December 29, 2002

An old friend/business acquaintance of mine shook my hand and said "Welcome."

"I hear you've got a new title."

Oh Yeah? What's that?


I smiled.

He said something to the effect of: "I'm glad it's you."

I've got a title.

"So what," you say?

I'll tell you what, after 25 years of working for myself, someone finally gave me a title.

For years and years I've been unhappy with my work and I've tried to change things for so long I can't even remember when I started trying to "fix" it.

I've worked in a business that generates huge swings in my income, and that in and of itself has created more than its share of stress. For more years than I can count, I've worked on changing things so that I could have a more stable income.

When I started in the financial services business 25 years ago I was trained by a company that had/has a sales and consulting process that is second to none. It's so good in fact, that I still use the basic process today that I learned 25 years ago. Let's call those folks Company X. While I was there I was the first person to purchase a personal computer and I started working creating my own version of the Company X planning process.

Frequently it happens that once you train someone in a "process" they decide to break off on their own and "be their own boss." Unless you've been there, few understand the frustrations that come from working for that S.O.B, but sure enough, after 5 years at Company X, he became my boss.

About 10 years ago a good friend of mine put together a group of former employees of Company X and they put their money together and had me hire a computer programmer so that I could "share" the work that I had done with the group. It was a win win deal for all of us, for I got improvements to the software that we all used, and we created a private label version of the Company X process.

The "process" has served me well over the years working with my existing and any new clients that came along my path. Somewhere in that time frame I flew all over the United States trying to sell that private label software and my knowledge, but until the middle of 2001 I could find no takers. Then along came a great consulting opportunity with a firm in Boston that repackaged some of that material and for a while I was really cooking with gas. However, when that party died earlier this year I became more than a bit anxious.

During the months of May-June I thought that I might have just found a perfect opportunity to merge my business with another firm located in Colorado. I needed the change, and I really thought that this might be a great opportunity both on a business and personal level.

Well, the Colorado venture turned out to be a disaster. Truth be told, even though I "knew" in my head that it was best, I was still very disappointed, and disillusioned to boot.

In late September I ran completely out of gas, but as there was really no choice but to step out and walk, I did.

Committed to staying in town while my son finishes his last 2 years of High School I was happy to find an ad on Monster.com for a position in town that needed all of my skills. In order to apply I had to create a Monster resume since the firm with the position open was not revealing their identity. As I finished the site asks if it is OK for other employers to see your resume, so I clicked "OK."

I never heard from the local CPA firm that wanted a Regional Director of Financial Planning, but I did hear from a couple of others that I blew off within seconds. Everyone wants you to sell, no one really wants you to "plan"

I went back into Monster and changed the objective on the resume to read NO SELLING.

Then I got a call in October.

We played phone tag for a while and I agreed to meet for lunch, just to "talk." I was very very suspicious, and very reserved. Most of the time we talked cameras and agreed to meet again to discuss just what it was that I "do," especially with the re-engineered process from Company X.

I've not said a word about this in here, perhaps because I was so disappointed about the way things turned out in Colorado. But the long and short of it is that we have met 4 or 5 more times and have ironed out a "position" and an offer that I really couldn't refuse.

I still shake my head when I think about it, not just because of the magnitude of it all, becoming the "employee" rather than the employer, but how this whole thing has happened. After all these years of knocking on doors, someone knocked on mine. Instead of telling me that I wasn't worth X, (Colorado) they agreed to start me at X plus the potential of a bonus of up to another X. And in addition, any income from my existing clients is mine to keep.

I've already attended my first "staff" meeting in the new organization and it seems that the fit will work out quite nicely.

Lately every time I've thought about this whole process I've been reminded of a section of scripture that I memorized in Hebrew a long time ago:

The sun rises and the sun sets,
and hurries back to where it rises.
The wind blows to the south
and turns to the north
round and round it goes,
ever returning on its course.
All streams flow into the sea,
yet the sea is never full.
To the place the streams come from,
there they return again.

Ecclesiastes 1: 5-7

After all those years of trying, the one company that saw the value of my "reinvented wheel" turned out to be the place where I started, 25 years ago.

So far I've been accepted back into the organization with open arms, especially by some of my associates who have remained there the entire time I have been gone. It was one of them who gave me my "title" at the company Christmas party a couple of weeks ago.

Regional Director In Charge of Fixing Everything That Is Broken Around Here

Kinda long for a business card doncha think?