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Inspiration from Mark Cuban

I figure that I’ll take the time to write here when I get the opportunity, and this morning seems to fit the bill. Abby has an appointment at noon, and we may have poker tonight, but since it’s my “off day,” I guess that I have the time to blog. So why not?

This morning on twitter I noticed a message that was re-tweeted by Mark Cuban. For those that don’t know him, Cuban is the philanthropist, business savvy tech guy that owns the Dallas Mavericks NBA Franchise. For those that do know him, he’s that goofy looking billionaire that is always getting fined by the NBA for being a Dallas Mavericks super fan. Cuban loves life, and he wears that on his sleeve. And with his life, how could you NOT love it. And this morning when he re-tweeted a message that someone had loved his book, I thought to myself “When did Mark Cuban write a book?”

It was as release for Kindle only, which I despise, so I was hesitant to act upon. But I downloaded the Kindle app on my iPhone and I loaded the preview of the book. It’s basically a collaboration of his most popular blogs that talk primarily about business, and how to motivate oneself to be the owner of a corporation, so to speak.

Now I should mention that I have this odd fascination with Mark Cuban. I’ve always enjoyed watching him on the NBA sidelines and I’ve come to grow a great deal of respect for the love and passion that he shows for his team. But I’ve really enjoyed watching his exploits on shows like “Shark Tank” and some of the other interviews that I’ve seen him, and it leads me to believe that he’s a guy that I’d like to hang with. He just strikes me as having that kind of fun loving personality that would be infectious. Perhaps I’m wrong, and perhaps he’s not those things, but from what I can tell he seems to be completely genuine and I respect him for that, and you have to respect his accomplishments. I’ve followed his career with a sort of half-hearted interest and thinking that while it would be totally impractical, and I don’t ever see this happening, but maybe one day I could partner with the guy on some level, for some project. I don’t have anything in the hopper mind you, but Cuban seems like the kind of guy that could take any kind of business and find the successes in it. I was genuinely disappointed when he lost the initial bidding process to acquire the Los Angeles Dodgers this year, but he was pretty vocal about how absurd the price became as the Magic Johnson led group just had boat loads of cash that they apparently needed to burn on their way to the eventual acquisition. His ownership would’ve likely led me to be a Dodger fan, in much the same way that I find myself cheering for the Dallas Mavericks because I’m cheering for him. But living here in Los Angeles, I think that I would’ve been much more involved.

Anyhow, I began reading the prologue or the preview, or whatever Amazon calls it. And as I poured through some of the struggles that Mark endured in his early 20′s. what with bouncing from odd job to demeaning job, to grossly underpaid job based on his qualifications, I found a mirror. It was as if I was looking at his story and mine in the same light. I have to believe that so many other people have felt that they are in jobs that are well beneath their potential, and I definitely feel enormously underutilized as a Consultation with Geek Squad. It’s not what I was meant to do. Cuban explains a couple of jobs that he had where he was a software salesman for a computer company (I sold advertising for the company that sold the spots on shopping carts), and another where he sold franchising for Television repair companies (I sold franchising for Real Estate, which that Coldwell Banker gig may have been the best job that I’ve ever held) and the thing that kept coming up was how those positions that Mark held, they were nothing but learning experiences.

Early in the process he’d set it up where he said that you should get paid to learn. Not that you should go to college and then go on and get your MBA or further your education by dropping more money into institutions that will simply cash your checks to issue you a piece of paper that eventually says “You did it! You passed! Congrats on owing us all this money now!” Because that’s what I’ve always felt about college, and especially about continued education through universities. It’s an institution that exists to simply bleed you of your earnings, but give you an experience that should prepare you for the real world. The trick is, that when you get into the real world, you’re still very much on your own, struggling to make enough money to pay your bills and keep you fed. Your degree doesn’t make jobs happen. You do. You control what happens in the real world. Your degree does not automatically open doors. You have to go out and find those doors. Add in a situation like mine where there were kids and a wife to support, and you stop focusing on spending money for the purposes of getting more knowledge, and you have to focus on showing up every day and punching a clock so that there will be something in the refrigerator when you get home, and a home to come back to begin with. Those are priorities.

Basically it was a mind tweak. The emphasis was, get an education. Learn. And through all these jobs that Cuban held, he was getting his education and learning something through the experiences. I have to take a look at the information that I got through my employers and what I learned as a result of the years of experience from each one of those gigs. The reality is, I’m a much more seasoned individual in life based on all of the skills that I’ve acquired. But what I haven’t had the capability of doing is making the transition of taking those acquired skills, and applying them into a setting that allows for me to finally realize what it is that I want to do when I grow up. I need an opportunity. And I’m not sure that I know how to make that opportunity happen yet, but I realize that it’s up to me to make that opportunity happen. I can’t wait for it. I have to be the one that creates it.

One of the things that I wrote in my blog yesterday was that if in 6 months time I haven’t advanced within Best Buy that I needed to leave it. The cold hard truth is that I’m bored of the gig. I’m tired of showing up everyday and doing remedial tasks only to be so poorly rewarded financially for them. I’ve made so much more money doing other jobs with greater areas of responsibility and greater opportunities that it’s difficult to get motivated to work within the reality of what I’m currently doing and continue to be motivated to do it. What motivates me is that I need the check right now because we’re reliant on the income. That’s why I give the job my all every time I clock in. That’s why my goal is to simply be the greatest employee that Best Buy has ever seen, with every customer that I come into contact with, I want them to say, “That guy, he’s the best at his job that there ever was.” That’s my goal with every person. I don’t shortchange anyone. I give them a service that I would hope that I would get in return. And I think that shows in my work.

I just don’t know if that gets recognized by my superiors or not. They certainly don’t say anything if that’s the case. And that’s a fault on them I suppose. But it leaves me with the feeling that I am unrecognized for excellence, and that I am underutilized within the hours that I am given to make a real impact on the company. Not once was I recognized for being number one in the store for 11 straight months on sales production. And only once was I given an award for the customer service index survey that clients take at the end, despite receiving literally dozens of positive responses from happy shoppers. And I hope that someone out there reads this and thinks, “maybe this guy can help me, because I’d sure pay him a handsome some to be that dedicated for me.” A long shot, but hey, you have to start somewhere.

In the end of that brief Cuban blog, I came to the realization that I need to continue my search for another job, right now. I can’t wait six months for an opportunity to present itself from Best Buy. I’ve been there 18 months already, and all I’ve got is another $2.24 an hour in wages to show for it, a tiny raise from when I first began in June of 2011. That’s just not enough. And unless they change something (and I’m not holding my breath at this point), it’s up to me to find a spot to move along to. The balance needs to be, I can’t quit cold-turkey because my family and I are still reliant upon the income. So I’m faced with the need to find jobs while still employed there and having very little time to do it. Maybe this will become my hobby for the short term.

That’s it for now. Just a little something that I needed to get off my chest and formulate a thought or two. But it was an interesting read that sparked an interesting thought process, and hopefully began the process of allowing me to discover my next adventure, and an opportunity to learn something more.

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