Some of you have been following along at my Facebook page, my current life saga and my choice to take an new(old) job again. I have been pretty cryptic about it on there, with the promise that I would write about it here. so… here.
15ish years ago I dropped out of university and moved halfway across the country to move back in with my parents. I searched for a job when I got there and got mixed results. I started working for a wood furniture manufacturer but shortly after got a job in an office products store selling desks and chairs. A few months later I went to Merca and stole my wife away, and a few months later we moved to Calgary as I had been recruited by a big office furniture store.
I spent the next 2 years at that store, then a year at a really small company doing the same thing (selling office furniture) then I ended up at McCrum’s Office Furnishings. I kinda begged for my job there as the guy I worked for for the previous year was a total asshole and he did nothing for my reputation in the industry.
I spent 5 years at McCrums learning all sorts of lessons about people, sales and when to keep my mouth shut (usually after not keeping my mouth shut). I liked it there, and am still very good friends with many people from McCrums. I spent 5 years there, but started to get an itch that I could do better. I thought I needed to run something on my own, to create my own identity. I left there (under no bad terms really) for a competitive store, that had promised me a lot of autonomy in my dealings. Wow, what an eye opener. I really started to hate the business.
I started going to small business seminars and reading how to books on running my own company. Traci and I looked at all sorts of ways to get a company started, and we finally decided to open a company called LeeDavid Business Furnishings.
We didn’t have any cash money tho. That was a problem. I wasn’t loving the industry at the time either. So what to do now?
Well, we were pretty good at Landscaping. Afterall we did build this yard (ours)
Let’s start a landscaping company. Ok! Oh Hey, Dad, do you want to be a partner in the company? Yeah? great, lets get started.
So we did. LeeDavid Landscapes. We are the best landscapers that we know.
We sort of sucked at business running tho (me, actually). It just ended up too tough to do everything. We under-capitalized at the beginning and were chasing money every year. Oh, by the way, Landscape construction is a DUMB business to get into in a climate where the ground is frozen solid for 6-7 months of the year.
5 years we ran the company, the first 3 were ok, but before the 4th year we tried to grow with the acquisition of some new equipment and a larger crew. Do you remember what happened to the economy in the spring of ‘09? Anyone? Yeah it tanked. We actually had a HUGE project to start that season and 3 days prior to starting, the customer went bankrupt and we we left chasing bad business all year just to keep the hounds off our heels. Spring of ‘10 started well enough, but in a conspiracy type scenario we had 3 months of our 6 available for outdoor work be rained out. Yeah. 40days and 40 nights. Twice! We struggled through the season as best as we could, still turning out amazing projects when we could actually work, but the writing on the wall was getting more clear for us. Finally back in January of this year Dad and I decided to pull the pin. We owe some money, but rather then go bankrupt and cause a ton of grief for our families and vendors, we are committed to paying off out debt (over time) and rebuilding our careers and credit.
Dad is mad skilled in all things construction and is interviewing at a few places, and I had decided to start the Website and Social Media Business. That started well with a quick contract and a website build, but with limited resources (read:cash) I couldn’t squeeze my own network of friends and family enough to make an immediate living from it.
As you know, we are selling the house too. Too much house for the 7 of us. (Me, DW, DS, 2 a-hole dogs, 1 sweet old cat and a really dumb fish). The final straw for me, regarding needing to look for a big boy job was the fact we were required to re-qualify for the mortgage we already have when we switch to a different house. So I made the call to my Friend and now VP over at McCrums.
Me: Hi Bob? It’s Neil
Bob: Hey! I was just thinking about you.
Me: You looking for sales people?
Bob: Yep, when can we meet?
Me: tomorrow at 1!
And that was it. A formality at best and I was back in the world of corporate office sales, at McCrum’s Office Furnishings. And you know what? I am very happy about it.
When I was there 7 years ago for 5 years, I felt appreciated, I was supported both professionally and personally, I made lifelong friends, and I made a whack of cash! I didn’t realize how good a place to work this was until I figured out that life without them was so much harder and suckier(professionally) in general. I grew up a LOT in the past 7 years.
As soon as I signed the offer, it was like a massive weight was lifted off my shoulders. As of now I have emancipated myself from the landscape company, and I couldn’t be happier. The management at McCrum’s are going to be so pleased with the different salesman I am now, and how much more money they are going to make off me. The big difference for me is the perspective I have on life in general. I am a Dad now, I have ran a company, I can see the deals from all sides now, and I know how to say no.
Saying no is a HUGE skill in sales. Sometimes the deal is just wrong. I can now say no, and save everyone a ton of time and money when things don’t fit.
I gotta buy some suits… dang
I haven’t been running for 3ish weeks. Just too much other stuff. Sometimes it’s ok to look after other parts of life. Really. Especially when it comes to looking after your family. Traci is making me go for a run tomorrow tho.
Anyone up for a run? 10-ish slow k? 6:30pm?