Quarter-Century Club

I made a promise to myself years ago that when I turned 25 years old I would figure out my career. Like everyone always said time flies, and here is my decision time. The amount of pressure I put upon myself about this decision is no way being affected by anyone but me, and it is heavy.

As my last two classes before my degree requirements approach the day after my 25th birthday, I will be going towards a professional career. There have been a few opportunities that have blossomed through the networks I have built throughout the years. I also have gained a strong confidence that I can not only learn anything thrown at me, but exceed even my own expectations. I thought the graphic design classes I took really opened my eyes to a possible route to take in my career path. Here is a link to my portfolio I made for one of my classes. http://danielmurra0.wix.com/offhoursproduction#!home/mainPage

Getting Out of my Comfort Zone

I have never been in the professional world. It’s time to buy some suits, shave on a daily basis, get a weekly haircut, and clean the tools out of my truck. Interviews are always nerve racking, but with proper preparation can be quite relieving. Dealing one on one with an interviewer or group of interviewers is something I am actually excited to do. I always feel like I get my story across better when it is a face to face interview, rather than over the phone. The nerves leading up to an interview and the relief afterward remind me of when I was playing sports.

I always have been conflicted through the interview process about one major thing, honesty. I have learned through many of my classes that interviews are a very subjective thing, and you can only control so much of the way the interview goes. With that being said I am a very honest person, and I am not sure if I am too honest for some interviewers. Do they want to hear responses that have been prepped? Do they want to hear what they expect for answers? Here is an example of what I mean: What is your biggest weakness? Do they really want to know what my weakness is or should I be honest and level with the interviewer? Now, I know that obviously that question is multi-layered because it should show how you either have overcome it or are working on improving it. Should I tell them, “My biggest weakness is that I am a perfectionist that does everything perfectly, and have a hard time dealing with perfect perfection not being achieved.” That is obviously not something I would truly say during an interview and is not really a characteristic of who I am. Now obviously I would like everything to go perfect but who is… no one.  An honest answer to what my biggest weakness is from me would be, “My biggest weakness is: lack confidence in answering this question, over-thinking this silly analysis of who I am as an individual, frustration over not ever knowing what you are writing after I respond to this question, and inability to bury my conscious and lie about some false attribute that I plan to fix.”

So, now that I have pulled out my hair about that. It will be fun to get going on some applications and interviews. It is also nice to always know that I have my masonry background that I could always go back to, and a very supportive family and friends.


That’s Just Life…

From 19 to 21 my life changed a bit. I was still working for Northeast Masonry Corporation, and living with my older brother renting an apartment. We would hard and play hard. My relationship with my now wife was growing and she would eventually move in with us. The pair of bachelors living the dream would change up with a little news on the days leading up to my 21st birthday. I was going to be a dad!

No need to panic… I was ready to settle down and start a family. Luckily we had a lot of support so my wife could finish her degree, and I could work to save up for our own place. The in-laws basement was the solution. I would propose to my wife later that year and we got married a couple months after our son Daniel Benjamin Murray Jr. (Ben) was born.

The Layoff

Things seemed to be going just fine. I was working and my wife was finishing her degree to be a teacher, and we were in a great no rent situation. Little did I know that Northeast Masonry would be closing for the winter for the first time in 23 years and laying off the majority of their employees. The economy was the scapegoat and there was no work until the following spring.

I was 22 years old with only a year and a half of college under my belt and out of a job with a wife and son living in my in-laws basement. Luckily there was still no need to panic. I would explore many more career options, and decided to focus on becoming a police officer for Nashua, NH. I felt like I was perfect for the job. The requirements were some college preferred, pass the physical and written test, board interviews, and a few more steps. I started going to the gym more, and studying for the written exam. I was ready for testing day and passed both the written and physical portion. All I had to do next was talk to a board of police officers, and I was honest and thought I nailed it. As I walked out of the interview with one of the interviewing officers he really stressed me finishing school, and he told me that that was the only thing holding me back.

I would find out a couple months later that I did not get picked. They ended up hiring four candidates, all had their Bachelor’s Degrees and three of them had military experience. I was definitely out of my league. Shortly after my board interview I enrolled in Southern New Hampshire University’s continuing education program. I got a new job working at The Home Depot until work at Northeast Masonry Corporation started back up and for a while I worked both jobs and did nights, weekends, and online for school. That layoff I credit with getting be back on track for my degree, and to where I am now almost graduating.

Happy to be Working…

In this economy everyone who is working to should be happy to be working. That is what was being told to me as I would continue to further my education, work full-time, and manage being a husband and father. We would eventually move into our own place in when I was 23. My wife had started teaching at a local school, and we were settling in. Little did we know our landlords were short-selling our condo we were renting because they could not afford it… not sure what happened to all the rent we were paying them but that is a whole other story.

OK Now it is Time to Panic…

Where are we going to live? Move back in with the in-laws? When will we find the time to move? Do we have enough saved up?

So we started looking at houses, and found one just in time and in our budget after a handful of failed bids. With a slightly chaotic move, enhanced with me getting rear-end, and my car totaled coming home from work two days after we closed on our house and days before my current term of school was starting up for two of my last four classes; the panic button was constantly being slammed upon. As the carpal tunnel symptoms set in as a result from my accident and constantly irritating it at work, I ponder is this really just life like everyone keeps reassuring me?

So, now I sit here with a new house, new truck, new blog, and trying to figure out where all these events are taking me. What am I going to do with this piece of paper that I receive in the spring? Have I worked hard enought to be competive? Now that I have a ticket that says I am smarter do I get more interviews? I will continue to stay positive and appreciate all that I have and now I want more. I want a career, but I just am not sure what career that will be yet.

I was always told I had plenty of time to figure out my career…

First jobsite, before.

First jobsite, after.

When I was 16 I got my first summer job working with my father for Northeast Masonry Corporation. We were putting an addition on Saint Joesph’s Hospital in Nashua, NH. My father was the foreman on the job which meant a summer of easy money, or so I thought. My father did not put a trowel and hammer in my hand calling me a mason from day one like many others would have in the trade, but made me earn my $13/hour laboring with a bucket in my hand cleaning up after sloppy construction workers picking up their trash and debris for days.

I would soon graduate to filling up the buckets with mortar, grout, sand, and/or water and carrying it to my group of masons. Luckily my father was the beloved foreman which only set me up for ridicule at the hands of the other men working under him. Being a 16 year old kid on a construction site full of convicts, illegal immigrants, and many other ideal characters makes you grow up pretty quick.

This first experience with masonry was supposed to reinforce doing well in school. My parents thought by exposing me to the grueling trade and being at the bottom of the totem pole it may encourage me to do well in school and make sure I go to college so I would not have to do masonry for a living.

Got through high school… COME ON COLLEGE!!!

After working the summers in high school doing masonry, I decided to go to college. I wanted to go to the most affordable four year university I could find. I had seen my brother graduate from the University of New Hampshire with almost $75,000 in student loans and did not wish to pursue a school of that prestige. Plymouth State University was the one school I applied to and got in to study Political Science. I was off to school as a traditional student living in dorm rooms.

With two random roommates I was in one of the oldest dorms on campus, with a room that had a window on the door. This cell was on the sixth floor with an elevator that rarely worked and male facilities up or down stairs that were constantly being shut down because either feces had been misplaced or other pleasant occurrences. This five-star living was somewhat expected for the first year at school and I managed to pull off an above 3.5/4.0 GPA with ease.

Bound to not continue a career in masonry I went back home to find a new job for the summer. Abercrombie and Fitch hired me for my first job in retail. $5.25 an hour sounded better to me than working in the hot sun laboring masonry all summer.

I was headed back to college ready to start where I left off. I maintained a high GPA, but grew tired of the surroundings and what the school had to offer. I was starting to wonder where all my money was going; especially after my teacher canceled a class that only met once a week, because her two Dalmatians had diarrhea.

When I came home for winter break that year I was $25,000 in debt with student loans. I went back for a week and realized that was not the place I wanted to be. I was 19 and rented an apartment to work full-time doing what I told myself I would never do again… being a masonry laborer, and have been doing it since then.

That is the short version of the story. This may not be the “Miss America” answer to how I got started in masonry but gives a little glimpse into some of the blocks in my foundation for a career. This blog is going to be somewhat like a self-conducted interview feel free to fire questions, career ideas, and more as I try to figure out where my career is going. Share some experiences to help me and viewers to find a path to a career

Check-listing Life

My wife and I infront of our new house. Check.

This is a very exciting time in my life. I will be 25 years old in October, and I am doing things I never would have imagined I would be. Married… check, child…check, first house…check, first truck…check, and now just waiting to put a check mark on my Bachelor’s in Communication from Southern New Hampshire University in December. I hope be putting a check mark on a new career soon.