Ever Thought Of Leaving Your Nice & Regular Paycheck?
I few years ago, I had left a job that I wasn’t enjoying to help take care of my mom who was dying of cancer. It was a very depressing and rather scary time. I had never lost a parent before and since I was no longer a productive part of society and not bringing home the bacon, I decided I needed to do something constructive to get my mind off my mom and my own troubles.
I had quite an extensive background in retail from working for Venture Stores (a former discount division of May Co.) in a variety of positions from the store level to the corporate office where I made presentations to the Executive Committee of the company on a monthly basis. Next, I left Venture to go to work for Apple Computer’s sales organization back in the early days of Apple. I worked in a territory in the mid-west to help make the Apple dealers better merchants. Later, I went on to start and build my own multi-store retail business during the late eighties and early nineties. It was a great little business and I had a great time running it and joining the world of the entrepreneur, even on my small scale. After all, in many ways it is, or was the American dream! (Sometimes I believe the new American dream is to collect welfare.)
In My Case, I Decided To Write A Book!
I was well aware that I knew a lot about retail. I also knew deep inside that I was meant to be a merchant. My problem was that after being away from retailing for a while and then being unemployed, I began to have doubts about my own business self-worth. I truly believe when you’re not producing you are dying. And we have too many people in this country right now who aren’t producing, and thus the country seems to be dying. I think after years of a career you also forget about some of the things you’ve learned along the way. Have you ever surprised yourself about some of the things that you forgot you knew? Sometimes when you forget all that you’ve learned along the way, you begin to judge yourself by the question, “are you marketable or valuable to any business?”
As a result, I’ decided that writing a book about some of the many things in retail that I had learned, was the answer! I believed there were a lot of retailers that could use my book, based on my observations of most small retailers!
I began writing specific chapters or small blurbs of information on a variety of subjects as they came to me. Sometimes I wrote as a result of things I observed in a store. Sometimes I wrote about my observations of how the industry has been changing and how many retailers are not keeping up with the times. At times I would see or hear about the most outlandish and stupid things that other business owners had done and would mutter to myself, “why am I the one that’s unemployed or without a business?”
Writing A Book Is Good For Your Ego!
The really great thing that I realized as I approached the end of writing my book was that I had about a 330 page book that I knew would be helpful to anyone who was trying to build a retail business. I titled it, “A Line Out The Door,” and knew myself at the time that I would have loved to have this book in my hands back when I was first starting in retail. It made me feel good regardless of what any other person thought of it. Most importantly, after you’ve written a book like this, you realize, “hey I know some stuff!” It’s like getting a promotion or getting a good grade on an important final! No one will ever be able to take that feeling of accomplishment away from me. For this reason alone, if any of you feel like you have a book in you, by all means go ahead and make the effort. For me, it was actually very rewarding as well as fun, even if no one buys it. And by the way, I still learned a lot throughout the process. I even came up with a website for retailers called RetailRichez.
The thing I didn’t realize or anticipate was the reaction by many of those around me. Relatives have been the most surprising. My wife, daughter and son were supportive and my son’s word’s were, “that’s pretty cool dad.” My brother pleasantly surprised me at his interest in what I had done. I have a brother-in law, Glenn who has been very supportive and complimentary. This meant a lot because he had owned his own retail business.
Now I realize I didn’t exactly write “War & Peace” or even “Harry Potter” and I realize that I didn’t make any bestseller lists. I know the book had a more narrow subject niche in terms of who might be interested in reading it, but I have been amazed at the people in my overall family that couldn’t even muster up the will to say, “Congratulations.” They never asked to look at it. And if they have looked at it, they have never even commented on it to me. Not one word! A couple of them were even schoolteachers. Wouldn’t you think any school-teacher or relative for that matter, could be somewhat positive or even encouraging about someone who sits down and makes the effort to write a book? I’ve had more interest and enthusiasm from total strangers than many of my own family members!
I understand that books are a dime a dozen in this world, but in any given family it is still a rare thing. I’ve even handed a book to friends or pointed it out on a table right in front of them. Some never opened the cover. Others breezed through it in less than 10 seconds taking a very tertiary glance. Maybe they were looking for pictures! (I had pictures as well.) They handed it back as if to say, “ No thanks, I’m trying to cut back. . . not interested!” Thanks to my experience, I sincerely hope that anyone who reads this will whole heartedly support any family member or friend that takes on the task, the discipline, the work and eventually makes it happen whether it’s a book or even a business of some kind!
