Tuesday, February 24, 2009

My blog for the Day! A lil (or a lot) about my ...second home

I have been thinking this blog over and over in my head for a while now. I don't know exactly WHY I want to write about this, or where to star, or what I need to say. Something needs to be written though. Hopefully it will flow and make sense. Let's see

When I first thought of writing the blog, it was going to be more in depth. It was going to tell you how my employers met and the way that they started the company. Sounds boring, huh? Not if you knew my employers. I asked Greg (one of the two owners) some questions about how he and Butch came to know each other. Was it a friendship that turned professional. Did they go to high school together, and have big dreams and talk about "making it big"?
Greg looked at me and kinda smirked and said "getting kinda personal aren't you?" You'd have to be around Greg for a length of time to see how humorous this is. That is just his personality.
SO, I can't tell you how the company was started. I could, but it would not be 100% accurate, and that is not fair.

What I can tell you is how I came to work for this GREAT company. This little building filled with such incredible,loyal,noble,sometimes dysfunctional yet profound and unique people with Big personalities.

I worked as a waitress (I had a few other more "professional,clerical" jobs than that in the past) in a little dive when Nick and I first started dating. My parents had lost their home (my father lost his job,and my mother caved into drinking under the financial stress) and I asked my roommate to leave so that my parents could stay with me.Waiting tables in the a.m worked with my schedule best. I was paid cash daily and got off at 2pm. Nick was embarrassed of my "profession" and not only that was worried about Andrea and I having insurance. I was too! I looked everywhere for a normal 9-5. I have worked free-lance with Calvin Klein Fragrance (no insurance) and have worked the Cosmetics Counter for department stores (bad hours).

I had no luck finding an administrative job on my own, so I reluctantly called a Temp. Agency. They told me that they had a position. Pay wasn't excellent, but IF..that is IF, you were hired perm, the company paid ALL of your benefits. I would be an idiot not to go for an interview. I had another company that was willing to pay more per hour that I was to interview with the following week (not all benefits would be paid there). The Agent told me that she had sent many very qualified women to the first office that I had an interview with, and the owner rejected all applicants. She had no idea what he was looking for, all of the women were EXTREMELY qualified. That made me feel hopeless. These women were more qualified than I was.

I went into my interview, dressed "business casual" at the owners request. I walked into the small office and was greeted by Greg. Butch (the other owner) was out that day. Greg asked me a few questions about past employment history and availability, and within 10 minutes, I was hired. I was exited to say the least, although I did not like the idea of being a RECEPTIONIST! I felt like I would be the little person. Oh,well...means to an end. I would keep my eyes open.

My first day I was greeted by Donna and told that I was replacing her at the front,and answering calls. She was "too busy" with work to answer phones as well (not entirely true) and was made Office Manager. I laughed to myself in my head (how hard is it to manage such a small office).I had no idea what I was in for.
The phone didn't ring much that day, and I had nothing to do but stare at the walls. Greg told me he was ordering a computer for me, and Donna said out loud (now remember this) "I think this is nonsense, all she is to do is answer the phones". I think Greg wanted to give me a few more tasks and keep me occupied. Staring at the wall for hours can get monotonous.

I got to know the people in the office slowly as time went by and everyone was pleasant, but hard to read. Robin started at the same time as I did, and although our positions and personalities are very different, we became friends fast. There are only 3 women in the building. Donna was definitely not the type of woman we would do lunch with.

All of the men would have lunch together, and I think the first people that I got to know well were Ted,(who at the time hated Donna and thought I should "replace" her) Donna (who hated me, and thought I should be replaced with someone more "qualified"). (If anyone is qualified to "answer phones"-it's me. Ha Ha...much practice in high school) Robin,Frank (Butch's quiet but kind and extremely intelligent son) and Mike. Mike is the father figure to all of the Project Managers here. He is the only Senior Project Manager. In the morning he would show me pictures of family and we would drink coffee and talk (we were the first in the office then). I really warmed up to him.

For months things ran smoothly. I had a few small tasks to do each day, but the people who came in the office were delighted with me,and me with them. I started to feel like I had built relationships with the clients and some of the employees in the building. I was happy.

One Monday morning, I came to work, holding back tears.That weekend I had a traumatic experience(which I have told you about) and had to watch my mother as she was wheeled out in an ambulance. I had to make a sudden and life changing decision to kick my parents out, cut ties with them for however long needed for my daughter and my own sake. I had no where to go( when my mother was released I tried to kick them out and the police, with a sad expression told me that I had to go through the whole Eviction process to have them leave,which could take 30 days). It was best if my daughter and I left. My lease was up, so I thought long and hard about moving to New Bern with Nick.

