Hell of a Guy

The Value of Tenure and Voice…


This was written on the 14th.  I got so busy during my meetings and with the assignments I was given that I simply allowed my soon-to-be 65-year old brain to forget to post it.  So here it is, for what it’s worth…

So here I sit on an airplane again, United Airlines flight 207, somewhere over the mid-west loving not a single minute of this five-hour, forty-minute excursion to Los Angeles.  I’ve popped off a hundred or so pages of Ken Follett’s “The Pillars of the Earth,” had a Diet Coke, a bag of nuts, ate a six-inch, very nasty something or other from Subway called a Breakfast Omelet Sandwich (Subway, the worst sandwich company in the world - Subway is to sandwiches what Budweiser is to beer), and already made two trips to the restroom.  The seat I am in, though charged for and receiving extra leg room is not designed to take long trips in, especially with fat posteriors such as the one I came equipped with.  I feel as though my buttocks being a gripped in a vice.  The only good part of this is the channel with Audio Visions “New Age” music I have found on the aircrafts in-flight entertainment network.  I can get very lost with soft, ethereal music going into my ears; however, the older I get, the less fun this air travel stuff is.

I am on my way to my company’s headquarters for what is called a “Managers’ Meeting.”  Me and my compatriots are being assembled from around the far reaches of the United States for a meeting of the minds: we are being asked to be brutally honest and tell “real management” what this company needs to do to increase sales overall.  Hmmm?

Brutally honest does not mean we get to be brutally honest.  My company has always had a non-written, though tacit, policy of avoiding the negative.  So here’s the conundrum, do I go in being honest to a fault and save my vice-gripped ass, or do I open up from the heart and let it all out?

In the old days, before I found my voice (the result of the Red-Black Game - but don’t ask, for I won’t tell) would have had me sit in the back of the room or in the place where I might be least noticed and probably not called on, and you just know I never volunteered.  Today it is a little different.  After twenty-five years with the company, twenty-two as a sales manager, this boy from Baltimore with exactly twenty-two college credits has a voice, and without sounding braggadocios, a respected voice.  Nowadays when this boy speaks, people do listen.  My new voice does come from the heart and suggests alternatives solely based on the theory of “win-win.”  I cannot abide by winning if someone loses at any of the games of life.

I suppose some of that comes with age and tenure, but a huge difference these days is that I use my voice, and more importantly to me, I step up and I step in.  We Millennium folk like to call that “committed action.”

And that is all I have to say about that…   

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