I wonder if before I wrote the book, what would have been said if I had asked some of these friends and relatives, what they thought about my writing a book. I doubt that it would have been very encouraging. Maybe at best I might have gotten a “whatever you think” or “whatever you want to do.”
To Those OF You Who Have Jobs You Don't Like
One of the things that I learned over the years is that many (not all) of those who are working for a regular paycheck are not generally very positive or even very happy people. It doesn't make a difference whether you are a banker, schoolteacher or truck driver. Some of you probably don't feel or seem very interesting and many of you seem to want to talk down or discourage anything that the risk taker's, artists, and entrepreneurial types try to do to make themselves happy or move their lot in life forward.
- “Wealth is not his that has it, but his that enjoys it.” Benjamin Franklin
I want to re-emphasize that there is absolutely nothing wrong with those who want to work for a regular paycheck and are happy about it. We all need to find our way of contributing to society, whatever it is. We certainly can't all suddenly go out and support our family by being an instant author!
Are you working to please you? Or, are you working to please others?
And if not, why not? My next question would be, why do so many of you seem to want to kill the dreams of others. Why do some of you laugh or think there is something wrong with us risk takers, artists or whatever?
My answer to any and all is, regardless of what happens with my book or whatever happens with those who own businesses, we got out their in the playing field and we laid it on the line! Life is too short! I’m sure all of you have heard of the poor guy who worked hard all his life and put up with a very mediocre or poor job. Then the day came for retirement and it was his time to reap all his rewards, but he had a heart attack weeks later. Sometimes it’s not a heart attack but a market crash or something major changes all of the poor guy’s plans.
- “Do not put off till tomorrow what can be enjoyed today.” Josh Billings
Think about it . . . would you rather be the person who is just happy and positive and enjoying life, or the person who has a "good" job but hates it? Many of these people believe that life should be about getting a regular paycheck at noon of each payday and don’t want to risk a thing! They don’t want us or anyone else to take any chances. At least they don’t want the risk to be of anything significant! Where would the world be without people who will take risks?
I ask everyone out there to respect those who want to contribute, but want do it on their own terms. There is nothing wrong with the pursuit of happiness. Life or career will not devote itself to making you and you’re your family happy. You alone must devote yourself to finding that.
Don't Settle. There Is A Cost For That As Well!
Life doesn't guarantee happiness, but this country guarantees your right to pursue your happiness!
Too many people are stopped in their tracks because they’re either told, or they believe there’s not enough money, or there’s not a regular paycheck in a particular field. So, instead they choose to be almost anything that isn’t too difficult or too controversial or too risky. Too often these are the people that end up with what looks to be a nice career or satisfying job, but they’re really not happy. Some of them are bitter and frustrated and it seems they want us to stay that way as well. I strongly believe that we would all probably be far happier (even without a good or regular paycheck) if we were not spending our lives in a job that does not fulfill us. If your job does fulfill you, I respect you for your choice and I’m happy for you. Please be happy for me. . . or the rest of us!
- “There are two things to aim at in life: first, to get what you want; and, after that, to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second.” Logan Pearsall Smith
Are You Happy With What You Do Everyday?
If you are not happy with what you’re doing in your work, do something about it. I believe that too often, resentment and frustration shadows many of you who have a career and a regular paycheck; maybe even a fat paycheck, but many of you will always wonder or feel that there’s something else you could or should have done. I highly recommend you do some soul searching and dig down deep into your dreams and the things that make you happy as you are the only one who has a clue of what you really want out of life (even if it’s writing a book that no one reads). You owe it to yourself to follow through with what brings you happiness and self-respect. After all, what else is life for? Without some passion for doing my day-to-day work, regardless of how much money I made or what kind of automobile I owned, I would just as well be put in a pine box and buried today!
When we ask ourselves the question, “What do we want?” there is no right or wrong answer. There is only our own personal answer—the one that we know deep inside that is right.
Get out there and do it. . . I don’t believe you’ll ever regret it.
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