Grit at Work: Jamez Mellion

Greetings, my name is Jamez Mellion. This past December was a whirlwind. I finally graduated from the College of Business, turned 40 years old, and I am now happily enjoying life!

I am originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, so working in Silicon Valley was always on my mind growing up. However, at some point, I realized that although I enjoyed working with technology, I did not want a career working in technology. I was pretty good in school, but with no career prospect in sight, spending four years in college felt pointless. Instead, I chose to satisfy my desire for excitement. I joined the U.S. Army and became a paratrooper. I had a lot of great experiences, met some awesome people, and gained a better perspective and appreciation for the blessings we have in this nation. Still, after six years, I was content to return to civilian life.

So, there I was, a civilian with no money, no job, and no direction. As told many times before, “When it rains, it pours,” thus, I suppose I should have expected the Great Recession. I lost my house, my marriage dwindled away, and I endured some legal matters. I struggled with mental health issues and found myself meandering through life rather than experiencing it.

I worked various jobs for several years, including radio installer for vehicles, furniture repair, security guard, and even food service. These jobs gave me enough resources to pay the bills, but I certainly had no career. With the onset of the pandemic, I did some soul-searching and realized that working 60+ hours per week in a restaurant was not where I wanted to be. I was still eligible for educational benefits from the Dept. of Veterans Affairs. After taking a few aptitude tests, I realized that I am naturally an analytical thinker, I love solving problems, and I prefer pressure and intensity for whatever reason. This was the spark that I needed! I met with a counselor from the VA, and I knew that logistics and supply chain management would be a more suitable career for me. Now I had a direction.

Apparently, all I needed was that spark and direction because the rest was easy. Find a well-known, accredited school that offers supply chain courses that would fit my schedule.

ECU and the College of Business were the obvious choice.

It had been a while (a decade) since I had attended school full-time, but I promised myself always to complete the designated readings and never miss any assignments (I missed a couple). I would say it’s not so much the toughness of the class but whether you can maintain the motivation to persevere. Force yourself to study when you really prefer to do anything but. If possible, associate with like-minded hard-working classmates who will support and encourage you. I remain in contact with several of them, and we continue to support each other.

Editor’s note: At publication, Jamez accepted a new job at ACR Supply Co., where he works in supply chain and will join other Pirates!