I am a volunteer and paid professional firefighter (I am in two different agencies) and an emergency services officer. I am also a part-time disability care worker as that provides stable work loads and thus income.
Exactly. Hard work and determination can definitely take you places in this country if you are willing to make an effort and have a long-term plan with realistic goals. - So good work with your success, you made the right choices and kept working hard at it, it's a good achievement.
Not bad at all for a high school dropout. TBH I would have loved to be out there out and about in field somewhere, however in Eastern Europe manual labour jobs used to pay like shit (maybe they still do I don't know never looked into it since I left), and the office jobs paid well, hence why I went to higher education, cause it was embedded in my mind that. Then later on in life, when some of your friends become blue collar works and some white collar workers, you find out wow ok you can make money in a manual labour job in this country provided to stick to it and learn and become experienced. Knowing that I will never push my child into a profession, I will tell them be something that you can get work for. Blue or White it won't matter.
Nothing wrong with tough love. I always tell people tell it to me straight then hide behind fake messages. You can't fix what you don't know is a perceived problem by someone.