I often wonder where I will go from here. Now that I have an entirely new life transplanted to this new area, where I will be in five to ten years. When I was back home in Oregon working on rights law, I figured that I would be stuck in that dead end position for the rest of my days. Eventually being a fat old man sitting behind a desk and yelling at stubbed toes and infringed workers rights. Now I work in the commercial roofing industry bringing the legal know how to construction companies in need. It’s a far cry from where I was, and makes me think of how life can change on you in an instant when you’re not paying attention.
Where we are now, our company is comfortable, my practice is successful, and I get to directly see the results of my work on each ride home. Every mom and pop business, every corner gas station, most of which have had my hands and skills involved at some point in time. It’s a great reminder day in and day out why it is that I do what I do. I can’t claim to tell the future, but if there’s a piece of advice that I could deliver to you the reader, it’s that when opportunities present themselves, they may not always be obvious. Little changes in how you react to situations can have drastic effects on the remainder of your life.
When I was young I had no idea where I would wind up, and if I could go back to the days of yore and school my younger self, there’s not a whole lot I would change. Because I’m happy where I am now, but who knows if I would be if I had started here. If I had gone straight into commercial roofing from law school, I may find it tedious and boring, and have found my way into rights law. Who knows? Life is an unexpected journey that just has you floating downstream a lot of the time, and as much ambition as you may have, there are times that you can’t control the way of the water.
From the point now that I sit and write though, I can say that I’m glad I held on for the entire ride, and I’m pleased with where it transported me. Maybe later in life I may take another turn into a different path, and I may find something else that I’m just as passionate about. One thing I do know for sure though, is that I will keep my eyes open to recognize an opportunity when it presents itself and to at least give it a try. Because even when we fail, we learn, and gaining that knowledge of who you are, and what it is you’re meant to be doing is more powerful than any success. To succeed internally is to succeed in life, and I wholeheartedly believe that, as my parting words to you.
As I left off the last blog post, I was informing you dear reader about the events that took me completely out of my former practice and into offering my services to a completely new industry. I know you may be wondering, how does a lawyer fit into the commercial roofing industry? And admittedly, I was asking myself the same question at first. It wasn’t until I started to learn the ins and outs of code violations, bylaws and all sorts of other legal jargon that goes into the process that I truly started to understand my place in the gran scheme of things.
Roofers would get calls, have contracts drawn up, I would review the contracts, ensure that everything was ok and then they would move on to the next step of their service. It was a simple part of the machine, but one that I took pride in being. Through the commercial roofing service we managed to assist business owners of all types get their business back on the ground, and to get a roof back over their heads. When you hear commercial roofing, it may be easy to think of large corporate building with millions of dollars to spare, but often these were smaller business owned by single people trying to make ends meet with their own business ventures.
Having the capability to assist these types of people, even in the smallest of ways made me feel really good about my part in the entire situation. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, there were hundreds of these businesses across New York and New Jersey that needed assistance. I wound up being there for an ever extended stay, and my practice back home being ignored. I eventually took my bar in those states in order to be able to bring a more credible legal council and eventually closed my former business altogether. I moved up my receptionist so she could keep her job. Fortunately she lived on her own and had no family to worry about uprooting, so it was a pretty seamless transition for her too.
We set to work bringing our service to the commercial roofing businesses here, and found a set of about a half dozen that I truly enjoyed working with. They were some of the bigger businesses in the area and therefore had the most workload on their plates that needed assistance. I buckled down and got to work for these companies, and soon enough contract after contract was coming onto my desk and making its way right back to the roofing companies to get started on their jobs. It was a highly efficient machine that helped to get even more work done across the region and help that many more business owners. It has been a few years since that initial blitz, but I still find myself with more than enough work to keep me busy, and helping one business at a time get the work they need done to provide their services.
My trek into working in the field of commercial roofing was a different one. I began primarily as a lawyer. I had my own small office, and a decent enough practice that I was living a more than modest lifestyle, and admittedly I was pretty happy with it. But throughout my work, I always felt that there was something else I could have been doing. Being a rights lawyer was good, I got to hear a collection of pretty amazing stories from people, but I didn’t feel like I was actually making an impact. Unlike the tropes about lawyers, I truly got into the industry to help people. I wanted to make a significant impact in the lives of those around me, and I figured that being a rights lawyer would be the best way to do it.
I was not prepared for the amount of people who thought their rights were being trampled on. My poor receptionist needs to fields dozens of call a day about people who are suffering the most minor of inconveniences and feel like a pariah. I don’t mean to talk down on anyone who feels hurt or infringed, but this definitely wasn’t the type of rights law that I figured I was getting into. I’ll admit, I pictured myself turning into a high profile lawyer, taking down the man to protect the little guy. But instead, I got a bunch of minor cases with relatively little impact in the results.
It wasn’t until I started looking into other ways to use my expertise that I found ways to use my degree to better purposes. I started helping local construction companies with zoning issues that they needed sorted out, and had the ability to cherry pick the cases that I felt were representative of my own thoughts and opinions. It may sound a little selfish, but I was still out to help the world. It may not have been the most straightforward approach, but it was a good foot in the door. As I got to know the industry better and the requirements that were there, I started to offer my services to various roofing companies to assist them in the back areas of their business.
It was good to help a section of the working community that worked to provide for people. These individuals were out there bringing new ceilings to not only their homes, but their lives. It was a great way of looking at things, and it was when we saw the utter devastation of Hurricane Sandy that I knew where I needed to be. The need for professionals of all sorts came fast and furious across the Northeastern USA and my field was no different. I began working closely with a commercial roofing company in the area, and from there, I find myself here. Still working with them and still bringing them the expertise I have to assist them in their day to day bringing their roofing service to the area.