New BeginingThe Past:
I was an outbound sales person at a satellite programming company, they moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma. I was a software support engineer for a leading Customer Relationship Management software company. They sent me to Reading England for 6 weeks, that turned into 6 months. I did so well there, I was offered a higher paying consulting position, which I turned down to go back the US to be with my new wife. Weeks after I came back I was laid off, made redundant due to the Internet bubble bursting. Everyone without a BS in Computer Science was cut loose, regardless of performance. I then became a very successful high school teacher in one of the toughest schools in Brooklyn, NY. The school was closed due to politics, even though test scores and academic success were on the rise with some of the most forgotten teenagers in New York City. I wavered in the system for a year, unable to find a new position. When I finally found one, I was run out of the system after turning in a male student's journal that had evidence of sexual abuse, which ended up being at the hand of our hand-picked by the Mayor, Principal. As he was being investigated, he conveniently pointed the spotlight on me. I did eventually win a lawsuit over the false accusations. But my teaching career is done, for now.
Now I am venturing into a business where I am the only one who will steer my ship. I will be selling precious metals on a purely commission basis. The upside is the possibility of making a great sum of money, getting my family out of debt and erasing the most stressful part of my marriage. Paying for my 9 year old daughter's tuition before she is in high school is very appealing.
The mentor I will be flying under owns a 3 million dollar house and has a net worth far above that. While I was interviewing with him I over heard he was having trouble getting the new office together, as the guy he hired wasn't working out. I had recently read that the way to get a mentor to be a mentor is to solve their immediate problems so they will be energized to share knowledge with you. Thus I have been spending the last two days painting, ordering carpet, building counters and setting up phone and internet lines. I told him straight up that I am not a kiss ***, but a problem solver. He then asked what problems I needed to solve, I responded, transitioning from money as a problem to money as a tool. Then I quoted a true story out of the book, Think and Grow Rich, a man decided to give up everything and become a partner with Thomas Edison. he had little in money and had to travel with the cargo on the train. Edison recalled that the man came in looking like a tramp, but he saw the desire in his eyes. Edison hired him at a nominal salary. The man performed well for two years, waiting for his decision to come to fruition. Then Edison developed the dictaphone. Non of his salesman thought it could be sold. This man took on the project and made millions of dollars in the 1920's and was a partner with Thomas Edison. My new mentor had read the book like a Bible adn was impressed and asked me why then did I show up in Oscar de la Renta suit. The suit was bought at a discount store a few years ago, a last year's fashion find, but a timeless cut. I only paid $100 for it and had completely forgotten who made it.
He was there with me today. trying to use a paint brush, trying to do a few mechanical things, yet actually just trying to get to know what makes me tick. We are both fathers of young children, and he asked some parenting questions, which worked well since I have been the primary care taker for the last few months. Knowing that I was being tested, I also mentioned that I have arranged child coverage.
I am in for the ride of my life. The guy is crazy in a Drill Sergeant sort of way. He tried to push me around bragging about playing golf with President Clinton and Michael Jordan in the Bahamas. Asking me if I knew his reputation, asking if that mattered. I told him regardless of your money, I am taller with more hair, but you can teach me amazing things. It was all in jest, but a subtle way of showing him I won't be pushed around.
Tomorrow I start working with clients. He told me to expect to make $1000 tomorrow. That is more money than I have ever made in one day and it sounds great. Knowing I am a former teacher, he wants me to cut my teeth working with some top tier clients who are hard sells. Eventually as our office grows, he will move out to open another one and this office can be mine. I again will be a teacher, coaching my team to fortunes. It may not be, but the opportunity is too good to pass up.
I know that financial success is not the answer to all that ails. I know that there is a danger believing money is the answer to all problems. But I also know that I married one of the most grounded people in the Universe. It is time to test my theory that money is not evil, it will just make you more of what you are. If you are selfish, you will be more selfish. If you are generous, your can be more generous. Hence I plan on taking one of our friends who is making a minimal salary to Disney World with her daughter, as our friends did for us when we we very far from the means for such a trip.
Last summer I happened to find a $100 bill on the side of the road just blowing in the breeze of an abandoned parking lot.. I took my daughter and her best friend and brother out to dinner. I bought some nice flowers for my wife, put $20 in the bank, donated to my church and handed a woman with three kids waiting for a bus a $10 bill, telling her I found a $100 and wanted to share. She said I just bought her and her family dinner. That was cool.
So I am on a venture, maybe the ride of a lifetime, maybe a crash and burn. A risky decision at a time when we are in some pretty serious financial need. Desperate times require desperate measures, but maybe, just maybe every crash and burn has been part of a life lesson, that I need to work where as the poet Henley wrote in his poem Invictus, "I am the master of my fate and the captain of my soul."
Best of Luck To All