everything you ever wanted to know about nothing at all...

Saturday, February 17, 2007

I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now...

(a scene from my favorite movie about running a store, High Fidelity)

I don't know what's gotten in to me lately, but I seem to have a new zest for work. Towards the end of last year, my job was getting rather old. I was getting bored seeing the same old people coming through the front door & I was getting sick of doing the same old things. Something's changed over the last few weeks, though.

I worked from open to close just about every day this week, & it didn't seem to drag on like it usually does. I've been making sales calls to people more than I usually do, putting together informational packets for people who don't buy from us, going through reports & organizing them in a way that makes sense to me, organizing the back room & throwing away a bunch of old stuff we don't need, making purchases that will help out our profits for the next 3-4 months & a bunch of other stuff.

Maybe it's because I've got a new employee & I want to raise the bar & show him how smoothly things run. I think it's also because without somebody there who I knew could run things as well as I could (well, almost as well :)), I feel as if I need to step it up a bit.

People always dress things up & clean & polish their store when a superior comes by to visit, which is all well & good, but it seems more important to me to do the same when I get a new employee so he gets a sense of how high the bar is set & what he needs to do to get on board. Believe it or not, it's been fun training somebody new. I think I like teaching people how to do things. The important thing is not to say things like, "it's just because this is how we do it" but to explain why we do things the way we do.

I have a customer who has become a pretty close friend of mine. Towards the end of the year, he was thinking of quitting his business & doing something else. He seems to have had a similar rejuvenation, & now he's as busy as he's ever been (I'll take credit for maybe %1 of that, I gave him a couple leads). That's been fun to see, & it's fun to be feeding off each others' successes.

It's a new year & in this business you're only as good as your last quarter, & sometimes you are your own worst enemy. For example, we had a great year in 2005, which I was rewarded for, but in the next year you are expected to do what you did that year & improve by 13.5%. We fell a little short, but oh well. I think success comes not from making any one big great decision, but in making a bunch of little good decisions everyday. It all comes down to caring about what you're selling & caring about who you are selling to.

Now, I hope you don't think I'm making my job sound too important. I'm running a little paint store in little Grand Haven, I'm not reinventing the wheel, here. But how does that saying go, though? Do one thing & do it well?

My Back Pages

Crimson flames tied through my ears
Rollin' high and mighty traps
Pounced with fire on flaming roads
Using ideas as my maps
"We'll meet on edges, soon," said I
Proud 'neath heated brow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now.

Half-wracked prejudice leaped forth
"Rip down all hate," I screamed
Lies that life is black and white
Spoke from my skull. I dreamed
Romantic facts of musketeers
Foundationed deep, somehow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now.

Girls' faces formed the forward path
From phony jealousy
To memorizing politics
Of ancient history
Flung down by corpse evangelists
Unthought of, though, somehow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now.

A self-ordained professor's tongue
Too serious to fool
Spouted out that liberty
Is just equality in school
"Equality," I spoke the word
As if a wedding vow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now.

In a soldier's stance, I aimed my hand
At the mongrel dogs who teach
Fearing not that I'd become my enemy
In the instant that I preach
My pathway led by confusion boats
Mutiny from stern to bow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now.

Yes, my guard stood hard when abstract threats
Too noble to neglect
Deceived me into thinking
I had something to protect
Good and bad, I define these terms
Quite clear, no doubt, somehow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now.

Bob Dylan
Copyright © 1964; renewed 1992 Special Rider Music

Five Favorite Songs of the Day (well, some were from yesterday...)

I Dreamed I Saw St Augustine-Bob Dylan, John Wesley Harding

Impossible Germany-Wilco, November 22, 2006

Shine-Daniel Lanois

My Back Pages-Bob Dylan, Summer '03

Muddy Hymnal-Iron & Wine, The Creek Drank the Cradle

This album was playing in the back room today, & a customer came in & told me that I always have wierd music playing. I took it as a compliment.

Happy Saturday, friends!



Pam said...

It's great when those bursts of enthusiasm bubble up in our lives -especially in the doldrums of winter. I need one of those bursts right now.

Mary said...

Andy your blog reminded me of a quote that I like by Aristotle. "Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work." I'm glad things are going well for you - you deserve it.

Joyce said...

You're my inspiration.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps this new found desire to triumph with a new employee is mainly due to the fact that there’s some utterly frightful friendly competition in the north country. At the end of the day...we’re just paint store clerks. HA!

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About Me

Grand Haven, Michigan
the sun shines on a dog's ass every now & then...