How do I get a J O B like that?

A job that pays spending money, right?

I had  somewhat of a milestone last week at my J O B; it was my 29th anniversary. We had a ceremony because one of my partners had his 30th anniversary on the same day. Wow, 29/30 years at the same place, that is almost unheard of these days. My partner is much older than I am BTW, I started when I was 15 if you must know.

Every once in a while, the more ‘tenured’ employees will reminisce about some of the characters and personalities who have called Lanier Upshaw home at one time or another. Fortunately, I am not one of those ‘characters.’ Although, there was the one Christmas party I dressed as Santa and ‘arrived’ in a gas-powered cart that had no brakes and crashed into a table where people were sitting……..doh…….Ho Ho Ho.

What was the ‘magic’ formula?

Be careful what you wish for.

My dad worked 40+ years for Minute Maid/Coca Cola Foods; and he wore a tie to work. I wasn’t exactly sure what he did, but it looked good enough to me and I thought that was what I wanted to be when I grew up. In a round about way, that is who I turned out to be; even though I haven’t grown up yet.

It certainly hasn’t always been a bed of roses and even now there are days that make you want to scream at somebody (I just drink heavily instead…..:). But it has been kind of like a marriage; sometimes you just have to hang in there and find a way to work through it.

There were times along the way I had opportunities to go work for someone else or even do my own thing. Those opportunities are still there, but I know we have a pretty damn good team at LUI and I am committed to make sure I help pass the baton off to the next generation who will ensure we stay locally owned. Lanier Upshaw the man, started this business in 1941 and we have been able to perpetuate internally all these years, so there is certainly something to be said for that longevity as well.

Will you get a gold watch?

If that’s what I wanted I suppose; my partner got a case of Makers Mark. Personally, I’m leaning toward the Taylormade R-11 driver. That’s the big stick in your golf bag if you had no clue what an R-11 is. All I can say is, sweet…..chicks dig the long ball….:)

Shouldn’t you be slowing down?

Yeah, right. 2007 was my best year ever; I was cooking with high propane gas. I had it made in the shade and was all prepared to assume more of a mentoring role and help our newer producers get up and running.

Then the bottom fell out…..and it kept falling….yikes.

Knowing some friends and customers who lost jobs and businesses, it could have been a lot worse. However, it has required for me to still be very active on the production (sales) side to make sure our business stays healthy and the cash position is not jeopardized. Make no mistake about, cash is still king.

What’s your point?

Being a ‘salesman’ can be very humbling at times. Just about the time you think you are pretty hot stuff, some young whippersnapper chops you off at the knees. That is not necessarily a bad thing though because it gives you perspective and whatever role you assume, you should never be ‘too good’ to do anything.

Don’t ever quit learning, no matter how old of a dog you are. Learning and exploring new opportunities keep things fresh and exciting.

There really is no right or wrong way. If you are fortunate enough to have steady, productive employment at one place for any length of time, then congratulations. If it’s not working out for you, then don’t be afraid to find something that will.

Finally, life is short but circular; don’t burn any bridges because what goes around, normally comes around. It really is ok to take the high road.


37 thoughts on “How do I get a J O B like that?

  1. When you retire, I will send you maple syrup, Canadian back bacon and snowshoes:)

    I’ve never been employed. Don’t know what that would be like. As soon as I graduated from university, I started a full time coaching career in athletics, that morphed into business coaching and several other businesses over the years. The concept of a gold watch, a pension or any vague concept of “security” (although security in anything these days is a myth) isn’t on my radar screen.

    What is, and always will be on my radar screen and in my life is taking the high road. It’s the only road to take. Unless we’re off to see the Wizard, of course.

    And yes…don’t burn bridges. But can you tell me how it is that some people can burn bridges all over the place, and karma has not yet kicked them in the butt? Drives me mad.

    I’m now going to go drive my mushmobile Cheers! Snowshoes

    • It will be a few years, but I will hold you to the ‘retirement’ gift…..:). Make sure the snowshoes are cross trainers that can also be used for a tennis racket.

      I guess I was destined to ‘settle’ in to a job for the long haul. Especially where I work, because I came in when a group of guys were close to going out and I could tell it had been a good career for them. It has been a good career for me as well; and I really do have total freedom to come and go as I please, and this is worth a lot.

      I got fired on an account last November due to pricing. There were some external factors involved, but the competition was less than truthful. I took the high road and now some of these untruths have come to surface. I’m pretty confident I will be back in there next November. So I decided to take the high road AND not burn any bridges.

      Sales is fickle like social; that much I do know.

      Good to see ya, hope things are still moving forward for you.

  2. Bill,
    That picture is a classic. Congrats on your success. Lots of wisdom presented. The big take-away for me is: Don’t ever quit learning, no matter how old of a dog you are. Learning and exploring new opportunities keep things fresh and exciting. That’s the name of the game for me.

