Do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do
There‘s lots of talk of starting new programs to help young Black males get a leg up on their lives. They need skills where they can say they are like the old nursery rhyme that says, “Rub a dub dub, three men in a tub, the butcher, the baker, the candle stick maker”. Which skill do they have? What do I mean? My idea is buy something and start something. Buy some land and start a business on it. This sets up the classic situation of ﬁnding a need and starting a business to ﬁx it. The need can deﬁne what type of business to start.
If you take a ride through your neighborhood, you can see the needs. Lawns need to be cut. Yards need to be raked. Trees and bushes need to be cut. Cars need to be washed, repaired, sold and/or moved out of yards to beautify the neighborhood. All of these things form the basis for the beginning of a business.
However, if you’re a young man feeling like you’re too good to do these physical things, then you’ll likely keep living off your mama, or you may end up stealing something and ﬁnding yourself in jail. In jail, you’ll will get three meals and a cot to sleep on. You won’t have access to a girlfriend, but there may be a few optional activities. My mother taught me that work was a requirement and it didn’t matter what you did. Work has its own reward. Plus at the end of the day, you’ll get paid, and that is better than jail or maybe pushing a shopping cart around.
This column was inspired by two events that I took notice of this week. One was a person coming to my ofﬁ ce talking about starting a program to train young Black males about work. They need skills. They next need to learn to get up and go out to where the needs are and where the work is. The other event was the Pasadena City College graduation shown on tv.
The graduation had young men and women of all races and colors. Some were older people who I guess had gone back to college to gain some skills. They reminded me that I went to community college as an older student to get my Associate of Arts degree. It’s never too late to learn. At the PCC graduation, I saw every demographic group, but I didn’t see enough Black students to satisfy my concern.
Those subjected to a governmental shutdown should have some marketable skill in case they are permanently shutdown. The shopping basket or jail cell is waiting. Neither is a good option. I had a friend who used to say if your mother doesn’t make you work, she is spoiling you and you will end up in a permanent shutdown.
Today I am a lawyer, but I have done everything from cut lawns, cleaning buildings with my uncle’s janitorial business, working in my mother’s store, a place I hated at the time. She had me sweeping and straightening up, folding clothes, moving furniture, delivering the furniture, either by myself or with my father. I worked at a carwash, detailed and polished cars with my father. My siblings and I were taught that we were never too good to do anything. It kept money in our pockets. I learned early that you do what you have to do till you are able to do what you want to do. Doing this will inspire you to gain skills so you can prepare yourself to do what you want to do.
In addition to doing many jobs, I also opened businesses along the way. I had a barber shop, an employment agency, a thrift store, a coffee shop, and a gift shop and a legal training school. Currently, besides the Journal Newspaper and Joe Hopkins Law Ofﬁce, I am starting a new venture, a storage business on my business property. I have added storage units on the property and having them fenced in. They are called VILLAGE STORAGE and are ready to rent to those needing a place to store some of their personal property for a period of time. If interested in renting a space, or for more information, you may call me at the Journal Ofﬁce: 626-798-3972.