Don’t Sell Out!

by | Jun 30, 2010 | Lessons | 0 comments

Today was my final day working for Procter & Gamble – 24 years!  I took a separation package and qualify for “special” retirement; meaning I’m entitled to pay for P&G retiree health care vs. having to fund it myself – a real bonus!! 

I’m 47 and in no position financially to “retire” with the lifestyle that I deserve (I deserve the very best – how about you?)!  At my retirement party yesterday everyone asked – “What’s next Rick?”  Here’s what I can recall from the story I related during my retirement speech.

“During the winter of 1983/84 I was desperately seeking employment at an hourly rate greater than the $2.65 / hr I was earning as a lifeguard.  I sent over 200 resumes’ to company’s all over America looking for summer work, but nothing!  VERY late in the school year I received a telephone call from a gentleman at Allen-Bradley in Milwaukee.  He was interested in hiring me to write programs in a language I didn’t know but was certain I could master it quickly because I knew Pascal.  At $10.50 / hr my reply was direct and concise – “I’ll see you Monday!” 

When looking for employment for the following summer (I was on the 4.5 year plan), my experience stated that I was a programmer and that’s exactly what I did – wrote programs for a defense contractor while living at home.  When it came time to find a permanent position – guess what I was qualified to do?  No surprise, write programs and that’s exactly what P&G hired me to do.  

I turned a desperate need for summer income into a 24 year career!!  No plan, no strategy, no secret decoder ring, just a college student’s need to fund his education.

On February 18, 1986 I started with Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati, OH at one of their technical centers.  On my way to work the first day the pin holding the clutch pedal together in my new car sheared off, making it impossible to shift gears.  I coasted to a gas station at the bottom of the hill and in my panic locked my keys in my car!!  Here I was in a new city, with no friends, no phone numbers and no jacket in the middle of winter.  I didn’t even really know how to get to the office, I thought I’d recognize the turns when I saw them.  1986 was back in the day when new employees were celebrated with a coffee cart.  Someone from the cafeteria would bring a cart with coffee and pastries and at a pre-determined time everyone would gather to welcome the new employee – unfortunately I did not make it!

I walked a mile to a bus stop on the first major road of my journey and took it to the top of the hill.  Recognizing the turn I pulled the cord and asked the driver when the next bus was scheduled down North Bend Avenue.  He said one should be along any minute.  In between cursing my luck and the weather while walking down North Bend Avenue I thought about the heights to which I would ascend on the corporate ladder, my accomplishments along the way and the places I would see and experience.  

Retiring as a Band II means I missed 4 of those rungs on the Corporate Ladder but we were able to accomplish a lot.  I traveled to four continents on a P&G expense account and had the opportunity to see and do things that most people only dream.  I’ve worked side-by-side with many of you and on one start-up in Manchester, England logged 205 hours in 2 weeks.  I know because I had to sign the timesheet for the person who accompanied me.  Every single meal on that trip came from the mini bar in the hotel, the vending machine at the plant or a convenience store on the way back to our room.  

Many of you know that I’ve actively worked a home business for the past 16 years in an effort to work myself out of my “day” job at P&G.  My career with Procter & Gamble gave me the opportunity to try, learn, fail and try again; never giving up on those dreams I had on that cold winter day walking down North Bend Avenue (I walked the entire way, about 6 miles arriving a few hours late for work.  Frozen and without my coffee cart).  Those skills have perfectly positioned me to assist others achieve their dreams through promoting the Body by Vi Challenge.

Each of us is here for a specific purpose.  When God made you he broke the mold.  There will never be another person with your skills and talents.  What’s your dream?  Don’t give up on them, hold them close and use your imagination to keep them alive in your mind.  Don’t give up and settle but continue to strive for what you want.”

Or something like that.  I almost broke down crying by the time it was over and I saw a few people feeling the emotions as well.  Maybe they’ve sacrificed their dreams for convenience, selling them to the highest bidder.  Don’t sell out; keep your dreams clear and fresh in your mind.  Step out and make your mark for if you don’t YOUR mark will never be made!!

Rick Barron's Signature