TOLD ME THAT HE KNEW THE BOSSMAN WAS SMOKING KRILLS BECAUSE HE WAS THE ONE WHO WAS SELLING IT TO HIM THE WHOLE TIME.
And it made sense. I’d be talking with one of the loan officers on the floor helping them with some calculations or making a flyer for one of the in-house realtors and my boss would pop out like a fucking Whack-a-Mole from his office with his arms flailing like one of those inflatable dudes in the front of a used car dealership and yell:
“LINCOLN! [my name being Abraham -> Abe -> Abe Lincoln -> Lincoln] WHAT THE HELL IS TAKING YOU SO LONG, MAN?!”
Mind you, I was helping this person at the behest of the boss.
He just forgot in his rocked-up fervor. So I’d tell him:
“Aye bossman just helping Joseph out like you wanted me to, remember? And then I’m gonna finish this flyer for Luis like you also wanted me to do….cool?”
Then he’d mutter to himself “ahyeahthatsrightokayokaycoolcoolcool” and powerwalk back to his desk to leave me back to my tasks at hand.
Let me make it clear though. The bossman had known my Pops which is how I was linked with this job in the first place, and aside from dude always bouncing off the walls at the most random of moments, for me the juice was worth the squeeze. I was training and helping keep the water flowing for a team of loan officers both by quarterbacking their deals on the structure/preparation end AND by helping with the marketing materials for the realtors that they were paired up with to push through said deals. I learned a whole lot in a short amount of time. And this job stamped my passport strongly for the next role (and technically ALL the roles that I’ve had ever since as there are gems that I carry with me from every single job I’ve ever had…even from my pizza slinging days).
And once the new year rolled around the bossman called me on a Sunday to say “money’s kind of tight right now, Lincoln”. The writing was on the wall, so this wasn’t much of a surprise. For like the past month the deals had gone dry (real story: the well had run dry for other non-deal reasons), and there wasn’t much I could do about it other than to adapt, so I expressed my thanks for the time that I had been given to learn from this role, I put all those tools that I had acquired over the last year in my toolkit, and I kept it pushing onto the next job.
Yeah, I was stressed at the time. Losing your job with nothing else lined up hits you square in the chest…ESPECIALLY when the money was tight to begin with. But somehow in my subconscious I knew that I was gonna be alright because I was most certainly smarter than the average bear, and in these first 6 years of working (first in pizza, now in an office) I was starting to see how I was able to dial in on the details and make shit happen to a point where I was proud of the work that I was laying down here at the start of my career.
I didn’t learn about my boss being “a fan of classic rock” (in non-musical terms) until years later when I was posted with my boy _____ at his crib and he was like “hey man, you wanna trip out on a crazy story?” and then explained to me why the bossman was so erratic for all the time that we were together. We shared a hearty laugh about it, I stored it in the memory bank like “ahh, so THAT’S what working for a dude on krills looks like”, and now it’s a point of laughter for me.
But at the time when I was in the job, nothing else mattered besides the job at hand. I was there to grind, I was driving 2 hours round trip from my parents’ crib in Montebello to the office in Glendale, and the fact that my boss made every day feel like I was taking crazy pills didn’t matter because you do what you have to do when you finally are given a chance to play ball. Plus, I had a monthly student loan payment of $1,074 to make (shouts to my Pops for blessing me with that situation…another story for another time), so as long as the money was green then I was there to be seen. Deep down inside I knew something was off about the bossman all that time, but maaan being a young dude with your back to the wall will have you moving a lot differently than when you’re an older dude with the flexibility to move how you want to move.
Which leads me to today.
Today as a result of years of stacking and moving wisely and working diligently towards a space where my wife and I would have the freedom to be free of situations that don’t sit right with us, I was able to listen to the voice in my head and part ways with a situation that in my heart of hearts I knew wasn’t right for me for a multitude of reasons.
And there was no beef on the way out. Nothing but peaceful gratitude on my behalf for having been afforded an opportunity to grind, but at the same time you need to know the difference between truly laying foundational bricks in the structuring of an enterprise and when you’re simply a general contractor overseeing the development of a 100-room sandcastle.
There are many kinds of cars in this world, but for the most part all of them have the meet the base-level criteria of 4 wheels and a steering wheel. If we have that, then we have a car, yes? Okay, solid. Agreed.
Now if that’s one end of the spectrum, then the opposite end of the spectrum is a precision-tuned Porsche Taycan. Countless hours of planning and calibration at the hands of specialists obsessed with perfection that result in one of the flyest machines ever built on 4 wheels.
And somewhere in between, we have a supercar that can go 200 miles per hour but–HEY, PLOT TWIST!–has no fucking steering wheel.
Sounds like a fun idea upfront when it’s sitting on a dry erase board, but once you get behind the wheel of that motherfucker your opinion is quite likely to change RATHER QUICKLY.
But you know what? If you were in a spot where that was the only car you could cop, you would happily take the keys to that 4-wheel menace machine and find a way to make it work until you no longer had to.
That’s kind of how your career can go from your early years as a little dun—grinding, taking what gigs you can, paying off debts, possibly working for someone who freebases—to being a slightly older young OG…bread stacked nicely, debts fully paid off, and most importantly FREE TO MOVE HOW THE FUCK YOU WANT TO MOVE.
YOU TAKE WHAT YOU CAN GET UNTIL YOU’RE ABLE TO DECIDE WHAT YOU WON’T TAKE.
If YOU don’t recognize your worth, then no one else is going to be in a rush to do so. But it takes time to get to a point where you can peacefully say “YA BASTA, MOTHERFUCKER” and have the confidence to move OUT of situations that don’t recognize your value and move INTO situations that require sunglasses because of how bright you’re able to shine.
It’s been a long, arduous road to get to this point in my life, but I’m grateful as a motherfucker. Like tears-in-my-eyes level grateful.
Everyone’s road through life is different, and we all don’t peep the sunshine at the same mile markers along that road. But if I could go back in time and visit myself as a little dun, I would tell him to keep pushing and persevering through all the hardships so that as an older God I could be here in this better spot with the freedom to look back at my younger self and be like “AYO, GOOD LOOKIN’ OUT, KID…I APPRECIATE THAT YOU JUST KEPT GOING.”
(I know today’s story came out of left field and many of you may be looking at your phone screen right now like “TH’FUCK DID I JUST READ?” but today was a cathartic type of day and this was all of the top of the dome so thank you for hearing me out and pardon my slang if you only understood like 37% of what all I wrote above…as my brother Migs would say “yo sorry if I was talking crazy earlier today…I was on one”…okay, love y’all…peace -Abraheezee)