Tag Archives: life events

On the job training

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Anytime I’ve looked for a job over the last few years I’ve had my best success using the good old local newspaper. Shortly after I was laid off in October of 2001, I sat at the kitchen table, in the duplex that I shared with my cousin, circling job ads from the “help wanted” section of the newspaper.

I was circling every interesting sales job and telemarketing job I could find when I came across an ad for a telemarketing position, with a company called Cashwave, selling ATM receipt advertising to businesses nationwide for a local ATM company in San Diego.

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The job sounded more interesting than calling homeowners to sell them long distance calling plans, cable TV, windows or vinyl siding so I decided to give the phone number on the advertisement a call.

The line rang for a few seconds and then a gruff voice answered the phone.

“Cashwave, this is Mike, how can I help you?” Mike said.

“Hello Mike, my name is Jeremy and I’m calling about the telemarketing position in the newspaper,” I said, trying to sound positive.

“What do you want to know?” Mike said.

“What would I be doing, where is the company located and how much does the job pay?” I asked.

“You will be selling ATM advertising service to business owners nationwide. Any business that has a product or service will want to advertise on our ATM receipts because as you know, after a persons ATM transaction is finished they receive a receipt and that receipt is usually blank but has the potential to hold one to two ads,” Mike said.

“That sounds great, what does the job pay?” I asked.

“$12.00 per hour plus commission and benefits after 90 days,” Mike said.

“Can I come in for an interview?” I asked.

“Do you have any sales experience?” Mike asked.

“I can sell ice boxes to Eskimos in the winter,” I said.

“Typical bullshit salesman answer, what are you doing at 1 p.m. today?” Mike asked.

“Interviewing with you?” I said, with hope.

“You have guts, I like that, I’ll see you at one p.m. today okay?” Mike said

Mike gave me the address and directions to Cashwave’s office in San Diego and I promised to be there for the 1 p.m. interview.

I hung up the phone and took a quick shower and then emptied out my closet, looking for my old suit coat and tie so I would look dressed up and professional for the interview.

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By 12 p.m. I got into my beat up 1987, Toyota Celica and drove to my interview hoping to get there early and make a good impression on Mike and be his pick for the new sales person in the company.

When I arrived at Cashwave’s office I was impressed, the company owned a large office building in the Mission Valley area of San Diego, over looking the 8 freeway.

I parked my car next to several trucks with the Cashwave logo on them, straightened my tie, looked in the mirror to make sure I didn’t have any boogers in my nose and I went inside for my interview.

Inside the building I walked to the receptionist’s desk and told the old woman working the desk that I was there for my 1 p.m. interview with Mike.

“Kinda early aren’t you?” She asked.

“It’s 12:45, It’s not that early,” I said.

“I hate it when people arrive early for appointments,” She said, as she paged Mike in the sales office.

I walked over to a chair by the elevator and waited quietly until Mike came downstairs in the elevator ten minutes later to show me to the sales office. Once inside the sales office Mike showed me to his desk and he began the interview, interrogation process.

“So, why do you want to work here?” Mike said lazily as he glanced at my resume.

“From our phone conversation and the ad in the paper, the job sounds like a good opportunity,” I said.

“You don’t have any experience,”

“I know that I haven’t worked in sales for years like a lot of the other people that you interview every day but, I’m a hard worker, fast learner and I’ll work my butt off to learn this job,” I said.

Mike put my resume down and looked me in the eye and said, “You’re hired, I wish I could find more salespeople like you that don’t think they know everything when they start working here because those people are always the one’s that end up causing the most trouble.”

“I breathed a sigh of relief and said, “When can I start?”

“How about tomorrow at 6:30 in the morning?” Mike asked.

“I’ll be here!” I said, excited to start a new job.

Mike showed me around the sale office and introduced me to Herb, a man in his late 50’s with a love of Sigmund Freud and psychoanalysis, Lupe, a small Mexican woman in her mid 30’s with five children, and Frank, a man in his early 60’s, semi retired, with a love for nudist camps and the swinger lifestyle.

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Mike showed me to a desk with an old computer from the mid 90’s and a telephone that I would use to make my sales calls.

“Well, this is your new home, away from home. I would stay far away from Frank after lunchtime because he loves bean burritos and has a bad habit of stinking up your side of the office,” Mike said.

