Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Loving what you do...

This post is going to go off the beaten path of fitness for a moment. There are so many out there seeking for a job, I felt the need to share a positive story.

A few years ago, we were tucked in our happy cocoon. CR and I had jobs. Mine had its moments like most do, I have often said that my office is a mirror image of the television show The Office. Lots of strange situations that probably seem funny from the outside looking in. CR on the other hand was working for himself. He was a one man show working in auto transportation. He didn't love the work as such but he enjoyed the flexibility and the pay. Then things changed. About 3 or 4 years ago, people stopped buying cars as much. Meaning, there wasn't a lot to transport in the world of auto transportation. Decisions were made, we sold our trucks and trailers.

At the time, CR was asked to be involved in a business start up. We had a friend who had made a small fortune in higeher end restaurants in the area. We trusted that he knew how to make a business successful even though this one had nothing to do with the restaurant industry. CR poured himself into the work. We weren't crazy with the type of business that was being developed; it just didn't feel like a good fit. At this point, everything forged ahead. CR gained invaluable experience from the process. He dealt with county licensing and permits, negotiated with real estate developers and a myriad of other things that he had never done before. Then the investor got cold feet and the project ended.

CR had never really been in a situation where the next opportunity wasn't just waiting there for him. He had spent his life doing so many things but how do you take that and sell yourself to a company. Even if you only want to get your foot in the door, some see you as overqualified because you spent so much time working on your own while others see you as not qualified enough because the things you were doing don't fit neatly in their view of experience needed for the job. Let's not even talk about how it feels to be 40 or 50 and in that situation. There is a lot of stress, some hopelessness and a lot of uncertainty.

We sat down and figured out his strengths. We thought about about what he might like to do in a perfect world. What would make you smile every day going to work?One of his hobbies was motorcycles. He can repair anything and often has people come to him wanting him to work on their bikes. He really wasn't interested in being a bike mechanic. (I guess from experience he knew that it would be hard on his body). For a while, he spent some time writing a technical manual for a bike manufacturer. It was part time but helped. He was also well known in his circle of motorcycle friends for being sort of salesman of the brand. He loved the product so much that his enthusiasm helped sell the product.

We started focusing on sales. He took a couple of sales jobs in the home improvement industry. Neither of which lasted very long only because it quickly became apparent that CR was spending more in gas than he was making. They weren't a total waste, he gained quite a bit of sales experience from those jobs. The constant negotiation with customers and learning the psychology behind making a sale is something he still uses today.

A little over a year ago, one of CR's friends decided he was going to open a gun range. This friend had extensive experience in business start ups much like the previously mentioned friend. We admired the plans over Christmas but really didn't give it much thought. One day last August CR stopped by to see the store on his way home from an interview. They got to talking and his friend offered him a job. The pay wasn't ideal and I am certain his friend didn't think he would even be interested. They mutually agreed that CR would work there "until something better came along".

CR personally has a small collection of guns and enjoys shooting at gun ranges or skeet but had no real experience behind the counter. He jumped in and applied himself like no other in the new experience. The job may have been "until something better came along" but he treated it as if he were going to retire from the place. He used his sales skills to sell guns and with his friendly personality he is great with the customers. He even had some natural leadership skills in there that he just never had a chance to use working on his own all those years.

Fast forward a year, and "something better" never came along. Only because CR loved his job so much he stopped looking. He was promoted last week to store manager. He is also teaching classes on gun safety once a week and gives private lessons. He knew very little about guns when he started but he immersed himself in the opportunity. The moral of the story? If you are out there looking, don't give up hope. Seek out opportunities in industries or tasks that make you happy. I have found that things have a way of popping in but you have to be open to the possibilities. Had CR dismissed taking the job at the gun store because of the lesser pay, he would have missed out on an opportunity for a job he really loves. We should all be so lucky. He smiles every day on his way to work.

Did I mention he has a company car? Good thing he doesn't mind being the center of attention. :)



In case you missed it (or maybe just want to vote again...). I'm a Chocolate Milk Refuel grant finalist! PLEASE follow this link to vote for me to join team refuel to help me earn some gas money for the road to the Beach 2 Battleship. Scroll down to find Karen Whitlock and click to vote. No registration or forms to fill out. You can vote once a day from now until September 15th :) THANK YOU SO MUCH!



8 comments:

Carolina John said...

That's pretty neat. I was also fortunate enough to land a new job back in June. I was anxious to get out of my old company that only wanted me to use about 1/3 of my skills and this new job is a much better fit. Proof that it all works out in the end.

Julie said...

I loved this story!! SO MUCH!
I love the company car almost as much :D

KC (my 140 point 6 mile journey) said...

Great message in that story Karen! I think a lot of people will see themselves when they read this. Life is too short to be stuck doing something that makes you unhappy. We are the only one's that can create the changes we need to grow.

lindsay said...

CR is a hard worker! I'm glad it worked out for him in the end.

Now I will work hard by going to vote for you.

ajh said...

Loving your job is worth a lot. Good story. Off to vote.

Amanda said...

That's awesome and sometimes you do have to try things out until you hit the right fit.

I've been at the same company for 8.5 years now and some days I have to remind myself I love the job, but most of the time it is my dream job. The best part is it allows me to do the other things I love - like running Disney races :)!

Glenn Jones said...

Thanks for this great story! I've been looking for 8 months now. At times it can be pretty depressing....

GISrunner said...

What a wonderful story ... that is incredible that he has been able to find such a good fit! Also voted for you - good luck!