Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Day 80 - An Offer as Psychic Capital

          I have to say that the Triond thing is not working. The martini article looked like it was going to take off, but fizzled after the initial spurt of activity generated by posting the link on my Facebook wall. I don’t have a place other than Facebook from which to generate traffic, and traffic is key. I have a couple of other recipes that I am going to put up to see if that might be the way to go. I’m a pretty fair cook. Maybe I can get a rep for recipes, maybe not. There are a lot of cooks on the Internet. It would be hard to stand out from the crowd. I’d need a distinguishing handle. Middle aged white guy who likes to cook occasionally is probably not going to cut it. It would be nice to make a little money online. I don’t think it’s too much to ask.
          The last few weeks of my job with Quilnutz ended up being one of the most satisfying periods in my entire employment history. I was lured away. It started with a phone call from a recruiter. I’ve had dozens, maybe hundreds, just like it before and since. They always start out as a fishing expedition. “This is so-and-so from such-and-such executive recruiters. We’re looking for a controller with manufacturing experience in a custom build environment. Do you know anyone who might be interested?”
This time I did know someone who might be interested—me. I was sick and tired of daily struggle with Fische and with Ivan. It had become obvious to me that we were never going to be allowed to perform up to the levels required to earn our stock. My paid up future had been denied by Ivan and his henchmen. They were apparently happy to lose their shirts to guarantee that Henry, Mike, and I never got a dime for our company. Without that hope, there was no reason for me to stay and put up with the abuse. I had no desire to accumulate data and file reports on my own undoing. At that point I would have been surprised if division survived more than another six months. Quilnutz had ruined our business, ruined its own investment, and ruined the future I thought I had. It was time to get gone, so I did.
          The recruiter’s client was in Alabama. Let’s call them Albatross. They were looking for a replacement controller for their yacht segment as the current controller was retiring. I was very familiar with Albatross. Henry had been an Albatross dealer, and a very successful one, before I went to work for him. Albatross had been in business for 75 years and in the boat business since the early sixties. It was a reliable and respected firm with an established customer base. It had just been sold to a UK based holding company. Post merger Albatross had $600 million in cash in the bank. Things there looked very good indeed.
          I had a phone interview with their Alabama controller and their HR director that I thought went very well. Apparently they did as well because the very next day they invited me down to Alabama for a face-to-face. I flew down on Sunday night for a Monday interview. The Alabama controller met me for breakfast. Their only reservation about me was my association with Henry. Seems they had parted company on a sour note over Henry’s troubles with the IRS. There had been other allegations at the time—all groundless as it turned out—but they made the folks at Albatross nervous anyway. They wanted to make sure that I hadn’t been involved. That problem was easy enough to lay to rest, and they were happy as they could be to entertain me after that. I met a good bit of the accounting staff as well as the vice president in charge of production, the head engineer, the boat controller I was replacing, and the CFO. I dazzled them all, and in several weeks time I had an offer I couldn’t refuse.
          Having an offer is a wonderful thing. It is almost as good as having kiss-my-ass money. I’d spent a lot of time trying to accumulate the latter—an amount so substantial that you can look a work associated antagonist right in the eye at the slightest provocation and say “kiss my ass,” secure in the knowledge that, although they will not in fact kiss your ass, they are powerless to conjure up any misery for you. I wanted to enjoy it as long as I could. An offer takes the sting out of every bad thing in the workplace. The only problem with an offer is that you can’t hold it in reserve for an extended period of time like you can kiss-my-ass money. An offer has a limited life, usually not more than a few days. I took a few days to negotiate a better deal with Albatross. I got a little more money and delayed the date they wanted me to start by a few weeks. Then I accepted.
          I figured I had a few days at any rate to enjoy myself at Quilnutz before I had to tell them I was leaving. I wanted to play my offer like a poker hand, throwing it down at the last possible moment to the everlasting surprise of whoever thought they had the advantage over me at the time. I hoped that it would be Fische. Fische would be the best, but Ivan would be pretty good. It didn’t work out that way. I didn’t get to have a big show of bravado and unsportsmanlike gloating. No dancing in the end zone. No real drama. What I got was better.

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