Don’t get me wrong, I love university. I have spent most of my young adult life with my head in a book. I’ve had dreams and aspirations towards a professional career in academia. To this end, I have spent 7 years in post-secondary education; first, for my undergraduate in history, and then my masters in divinity. My career trajectory has changed since my days in my undergrad at Nipissing towards the priesthood. You may ask then, why College Pro Painters? What business does a potential priest have running a business? Well the reason why I started my own business is that College Pro can give you the skills universities and colleges can’t.
To be honest, I had no interest in running a business when I was in my undergrad. I had a good work ethic but preferred to work for someone over working for myself. I had a variety of summer jobs from landscaping to tire reclamation and recycling. These jobs paid partially for school but were not something in which I found enjoyment. This meant that every year I looked for new summer employment trying to find something that I liked. This cycle was what introduced me, in my final year of my undergrad, to College Pro Painters. My friend had gone through her first year as a manager in the Midland area and was looking to expand her business moving back to Orillia. I figured even if I didn’t like the work I would at least like the people I worked with. I started as a painter and from there was exposed to the prospect of running a business with College Pro Painters. It intrigued me and shortly thereafter I began the interview process.
I don’t remember much from the interview process but what stands out was the interviewer saying, “this experience will change your life.” I really didn’t think this would be the case. All I wanted was a summer job I would like. Well that interviewer was absolutely right. College Pro was one of the most formative experiences of my adult life.
My university experience did not prepare me for the stress and logistics of operating 8-12 employees while dealing with a large customer base. It did not prepare me for the conflicts that inevitably happen between employees or customers. It did not prepare me to be an effective leader. College Pro Painters was the practical education without which I would not succeed in my future career path. What it taught me was that learning and thinking about managing and leading individuals is much different than actually doing it. As a priest, you are expected to be a leader, councillor, teacher, and friend. College Pro Painters was where I learned those skills.