Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Hungrier than Ever

Its been a while since I last posted but between working at Lucky and always having to work closing shifts I never really felt like it. 2012 has been kind of a mixed year for me. When it started I claimed this was Our Year for me and my girl. And with that I really meant it because I was motivated to leave Lucky, the place I had been working for since 2007. Working in the grocery business had gotten old to me and getting into journalism wasnt going to get me money immediately. So I chose my next best option and that was to drive a bus. It was the most realistic goal for me right now. It was something I've always wanted to do until I ran into journalism and sports in high school. Neither one of those panned out for me though because I had my daughter in my senior year of high school so when I graduated I had to look for a steady paying job.

I got my first opportunity at Wheels Bus(MV Transportation) in Livermore, Ca in January. Even though it was about an hour away I intended on using this opportunity for experience and a stepping stone to get me to the bigger companies like AC Transit and SF Muni. I was hired with 7 other people in the class. One lady quit on the first day so I was like cool one less person to compete against for seniority. Basically your seniority depends on when you graduate the training and I already thought I wasnt going to come out number one because one of my class mates had driven for SF Muni for 12 years prior. So my goal was to come out number 2 since no one else in class had driven a bus before just like me. Week number 1 was all about policies and safety so we all were on the same level no matter what.

The games began in week 2 when BTW(Behind The Wheel) Training started. I had a step above everyone though because I had started learning routes on my own time. After class I'd go to the Dublin Bart to ride the buses while everyone else went home. So when BTW started I knew routes without having to see the directions. I just needed to learn to not hit curbs and how to pull into bus stops. I learned this all in 4 days as opposed to the 5 days we were given and to my surprise I finished first even ahead of the Muni veteran. If you ask me I think she was a little upset about that but it was all about business to me even tho she had become a mentor for me in that short time.
Everything was going great I was so happy about my journey and where my career was about to go. Until about an hour after I completed the training. I walked in on my manager talking on the phone to a corporate rep. When I walked in I was smiling but he wasnt. He looked really upset and dissapointed. He says to the lady on the phone "Speaking of him he just walked in." When he said that my heart dropped because I was hoping he was referring to my trainer who accompanied me into the office. And thats when he handed me the phone. The lady asked me several questions about my criminal record. I gave her every detail I could and told her about the help I'd gotten for the mistakes. She wasnt buying it though. So after our conversation I was released from the company until I could get an expungement.
So for months I was depressed and working hard to find a job and at the same time waiting for my court date for the expungement. In a 3 months span from February to May I interviewed with around 6 employers. Only one would pass me through before my expungement and that was Sacramento Regional Transit. The others weren't trying to touch my record. This had me feeling some kind of way about that. Like man America dont give nobody second chances if you cant afford a lawyer. I thought nobody would hire me at this point. And the only reason Sacramento Regional Transit had passed me through the interview out of the others who passed on me was because they never asked me about my record. But I didnt really want to work there not to sound ungrateful. They didnt make much money for me to commute from Vallejo everyday.
Just about every day and night I prayed for better days. Even started going back to church. I needed a blessing and I felt this was the only way I'd get it. Sure enough I got my expungement and the calls started raining in. Two days after Memorial Day I got 4 calls in the same day. MV Transportation told me I was qualified to come back, Napa Vine wanted to interview me, Sac RT scheduled me a drug test and the best call came from AC Transit.
When AC Transit called me I had just gotten off the phone with MV. So after they scheduled me an interview for the next day, for that moment nothing else mattered to me. This was the company I'd set my goal to get to. This was not just a job as was MV and the other places I was contacted by but this was a career opportunity for me. AC Transit is the 3rd largest bus company in California and is one of the best in all of the nation. I was ready to tell those other places thanks but no thanks but I had to calm down a little bit. I had faith the job was mine but at the same time I had to keep all options open until it was written in stone that I was hired. I went all out for this interview. Bought a new shirt, showed up really early and I did my best to make myself stand out from anyone else they'd interviewed. The interview went great and right now I'm still in the hiring process they are just waiting for my fingerprints to come back from the livescan. S in the mean time I'm still going through with Sac RT, Soltrans in Vallejo(MV Transit) and Napa Vine. I even got another interview set up with AirBart in Oakland. The run shuttles from the Coliseum Bart and the airport parking lots to the Oakland Airport.
I have my heart set on being in the June 15 class that AC is starting and they've expressed how they really want me in there also. I dont see anything stopping me from being there so me doing all these other interviews is just me occupying my time since I'm currently unemployed. It just feels great to think I could be making $25 an hour by the time I'm 27 years old compared to just $15 if I were to have been still employed at Lucky at age 27. After I turned 22 I was kind of ashamed to have still been working at Lucky because the wages I was making and how hard I had to work for it. But I can honestly say I take pride in this. This is going to open up so many other things for me and my family in our future togther. I'm just so blessed and cant wait to see whats in store for me. Or us I should say. I feel like we've struggled so much since my daughter was born that was deserve this change. Almost every year since my daughter was born we've been climbing a hill and it feels good that we are finally reaching the top of it. My dad and my best friend have been my biggest supporters through it all I must say. We were just sitting on the couch the other day and he says to me "Son are you going to be ok making more money than me?" Before he said that I didnt realize I was going to be. But to me its not so much the money that matters. From the time I was a baby to the time I was 9 I used to ride AC Transit living in Oakland and Richmond. So it just brings back so many child hood memories when I step on an AC bus even though they dont have any of the same buses I used to ride in the 90's except the one in the picture below. They only have 5 left from the 30 they had running in '97 so I hope I get to drive one before they retire those 5. And they also changed some of the route numbers up since the time I used to ride like the old 82L we used to always ride is now the 1R and the old 72L is now the 72R. A little different from my days but still seems the same...sort of.
But with all this being said I'm going to cherish this opportunity and I'm going to be more focused than ever on making the best of it. Im hungry for this opportunity and I'm motivated. What more can I say? Twenty-Three and employed with AC Transit, I'm truely blessed

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