Now I just had to wait for the owners to come in to tell them that I would not be returning the next day (notice wasn't needed with a temp agency) and that the agency would find my replacement.

TO my surprise, Butch was the only person in the office that morning when I walked in. He normally comes in later. I asked to talk with him, shut the door, had a seat, and as soon as I opened my mouth began to ball. I told him that I was leaving, and when he asked "why" ,without pride, due to the newness,hurt, and shock of the situation, I told him the entire story. His mouth dropped. Butch reminds me of Tony Soprano and at this time, I did not know he had a soft side.
He calmy told me to write down ALL of my bills and find the number for the temp agency. I did so, and he told me that I was not moving to New Bern...."that was a bad idea", since I was un-wed. He said that he wanted to keep me at the office, and that he wanted me to be independent. If I were to move with Nick, I wouldn't be. He called the Temp Agency, asked how much it would be to buy my contract (something the Agent told me she had never heard of in her 30 years of experience) and took the piece of paper to Ted, the accountant. He had me sit and wait in the office.
When he came back, he gave me a figure of what I would make and explained that it was a raise "of sorts" and that it was not much, but I could pay for Andrea and I to live without depending on anyone. He had my locks changed at the condo I lived at, and helped me get into new apartment. (my parents wouldn't leave, I was taken for all the money I had at this point). No one was to know how much I made, or what happened,accept for him,Ted,Mike, and Greg. Somehow Donna found out.

As I went into thank Greg as well (Butch of coarse called him too) I couldn't look him in the face. I just cried and cried. He said nothing.Greg is uncomfortable when he sees people cry. His wife called me later that day and told me all about her story of being a single mother until she met Greg, and that I was fortunate for this company, and that they enjoyed having me work for them. I had never spoke much to his wife before that, but after talking with her, I was so taken back. Now here is a woman who drives a Lexus hybrid, who gets to travel around the world, and owns a toy store, telling me of hard times and struggles and how I reminded her of herself once. She is actually so different than what I had pictured. Not at all a primadonna. She takes in stray cats and has the vet heal their wounds and gets them fixed. Her and Greg still go on road trips together, and love to wear running shoes. They both like to garden and have a love for The Beatles. Had she not called, I would have never known that she was once a young single mother to 4 children.4!!!

Greg understands the importance of family. He has 4 stepchildren and a daughter of his own. He feels for those who struggle, and is a constant source of support for his employees...whether it be us in the office, or the guys out in the field. He thinks about things and is a business man, with a heart...who could make more than what he makes at times ( not that he does bad)if he did business the way that many other G.C's do, but puts honesty and loyalty first. He may not be the "pep-talking" type like Mike, but he genuinely cares for all of his employees, and respects everyone as equals. I mean that........everyone! He has taught his daughter to do the same.

Over the past year or so, I have gotten to know Greg better than Butch, but I am still very thankful to both of them and hold them both on pedestals. This experience, that day, this company, these people, have made such a great impact on my life. Not only was I given a lot (probably over half bc I cried like a baby) but also I was taught more than that...about kindness, loyalty, and fellowship! I am blessed.
I have been offered other jobs, one making $10,000 more a year, but I could not picture myself working anywhere else.

Sometimes I think about it like "Am I going to be a 60 year old receptionist/administrative assistant,and what am I learning to further my career". And I am proud to say that I will stay here as long as they will keep me, and money can't buy happiness.Your "Job title" can't buy happiness, Pride..but not happiness, if what you are doing makes you happy. The people who walk through this door,everyone from the UPS driver, to Subcontractors, to Architects and Doctors make me happy, and most of them agree that if even for a brief few moments that we speak,I make them happy then too! I feel fulfilled.
"If you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life"


  1. cool story. like you, i could not see myself leaving this job as I work for some WONDERFUL people. When I had to take in my niece and nephews, they were understanding. At Christmas I was worried things were going to be tough because my husband was without a job, I had missed so much work because of the kids, etc... but they made it happen for us.

  2. I loved this story. It sounds like you were destined to work for them and I can totally relate to not needing to move on when you're already in a good place! (Money does NOT buy happiness.)

  3. good post. I sort of love my job. wish i loved it more! is that really your house???

  4. Ok...so, I'm a little gullible. :)

    Good outlook on life and on jobs. We should all b eglad we have one these days...whether we like it or not. I def. like mine more than I used to. :)


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