Brett Rants

Company Man

I had a job (not a career) for 25 Years. I've still got some data points, which relate to that time. Let's see if I can stitch them together and make something out of them... you know, like an interesting web-page or something.

25 Years Is A Long Time
I Dealt With Numerous Companies
And Even More People
One Should Not Presume To Know Too Much

What Follows Is A Lopsided Slice
The Edges Ground Smooth To Preserve Anonymity

And Reflects More On My Failure
(To Persevere Through More Than 25 Years)
Than Anything Else

Pages from a Spread sheet which contain two messages, CODE - YOU ARE A CODER - CODE, and, WRITE - YOU ARE A WRITER - WRITE

I can't remember if I placed this in a work related spreadsheet or something more personal. But at some point, it was clear my employment was not going to last very much longer and it behoved me to refocus my attention. I did. Thus, making the end of my tenure a self-fulfilling prophecy, if that's the way you want to take it.

Dead And Buried

Because we live in a Litigious Society (i.e. because we live in a Broken Society), I kept a full archive of The Files from The Final Days (whatever that might mean). But I have almost nothing readily available. It just doesn't matter. It's not part of my day-to-day life.

What follows is a partial listing of the type of thing I (only recently) removed from my Working Image (i.e. my main desktop environment).

On Cold Calling

Did I mention that I sucked at this? I mean, I really did. It's not modesty. It's a personal awareness of my shortcomings and/or preferred work flow. Anyway, I have some notes on the process. And that bullet point list worked pretty well for the previous, so let's try that again. Shall we?

A Default Fax Response which was sent out once we decided to close our doors... Please remove from Bid List and so on

Since I transferred the main business line to myself and adopted it as my own personal phone number, I can report that years-and-years later, I still get invites, which I ignore... treating them as curiosities from another era. Even stranger, I get messages intended for the business before ours, making those phone lists decades-upon-decades out of date. And you wonder why Cold Calling doesn't work?

Random Notes & Asides

Let us do this short form. Meaning, there will not be a lot of extraneous explanation... at least for the first few entries. After all, it seems likely something will spark the flow. And from there, all bets are off.

At the end, I used an Online Fax Server. In other words, for the price of a new Fax Machine (every year), I could send any PDF or JPG to any phone number I wanted as long as I had an Internet Connection. It was handy... especially when on the road.

I can heartily recommend GNU Cash for keeping the books. It's free. And although the accountant didn't know how to use it (not exactly a recommendation... for either), it was easy enough to print out the required pages. And that worked.

It sort of made me sad to set the Primary Email Account to Auto-Reply. "This mailbox is no longer monitored."

At one point, I was told (by the representative of an important business partner) that they were Putting Their Energy Elsewhere. It doesn't really matter the reason. And I'm sure they had plenty. Less Energy from them led to Less Energy from me, which led to even Less Energy from them. It hardly matters who went first or why. Once the downward spiral began, it became a race to the bottom. The only really amazing thing is how long we pretended to do business with each other before we (collectively) finally realized the other (each other) had already checked out. Please feel free to disagree.

In retrospect, part of my deconstruction of the above has been a certain realization about the nature of failure and putting out fires. The downward spiral lasted way too long... because those whose job it was to track such things had even bigger problems to attend to. "Yes. Yes. But that's a slow burn. I got a raging inferno over here." Of course, that's the positive spin. The truth remains that years went by without any meaningful effort to Increase The Energy.

Sorry, but this is not the place (call it a venue) for more detailed observations.

"That's Your Problem." It was never stated as such. But that was the upshot. And I solved the problem... by not solving the problem, but by mentally cataloguing The Problem as Theirs... with each of us maximizing the short term profits as the ship slowly went down. Sorry, this was my reality. I'm sure everyone was a bit right and wrong in their own way.

A corollary to this was watching The New Hot Shots Slash & Burn their way through incredibly short tenures prior to promotions, transfers, or in other ways moving on. The metaphor I like to use for this is Selling The Farm. It works. It makes money. And often, it's the right decision. But it becomes amazingly difficult to plant a crop the next season without any soil left to turn. Get it?

When paying on Commission, I would recommend prorating problems. Often enough, I was caught in the middle, both sides refusing to budge, deciding I was the weak link and reducing my cut. I'm not saying this was never justified. But when fault can be identified and it isn't my fault, making me take the hit is... well, I'd say abusive. But really, it's just not conducive to getting Future Edge Case Business... you know, if that's what one wants.

It's really nice when folks want to come to you and throw business at you. Perhaps if I had to do it over, I'd take a lot more zero commissions just to solve problems and Cultivate Preferred Customers. Or, no. If I had to do it over, I wouldn't bother. A Zero Commission means one is either selling to or for the wrong person.

The Public Facing Persona is The Company. If a company has a crappy customer service agent, for all intents and purposes, it's a crappy company. One might want to keep that in mind when determining the Pay Scale. It has been my experience (having worked for Minimum Wage time-and-time again), that folks willing to work for Minimum Wage are hardly ever worth that much. Yeah, it's not a solid idea. But there's a point to be taken. Hire from the bottom and you'll get what you pay for.

My final entry in this section (all of these sections arise from different note files and/or needs) relates to a time (long after I had retired) when I was in a restaurant sitting next to a group of folks who (obviously, as I know my business) were engaged in making money the same way I had. I did not feel any nostalgia nor desire. In short, I was Missing Nothing.

The Upshot is that I agreed to answer the phone (not necessarily work) for 16 hours a week at $2000/month.  It comes out to $29/hr.

That's $29/hr, assuming I only worked the hours contracted. Considering I wrote entire novels during working hours, but also worked Saturday Mornings to 'get it done', it's hard to know the exact rate. But it was pretty sweet.

Just A Job

That remark above (about Missing Nothing) is truer than one might believe. I often say that I don't care about what I did. And I don't. At one point, I tried to make a list of success stories. But it got nowhere.

I do not care about what I did.

I do not care if what I had been paid to do had ever gotten done at all or completed by someone else instead.

It was a way of making money.

There was absolutely nothing else to it.

No Pride.

No Accomplishment.

No Nothing.

Anyway, I tried to make a list of successes. Hey, this is what I did. But it turned out to be a Zero Length List.

I did what I did for money and that is the beginning and end of it all.

Ironically, when I tried to put together a list of failures, I was much more successful. But that's not the type of list it is ever prudent to discuss... not that they are secrets or anything. Overwhelmingly, problems took the form of "We do not wish to pay for Services Rendered, because..."
      Followed by some reasonable explanation.
      Or absolutely any rationale as may come to mind to a person wishing to avoid making payment.

If I weren't cynical before, I'm sure the endless list of excuses would have been enough to tip me over the edge.

After all, if one can get a discount by complaining, one now has a vested interest in complaining.

Heck, complain enough and one might even get a Year End Bonus out of it.

Make Of It What You Will

By these presents let all men know that in return for ----- years of loyal service ----- intend to sell all of their shares, ownership, and interest ----- to Brett Paufler ----- for the sum total of $100 -----; and that should death, infirmary, or incapacitation befall ----- prior to completion of said sale, Brett Paufler shall be entitled to complete the transaction and settle accounts with their estate at the stated price.

And yet, walking away was the easiest thing I ever did.

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Good Riddance!

I think that sums it up quite nicely.

© copyright 2020 Brett Paufler