Mike showed me out of the sales office and left me with a warning, “Just make sure you show up tomorrow, I can’t tell you how many salespeople I’ve interviewed that said they were going to start working for me and end up flaking out on me.”

“I’ll see you tomorrow by 6:30 a.m.,” I said.

The next day would be my first day working for Cashwave and also my first experience with Andy, the owner of the company and the true incarnation of the term “crazy boss”.

Andy drove many employees of Cashwave away with his wild management style and pension for starting new companies to keep his existing companies out of bankruptcy.

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Nobody in the company knew what Andy was thinking from one minute to the next and wasn’t surprised if he was away from the office for weeks at a time, only to return with a new girlfriend, and a business idea that would keep the company afloat, and potentially make him another million.

Little did I know that Andy was planning to start another company, launch a new product and I was going to be there right in the middle of everything, like it or not….

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Recovery

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Losing Becky again hurt. It was a pain that ate away at my heart every hour of the day for the first months after my attempt to bring her back from Oregon and I couldn’t get over it.

I couldn’t understand why she wanted to go back to the abusive relationship she had with her parents when I had tried so hard to save her and give her a normal life. I felt sad, betrayed, abused and could barely move or think.

After I mourned her and spent a long time in anger and denial I slowly began to recover. After a while the pain began to fade and I started to see things clearly again. One day I woke up, looked in the mirror, and told myself that I was going to pull through and survive the pain I had just been through.

I knew that it was time to move on from her and I finally signed the divorce papers and ended our marriage in court. Once I was single again, I took a good long rest and gave myself plenty of time to evaluate my life and emotions.

A few months after the Oregon trip I started to hear from Becky every few weeks when she was able to send me the occasional letter. Life for her was hard. After I left her at the airport in Portland she called her parents and begged them to pick her up. Of course, they came to get her but once she was home, they severely beat her and punished her for weeks.

The last I heard from her, she said that they finally let her outside without supervision from her other brothers and sisters. She continually professed her love for me in her letters but I never wrote her back or spoke with her again because I knew that if I tried to go after her again it would only lead to the same results.

In retrospect I think Becky was in love with the idea of being in love, but when it came time to do the actual work involved in a relationship she was immature and ran from it. I grew tired of the drama associated with her and finally closed the door on our relationship. As months passed I had time to rest, relax, think, and recover from the experience and I started to feel young and healthy inside once again.

One day my cousin, Brian, who I hadn’t heard from in a couple of years, called me to say that his parents planned to give him a two bedroom duplex, that they had owned for years, in Spring Valley, which was only a few miles away from the old house I grew up in.

He said that he was looking for a housemate and I was the first person who came to mind. I instantly liked this idea because I missed my old home town, the familiar streets, places, people, and I also looked forward to living a bachelor lifestyle with my cousin.

Brian and I had always had a great relationship so I immediately accepted his offer and a few weeks later I moved into the duplex and became housemates with him and his Labrador, Tyson.

Once we were together we reverted to our old youthful ways and enjoyed many nights together staying up late, watching movies, playing video games, reading comic books, partying with friends, and enjoying the freedom that came with youth and ignorance.

I was happy living with my cousin and living in the duplex I could regroup and gather my ambitions for the future. The best part about living with my cousin was the art that I created at that time. I finally had a space to work once again for the first time in years and took every advantage of feeding my artistic hunger. At that time nothing could shatter my dreams or break me emotionally again.

As I worked harder on my art I also reconnected with my love for business after I became reacquainted with several of my high school friends that started their own home based businesses and were reaping the awards of the roaring economy of the late 1990’s.

“You have to start your own business! You will never make any money working for someone else!” They told me. I looked at their new cars, homes, vacations, clothing and decided to try starting my own business.

In the late 1990’s and early 2000 the economy was still roaring along, enjoying the prosperity that the country had seen during the Clinton years and in spite of a new president taking office in 2000 everyone, including myself believed that the economic prosperity and peace of mind we enjoyed would continue for many more years.

With this in mind I scoured the internet for home based business opportunities and attended workshops that promised riches from real estate, vitamins, get rich quick books and vacations. After reviewing every business opportunity and get rich quick scheme known to man I decided to pursue a business opportunity in the travel industry with a company called Do it all Travel.

One day I filled out an information request form on the website for Do it all Travel and within a few hours I received a call back from a sales representative in the company named Glen Ferguson.

I talked with Glen for several minutes, answering all his questions about my life, financial situation and ambitions when he asked me the famous question, “What do you want to do with your life?”

“I want to be a full time, working artist,” I said.

My response excited Glen and he told me that he had an artist working in his “down line” and would call him and ask him to join our telephone conversation. Glen put me on hold and I wanted for a minute while he called the member of his down line and within a few minutes he was joined on the line with his guest.

“Jeremy, I’d like to introduce you to Andy Lakey. He’s a member of my downline and has been involved with Vacation Dynamics for almost one year now.” Glen said.

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RIP: Andy Lakey 1960 – 2012

 

Once Glen said the name Andy Lakey,” I knew who he was instantly because he was well known for his famous life story and angel paintings that were sought after by rich and power players in Hollywood.

“Mr. Lakey, it’s a pleasure to meet you, I’m a big fan of your work,” I said, gushing into the phone like a teenage boy talking to a rock star for the first time.

“Glen tells me you’re an artist, what’s your style of art?” Andy asked.

I didn’t know what my ‘style’ of art was because I wasn’t showing any artwork at galleries yet so I said the first thing on the top of my head, “My style is abstract expressionism; I love color, shape, architecture, archeology and design.” I said.

“You remind me of myself when I was your age, I also loved the same things and didn’t conform to the theories or styles of the day.” He said.

“Jeremy is also an aspiring businessman and is interested in Do it all Travel,” Glen said.

 “That’s good Jeremy, because as you know artists need to make a lot of money to live off of and create our art on a full time basis.”

“I totally agree Mr. Lakey,” I said, still blown away that I was talking to an artist of his caliber. By that time in his career Andy Lakey was making millions per year selling his paintings all over the world and enjoying the fruits of his labor after many years of hard work.

Andy talked for a few more minutes and he told me about his successes in the art world and the wealthy clients purchased his paintings until he brought up the possibility of inviting me to the business opportunity meeting for Do it all Travel.

“Glen I think we should invite Jeremy to the ‘meeting’ tonight, what do you think?” Andy asked.

“I think that’s a great idea.” Glen said.

“The meeting,” would be my introduction to the business and my opportunity to meet Andy Lakey and show him my art.

“Mr. Lakey, could I show you my portfolio after the meeting tonight?” I asked.

“I’d love to see your work Jeremy, why don’t you bring it with you and I will take a look after it after the meeting is over.”

Andy said goodbye to Glen and I and clicked off the line leaving Glen and I to our conversation.

“Great guy huh?” Glen asked.

“Awesome, I never thought I’d get the opportunity to speak with him.” I said.

“Well you’ll get the opportunity to do more than that tonight.”

“I can’t wait!” I said.

“The meeting is at the Hilton in Del Mar, 7:00 p.m. tonight.” Glen said.

“I’ll see you there!” I said.

I said goodbye to Glen, hung up the phone and celebrated for a few seconds before getting my portfolio ready to show Andy in the evening. What would he think of my artwork? Would he be able to recommend me to any galleries and help me realize my dream of becoming an artist?

Even though I was supposed to be attending the business opportunity with a mind to get involved in a home based business, my sole purpose for attending was meeting Andy Lakey to see if he might be able to open the door for me to start my career in the art world.

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The chess match

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Monday came quickly like any other Monday except on this one, my friends at work were shocked to see me back so soon when I was still supposed to be on my honeymoon with my wife. They were even more shocked when I began to tell my tale of what happened over the weekend and the disaster my wedding day brought.

Everyone comforted me that day, and once I told them the complete story, nobody brought up what happened to me again because they to repeat it again and again would be like driving a knife into an open bloody wound. I didn’t know how I was going to make it through the day and considered going home sick when my phone rang. I answered it with robotic precision and the voice on the other end made my blood begin to boil.

It was Becky’s mother, the only woman in the world that I didn’t want to talk with at that moment.

“Is this Jeremy?” She asked in her gruff, manly voice.

“Yes,” I said, holding back my temper.

“Jeremy, Becky and I are at the courthouse right now and you have two choices. One, you can take the easy way out and annul the marriage or take the hard way and get a divorce. What’s it going to be? The clerk is waiting.” Her Mother asked.

