Taking a Little Off the Top

Terrence Patterson, parking and transit clerk, has a passion for barbering

During his downtime, Terrence Patterson enjoys cutting hair. Photo courtesy of Terrence Patterson.
During his downtime, Terrence Patterson enjoys cutting hair. Photo courtesy of Terrence Patterson.


Name: Terrence PattersonPosition: Clerk, Parking and Transportation ServicesYears at Duke: 12

What I do at Duke: Everything. I'm basically responsible for allocating parking permits, answering questions about parking, helping people get their vehicles back if they're towed and for giving information about various aspects of parking operations like bus schedules, where to park and what parking is available.

If I had $5 million, I would: I'd want to help people, save some and start my own business. I'd probably open a barbershop and barber school. I cut hair part time, and I've been around barbering my whole life - my grandmother was a barber so she passed the trade along to me.

My first ever job: I worked at a Taco Bell at South Square Mall in Durham. I did whatever they asked me - cashier, prepping food, washing dishes, taking inventory and helping with orders. I had just turned 16 when I started and worked there off-and-on for three-and-a-half years.

My dream job: Cutting hair. I like the interaction with people and the idea of teaching them, too. Officially, I've been barbering for about a year, but unofficially since I was 9 or 10 years old.

If someone wanted to start a conversation with me they should ask me about: Anything. I'm a pretty talkative person, so just saying `hi' will start a conversation with me.

The best advice I ever received: My grandmother would always say `anything worth having is worth working for.' I also had an aunt that said `you live and learn or repeat the lesson.' I've repeated a lot of lessons.

When I'm not at work, I like to: I'm an avid reader and gamer. I read a variety of books. Some of my favorites are The 48 Laws of Power, Art of War and the Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series by Michael Scott. With games, I'm currently playing Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, but I'm a diehard fan of NCAA Football by EA Sports. It doesn't get much better than that.

If I could have one superpower, it would be: Foresight. We all make important decisions in life, but if you could see the future and see what would going to happen to you, you can make better decisions. I'd also probably win the lottery easily.

Something most people don't know about me is: That I'm a barber. My grandmother used to take me with her when she cut hair. She worked for a long time at a barbershop near the Golden Belt. I grew up watching her do it and I loved watching how people came in and their head would look like a mess. When she finished, it was like poetry. You see an amazing transformation.

An interesting day at work for me was: Working in Parking and Transportation Services, every day is an interesting day. It'd be hard to pick one out. I find myself talking people down a lot when they get their cars towed.