Long Way ‘Round

On this day in 2011 I began working for a very large financial services firm. It was my first real post-baseball job; I hated it. (Just before I accepted this position I worked for four days at a local car dealership training to be a salesman.)

I worked at that place for 288 calendar days. If it hadn’t been for the fact that my wonderful wife also worked there and that we commuted and ate lunch together, I don’t know if I could have lasted for 28 days.

For me, the work was tedious. I did work for the company group that provided service for wealthy clients. That fact didn’t make the job easier. Much of the time I found myself ordering new debit cards for the spoiled children of the wealthy or contacting company admins that their bosses had overdrawn their checking accounts.

What made the job more difficult for me was that I did not have a good supervisor. He was the ultimate company man and did not tolerate anyone who didn’t blindly drink the company Kool-Aid, which described me to a tee.

A ray of light seemed to appear about four or five months into my tenure. The woman who was the Managing Director of the group called to speak to me. (She worked in another city.) Of course, I was a bit anxious about her call as she had never called just to speak to me.

She said that she had just finished reading Moneyball by Michael Lewis and had noticed I was mentioned in the book. She asked if I could apply analytics to issues at the company, the first of which was whether or not data could be used to better predict how a potential employee would fare in a position with the “Wealthy Clients” group. I said, of course, that it was an empirical question but that I would very much like to be involved with a project like that.

After participating in two or three conference calls about this project over a two-month period I emailed the Managing Director and said that I was ready to get data and to move the project forward. Her response was basically, “Nothing happens too quickly around here, especially if it’s a new idea.” She asked if I would have interest in becoming an “analyst” as long as I also continued my customer service role. I told her I would think about it (although I already knew the answer) and get back to her. Two days later I emailed her that I would not have interest in a “hybrid” role, that my interest was in data analysis.

Every now and then I would email her and remind her of my interest in the first project and of my desire to move out of customer service. She would always say, “Be patient.” Well, I like to “joke” that I am not a doctor; doctors have patients (a homonym for patience, get it). That “joke” works better verbally than in writing. OK, maybe it doesn’t work at all.

Long way ’round…near the end of my stay with this company, and feeling very frustrated by virtually everything about it and my job, I began blogging as an attempt at catharsis. That blog, to which I have referred on Disaffected Musings, was hosted by the Evil Empire, aka Google.

At first I posted sporadically. More frustrated than ever, especially by the lack of progress with the first data project and my effort to move out of customer service and into analytics, I resigned from the position with the financial services company shortly after I began blogging. Out of the frying pan and into the fire…I found myself in an even worse job, as a data analyst for a boutique law firm that specialized in securities litigation. I lasted at that job for only 116 calendar days. Once again, I had a bad supervisor, a woman who spied on her husband, her children, her employees and treated the latter as if they were first-graders. (She probably treated everyone like that.)

About four years after resigning from the second job I had a particularly difficult conversation with someone very close to me and decided to write about that in the blog; I was still posting although infrequently. The next day while flipping through History of the American Auto by the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide® I saw this picture:



I cannot describe the feeling of joy and contentment that I felt and decided to show this photo in the blog with the post title, “Car Of The Day.” The figurative light bulb appeared and I realized that I would very much enjoy writing about cars. I began posting regularly and continued to do so, on the WordPress platform, after the Evil Empire arbitrarily and cruelly deleted my first blog and its 600+ posts.

While I am hardly a happy camper, the fact that I am no longer spending 40+ hours a week in a job I despise is a good thing. The fact that I cannot find a part-time or consulting role doing something I enjoy is not a good thing, but I strongly suspect that such a place is not in my future. That’s why this blog is important to me.






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8 thoughts on “Long Way ‘Round

  1. My sister tells me there’s only one thing from keeping me a rich spoiled brat. I don’t have enough money to be rich. >grin<
    Seriously, thanks for sharing. I always appreciate your views, especially when it comes to cars.


  2. I was never completely happy working for someone else. Some jobs were better then others, 8 years with “the meatball” was an exceptional opportunity. If they hadn’t closed the facility I worked out of, I likely would have retired there. However, once I went out on my own I was quite happy. Often times broke in the early years, but still fairly content as I had total control of my work environment. The last 15 years have been really good, since I merged my company with a friends (similar business). These days I don’t work the amount of hours I used to, and have the employee’s handle more of the day to day stuff. I do still handle all the estimating, and will run projects for certain customers, sometimes for work that we are not doing, just as a project manager. This recent virus quarantine has knocked some of our work back, but we have a few still working as they are in “essential” industries.I guess I’m semi retired at this point, but will likely never fully retire.


    1. Glad to see a comment from you, sir.

      I was also never completely content working for someone else, even while working for major league baseball teams. My best employment situation was when I ran my own baseball consulting business for 10+ years. Now, I would like to consult for Mecum or Barrett-Jackson, crunching numbers and writing. I doubt that will happen, but what is life without dreams?


  3. I find myself identifying with this post. I’ve worked for a number of companies as a graphic designer/production artist. Fifteen years ago I left one company I really liked for a couple reasons, mostly because at the time there was no path to advance (I was sole member of the art dept, though now there’s a studio director and I think 6 other members). I then was at Columbia House (yes that one), I left about 3 yrs before the Canadian arm hit bankruptcy.

    I then worked for 2 different mid-sized print shops. The first saw business decline, I was let go before they were absorbed by another printer (itself subsequently absorbed by a larger printer). The second was a constantly struggling company, family-owned, that I stayed at for 5 years, suffering through yearly wage cutbacks and various staff departures until a large client left and I was laid off.

    Now I’ve been freelancing a year, struggling to build a decent client base. I started my blog from my love of cars, but also frankly because I’d love to somehow get into working for an auto museum, or freelancing as a photographer and designer for a hot rod magazine, or even running some classic car shows.

    That’s the dream anyway. Until then… just gotta keep beating the bushes for whatever clients there are!


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