By: Joseph Wise
Upper Midwest Franchise Owner
Another summer was fast approaching in 2010, and the idea of tracking myself on the retail monotony rail wasn’t as lucrative, or vocationally appealing, as it was in high school. I needed something that offered more in a summer job, something that wouldn’t only challenge me on a daily basis, but would also reward me for putting in the hard hours. I remembered a friend of mine who used to work with me in the retail world saying he now worked for someone who ran a painting company in the Minneapolis suburbs. He got to work outdoors, and not under fluorescent lighting, and he formed a tightly knit bond with his fellow painters. Having never experienced the manual labor field, I thought trying something new for a summer job would be a refreshing change. My mind was full of illusions of days spent in the sun, working on a team that takes a tired house and transforms it into a glimmering example of the difference a good paint job can make to a home.
Going into the late spring, my new franchisee kept in close contact, keeping me updated and enthusiastic about the busy summer ahead. I liked the idea of starting early and getting off just before dinnertime; having my nights free from work was something I could get used to. A schedule that I could plan around was a critical factor in taking the new summer job with College Pro Painters.
The eve of my first day of work was spent sprinting around town looking for a pair of steel toe boots – a necessity for the job site. Returning home with no luck of finding a pair of boots, I was left with the final option of wearing my dad’s way-to-big-for-my-feet work boots for a day until I had another chance to go searching. I packed a lunch, got my work clothes ready in a pile of my bedroom floor, and set my alarm, checking it two or three times to make sure it was absolutely set.
The next morning I pulled into the Sherwin Williams’ parking lot, the dew still wet on the plants underneath the street lamps that had just shut off minutes ago. The “OPEN” sign flicked on in the window and the large white van buried under a canopy of ladders rumbled into the spot adjacent to mine, a big yellow “College Pro Painters” magnet stuck to the door. I switched off the radio to meet the man, and my boots (one was big enough to span the distance between the brake and the accelerator) jammed in the doorway. I punched them out with a fist, and the man in the van laughed, “You must be Joe. Welcome to the best summer job you’ll ever have.”
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