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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Careers... or not

I once thought I had a great career. Trips, money, accolades all in abundance. I was in charge of a very successful office that had good folks and good spirit, but like most things, it just didn't last. I had to retire some people who had a streak of dishonesty run thru their veins and it made for some real challenges. One thing led to another and the company decided to merge our office with the other that was in the same city. Now I can't say I disagree with the idea of combining the two, but the way it was done and the choices I had to make in a very short time put my attitude in the toilet. I wrote a speech that I tried real hard to make to the people I had to leave behind. I was proud of what we had done and putting the name of the office back among the leaders was an accomplishment we all should have taken credit for. It truly was a team effort. When I first arrived we were #53 out of 53 districts in the company. Couldn't be worse. On top of that, I wanted a different office but instead I got the worst one. I felt horrible but the challenge of it all and the people made me change. I tried to convey all this to my crew but I just couldn't get it done without getting all emotional. (see below)

181

THERE IS WIDESPREAD SPECULATION CONCERNING THE OPERATION OF DISTRICT 181. TODAY WILL END THOSE DISCUSSIONS.

JANUARY WILL BE THE FINAL MONTH AT THE COLUMBUS BLVD OFFICE. 181 WILL BE MERGED INTO 177 AS OF FEBRUARY. REPORTING SCHEDULES WILL BE POSTED AS SOON AS IT IS CONFIRMED. JOHN CONLAN WILL CONTINUE AS DISTRICT MANAGER OF THE COMBINED OFFICE, MAKING IT THE LARGEST DISTRICT IN THE COMPANY BY FAR.

THERE WILL BE A CERTAIN PRESTIGE IN BEING A MEMBER OF SUCH A LARGE OPERATION, BUT YOUR JOB WON’T CHANGE. YOUR NUMBERS WILL STILL BE NEEDED TO PHONE IN ON TUESDAYS, YOU WILL STILL NEED TO CONTROL LAPSE, BRING BACK REVIVALS, MAINTAIN CONSISTENT PRODUCTION OF $70 PER WEEK OR MORE, AND DO THE SERVICE WORK NEEDED AND REQUIRED BY YOUR VALUED CLIENTS. THE ONLY CHANGE WILL BE THAT REPORTING DAY WILL BE TO THE DREXEL HILL LOCATION.

IT HAS BEEN MY HONOR AND PLEASURE BEING YOUR DM FOR THE LAST 3 YEARS. THROUGH IT ALL, WE HAVE MADE SOME NEW FRIENDS, SHARED SOME GOOD TIMES (EXCEPT ON ARREARS DAY!), AND ENJOYED THE FRUITS OF OUR LABOR. STARTING IN DECEMBER, 2002, THE FIRST MONTH WAS A STRUGGLE. IT DIDN’T TAKE LONG TO CORRECT THOUGH, AS WE LED THE COMPANY IN JANUARY 2003. I REMEMBER TODD’S STATEMENT WHEN ASKING ABOUT PRESIDENT’S CLUB AT MY INTERVIEW FOR THE POSITION IN 181. HE STATED EMPHATICALLY, “YOU WON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT THAT. IT WILL TAKE A YEAR FOR YOU TO GET GROWTH AT ALL.” WELL, FOR ONCE HE WAS CORRECT. WE DIDN’T HAVE TO WORRY. FOR THE NEXT 9 MONTHS, THROUGH YOUR HARD WORK AND EFFORT, WE NOT ONLY LED THE REGION IN MOST CATAGORIES, BROUGHT BACK THE SEAL OF EXCELLENCE TO A DISTRICT THAT SEEMED TO OWN IT, WE ALSO QUALIFIED FOR THE PRESIDENT’S CABINET WITH 2 SEATS!

THE NEXT YEAR WAS MUCH THE SAME. WE LED THE REGION AGAIN, PROVING THAT THE PREVIOUS YEAR WAS NOT A FLUKE. WE WON THE SEAL OF EXCELLENCE AGAIN AND QUALIFIED FOR THE OLYMPIC CLUB. TIMES WERE GOOD.

