Hoop dreams, or any job

Growing up, Sean Tucker dreamed of playing professional basketball, but life and tough circumstances had a different plan. As the oldest of six children of a single mother, he had to spend his after-school hours working so he could afford to buy himself clothes.

"Basically, it was a sacrifice," he said.

Sean Tucker

Tucker found himself in a tough spot in his last job -- as a patient caregiver in a nursing home. He actually loved the work and prided himself on his ability to get along with the patients. "If anything, I was the problem solver," he said. "I helped them get acclimated to their new lifestyle."

The problem arose when he was asked to provide personal care for female patients -- something he was willing to do -- but not when he was alone with them without a female staffer to chaperone. Yes, short-staffing was an issue, but the situation was too risky. What if an unfair accusation was made? Tucker lost his job in February.

In the past, Tucker picked up side cash as a DJ, but compensation has spiraled down. Several years ago, the going rate was $250 for four or five hours of work, he said. Now it's $100 for the same time period. "That's not enough to maintain the equipment and cover travel costs," he said.

These days, Tucker has been applying for any kind of job, including one last month unloading railroad cars. "I would really like to be a nurse," Tucker said, but that's out because of criminal convictions in 1999 and 2000 that led to probation sentences. "I have to apply to get the record expunged," he said.

"I'd really like to work with my mind, more so than physical labor," he said. "For me, looking for the job is not the problem. It's getting the job." 

Update: As of December 2011, Tucker is working fulltime unloading railroad cars.


  • Sean Tucker
  • Hometown: Chester
  • Profession: Nurse's aide
  • Experience: Waited tables, worked in a record store, worked as a disc jockey and nurses aide.
  • Education: High school diploma
  • E-mail address: Seantucker15@yahoo.com
  • Sean Tucker's resume

Read past profiles in the Looking for Work series.

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The Inquirer is not endorsing this individual as a job candidate; potential employers should do their own background checks.

Contact staff writer Jane M. Von Bergen at 215-854-2769 or jvonbergen@phillynews.com.