We have good news for you. You can have a cool career and make a good living. No need to choose between loving your job and paying your mortgage. The following profile, part of the BlackEnterprise.com Cool Jobs series, offers a peek into the nuts and bolts, perks and salaries behind enjoyable careers.
Spending his adolescent years in rough environments, including the Overtown community of Miami and Harlem, New York, Antwand Pearman didn’t initially have all of life’s cards stacked in his favor. “I was a product of child abuse and was raised by drug dealers early in life,” Pearman says.
The founder of Gamer Fit Nation was able to overcome the pressures of giving in to the streets and would not only go on to work for MTV Networks, but start his own Website and community movement that meshes his love for fitness and gaming. Pearman has been able to facilitate engagement in technology and health as well give back by hosting community events for urban youth and their families.
BlackEnterprise.com talked with Pearman about how his past helped push him toward his future, how he builds community through tech empowerment and how his rise through the ranks at MTV helped him become the go-getter entrepreneur he is today.
BlackEnterprise.com: What sparked your interest in combining gaming news and resources with health awareness and education?
I was always interested in gaming and health, and when I saw the need for insight on health in particular, I decided to do something to put the two together. Originally, it started as a forum on Ning, and the popularity grew into a lifestyle Website.
Gaming at the time was a hobby, and from that grew a community, and a lot of people are involved in it. It’s fun, but the community aspect takes it to another level where you can interact and connect with so many people in so many ways. And with health discussions, it was always a social environment. So combining the two social elements together was a natural step. My partners and I were able to make the two fit and combine the communities, and create a new atmosphere. It’s been awesome.
Your career track is pretty nontraditional. Talk about your journey, from arriving in New York seeking work with MTV to starting your business.
When I first came to New York to live permanently, I really had no place to live. I was staying with friends. The first thing I did was visit the MTV offices. I walked up to the front desk and said, “Hey, I’d like to apply for a job here,” as if it was that easy. I mean, I grew up rough, and in my experience, I thought I could just walk up and ask for an application. I later realized it’s not like how you’d just go into a McDonald’s to apply for a job. There’s process and there’s positioning.
Fast-forward a few years. I ended up working for a security company—being a big, tall dude— and through fate, I ended up working at their offices as a security guard. It brought me back to that same building. I went from a uniform security guard to being a relief worker for their reception and administrative professionals. I later was offered a permanent position to work in the administrative department at MTV Games, and stayed there for years, with my own desk and computer. It just shows you how God works: I ended up getting the job years later at the same place where I was once rejected.
How did your experience at MTV help you in your current endeavors?
Coming from the ‘hood, I knew street politics naturally., but I didn’t know how to apply business principles in a structured environment. At MTV, I was interacting with executives and editors all the time. They liked me so much that they would provide me with knowledge on the culture and how to succeed in that arena. Vice presidents from MTV Games taught me the politics of Corporate America, and mentored me on how the gaming industry works. That’s how I learned the professionalism and relationship-building skills to work with partners and get sponsors for my current venture.
What advice do you have for young professionals and budding entrepreneurs who want to push for their career goals despite challenges?
Be consistent about what you do, and don’t give up, ever. I used to box, and my trainer would tell me, ‘I don’t care what you do, but always remember to practice and be consistent.’ And I apply that to everything.
Focus on priorities and save your money while you have the time. Invest in yourself, and don’t be afraid—of success or of failure.
And lastly, don’t let obstacles stop you. Back in the day, I got to a point where I was staying in a shelter. I didn’t let that stop me. You may think everything is hopeless, and it’s mentally and emotionally difficult when you’re going through major challenges. But, you have to push through toward your goals. I had my faith in God that helped me a lot. The key is, if you have a dream, keep going and stay focused.