Bring on 2008

December 30th, 2007 by John Morris

Our county has a regional radio station with announcers doing yeoman’s duty in diverse shows. One show is a garage sale where listeners offer items for sale. The on-air talent keeps it interesting, and it is a welcomed pause from free radio.

One day, the announcer got confused while trying to keep everything on track. He used a phrase I’ve not thought much about before, but I saw how apt it was for me. He said, “I’m getting ahead of myself.” By trying to do too much, he was working out of his comfort zone and mucking things up.

My 2008 new year’s resolution is to not get ahead of myself.

I resolve to work at the pace my mind and body clock regulate. I will not agonize about if what I’m doing is less important than other waiting tasks. I resolve to budget my time and talents. I will apply them solely to the task in front of me. I further resolve to beg off projects when the load threatens to place me back into the land of getting ahead of myself.

As I affect this change, both my work life and home life will improve. It’s a worthy goal.

Wish me luck as I wish you luck with your coming year.

Rookie mistake #2

December 28th, 2007 by John Morris

Thinking everything I post must be prose.

My writing style is 20 minutes of writing and 120 minutes of rewriting. I keep going back in to rephrase or revive or restructure the piece. I guess I worry too much about petty details. Got to work on this.

I’ll not overlooking the fact it’s taken me a lifetime to have something to say on a subject.  So some quality time spent obsessing seems in order.

The life of a salesman

December 24th, 2007 by John Morris

January 2 is a landmark day if your job is in sales.

On this day, you know how good your past year was. Also by this day, you know how much better your next year needs to be.

Our employers call out for more sales because sales are pivotal to growth. They know new years will bring increased costs- each year does. There will be raises in pay, insurance and everything else. To counter these  increases, there must be more sales. Just matching last year’s numbers means less profit along with no growth. This is a death knell for businesses.

We humble sales people hardly have time each year to catch our breath and pass around kudos before the hammer drops.

Don’t misunderstand my position on the rest of the work team. We are all important. When one employee goofs off, the whole company must adjust. But I will be clear about one point, “Nothing gets done until someone sells something.”1.   Sales light the kindling that starts the pot boiling. Sure those who make products; ship them or keep track also hold the fate of companies in their hands. But it’s sales that give the others something to do.

As a group, those of us in sales are not revered. Most people call up bad stereotypes when they meet a salesman. I don’t blame them; there’s enough bad examples out there. And the stereotypes exist because untalented sales people think that how they’re suppose to act.

Hold those who sell to you to a higher standard. Listen to their words for comforting honesty. If it’s not there, then your guy is not being your agent. You want to feel you made a good buying decision when you present your credit card. If not, put it back until you get the feedback you deserve. Make them earn your business.

Good sales people want lifetime customers not quick and easy sales. This is the way they can keep selling more every year for the same company instead of looking for new jobs.

Maybe my next blog will have a formula for grading a sales person. Until then, trust your instincts; they’ve served you well so far.

1. author unknown but it’s not me

I like this being sixty-two.

December 23rd, 2007 by John Morris

Being sixty-two feels right.

To get here, I’ve traveled through other life milestones. Eighteen brought the draft and forced maturity- not a lot but some. At twenty-one, I could both drink legally and vote responsibly.  I went full tilt into the former but delayed gratification on the latter.

 After twenty-one, the birthdays with zeroes act as way-stations. Thirty, Forty, Fifty mixed accomplishment and angst but with different ratios. Fifty was the toughest. It marked the last time I could count on my body to not fail me. The decade starting at fifty and culminating at sixty were spent collecting enough maladies I memorized them using the alphabet.

But this being sixty-two brings a sense of freedom with the knowledge that – if I really wanted to – I could retire. Image the calming effect that has. I could tell the people who own the salt mine where I labor that I’m done. I can walk away; take low stress, low responsibility and low hour jobs. I can grab a little social security to make up some of the difference. Sounds like a sweet plan, and it appeals to my inner loafer.

 Anything wrong with this picture? No but there are other considerations at work.

My children are emancipated adults living elsewhere and doing quite well. I have no mortgage or heavy debts to deal with so I can bank the golden overflow into a 401K meant to take care of the really old guy I will someday be. It may be a good idea to keep these good times rolling as long as I can. But I must recognize I am in the young man’s game of sales.

 Two really good options present themselves. Dislodge myself from the rat race or play my golden years of earning for all they’re worth. Time will answer this question like it almost always does.

For those of you too young to relate, I wish the same good options for you many years from now.

To my fellow boomers, rock on!!! I know you know.

Rookie mistake #1

December 23rd, 2007 by John Morris

The daughter is visiting for Christmas and told me I need to blog three times a week to keep people interested. Ooops! Got to tighten up my game.

Okay, I have one nearly ready so I’ll finish it and post it today.



The old boy writing this blog wears many hats: Vietnam Veteran, husband & father, salesman and techno-dude. After my service with the Army Security Agency, I operated a sign company for nineteen years, The sign industry changed after CAD/CAM machines made the task easy enough for the non-talented. I sold my company and never looked back.

Life has granted me a life partner better than I deserve. My wife, Lyn is a transplanted Kansas gal. Her bliss is teaching kindergarten and first grade.

I am the most proud of my children. My son, Adam lives an international life teaching English and living in Sozhou, China. He is married to one of life's truly lovely women, Yuri Kim. My daughter, Beth grew up in a small town and found her way in life means working and living in major cities like Chicago and New York. She and her life partner, Julie Sterling married in LaJolla, California in 2010.

I like getting the newest gadgets, but also I like to use things until they are useless, i.e., my last personal car was an 88 Honda Prelude Si.

I wrote a Vietnam Veteran newsletter for nine years. During this journey, I learned I like to write. It is a harmless exercise that rewards honest effort while tolerating failure gracefully. I been away from it for too long. My son gave me the blog, and it was a lifeline back to writing.

My best advice is to show the world what you can do but to accept only your opinion of who and what you are.

Update: In August 2008, my job became one of the half-million jobs that went away that month. I took the following year getting the home ready for my official retirement.

In October 2009, I took a part-time job as a saleman at the vaulted Maxwell's Hardware.

On November 29, 2011, I reached my 66th birthday, and I officially started Social Security. I intend to stay with Maxwell's as long as I can contribute.