With my job and with my Scouting hobby, I get to travel. While I do enjoy my trips, I always enjoy coming home. I have yet to find a place where I’d like to move.
I attended college in Atlanta. I enjoyed Atlanta. I thought at the time that I’d like to spend the rest of my life in Atlanta. But, jobs were tough to find in my field, so I came back to North Mississippi where I could build some experience and try Atlanta again. I found a better life here and haven’t left.
When my parents and I moved to Tupelo when I was very young, this was to be a two-year stop for the family. That was early in the 1970s.
I hear many stories from many people who have moved to Mississippi as a stop on their career paths and decided to stay. And, yes, Mississippi has its challenges, but I’d rather stay here and work on the solutions with my friends than to move away only to find a new set of problems to be solved.
Mississippi is a “hidden jewel.” I hear this from a lot of visitors who were apprehensive about visiting our state. We need to find a way to drop the “hidden.” Mississippi is definitely a “jewel,” and once visitors meet Mississippians, their attitude changes. But, we need to find a way to change their attitude and break our stereotype before they make their visit.
I take for granted that we’re the “Hospitality State.” Being polite and hospitable is part of our culture. Actually caring for one another is engrained in our Southern society. That makes us all the best sales team and customer service representatives in the country, simply because we do care and want to help. I think those who were raised outside of the South see our politeness and caring as disingenuous. I think they believe we’re trying to take advantage of them by being nice. I’d hate to work and live in a culture that thinks that way. And, if they’d take the time to get to know us, we’d be better friends and business partners.
Although I wasn’t born here, I am a product of the Tupelo Public School District – from kindergarten through high school. Almost all of my life has been spent here. My closest friendships and business partners are here. Any of my friends outside the area know that Mississippi is special to me. I’ve worked with businesses here and outside the South. Businesses in Mississippi compete on a national and international level. We have a strong work ethic and a fantastic quality of life. And, having made a commute for many years in a major metropolitan area, our traffic is nothing compared to it. And, our forward-thinking local government put a plan in place many years ago to deal with the expanding traffic issue.
I appreciate the positive people in my life – fellow Mississippians, whether native or transplanted – who help me change the “Why?” into “Why not?” and also ask “What can we take away from this experience to make it better?”
I was, am and continue to be “Made in Mississippi.” And, I am a better person because of it.