C. Orville McLeish
In 1993, I graduated from the St. Jago High School in Spanish Town, St. Catherine, Jamaica, with ZERO passes in the four CXC subjects my parents paid for. I was so sure that I was going to fail one of those subjects that I did not bother to do the practical exam. It was not because I was incapable of being an academic genius, but with a consistently bad report falling in my father’s hand, I was told that I would never amount to anything good; I was worthless; and I believed.
I didn’t grow up in a rich family. My parents could only afford to take us to fifth form in High School, and then we would be on our own. As siblings, we understood this, but I think what affected us was not really having a clear map for where our lives would go after High School. Maybe we didn’t care. So, in 1993, I was out of school, no money, no friends, no qualifications, no dreams and aspirations, and no idea what to do with my life.
My first job was a SANDER working with my brother who was a Carpenter. All day, I would be sanding furniture from morning to evening. I hated it. My Second job was in my PASTOR’S SUPERMARKET working $500 (JMD) a week. I hated it. My third job was as a CEMENT MIXER with my brother who was transitioning from a Carpenter, to a BUILDING CONTRACTOR. After my first experience “slabbing” a roof, I knew that was not for me. I hated it. I was destined for failure and a life of hustling and I knew it. I could not see a way out, nor was I looking for one. I was more than resolved that I was a failure, and my life would never have any significance whatsoever.
I was baptized in my home church (Church of God of Prophecy) where we grew up attending as children in my late teenage years, maybe 19 years old, but I can’t say for sure that I was saved. I was still doing everything I was doing before my baptism, and even added some new sins as I entered my 20’s.
I remember going to HEART Academy because I really had nothing to do. I took a Skilled Course in Carpentry, not sure why. HEART was a very good program that allowed you to go on work experience when you completed the course, which often led to a permanent job. While at school, I noticed that I was helping students a lot. I was excellent at spelling, and the curriculum seemed to be so far beneath me, that I barely paid attention in class, and still ended up being the only one who earned the Certificate. I didn’t bother to collect it. During that time, I kept wondering what I was doing there: I was better than that.
I was sent to a BEDDING Manufacturing Plant to make mattress for my work experience. I hated it, so I underperformed so they wouldn’t keep me on permanently. I always had a problem just doing the same thing repeatedly, every single day. I needed diversity, and variety.
My youngest brother, who had dropped out of High School, was working with a Land Surveyor, who happened to also know one of my Aunts. They put in a good word, that I was smart and had much potential, and I was hired as a Trainee Surveying Draftsman, a trade I knew nothing about. It turned out that they were right about me; I did have potential.
I quickly learned the trade, until I was almost Senior Draftsman with that firm, but the salary was inconsistent, and my boss was constantly under the influence of RUM. After eight years, and a death threat from a drunk boss, I left. I remember praying that God would provide a job that would pay me at least $100,000 (JMD) per month. Within three weeks, I was hired by another soberer Surveyor, and my first drafting assignment was a leg of Highway 2000. During the interview, he did mention that I could make as much as $100,000 (JMD) per month, and I saw that as a confirmation from God, though it took me many years after that before I saw my first check in that amount. I was really good with computers.
In High School, Mama had sent me to do summer computer courses when the operating system Windows was just coming on the market. So, I have always been good with computers, but I didn’t know anything about CAD Drafting. I knew how to draw plans manually, but not via computers. I really sucked at using the computer for drafting, and that was required of me on this new job. This is where I began to learn about myself. I would go home, and spend my nights teaching myself, then go to work the next day and do my job. I had to spend a lot of time correcting mistakes as well.
Somewhere along my drafting journey, I discovered that I could write plays and I loved it. A PASTOR in Ohio had an opportunity to read one of my plays, and he loved it. That was the time when the INTERNET was coming on mainstream. The Pastor gave me a space on his website for my plays, and I continued to write while working as a full time Surveying Draftsman. I was an International Playwright, and I didn’t even know it. Eventually, I had enough plays to launch out on my own.
At some point in 2002, I realized that the money I was making from writing plays was more than what I was making from my nine to five job, so I knew the day would come when I would be out of the nine to five environment. The day did come. Surveying Draughting was also a field that was fast becoming extinct as the new Commissioned Surveyors coming on the mainstream preferred to do their own plans. They never liked paying Draughtsmen anyway. This is where I started to create my own world, without even knowing it. I moved from writing plays, to writing movie scripts, but the movie script market was too hard to crack. I entered the JCDC Literary Writing Competition every year, and was awarded every year: gold, silver, bronze medals; trophies and gifts. I got tired of entering because what I really wanted was exposure.
One day God told me to publish a book from some material I had presented at church. That was a shocker. I knew nothing about publishing, but by this time I knew I had a unique gift of understanding enough that I could teach myself anything. I was also very computer literate, and knew how to find my way around cyberspace, so with intent research, I discovered self-publishing, and taught myself everything there was to learn. I then published my first book. From there I started writing and publishing my own books; until that expanded to writing and publishing books for others; and my world just kept on expanding.
Today, I have written for and provided self-publishing services to Pastors, Bishops, Evangelists, Doctors, Nurses, Entrepreneurs, Businessmen and Countless people with a PHD behind their names; well learnt men and women all over the world. My world should not have been possible for someone like me, but I believe that I am an example for many to know that:
- Success is not always about academic excellence. Education is good, and you should do your best to attain it. It may aid in making your journey so much easier, but more is required to become who we are made to become. Many are educated, but can’t get a job, or they are working for a mediocre salary. Get your education, but dig deeper for more.
- It is not always the qualified that are called.
- It’s not a gift to walk in purpose. It is your birthright.
- Your passion can be turned into wealth.
I truly understand now just how powerful the God who lives inside me really is, and just how filled with potential I am. I also believe I have just scratched the surface of my potential as a human being. I am a Published Author, Ghostwriter, Playwright, Screenwriter, and Self-Publishing Professional and this is just a summarized version of my journey. I have two registered online business. This is my world, and it is an ever-expanding world, because God has no limits, so I put no limits on myself because God lives in me.