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From low wage jobs to a Junior DevOps Engineer at a Fortunate 100 company within a few years: My journey

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OutofPoverty

Bronze Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Jul 4, 2018
26
131
39
Janitor (June 4, 2018 - October 2, 2018)

Door to door salesman (October 3, 2018 - October 27, 2018)


Unemployed (October 27, 2018 - January 15, 2019)

  • I was unemployed trying to look for a job after I quit my door-to-door sales job.
  • It was ok the first week because I finally had freedom (temporarily) but I started to feel useless and needed to be productive.
  • I spent weeks going to stores with a “wanted for hire” sign, applied for jobs online then followed up with no success
  • I learned the importance of having a network of people and having skills because it would have made getting a job much easier.
  • 11/9/18 - I went to the job resource center that my clinic offered and one of the employment specialist sent me an email about the Year Up program.
  • 1/9/19 – I went to a Mobile Workforce Center at 1:20 PM where I landed a warehouse job in Jessup Maryland. At that time, I knew something was wrong (intuition feeling) because it felt too easy to get the job (similar to my door-to-door sales job).
  • 1/15/19 – I found out that the job was $10.50 an hour. I was not told on 1/9/20 or 1/10/20. I couldn’t complain because I didn’t have any skills and only $223 in my bank account.

Production Worker (January 16, 2019 – August 8, 2019)
  • I worked first shift at a warehouse as a production worker for $10.50 an hour six days a week. Everyone was foreign (People from Spain, France, El Salvodor, Mexico, and more) and I was among the few Americans (four to five) that worked there. Most people spoke Spanish and I realized that the first few weeks. I decided to use Duolingo to try to
  • This job was located in Jessup MD and I lived in Baltimore MD. I had to catch a van so I could get to work on time. This required me to get up at 3:00 AM every day to catch the 4:30 AM bus downtown. Once my shift was done, the ride home usually will have me home around 5:45 pm to 6:00 pm where I only had a few hours of down time before sleeping. If I went to sleep late then I would miss the bus and be late for work.
In the beginning, I liked it because it was different. I was active moving boxes, packing produce, being active, and was surrounded by people I’m usually not and I took time to learn more about them.
  • Months later (Mid-March), I got bored because it was the same shit different day for low pay (waking up early, long hours, yelled at, treated like a robot, etc). I dreaded the mornings getting up because of how I was treated. As the months went on, I counted down the days until I could quit that job because I did not want to work there for a long time.
  • It was a toxic work environment because people (especially if you were not of Hispanic/Latin descent) would treat you like you were not human. They expected us to not make any mistakes while giving us a time limit for certain produce to be package with little help when it was too much to handle. I’m surprised that I was able to work there for seven months. I was able to save up $4,250.00 in seven months.


The FTE Moment

  • FTE: I remember in February 2019 when I was working at my warehouse, one of the line leaders wanted me to get some broccoli for my line so I obliged and did it. Minutes later, she complained that I was “taking too long” and started to cuss me out in Spanish while she snatched the container out of my hand. Someone nearby started to cuss me out in Spanish and I was annoyed. In the moment, I said to myself “I can’t stay here forever. I need to start getting my life in order. I need an education.” I pondered on my shitty choices and decided I can’t let this happen again because I am not happy so I took action to plan my exit.
  • 2/27/20: The day that had a major impact: I decided to skip work without telling my manager so I can get my paperwork for community college (Fafsa, transcripts, etc) I met with a guidance counsellor and he was telling me stories about his past and celebrities he met when he was growing up. Long story short, he was asking me about why I wanted to major in engineering and I told him I was curious about it. He told me about the Year Up program and said I could met some engineers and decide
  • 3/8/19 – I got accepted into the program for the Cyber Security track.
  • Orange gumball – I received a warning from my manager in early March that if I miss too many days that I would get fired. I made dumb choices by skipping work Friday and Sunday without telling my manager.
  • My first paycheck was $197.65. I discovered that if you miss two days in a row (even if you have a doctor’s note) then you would not get paid. For example, if you work Friday to Sunday but take off Monday and Tuesday. You’ll only get paid for Wednesday and Thursday.
  • RANT - My brother tried to kill me and my family did nothing about it. | The Fastlane Entrepreneur Forum (thefastlaneforum.com)

