During my first month at Cashwave I worked hard and was hopeful that my job at Cashwave would last for more than a year and slowly became optimistic that I would be able to get financially stable enough to have a social life and invest money into my art and start selling the artwork I had made over the previous years.
My job at Cashwave was very easy, all I was required to do every day was call businesses in the area where Cashwave ATM’s were located and sell them low cost advertising that appeared on the ATM screen when the customer transaction was being processed and on the ATM receipt after the customer finished their transaction. It was an easy sell and I quickly caught on and became very successful at it.
I enjoyed making easy money at Cashwave and looked forward to going to work every day when one day the easy money stopped and the company future didn’t look very bright.
I arrived for work one morning to find all of the employees up in the conference room for an emergency meeting that Andy had called. Everyone was over anxious because Andy hadn’t heard from or seen Andy in weeks and we weren’t sure why he called the meeting and what his important news was going to be.
Andy arrived to the meeting looking tired and more worn out than usual and all of the employees became silent with dread as we sensed that he had bad news to tell us.
“How’s everyone doing?” Andy said casually.
“Doing a lot better than you, are you sick or something?” Mike asked.
“It’s nothing that a bottle of Scotch can’t cure,” Andy said with a wry grin.
Everyone in the room laughed.
“Anyway, I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news but I’m here to tell everyone today that Cashwave is going out of business,” Andy said.
The room fell deadly silent as the employees around the room began to contemplate Andy’s announcement and what it meant to their financial futures.
“As everyone knows after 911 Cashwave lost a lot of business due to several of our big customers going out of business and the domination of the ATM market by companies like E-Trade Financial. I’ve also lost millions in costly lawsuits and protracted litigation and my finances are severely drained.” Andy said.
“You’ve been living on the financial edge for to long now Andy. You can’t afford to keep it up much longer.” Howard, the accountant said.
“What are you saying Andy?” Mike asked.
“I’m saying that all employees of Cashwave are going to be laid off immediately until further notice,” Andy said.
“What about the ATMS that we still own? Who is going to service those machines?” Mike asked.
“I’m in the process of selling off those contracts to E-Trade so I can save what assets I have left like this office building.” Andy replied.
“What am I going to do? My husband is laid off and I can’t loose this job,” The secretary said.
“I’m so sorry. If I don’t reorganize my business now I won’t have any opportunity left to rise from the ashes in the future,” Andy said.
Andy liked to think of himself as a mythical Phoenix that rose from the ashes after it burst into flames. This wasn’t the first time one of his business ventures had gone down in flames and it wouldn’t be the last.
The meeting continued for several more minutes as Andy answered questions from the employees until everyone was allowed to leave to clean out their desks and go home.
As I left the room Andy called Mike and Steve, the outside sales manager back into the conference room and he closed the door.
I didn’t think anything of their private meeting because I was depressed like everyone else at the prospect of losing another job and I walked back to the sales office to clean out my desk of one month and go home. I quickly cleaned out my desk and talked with Herb and Lupe about what they were going to do for work next when Mike walked back in the office looking grim and more stressed out than usual.
“Did Frank already go home?” Mike asked.
“Yeah he’s gone, it’s not like there’s anything for us to do here,” Lupe said.
“I’m sorry guys, I didn’t see this coming,” Mike said with sadness.
“What are you going to do now?” Herb asked.
“I don’t know, probably cash out all of my credit cards, sell my Corvette and spend the next 20 years on an island somewhere,” Mike said.
“Sounds nice, can you take me with you?” Herb asked.
“I’ll send you a postcard,” Mike said.
“I can’t believe I have to find another stupid job again! I hoped that this job would at least last me for one year and it’s barely lasted me for a month,” I said.
“Well everyone, Andy asked me to close up the sales office so I got to lock things up,” Mike said.
“So you’re kicking us out too?” Lupe asked in mock surprise.
“No Lupe, it’s not like that. I love you guys.” Mike said.
“Come on guys, let’s get out of here and let Mike close up the office,” Lupe said.
As I prepared to leave the office with everyone Mike stopped me from leaving the office, closed the door and locked it.
“What’s going on Mike?” I asked, surprised.
“Jeremy, how do you feel about staying with the company for a little longer?” Mike asked.
“Doing what? We can’t sell ATM advertising anymore because Andy has sold all of the ATM’s,” I replied.
“The reason why Andy had that private meeting with Steve and I upstairs is because he’s going to start a website company and wants us to stay on and help him run it,” Mike said,
“What does that mean for me?” I asked.
“You have the most experience in the sales office with computers and the Internet, you pick up new concepts easily and I don’t think you will have any problem selling Andy’s website product,” Mike said.
“How much will the position pay?” I asked.
“Same as now except you will have the opportunity to earn more commission after the new company has been afloat for more than 90 days,” Mike said.
“Did Andy say he wanted me to be a part of the new company?” I asked.
“I’m the sales manager and can hire anyone I want.” Mike replied.
“What about Herb, Frank and Lupe? Don’t you want to keep one of them aboard because they’ve been with the company longer?” I asked.
“Jeremy, I want you because you have the youth and energy that they don’t have and most important of all you have the computer and Internet skills to help us launch the new company,” Mike said.
I sat down in my chair acting like I was seriously thinking about Mike’s offer when in reality I would jump at the chance to help start a new company.
“What do you say?” Mike inquired.
“I’ll do it if he gives me a raise to $13.00 per hour plus commission,” I said.
“You’ve only been with the company for over a month, you can’t ask for a raise already,” Mike said.
“It’s a new company and it’s going to require a lot of time and commitment,” I replied, smugly.
“Alright, alright I’ll talk to Andy and make sure he gives you a pay raise to $13.00 per hour plus commission,” Mike said.
I got up and shook Mike’s hand with a big smile on my face.
“If you use half the skills that you used to work me over for a pay raise you’re going to be very successful selling websites,” Mike said with a laugh.
“When do we get started?” I asked.
“Tomorrow morning, 8 a.m. We’re going to have a meeting in the conference room so don’t be late,” Mike said
“I won’t be late!” I said.
I put my things back in my desk and left the office unsure of what the next day would bring and was optimistic and excited at the thought of being a part of the new company and a bright future.