Making My Own Future

Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2011 by Alex R. Cronk-Young

I'm not good at looking for jobs. After numerous seemingly sure-fire positions fell through, I've gotten pretty discouraged. Sitting down to fill out applications seems almost pointless. In fact, according to NPR it probably is because some 70% of jobs out there are never listed, you just have to ask around and get in from people you know. They recommend contacting old employers.

When I was 16 I worked at a grocery store for maybe eight months. It's now closed. After that I worked at Arbys for, like, five years. All the managers out there liked me a lot, and I'm sure I could easily get hired again, but even if I could get a managerial position it probably wouldn't pay more than what I'm already making. Mostly, my entire working career has been for the Grand Rapids Press, jumping between new routes as they open up. I've had a total of six routes, trading them for higher paying ones when I can, but all its left me is a lifetime of minimal connections and very little experience in any field that might prove useful.

So, I've started to wonder about striking out on my own. My father and his brother both owned their own businesses, and I got that same bug. The problem is having the balls to dive-in headfirst when I still have a family to support.

For awhile I've wanted to open an arcade. It might not seem like a great idea nowadays, but in our tiny town the kids don't really have anything to occupy their time. I could have a stage for bands to play, and hold tournaments and such to help keep kids coming. Hopefully it'd become the go-to hang out place in town. I'm just not sure about taking out a big loan to buy a bunch of machines and a building when those upfront costs might take forever to pay back.

Enter my future brother-in-law. His parents bought the old lumber business in town. It's a huge lot with a bunch of different buildings, and they actually own the entire section of street between them all. They plan on opening a styrofoam recycling business, though, that wouldn't take up very much of the space they have. When I half-jokingly suggested him and I start an arcade there, he was on board. Of course, I'm not entirely sure if he'd actually do it should it come time to actually start it up.

Maybe a slow build would be best. Drop some of our tax return on a couple of good machines, and go around town looking for businesses that will let us set them up. After those start bringing in some money, buy a few more machines. Once machines start breaking down, or I have more than I do places to put them, I bring in the future brother-in-law. Offer him a cut of the money for a place to work on and store the extra machines. By the time I have enough to actually start a full-fledged arcade, it'll just make sense for us to open the doors of his building to the public and actually start our own business.

To me it makes sense, but I'm not sure it would go down as easily as it does in my head. So maybe I'll make some repairs on the games I already own (Space Invaders, Hyperball, OXO, Captain America), and find a place around town to put those. NPR mentioned using contacts from old jobs, well I used to deliver papers to almost half the stores in town, so I know a lot of people that might allow me a small part of their store.

That's my idea. I just don't know if I have enough balls to actually do it.

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