Year Up Student (August 16, 2019 – January 17, 2020)

  • August 16, 2020 was my first day of starting Year Up. It was like anything you start new in life (meeting new people, new classes, don’t know what to expect). Think of Year Up as community college + CDIR classes (this is where the soft skills are taught such as emotional intelligence, making better choices, LinkedIn, etc ). If you did a great job during those first six months then you earned an internship. Things that determined your eligibility for an internship were your mannerisms, showing up early/on time, ability to communicate with others effectively, passing your classes, and demonstrating leadership. Think of it as a six month interview.
  • More information about the program can be found here: Students | Year Up & About | Year Up, YearUp Flashcards - Questions and Answers | Quizlet
  • The purpose of the program is to provide young adults an opportunity to help them go from minimum wage to a living wage in one year by giving them the skills employers need.
  • I did the Cyber Security track which I learned about networking, internet of things, Wireshark, and more.
  • The importance of the first six months was to prepare us for the corporate world by making sure we know how to dress professionally, networking with people, and the importance of soft & hard skills.
  • 12/9/2019 – 1/17/20: This was the boot camp phase where I learned the fundamentals of programming, Excel, business writing, and customer service.


Intern (January 21, 2020 – August 14, 2020)

  • I interned at a Fortunate 100 company on the DevOps Team.
  • A few weeks into my internship, I realized that I spent the first six months learning things that were not related to my internship. I felt unprepared due to my lack of technical skills needed on my internship (Year Up did not tell us what kind of internship we were getting – i.e what our roles were.) Thankfully, my manager was understanding and told me that I could use this opportunity to learn and grow at the company. I had to learn JavaScript, SDLC, Git, GitHub, ADO, Visual Studio Code, and Agile. I spend hours studying this, even after work hours, to gain the skills needed to become successful on the team. I wanted to make a good first impression because from a skill level/technical perspective, I was the least skilled on the team.

  • 3/16/20 was the day I started working from home when the pandemic started. At first, it was a challenge because i felt lonely and isolated but it got better as time went on.
  • 5/12/20 & 5/13/20 were the two days my manager talked about the process of getting me to become a full-time employee. He started it and I had to remind him twice a week to start and ask for updates.
  • On 8/7/20, I was offered a $66,300 base salary (gross) with a bonus that would take it to $70,000 (this is not guaranteed). The benefits they offered were great such as health, dental, and vision insurance. A 401K with 3% company match, tuition reimbursement, legal benefits, and more. For someone that does not have a college degree, I was happy because this is my highest salary I’ve earned and to see my hard work pay off was worth it.
  • 8/17/20 was my official start date as a full-time employee. Gold gumball
  • Why did I get hired: My manager said it was my willingness to learn, positive attitude, growth mindset, humility, providing assistance when called upon, and young emerging talent. I would say it was my soft skills that earned me the job and my great relationship with him. He told me that three weeks into my internship, I took the stress load of the team
  • Out of 24 interns (Baltimore, Philadelphia, Delaware, Chicago, and DC) I was the only one that got hired as an employee. Six or seven were still contractors based on their emails.



Lessons & Observations



Lesson #1 – Never celebrate until you cross the finish line

  • There was a girl in my cohort who interned at an insurance company. When we had to practice for our online graduation, I was placed in the same lobby as her (pre-recorded graduation). She was asking certain people in the zoom meeting,” did you get hired/are you getting converted?” They told her we don’t know and she replied “aww it’s ok. C0VlD hit us hard. We’ll get them next time (she was referencing that famous COD line when you fail a mission). The tone was bratty and sarcastic which I found inconsiderate and unnecessary because a lot of people did not get hired at their internships because of C0VlD-19.
  • It turned out she was not converted to full-time employment at her internship and was working back at her Aldi’s job (five months since July 2020) until now. I saw that she updated her LinkedIn profile and she now works as customer coordinator at LabCorp.
Lesson #2 – The importance of money management

