Saturday, October 16, 2010

Fall From Grace "TRUE STORY"

My company is busier than anytime in the last 3 years, go figure. What is different? Are we in a real recovery? WHO are these customers?

ALL are existing customers, one sells cosmetics to one of the shopping networks, another has mental health company (appropriate expansion!), another has accounting practice, one is at one of the military bases.....but none are NEW BUSINESSES....startups and NONE are Consumers...homeowners. How does any economic revival sustain let alone THRIVE without the last 2 kicking in, without a strong pickup in new business origination?

2 banks we contacted about getting possible loans HAVE called us back....of course I will change my tune big time should that money come thru, depending on the strings attached...small businesses, even those once proud but fallen onto negatvie cash flow course, most are worth we want to be left with just BIG BOX STORES and a plain vanilla landscape? GM can lose $100's of BILLIONS and still be around....lose a few hundred thousand and not have access to bank credit and you go poof along with 20-50 good paying jobs....small business which creates majority of jobs in this country is stressed to max.

LOTS of money in money markets, busnesses said to have lots of cash, banks said to have lots of cash to loan.....FED has printied (electronically at least) $trillions of new money....does it then sit there on a computer screen and do no good? COULD a push of this sidelined money find its way into economy.....and we would experience ZImbabwe inflation that gold is sniffing around at?

My new found busy nature may be a blessing for me, but it has also coincided with the discovery that one of my key sales people, who WAS a top producer, has succumbed to the stress of what life has become for so to day existance.

I was wary of this persons appearence, and personality change, and work performance, but until last week did not know the depths from which it had fallen andhow it was effecting my company. For what I observed from this persons behavior, went far beyond the DEPRESSION they already admitted to.

I offered to PAY for the first session of psychiatric care......he did nothing. Week passed by and he looked worse, shabby appearence, sunken face....I gave him another chance to improve his work habbits, he began to lie about why he was either late or absent from work. Here when I need sales the MOST, my top producer was giving me PART TIME EFFORTS at best! I warned he MUST improve immediately, and if financial stress is part of his mood change, selling and the commisions that follow could improve that picture quickly.

Instead the following week it got worse, more time missed, more lies, more uncertainty. FINANLY I went on his computer and looked around his outlook messages....WHAT I FOUND WAS HORRIFYING.

Customers wondering why he had missed appointments, others waiting WEEKS for bids that never came, one designer seemed exasberated, the $90K potential bid one week late...."how's that bid coming?" well it wasn't. WHEN it finally did, 5 pages of pricing were "guessed" at, a total cluster f!

The next day I sat him down with one manager and asst who helped me collect the data and we tried to unravel what had happened. The answers were non sensical, and his appearence was even the more degraded and alarming.....I DID NOT RECOGNIZE THIS PERSON...this body snatcher. "You dont look like yourself....."yeah people have been saying that....."

"I just want to know what I am dealing with" He replied...."you want me to take a piss test?" YES, YES I do. "Good luck with that" "I don't have employment contract, I will take my customers with me!" Threats and denail.

Suspension followed and that brought us to this Fridays showdown. With job in balance (though he was not coming back to my company) you would think with one week, he would detox, clean up, TRY to come in looking like the old guy who kicked butt....we might have second thoughts. PLEADE for job? admit to poor performance and worse, neglect of job and customers...SEEK HELP....none of that happened.

In that week OFF, he came in looking like a scarecrow. Cloths limply hanging off of him....blood shot dark circles under eyes......a HUSK of a longer resembling the person I knew all these years...the decision to part company with HUSK MAN was inevitable...because I didn't know this person, he was nothing like the star we thought we had all these years...SO SAD.

"who's gonna write all that business now?......Howd it get to this? referring to me...he is blowing this way out of're cold man"

This is what happens to people when they give into the DARK SIDE, one of addiction to something, we will never know what....but pretty sure appearence and behavior spoke volumes as to what had happened to this once productive person....I have to move on and try to save the remaining 20 or so jobs many been with me for 20-30 years!

MY estimation is just in last 3 weeks near $500K of business was jeopordized and left ignored or dealt with improperly. because I acted when I did, so far all the dozen or so customers I uncovered have allowed to fix bids or send NEW person out to see what they need. None have been closed as of yet....I HAVE NO idea going back farther how much damage has been done.

My remaining sales staff, could not be busier with all the new found leads....if I get through this....this period in my life, business will NEVER be forgotten.

One customer asked me...."how have you remained in business?" all I could say was reduction of costs...lots of hard work.....(and putting off some creditors...paying as best I can).....would be AMAZING survival story for sure.

The HUMAN toll the stress of this economy, is countless and far reaching. ALL those NUMBERS you read, foreclosures....these are real people...some do best they can...have lost jobs...will lose health care and homes.....some lose themselves in a spiral of depression and or whatever they can get hands on, making loss even the manipulators and big cats at the banks hold the world as hostage...and FED RESERVE policies continue to degrade our currency, savings, and our life....and most look to them and our bobble head gov officilas for the answers ALL OF THEM HELPED to create.....kind of fitting the avg joe gets kicked out of home and is unemployed or under employed, we have LOST our top standing in the world, policies also hastening the loss of manufacturing jobs and more.....and the insiders get our money transferred via bailouts and more....the SILENCE IS DEAFENING


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