Breaking The Mold

By Jon Elordi

I’m a Midwestern guy with an immigrant father and it shows.

My father came to the United States in the 70’s not knowing a word of English. He married my mother, became a pilot, and started a family in Michigan. He’s had to work hard for everything he’s achieved. He overwhelmingly believes that with hard work and perseverance he could accomplish anything. And by hook or by crook he forced that belief into me.

This is best exemplified by my first year working for General Motors. It was Christmas time and my department was in the process of being built out. We were understaffed. My director asked for volunteers to work 24-hour shifts over the Christmas and New Years Holidays. I jumped at the opportunity. I was the first to volunteer and for the a while the only one. I wanted to prove that I was the one that could be counted on to get the work done. I worked night shifts that Christmas it was challenging. But in the end it had to be done, and I was the guy that got it done.

Michigan has a proud blue collar work ethic. The auto industry imprinted a work ethic throughout the state. Even though the automotive industry has suffered, the gritty blue collar mentality is still around. I grew up in a small town outside of Detroit. I graduated from high school in 2008. I stayed in Michigan, and earned my undergraduate degree at Hillsdale College graduating in 2012. I wrapped up my formal education at Central Michigan University where I graduated with a Master’s in Economics in 2014.

During academic career I had a multitude of part time jobs. During the summers of my undergraduate career, I worked at pizzeria’s, McDonald’s, a line cook working the deep fryer, in landscaping, and as a janitor. All that work helped me to graduate with minimal student debt. When I went to get my Master’s degree, I continued the trend. I was a furniture mover, a janitor again, a graduate assistant, and an apartment supervisor. Again though, I was able to graduate with little debt. I am not afraid to work. And I’m not afraid to do the dirty work(janitor pun).

After grad school I then proceeded to work for General Motors in downtown Detroit. I’m a Michigan man through and through. I do the work, even when others won’t. From my use of the word “pop” to my American made Buick, few people are more Michigan than I.

All of that is to say, I know the value of hard work.

I’m now taking an unusual turn in my career. I’ve recently quit my job at General Motors. A dream job for most Michigan boys, let me tell you. But I am looking to strike out on my own. While working at General Motors was a great job and a great experience, it was too large a company for me. I want to work somewhere I can  make a difference. And that’s why I applied to and joined Praxis. With Praxis’ help I look to turn my achievements and skills into a brand I can market to start ups. I’m willing to get my hands dirty and do the work others are not.

I have a Master’s degree in economics, but that is just an achievement. I am a driven professional. And what I think sets me apart is my grit and work ethic.