I hope that this post finds everyone doing well. I figured that since this may be the first material that you’re reading from me, some introductions are in order. My name is Joseph Cook Jr, and I am a licensed home inspector in Louisiana and Mississippi. My hope is that, through this blog and my other offerings, I can help you become more successful in your career, provoke some thought and (maybe) provide some entertainment as well.
My career path (to my current position as a home inspector) was far from direct. I started college directly out of high school, but really had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. After a few semesters, I decided to put college on hold and gain some life experience. I went through various career choices on the road to home inspection, many of which turned out to be perfect primers for my eventual inspection job.
I spent several years in sales, which taught me valuable interpersonal skills such as how to deal with clients as well as how to read peoples’ emotions and non-verbal cues to gain insight into their thoughts and needs. I spent some time working in bars, first as a bartender and eventually as a DJ. This experience taught me how to deal with “problem” clients as well as the fact that to be effective in your business you must be able to take control of difficult situations and lead people to an acceptable outcome.
My next career move put me into the construction industry, with multiple stops in various construction related fields: civil work, electrical work, plumbing, pipe-fitting, welding, millwright work, HVAC, instrumentation, supervision and other facets of the industry. At the same time, I began renovating older houses and selling them for a profit. These two parts of my career allowed me to develop a knowledge and appreciation of the inner workings of residential construction.
I realized that during my many career stops, I had always enjoyed teaching new employees the job skills that I had acquired, helping them become better acquainted with their new positions. It was at this point that I decided to go back to college (part-time) to finish my degree. I concentrated on education, with the intention of eventually becoming a college professor.
I was nearing completion of my first degree when I got a call from one of my friends with an interesting proposition: he was running a professional pest control company, and they were performing a lot of termite inspections for various home inspectors. He realized that this “new” home inspection industry had some growth potential (the state had just put a licensing requirement in place for home inspectors), and asked me to come on-board with the company.
I felt like I needed to take a break from school for a little while, agreed to help him get his new company off the ground, and signed a contract with the intention of working as a home inspector for the next two years.
That was in 2001…
I often marvel at how my life turned out, as if the plan was always for me to turn out to be a home inspector. As I alluded to above, my various career stops all seem to have contributed something to my eventual home inspector persona, and have led me to where I am today. And while some of my career stops were more enjoyable (and more profitable) than others, I am thankful for every one of them.
I will leave you with a quote from award winning author Jean Kwok: “Sometimes our fate is different from the one we imagined for ourselves.”
Keep looking, and eventually you’ll find out where (and what) you’re supposed to be.
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