Growing up, I always wanted to work with my hands, so I learned the various trades with my godfather, Brent McCalister, who also taught me the great disciplines of hard work and how to become a solid young man. I loved the skilled trades, with a preference for electrical, so I decided that was what I wanted my career to be. I began calling every electrical contractor I could find, only to realize that no one was hiring or only hiring unionized workers. With a no at every call, I was discouraged, but kept calling and eventually found someone who was willing to give me a chance.
Because of that perseverance, I was now on my way to fulfilling my dream, or so I thought. I spent the following years as an electrician, working hard at dedicating myself to perfecting my craft. Until one day, a co-worker asked me, “Why are you an electrician? You’re skilled, but it just seems like you should be doing something different. If you could do something you truly loved, what would it be?” This statement got me thinking and was the first step in my new journey to finding what I really wanted to do in life.
I always felt construction was my profession, but that there was something else calling me to do more. My true passion was giving back to the community, particularly mentoring and educating young adults in the City of Buffalo. So, I decided to take a leap of faith and left my career as an electrician to forge a path that would allow me to give back to the community. I now work at the Buffalo Employment and Training Center (BETC) helping others and fulfilling what I want to do in life.
I try to live my life following two key philosophies. First, if you show love, kindness, hard-work, and dedication, it will be returned to you. Second, go beyond yourself to not only build yourself up, but to also build others up around you. These philosophies have worked well for me and I would encourage others to follow them as well.
I would also encourage others to pay attention to what you are drawn toward because that can be the clue to help you find fulfillment and your true purpose in life. Also, never be afraid of a new beginning, no matter how it may happen. Change can be difficult but has the amazing ability to make you stronger. Lastly, as a young professional, it is important to give back to the community and hopefully inspire those around you to do the same. That, I believe, is the true reward.
Check out our brief Q&A with De’yron: