The Gently Sloping Career Ladder III

Posted by in Career Advice


When I left off on my last blog I had put on a suit and was going down to apply for a job that was more in line with what I wanted even though I had been hired that day by another company.  For shame you say (Like you’d say that) that isn’t sporting.   No, but it isn’t dishonest.  I don’t think the fast food restaurant I didn’t work for went out of business without me as a manager either.

When I arrived I had to take a test for my new job.  Math is very important in a lumberyard.   This is a good tip for jobseekers.  Brush up on your math and English.  There are free tools on line you can use.  You don’t know what awaits you at the interview.

At any rate, I knew I had the job almost from the start.  No one else had a resume or wore a suit.  Remember, a suit shows that you respect the person for whom you are interviewing.  I don’t care if the job is to sweep floors.   No one ever lost a job that I know of by wearing a suit.

The job I applied for was at an 84 Lumber as a manager-trainee, and I got the job.  It turned out to be a good move on my part.  84 Lumber is like the Harvard of Lumberyards.  And you can make good money in this field.  I know people who make high six figures working in this area as their career tops out.

But, I will also admit that it was hard work.  52 hours a week minimum.  No weekends off because my boss took all of them.  We all loved him and didn’t care that he got them off; it was that we never seemed to get two days off in a row on the other days. 

And try walking on cement thirteen hours a day with no heat in winter.  Also, and I kid you not, you could get frost bite at the cash register.  

Because of this we could never keep a cashier.  How angry do you think an ice cold customer gets when he only wants two nails, and he is behind 5 guys building a house, and you can’t run just a cash register for guys like him, or you’d not have enough people to load lumber and then you’d have ten ice cold angry guys in the other line waiting on lumber. 

The problem was 84’s idea of personalized homeowner service butted against the fact that we had a huge multi-million dollar a year builder that drained manpower from the homeowner sales.  Now you’d have a contractor salesperson do this account and 84 Lumber does. It is a great company and has learned and fixed all the problems huge accounts like this cause for homeowner sales.  But then this was new.

I got fed up eventually.  I broke up with my 4th girlfriend because of the hours and no consecutive days off, and I told my best friend that “this one I actually liked.”  I then made a bad move.

I quit my 84 job without a new better job.  I jumped off that gently sloping career ladder.  I’d get back on it again, but this jump off taught me a valuable lesson.  Don’t leave a good paying job even if it is hard on your body and your personal life without a better job.  You know what was even harder than my lumberyard job where in my first year I made $ 30,000 at the age of 28 in 1987.  I was making $19,000 a year at 30. 

I will tell you how it ends next week and wrap it up with good advice.  A hint.  I retired at 50, so the story has a happy ending.


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