  • At my warehouse job, there was a co-worker who had $400,000 from lead poison and blew it all within a year. He spent the money on strippers\strip clubs, casinos (gambling), clothes and “friends.” His parents were giving him small amounts per month before they decided to give it to him. Once the money was gone, he had no choice but to get a job and his “friends” decided to abandon him went they couldn’t use him anymore.
Lesson #3 - Having a strong meaning & purpose and goals
  • My M&P were to escape/break the low income family cycle because I hated being poor and to provide my niece a better life than I did. I noticed that whenever I had thoughts of giving up when it got tough, I was able to get back on track and remind myself why I am doing this.
  • Three days before my internship, I wrote down the goal "To become a full time employee at this company after my internship/become an employee at this company." I used this as my behavior compass to guide me in the right direction to create the outcome I wanted to achieved.
  • FLF Goal Post.jpg


Observation #1– People quitting the company

  • I noticed that three people from my team decided to resign from the company and one person decided to join a different department within the company.
  • The thing they all had in common (reasons for leaving) were being overworked and underpaid (salaries were in the low $90,000 to $100,00 for their positions but it required more out of them). I heard they would sometimes work 50 - 60 hours a week and the company had policies about taking vacations when there was a major deployment going on (you weren't allowed to take off).
  • I had this weird guilt that ever since I was hired, I am the reason for them wanting to leave company.

Observation #2 - Misery
  • At my warehouse job, I was treated like shit from some co-workers (line leaders, the line manager,
  • The main thing I noticed was that they all were tired of working at that job but some had no choice and that warehouse was their only option. This was based on my conversations I had and overheard in the production and lunch room. I had one line leader told me that "she hated her life" and I asked her why? She said that she hated how the managers wanted ridiculous amounts of produce (Kaboo was one of the orders) and had us





What’s next for me and final thoughts

  • Right now, I am working on getting more training in Microsoft Azure, C#, Visual Studio, and more. The goal that my manager has for me to be the monthly engineer for our deployments. I plan on having the company pay for my education and use those skills to freelance as a side hustle to build a portfolio.
  • It's been a crazy journey to get to where I am today and I am beyond grateful. This forum and MJ's books gave me hope that I can change my future despite a shitty upbringing and providing the tools (the mindset part especially) to become successful.

Forum post that helped me

GOLD! - [RANT]: Raise the minimum wage! This is so unfair!

GOLD! - Its been one year of FLF for me. This forum will change your life and Ill prove it.

GOLD! - Ever wonder how people end up in dead end jobs at 40?

GOLD! - Sorry, But the Forum Can't Make Your Life Decisions For You!!

1/5/10 Plan - Who has written, or updated it in 2020?

  • The gold and notable post helped me gain a new perspective on life.
 
Last edited:

PraiseDominic

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Oct 28, 2020
6
8
14
Janitor (June 4, 2018 - October 2, 2018)

Door to door salesman (October 3, 2018 - October 27, 2018)


Unemployed (October 27, 2018 - January 15, 2019)

  • I was unemployed trying to look for a job after I quit my door-to-door sales job.
  • It was ok the first week because I finally had freedom (temporarily) but I started to feel useless and needed to be productive.
  • I spent weeks going to stores with a “wanted for hire” sign, applied for jobs online then followed up with no success
  • I learned the importance of having a network of people and having skills because it would have made getting a job much easier.
  • 11/9/18 - I went to the job resource center that my clinic offered and one of the employment specialist sent me an email about the Year Up program.
  • 1/9/19 – I went to a Mobile Workforce Center at 1:20 PM where I landed a warehouse job in Jessup Maryland. At that time, I knew something was wrong (intuition feeling) because it felt too easy to get the job (similar to my door-to-door sales job).
  • 1/15/19 – I found out that the job was $10.50 an hour. I was not told on 1/9/20 or 1/10/20. I couldn’t complain because I didn’t have any skills and only $223 in my bank account.

Production Worker (January 16, 2019 – August 8, 2019)
  • I worked at a warehouse as a production worker for $10.50 an hour six days a week. Everyone was foreign (People from Spain, France, El Salvodor, Mexico, and more)
  • This job was located in Jessup MD and I lived in Baltimore MD. I had to catch a van so I could get to work on time. This required me to get up at 3:00 AM every day to catch the 4:30 AM bus downtown. Once my shift was done, the ride home usually will have me home around 5:45 pm to 6:00 pm where I only had a few hours of down time before sleeping. If I went to sleep late then I would miss the bus and be late for work.
In the beginning, I liked it because it was different. I was active moving boxes, packing produce, being active, and was surrounded by people I’m usually not and I took time to learn more about them.
  • Months later (Mid-March), I got bored because it was the same shit different day for low pay (waking up early, long hours, yelled at, treated like a robot, etc). I dreaded the mornings getting up because of how I was treated. As the months went on, I counted down the days until I could quit that job because I did not want to work there for a long time.
  • It was a toxic work environment because people (especially if you were not of Hispanic/Latin descent) would treat you like you were not human. They expected us to not make any mistakes while giving us a time limit for certain produce to be package with little help when it was too much to handle. I’m surprised that I was able to worth there for seven months. I was able to save up $4,250.00 in seven months.


