Saturday, January 23, 2016

50 Year Old Starts a New Job

1/22/16 08:52 on the train to NYC

I’m taking the train into the city to meet with a prospective client.  There are others around me on the peak train out of Ronkonkoma.  It’s my first sales meeting in the city…ever.  I started a new job this year. If you work in sales you might be thinking, so what.  We move around.  It’s something we need to do, we move on to bigger and better opportunities.  But I worked for the same company for twenty years and starting a new job is daunting.  There are new services to learn, new managers, different personalities, new office politics, well thank God I work from home. 

More than twenty years ago, during my interview at World Courier, I said I was looking for a company to commit to and I wanted that company to commit to me.  I made an impression, and I was serious, this wasn’t some kind of interview pitch.  I had an infant at home, rent and expenses and money was tight.  I could tell I made an impression when the President at that time, John Wagner waved in his secretary who had something to share.  She mentioned what time the company’s Christmas party can start.  John looked at me and invited me to attend, which I accepted.  
Back on this train.  With World Courier there was the comfort, meaning I know what to expect day in and day out. There are employees at World Courier who started out at drivers and moved up the chain to become executives, even today.  I started as a customer service representative, working 1700 to 0100 at the “old” office on Guy R Brewer near JFK.  I was only there for a couple of months, till we moved to where they are still located in New Hyde Park.   Throughout the early years I knew I wanted to get into sales and I was told there was a position, but that opportunity did not come about.  I was promoted within, since I proved I was a reliable employee who was serious about making logistics a career.  I took a dangerous goods course at our office...while I was on vacation.  It was the only opportunity to get certified for free.  I signed up for custom brokerage classes and would drive into JFK two nights a week and received a certificate.  One of our brokers, suggested I could earn a decent salary if I became a custom's broker, so I pursued that. I was promoted to a supervisor and was given more responsibilities as well as beeper and eventually I was offered a sales position.  

The first lesson in sales, I needed know I had to make calls and sell - instead of waiting for the phone to ring.  It was an easy thing for me since I worked at a stock brokerage house a few years before - making hundreds of calls a day.  I love cold calling, braking new business and within a short amount of time I was recognized and asked if I could train new sales staff on cold calling.  
I will miss my former coworkers, who were good friends and for some were like family.  I could count on them when I needed an extra hand. We had each other’s backs and we looked out for one another.  We shared some painful memories, 9/11 stands out.  Seeing the billowing smoke from New York City as fighter jets ripped over us in the sky.  Hearing of JFK’s Jr’s plane that went missing, the moment the news broke that Princess Diana was killed.  The devastation from hurricane Sandy across the area.  Walking around the neighborhood in New Hyde Park and seeing massive trees which was toppled over and had smashed into a house. The sad memories when we learned a co-worker had passed.  There was a driver who told me, take pride in your signature since that represents you.  Don’t make it sloppy.  He died on the operating table.  Dan Byriter, as well as John Wagner and a few others.  There were happy memories, the bets I would make with Joe Vitale anytime the Red Sox and Yankees had a series. The cherished memories, for instance I was training when Ali called me to tell me she was expecting our second, Emma Tess who was born in August that year.  The parties, the drinks and the characters and friends who invited us into their homes.

We grew up together, saw some great concerts and went to different baseball games, like opening day at Shea Stadium, taking the ferry to Bridgeport to watch the Long Island Ducks play the Bridgeport Bluefish, the 2000 World Series.  Hockey games, readings, plays. I have some great memories and yet I knew it was time to move on...  While I was weighing the opportunity and trying to figure out if I should leave, it was Ali who motivated me.  She reminded me that in the past couple of years - I was not happy working there.  Really?  I was that vocal?  Yes. 

Last October, I received a call from my client who wanted to know if I was interested in an opening with his company, Sharp Clinical.  I trust Dan very much and everything…eventually fell into place.  I went on interviews which I felt they were encouraging, and I seemed to get along with everyone I met.  But, by middle of the following week, when there was no call, I was getting anxious. Perhaps, I was no longer a viable candidate?  I called Ali while I was driving home after a meeting and asked her what should I do?  She said give it a couple of more hours; if they don’t call by four, then call them.  Then I realized, and I told her, I didn’t put it in God’s hands.  I know what some of you are thinking. Go ahead and wince in pain - you heathens.  I said I love you to my wife and we hung up.  Not three minutes later, my phone rung and it was Sharp Clinical…offering me a job.

Thank you for reading this.

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