    • Social provided a ‘pick me up’ at a time I was getting a little stale. I’m having fun with the learning curve and laugh at my friends who want no part of it.

      That picture does sum it up pretty good; but I’m ok with it.

      I hope your trip is still going and it’s going well.

  3. Hi Bill! Twenty-nine years – congratulations! I can relate to seeing Dad go to work and wanting what he had. My Dad was self-employed and I guess that’s what I picked up! Like Kaarina, I’ve never been employed – not since I was 22. And like Kaarina, my definition of security is, well, different! 😉
    So who’s going to buy me the gold watch? Make it a gold iPhone? I don’t know, we’ll see.

    • The gift was just for 30 years; I’m not sure they (we) give you anything when you walk out……..:). In many ways my dad was a good teacher; I would like to think I copied the good things and stayed away from the things that I thought at the time ‘well, when I grow up I would never do that.’ I just know there is no real book on parenting and most just do the best they can.

      I never really had a job until the Army, and other than 4 years of school after that, I have been employed (somebody else signing my paycheck) since then. Although, I can actually sign my paycheck, that’s not in my scope of duties and now everything is direct deposit anyway.

      Good to see you; I got your e-mail and will start thinking about a guest post. I know I’m overdue……..:)

  4. Hi Bill,

    Wow, how can a young man like yourself have been working for 29 years? I find that impossible. Well, if you started at 15, but that will still make you more than 40? 🙂

    Congratulations. I was at the University for close to 10 years, but now I’m all alone at Berget Marketing. But, like you said it’s all about the team. If I had a solid team I would have been there for at least 50 years 🙂

    • My team is critical as I certainly don’t punch a clock. In fact, if I didn’t show up for a week, I’m not sure anybody would be looking for me as long as they could reach me by phone/e-mail/text. The two things I love about my job is the total freedom and the people I work with and work for (customers). It really is a pretty sweet gig at times.

      Because sales can be fickle like social at times, sometimes it does get frustrating but I have found the move even keeled I am the better I can weather the down times (like the last 3 years).

      Yes, I am north of 40 and that is all I will say about that……….:). It’s just a number, right?

      Good to see you sir.

    • Most days they do; but with sales being fickle like social, some days can be an adventure.

      All in all, it’s the place I need to be.

      Good to see you my friend.

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  5. I was just talking to someone today about how foreign it would be to me to stay at the same job for more than a few years. I’d go crazy. I could work with the same people, but there’s no way I could do repetitive stuff for years.If I had freedom to grow in it…maybe. But I know a lot of people who have had one job their whole adult life and actually I consider them blessed to have a job that they could keep!
    I’m going back to college in the Fall. Hopefully a lot of my credits from long ago transfer. If they don’t I’ll be working mu butt off to finish quickly.
    As far as retirement gifts go, they really should ask you what you want. A gold watch would never cut it with me. Or golf clubs. I don’t understand the giving of retirement gifts.

    • Easy now, that wasn’t a retirement gift; it was just for being at the same place for a really long time………:).

      My job is different every single day. I might be dealing with a citrus processor, a logistics/shipping warehouse w/ multi-state exposures, a building contractor, an attraction where lots of people show up, a medical facility, etc, etc, etc. That’s what makes it interesting AND I go out of the office to see every single one of them.

      I have total freedom in my job to come and go; I don’t punch a clock. Good or bad, I’m on straight commission which means no guaranteed paycheck, but also means no ceiling on what I can make either.

      Good luck with the school; I was toying with the idea of being an adjunct professor at the local community college.

      Good to see you.

  6. Hi Bill, Congratulations on 29 years in the same job. Excellent! That’s amazing, I hope they appreciate you as much as they should. In this economy, I’m impressed when people are riding through the storm. It’s a much more intense, longer storm than most people imagined it would be, so it’s a testament to your skills that you’re still thriving.

    Your story of the golf cart reminded me of the scene in Mad Men a few years ago when someone rode a John Deere riding mower around the office at a Christmas party. Your comment about a young whippersnapper cutting you off at the knees only reinforced that image in my mind.

    Have a great week, Bill!

    • I had an elf on roller skates I was pulling behind me, so it was quite the scene. However, we recovered nicely and gave out all the gifts.

      Unfortunately in a sales position, it is always ‘what have you done for me lately.’ Sometimes that brings some undue pressure, but it’s what I signed on for and it’s the nature of the beast. I do like the total freedom I have; that is worth a lot. I think I will be able to make it……….:).

      We’ve had to make adjustments, but we have remained profitable and things are really starting to look up again. I’m excited about the future………

      Good to see you; thanks for the visit.