The FTE Moment

  • I remember in February 2019 when I was working at my warehouse, one of the line leaders wanted me to get some broccoli for my line so I obliged and did it. Minutes later, she complained that I was “taking too long” and started to cuss me out in Spanish while she snatched the container out of my hand. Someone nearby started to cuss me out in Spanish and I was annoyed. In the moment, I said to myself “I can’t stay here forever. I need to start getting my life in order. I need an education.” I pondered on my shitty choices and decided I can’t let this happen again because I am not happy so I took action to plan my exit.
  • 2/27/20: The day that had a major impact: I decided to skip work without telling my manager so I can get my paperwork for community college (Fafsa, transcripts, etc) I met with a guidance counsellor and he was telling me stories about his past and celebrities he met when he was growing up. Long story short, he was asking me about why I wanted to major in engineering and I told him I was curious about it. He told me about the Year Up program and said I could met some engineers and decide
  • 3/8/19 – I got accepted into the program for the Cyber Security track.
  • Orange gumball – I received a warning from my manager in early March that if I miss too many days that I would get fired. I made dumb choices by skipping work Friday and Sunday without telling my manager.
  • My first paycheck was $197.65. I discovered that if you miss two days in a row (even if you have a doctor’s note) then you would not get paid. For example, if you work Friday to Sunday but take off Monday and Tuesday. You’ll only get paid for Wednesday and Thursday.
  • RANT - My brother tried to kill me and my family did nothing about it. | The Fastlane Entrepreneur Forum (thefastlaneforum.com)

Year Up Student (August 16, 2019 – January 17, 2020)

  • August 16, 2020 was my first day of starting Year Up. It was like anything you start new in life (meeting new people, new classes, don’t know what to expect). Think of Year Up as community college + CDIR classes (this is where the soft skills are taught such as emotional intelligence,
  • More information about the program can be found here: Students | Year Up & About | Year Up, YearUp Flashcards - Questions and Answers | Quizlet
  • The purpose of the program is to provide young adults an opportunity to help them go from minimum wage to a living wage in one year by giving them the skills employers need.
  • I did the Cyber Security track which I learned about networking, internet of things,
  • The importance of the first six months was to prepare us for the corporate world by making sure we know how to dress professionally, networking with people, and the importance of soft & hard skills.
  • 12/9/2019 – 1/17/20: This was the boot camp phase where I learned the fundamentals of programming, Excel, business writing, and customer service.


Intern (January 21, 2020 – August 14, 2020)

  • I interned at a Fortunate 100 company on the DevOps Team.
  • A few weeks into my internship, I realized that I spent the first six months learning things that were not related to my internship. I felt unprepared due to my lack of technical skills needed on my internship (Year Up did not tell us what kind of internship we were getting – i.e what our roles were.) Thankfully, my manager was understanding and told me that I could use this opportunity to learn and grow at the company. I had to learn JavaScript, SDLC, Git, GitHub, ADO, Visual Studio Code, and Agile. I spend hours studying this, even after work hours, to gain the skills needed to become successful on the team. I wanted to make a good first impression because from a skill level/technical perspective, I was the least skilled on the team.

  • 3/16/20 was the day I started working from home when the pandemic started. At first, it was a challenge because i felt lonely and isolated but it got better as time went on.
  • 5/12/20 & 5/13/20 were the two days my manager talked about the process of getting me to become a full-time employee. He started it and I had to remind him twice a week to start and ask for updates.
  • On 8/7/20, I was offered a $66,300 base salary (gross) with a bonus that would take it to $70,000 (this is not guaranteed). The benefits they offered were great such as health, dental, and vision insurance. A 401K with 3% company match, tuition reimbursement, legal benefits, and more. For someone that does not have a college degree, I was happy because this is my highest salary I’ve earned and to see my hard work pay off was worth it.
  • 8/17/20 was my official start date as a full-time employee. Gold gumball
  • Why did I get hired: My manager said it was my willingness to learn, positive attitude, growth mindset, humility, providing assistance when called upon, and young emerging talent. I would say it was my soft skills that earned me the job and my great relationship with him. He told me that three weeks into my internship, I took the stress load of the team
  • Out of 24 interns (Baltimore, Philadelphia, Delaware, Chicago, and DC) I was the only one that got hired as an employee. Six or seven were still contractors based on their emails.



