In the spring of 2003, I did the unthinkable and took a move back into the “ranch”, the home office in Billerica from Arizona. I did it based on two pieces of critical information provided by Jim Howley: I could live in Groton, a nearby town famous for its “snob zoning” and that “things move very quickly”, due to increased exposure. I would soon be disabused of that notion.
But back then, I was more than willing to expose myself.
In sales, everything thing you do means something. Every sales call, flight, road trip, lunch, e-mail, phone call, team meeting, and even the ability to tell a good joke could fatten your coffers.
My coffers were obese at the time.
Once in-house, everything I did meant exactly nothing. To me, it was senseless. I was totally underwhelmed. Even the air refused to move in 600-2. I would flip a coin in the morning to decide whether I would venture in. Or not.
Back then, you could stop by someone’s office and lose a whole morning. It was a look behind the curtain.
What did I do to myself?
The only marching orders I received from my new boss was, “Don’t get me in trouble.”
We were beyond broke at that point. It was rotten in Groton. The walking around money they gave us was gone quickly and the cost of living bump was a joke. It was terrifying. I had plenty of time to worry about food stamps during those long, senseless meetings.
I remember us holding each other once and crying when we found out customer service wasn’t going to hire her. She had no extensive work history.
One day I left work early to try to run my disillusionment off in the Nagog Woods next to my house. As I was turning onto my driveway, I noticed the outgoing red flag was up on the mail box. I didn’t usually check the mail because I was gone all day.
So I got out of my truck and checked just out of curiosity. It was a $300 check written from our dwindled bank account to an insurance company in Arizona to pay for her son’s car insurance.
Huh? We couldn’t put food on the table. The re-lo was killing us financially. BMS had just passed her over for that customer service job and I was seriously considering resigning and moving back out west.
So I just stood there in the driveway, numb. We had only been married a few years at that point we hadn’t had any major skirmishes.
No one understands a mother’s love better than me. But where was the trust? The communication? Weren’t we in this mess together?
When I get inside, my wife and her mother, who had just come up from New Jersey, were sitting at the kitchen table. In a slow burn, I pay my respects and place the opened, unsent envelope in front of her and then headed upstairs to my office.
My life partner quickly followed me up and we just stood there ….staring at each other. There were no words spoken. No explanations. None were needed.
After that, I did what I shouldn’t have done…looked the other way.
It would come back to haunt me.