  7. Chicks dig the long ball… I’m still laughing over here after reading that one Bill. Too funny.

    Congratulations on your anniversary! Wow, 29 years in the same company. Yep, you are a rare breed but then again, most of us know that about you now.

    That says a lot about you and the company Bill. I admire that you stayed in the trenches to help with the bottom line once the bottom fell out. I think it’s those head honchos that aren’t willing to do what it takes to make their company survive that see their downfall. You’ve got to be willing to do what it takes and that my friend, is you.

    I have a feeling they already know what a great catch they have with you Bill. The rest of us are learning it along the way and you keep us thoroughly entertained as we go. Thank you for that.

    Hope you’re still celebrating! 😉


    • You know, that was the baseball slogan until they realized all the players were ‘juiced’ up on steroids; that’s where I got that from.

      It is very, very rare these days for someone to stay in one place that long; for many reasons. For whatever reason, it was a good fit for me and I think it will be my home until I decide I’m done.

      Us ‘senior’ partners have a lot invested in the place, we are not about to bail out now. The good news is, we were in a good position before the bottom fell out and smart enough to make the appropriate changes to remain profitable during this time.

      Thanks for the kind words and as always, it is a real treat to see you.

  8. My dad spent 38 years at the same company and retired with a serious pension. Did I mention that he retired at 58. Damn, no way I am going to be able to beat that. That is not such a horrible thing, but sometimes I wish I could.

    I applaud people who are able to stay at the same company like that. There is something nice about it. Of course I grew up thinking that is what we are supposed to do so…

    • If I would have retired in ’07; I would have been in high cotton. Unfortunately, my ownership is a big portion of my retirement and our stock value took a hit. However, we are definitely on the rebound so I just need to be patient; it will all come back.

      Staying with the same company is definitely ‘old school’ and it just happened to work out for me. Trust me, I’ve seen many, many people who have come through our doors and eventually moved on or moved away.

      The beauty of my job is the total freedom and I see all my customers at their place of business, not mine. I come and go as I please, and that’s worth a lot to me……

      Good to see you sir; hope you have been well.

  9. You do know that real mean don’t eat Quiche or play golf with Over-sized Woods or Drivers. But they do drink Makers Mark with a Coke chaser.

    My dad was a teacher he put in 35-40 years in one place. I have only worked for 3 companies until doing my own thing. But never thought I would be in one place more than 5 years or so. But then if I was a owner or part owner just maybe. Grats on 29 hope it was a nice cake they baked you.

    • I got a piece of paper that said ‘Certificate of Recognition’ Awarded to Wm K Dorman – 29th Anniversary of Employment……..oh yeah, and a card sent to my house. Wheeee

      Just like marriage, it might appear that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, but unless I was going to totally do my own thing, I do know I’m at a pretty good place. That’s worth something and I can still write my own ticket as to how much money I can make; their truly is no ceiling.

      I think I’ll stick it out now………:).

  10. The best manhattan ever: Makers Mark, shot of Rosso, dash of bitters and a splash of cherry juice. Shaken, not stirred. It’s not a Manhattan otherwise. hope your bud enjoys his case – sheesh.

    The R-11 is sweeeeet……long ball for sure. Betcha there’s a few nice tracks down there in Flo-Rida, huh?

    Glad to see learning is still on the roster for good ole Bill.

    BTW, you can stop by my new digs now and critique that place iffin ya wanna…..

    • Sounds like a pretty good Manhattan to me; I might have to give it a try if we can get my partner to get off a bottle or two.

      The R-11 is sweet; a couple of my friends are using it. I still have the R-7, which isn’t too shabby either.

      Your place looks good; I’ll get back over when I can spend some time there. Busy day today……..

  11. 29 years is amazing! Many congratulations. While staying at the same company so long is very impressive, maintaining a true “sales” occupation for so long is actually even tougher. Sales is humbling, and insurance is highly competitive — so to stick it out so long in that j-o-b is really impressive. I know it gets easier once you’ve built a book, but as you said, you always have to look out for those young whippersnappers. I’m sure you crush them all though. It’s not like you’re some old guy who doesn’t know how to use facebook… 🙂

    Congrats again Bill! A most excellent milestone.

    • Yes, it is hard to be ‘on’ with sales for any sustainable length of time. Regardless of how full your pipeline is or how good of a salesperson you are; there are still peaks and valleys and the key is to try and stay as consistent as possible.

      I’ve heard about that Facebook thing; tell me more……..:).

      Good to see you Adam.

    • One thing you can probably count on, and that is me NOT growing up; no way Jose…:)

      Howie says the maple syrup is a Vermont thing; regardless, I will take some to eat w/ my pancakes and Canadian bacon.

      Thanks for stopping by.

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