Lessons & Observations



Lesson #1 – Never celebrate until you cross the finish line

  • There was a girl in my cohort who interned at an insurance company. When we had to practice for our online graduation, I was placed in the same lobby as her (pre-recorded graduation). She was asking certain people in the zoom meeting,” did you get hired/are you getting converted?” They told her we don’t know and she replied “aww it’s ok. C0VlD hit us hard. We’ll get them next time (she was referencing that famous COD line when you fail a mission). The tone was bratty and sarcastic which I found inconsiderate and unnecessary because a lot of people did not get hired at their internships because of C0VlD-19.
  • It turned out she was not converted to full-time employment at her internship and was working back at her Aldi’s job (five months since July 2020) until now. I saw that she updated her LinkedIn profile and she now works as customer coordinator at LabCorp.
Lesson #2 – The importance of money management

  • At my warehouse job, there was a co-worker who had $400,000 from lead poison and blew it all within a year. He spent the money on strippers\strip clubs, casinos (gambling), clothes and “friends.” His parents were giving him small amounts per month before they decided to give it to him. Once the money was gone, he had no choice but to get a job and his “friends” decided to abandon him went they couldn’t use him anymore.
Lesson #3 - Having a strong meaning & purpose and goals
  • My M&P were to escape/break the low income family cycle because I hated being poor and to provide my niece a better life than I did. I noticed that whenever I had thoughts of giving up when it got tough, I was able to get back on track and remind myself why I am doing this.
  • Three days before my internship, I wrote down the goal "To become a full time employee at this company after my internship/become an employee at this company." I used this as my behavior compass to guide me in the right direction to create the outcome I wanted to achieved.


Observation #1– People quitting the company

  • I noticed that three people from my team decided to resign from the company and one person decided to join a different department within the company.
  • The thing they all had in common (reasons for leaving) were being overworked and underpaid (salaries were in the low $90,000 to $100,00 for their positions but it required more out of them). I heard they would sometimes work 50 - 55 hours a week and the company had policies about taking vacations when there was a major deployment going on. I'm going to type the rest later because it is still fuzzy in my mind right now.
  • I had this weird guilt that ever since I was hired, I am the reason for them wanting to leave company.





What’s next for me and final thoughts

  • Right now, I am working on getting more training in Microsoft Azure, C#, Visual Studio, and more. The goal that my manager has for me to be the monthly engineer for our deployments.
  • It's been a crazy journey to get to where I am today and I am beyond grateful. This forum and MJ's books gave me hope that I can change my future despite a shitty upbringing and providing the tools (the mindset part especially) to become successful.

Forum post that helped me

GOLD! - [RANT]: Raise the minimum wage! This is so unfair!

GOLD! - Its been one year of FLF for me. This forum will change your life and Ill prove it.

GOLD! - Ever wonder how people end up in dead end jobs at 40?

GOLD! - Sorry, But the Forum Can't Make Your Life Decisions For You!!

1/5/10 Plan - Who has written, or updated it in 2020?
  • The gold and notable post helped me gain a new perspective on life.
Much Thanks for sharing this,. Sincerely
 

Captain Hoodie

New Contributor
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Aug 17, 2017
17
11
18
Canada
Thanks for this in-depth story. I can definitely see parallels to the beginning of your story and where I'm at now.

Even if it isn't fastlane sometime you just have to put one foot in front of the other and take a step to get some momentum going in any direction.

I very much enjoyed reading this and I hope to have a similar story to tell in the near future.

Look forward to hearing more.
 

MJ DeMarco

Administrator
Staff member
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Jul 23, 2007
32,479
123,625
3,751
Fountain Hills, AZ
Great story on how to better yourself. Awesome grit and determination that will take you far into a Fastlane.

Congrats.
 

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