2005 MIGHT BE A YEAR THAT MANY OF YOU WANT TO FORGET, BUT I HOPE YOU DO NOT. THE MOST DIFFICULT TIMES ARE AN OPPORTUNITY TO IMPROVE WHAT IS WEAK AND REAFFIRM WHAT WE DO WELL. LAST YEAR MAY BE YOU’RE MOST IMPORTANT IF YOU LOOK AT IT AS A POSITIVE STEP IN YOUR PROFESSIONAL CAREER. YOU HAVE PROVEN TO BE A LEADER IN THE PAST, SO I EXPECT YOU ALL TO BE LEADERS IN 177. JUST BECAUSE THE NUMBER 181 GOES AWAY DOES NOT TAKE THE SPIRIT OUT OF THE GROUP. 177 WILL BE NEW AND IMPROVED – JUST LOOK AT THE RANKING REPORT. YOU ARE THE BETTER DISTRICT AND I EXPECT YOU TO MAINTAIN THAT ATTITUDE AND INSTILL IT IN YOUR ADOPTED BROTHERS. THEY NEED YOUR HELP AND I KNOW THAT TOGETHER, YOU CAN MAKE IT STRONG ENOUGH TO FINISH AT LEAST 2ND IN THE REGION – BEHIND THE DC DISTRICT OF 131!


To say it was a hard thing to do doesn't do it justice. Very tough. But new challenges were ahead and I thought I might be up for them.....


Seems DC was NOT the same as Philly and I was not the same as before. Times change and so do people and I certainly had. No more was the mind focused on what needed done and going about doing it. No more was a smile easy to present to everyone. No more did I feel proud to work for a company that let me show I can manage a group to new heights.


The company started to change years ago. It went from a place that you KNEW cared about your success to one that demanded it but gave you no path. The so-called leaders obviously did not know how to be positive and reassuring. They ruled with fear and intimidation. I don't know about you, but THAT wouldn't work for most strong-willed salesman and it didn't now. Everyone felt betrayed and the attitude of the vast majority went from bad to worse. If the economy was better, I'm sure everyone would find something else. I can't imagine anyone staying. It's that negative.


After a couple of years of seeing no end in sight, I had to go. 15 years of my life went by and now I was starting over at 40+, but not before I wrote a letter to those in charge......


I can’t believe that my time at United has come to an end. I made many friends and had a wealth of great experiences, although they now seem to be a distant memory. You know I had high-hopes for continued growth in the Company, but unfortunately, never was given the opportunity to be all I could be. It saddens me to see the direction the Company has taken. When I first started, my initial impression was one of caring and concern. It seemed to matter what I did and what could be done to make it better. The Company was more field-oriented, and the success I had in the beginning was, in part, due to that style of management. It was great to work for a Company that cared if I was there or not. This is in stark contrast to the mood now, not just at United, but in all the Career Agency Companies. The Company has lost the field force. There is no trust, no faith, no fun and not much hope that things will change for the better. Management in the District feels beaten-down and the agency force feels unappreciated and abused. They all do their best to keep things going, but the Company has not done their part to make the task at hand easier and more efficient. The image I have in my mind is the Titanic - the band is still playing but it’s time to get off the ship. I never wanted this to happen, and actually feel as if this SHOULDN’T have happened at all. The market is still one that needs us and we could serve it successfully and profitably. I wonder why we have not tried harder to be a positive force in the market and in the workplace… Leadership has failed us and the worst part of this is, those in charge do not seem to care.


Of course it didn't change a thing, but I had to do it.This was the company I cared about, the one I was going to retire from someday... or not. At least going back won't be an option....


I had a year of trying to find a job that my experience said I could do but my resume didn't. No degree no interview. It was that simple I guess. All those years I just smiled when I thought of college and my complete dismissal of it's worth and NOW I am finding out it's REAL value. I eventually found a job and then another, but NOT the one I want. Not the one I would stay up all night for in a pinch. Not the one I will retire from. Not just because I am making about 1/3 of what my best year income was, but the realization I am making a difference. Or lack of it. I am just another number on the payroll sheet and that doesn't make me particularly happy.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! I applaud you for strength!..And I truly believe that "The One" is out there for you! Keep your head up T. I still love ya! She wasn't good enough for you anyway if she couldn't see your heart for what it is!

    Muahhhhh!!!!

    Jo

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