Is your job a prison? Mine was…literally

Hello again my friend,

In 2002 I left the Marine Corps a Sergeant. Part of a special operations unit called Force Reconnaissance. 

After returning home I quickly realized I was qualified for nothing. 

I did a few odd jobs. I mowed lawns as part of a landscape crew, changed oil at body shop and even scrubbed crap off the side of 18 wheelers at TransAM Trucking. 

It was a really rough period in my life. I was lost in a desert of my own making, wondering like Moses, waiting for a sign from God. 

Ok, that’s a bit dramatic, but it was the lowest I could remember being. I was penniless, with no clear idea of what I wanted to do with my life.

When You’re Lost in the Desert
it’s Nice to Have Friends

A friend and mentor suggested I join the Sheriffs Department, something I did not want to do. 

But I was out of options. I needed the money and stability that a government job provided. 

In Kansas most Sheriffs deputies don’t do traditional police work. There are a small number of “road cops” who patrol the county outside the cities but most of us worked in the jail. 

Working in the jail taught me two very important things.

1. You get far better compliance when you treat inmates with respect and decency.
2. There is a very thin line between the people in jumpsuits and the people in uniforms.

Of course there were exceptions. Like the 19 year old kid who killed his social worker and chopped her up with a chainsaw in his bedroom.

Or the entrepreneur who owned a string of Chinese restaurants and tried to kill his wife by hiring a hitman who turned out to be an undercover cop. 

But for every one of those guys there are a hundred others who are locked away for petty drug offenses, DUI’s and assault charges.

The Day My Life Changed

I remember one day in particular. One of the inmates had received some bad news in court and was starting to spiral. He wasn’t a bad guy but the reality of his situation had hit him like a ton of bricks and he was coming apart at the seems. 

He was yelling at me and he said, “Man you just don’t get it! You get to go home every night, but I’m stuck in this place!”

I looked at him and as sincerely as I could, responded by saying, “Brother, we’re all doing time. I’m just doing my 20 years in 8-12 hour chunks.”

When you put it like that, his 90 day sentence didn’t seem quite so fatal. 

The inmate calmed down and a few hours later he apologized for getting upset and thanked me for not writing him up.

But the encounter stuck with me. My job was literally a prison sentence. I hated going to work, disliked most of the people I worked with and couldn’t stomach the idea of spending the next two decades inside the concrete walls of the county jail. 

So I left. 

I joined the private security firm Blackwater and spent the next 5 years doing high threat security work in some of the most dangerous places on earth.

You Don’t Have to Spend Your
Life on Work You Find Unfulfilling

I’ve had an interesting life so far. As Frost would say, “I took the road less traveled.” 

I’m not sure that was always the best decision. What I do know is nobody owns me. Nobody owns my time or my attention. People can purchase it for short periods but I decide who, when and on what conditions. 

I wake up every day and work on things that interest me. My job, my life, is a game I love playing. 

Your job doesn’t have to be a prison. But you have to take some chances if you want to break free. 

That doesn’t mean you have to spend 5 years in the Middle East dodging bullets. But it might mean you need to invest a little in your own human capital. 

This week I am offering at 25% discount on all the courses I offer. You can find a list of them here:

This is one of only two times a year that I offer discounts on my courses. But the offer is only good until Friday.

I hope you’ll take the opportunity to begin the process of changing your life. Take it from me, it’s well worth the risk.

Talk soon,


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