IN just nine months, 25-year-old Hamilton man, Jack Claridge has experienced more in life than most people, but as opportunities arose, he grabbed them with both hands and marched on.
After dropping out from school to become a builder, Jack jumped around jobs from building, bartending and at Waltanna Farms.
Looking to find his passion, he moved on from all three and went about searching for job opportunities and a scenery change with hopes of moving to Geelong.
When it appeared tough to make the move to a city without financial stability, Jack received a lifeline from his mate and mentor, Tim Cogger.
A barber in Hamilton, Tim offered Jack a position in his shop and he hasn’t looked back, going on to begin a barbering apprenticeship and develop a love for the industry.
“It was out of the blue (becoming a barber),” Jack told The Spectator.
“I never would have thought that I would be an apprentice barber in my life.
“I finished up my last job and I was looking for work in Geelong and Torquay; then Diz (Tim) offered me a few days work just helping out at the shop.
“He got me to shave a bloke’s head one day because he was busy, and the rest is history.”
As a sibling of Karl and Mikaela; Jack had his world turned upside when a riding accident saw his sister taken from him.
On August 30 last year, Mikaela was at work, when the unthinkable happened and she was dislodged from the saddle.
The incident left a hole in many lives, but for Jack, it was a sister and best friend that could never be replaced.
Going through an emotional rollercoaster following his loss, Jack continues to battle through day-to-day life, but admits that barbering has offered a release.
“I lost my sister nine months ago and I am in a very dark place and have been for a long time,” Jack told The Spectator.
“Having the shop and Diz has helped so much.
“All the banter in the shop and laughs we have makes going through things a lot easier.
“I am very blessed to have this job, it’s my happy place, me and Diz call it ‘paradise’.”
The laughs and banter go beyond the barber shop for Jack and Tim.
In a time where Jack needed a guiding light, Tim provided exactly that, something Jack will be forever grateful for.
“He (Tim) is such a support, whether it be teaching me at work or supporting me outside of the shop,” Jack said.
“I can’t speak any bad words about him, he is truly one of a kind.
“In the shop we have so much banter and laughs which makes working here so easy for both of us.
“The bond we have is awesome, he is like a life coach and boss in one, but all-in-all he is like my best friend.
“I would trust my life in his hands, I don’t know what I’d do without him now.”
Following in his mentor’s footsteps, Jack finds himself down in Melbourne one week each month attending barber school, the same school Tim once attended.
Twelve months ago, Jack would’ve never have imagined the clippers in his hand, but now he sees it as a long-term plan.
“Training is awesome up in Melbourne,” he said.
“I am lucky to be training at one of the best academy’s (BIBA academy), which ironically is was the same place Diz went when he was training.
“It’s such a vibe up there and the teachers are so supportive and awesome to learn off.
“I love this job so much and can’t wait to see where it will take me in the future.”