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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

My New Chair

Yesterday I received a new office chair. The black, high backed, very cushioned executive model many people probably wish to get and to get to sit in for years. Let me preface this with a few facts. This July will mark my twentieth year with this company. Over 2/3 of my time with this company I served in my current position. My failure to move up the corporate ladder is because I have hit the top. I report to my boss the General Manager or directly to the owner of the company. I am very grateful to be accepting a new office chair rather than a gold watch as I am only 45 years old and this old dog has a lot years left in him.

I requested a new chair because my last one would slowly sink until my armpits were sitting on the desk top. I could stand up and hit lever on the side and it would come back up to slowly sink again over the course of the next hour or so as I sat it in it. It was worn out, and shot.

As I was pushing the old chair out of my office, a person commented, “Did you get a new chair because the old one wasn’t comfortable enough!” As the evening wore on that comment kept coming back to me, and gave me the idea for this post.

The chair of the Operations Manager of medium to large sized company, metaphorically speaking, is not a comfortable chair in the first place. During my basic training, and rise through the lower levels of the company I learned more about this company and business than any school could teach a person. As I went from a warehouse worker who didn’t know a damn thing about tires to a route driver. From a route driver to order entry (CS REP), to warehouse manager. My first assignment as Warehouse Manager was to move the entire warehouse in six months while the company stayed opened, received freight, and shipped tires to our customers. Many people want the chair, but few are willing to put in the work and determination to earn it. Few people work at their given position in a company with the mind set of, ‘If I was the boss and I ran the place, what would I want myself to be doing?’ Then go and do it!

It’s not a comfortable chair, in that you never know what that next phone call might be, but whatever it is it’s your job to handle it. As Harry S. Truman, who was from Independence, where I live used to say, “The Buck Stops Here!” I have had to deliver terrible news to employees, fire them, gotten reports that a driver just flipped a truck two and half hours away and now it is time to handle the shit, make things happen, and put it all back together. I saw this position and what it did to the two previous men who sat in this chair.

No the chair is not comfortable! EVER! It is a place to sit my ass while I work. To those who are reaching and striving for the top, be careful of what you wish for, you just may get it! For those who want the top and just do what you have to in order to get by, manage through the day . . . To those people . . . They didn’t notice the new bulletin board. I wore out a bulletin board that was mounted on my office wall. I have been through three different Date stamps for paper work during my time in my current position, my newest one I got in 2010 and it is good for five years. You reap what you sow. Hard work, dedication and time are amazing things.

Is it any wonder the guy who impressed me on the movie, “Apollo 13”, was the controller? Not the guys stuck in the ship who may die, but the guy on the ground who said, “Failure is not an option.” The guy who won’t leave until everybody can go home, safely and the mission is complete.

God Bless and Have a Great Day!

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