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 GuideĀ® 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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