“Where the hell do you get off calling me after what you and your husband did to Becky and me?” I exclaimed.

“I thought that you would say that. I knew that Fred was right about you,” she said in a sinister tone.

“You listen to me, you evil bitch. There isn’t going be an easy or hard way because I’m going to do things when I’m good and ready. You got that?” I yelled into the phone.

Becky’s mother continued to breathe hard into the phone like she was out of breath, I knew that she was pissed off and trying to think of what to say next.

“Is Becky there?” I asked.

“She doesn’t want to speak with you,” She said sadistically.

“Put her on the phone now!” I demanded.

I wasn’t mad at Becky. In my heart, I still loved her and if she was really there, all I wanted was to talk with her again to try and make some sense of the situation. I was madder than hell at her parents and had spent the last few days thinking of ways I could get back at them within lawful limitations. I heard her mother pass the phone to Becky.

“Hello??” she said.

“Becky, its Jeremy. I’m not going to pretend that in a million years, I will ever understand you or why we are in this situation. I don’t know what’s going on inside your head or what your parents did to you growing up to make you turn out like this. All I know Becky is that I love you and part of me will never stop loving you. I want you, not your mother, to tell me it’s over. Tell me what option to take and I’ll take it. Tell me to go away and you will never see me again.” I said.

There was strict silence for a few seconds, then she said; “We have to do what they want.”

“Becky, we don’t have to do anything they want!”

“You and I are adults and if you want me to fight for you, I’ll be at your house tonight with the police to get you out of that house. Or do you want me to go away?” I asked.

“No,” she said.

“Do you want me to fight for you?” I asked.

“We have to do what they want,” she said again and again, like someone had drugged her.

“Do you want me to fight for you? Yes or no?” I asked.

“Yes,” She replied.

Just after she said yes, her mother grabbed the phone from her and said; “Alright, Jeremy, what’s it going to be?”

“You listen to me, you evil bitch. Until Becky tells me to my face that our marriage is over, nobody is going to force us to do anything!”

“You better be damn well-prepared because there’s going to be Hell to pay for what you and your husband are doing!” I yelled.

“You son of a bitch!” She demonically exclaimed right before she hung up the phone.

After she hung up, I spent the next few minutes shaking. When I finally calmed down, I called my mom and told her what happened. Once again my mom was blown away that anyone like Fred and his wife could masquerade as God-fearing Christians while underneath the façade, they were wicked.

As we talked, she thought of her friend, DJ whose husband Steve, a local attorney and had given our family free legal advice in the past.

“You should call Steve. He’s helped us out a lot in the past few years and I’m sure he can give you a lot of advice about your situation,” she said.

She gave me his number and after we wrapped up our call, I phoned Steve and replayed with him all of the details from what happened on the wedding day to my phone conversation with Becky and her mother.

 After I finished my story, Steve rolled out an arsenal of ideas for me.

“You should call the police and ask them to do a welfare check because she’s your wife and they are holding her against her will so you can tell the police that you’re concerned she’s been kidnapped by her parents.”

After his suggestion and a few others, I called the police and told a dispatcher that I believed my wife’s parents kidnapped her and were holding her against her will.

They asked me what kind of proof I had for this and they transferred me from department to department until they finally found the right dispatcher that told me I was talking to the wrong police department and that I should call the police in Becky’s area.

After taking some more time to cool down emotionally, I called the East County police department. Eventually I reached a dispatcher, Wanda who asked me about the situation and I launched into my story and told her all of the details.

“Damn, Child, she sure screwed you over didn’t she??” Wanda said.

“Why does a nice, young man like you want to go back to a woman like that?” She asked.

“Because I still love her and feel that her parents are holding her against her will at their home,” I said.

“Honey, you should just give up and realize that you got lucky by this happening when it did. You could have been married for one year before she run back to her parents with your child. Then you would have been really screwed.”

“I have to save her; I have to try,” I said.

“Okay but you realize that if she don’t want to see you again, then it’s over right?” Wanda asked.

“I do,” I said.

“Alright then, I will schedule a welfare check tonight. One of our officers will call you this afternoon and want you to meet him somewhere close by before you go to their house.” She said.

She took down all of my information and told me that everything was set up for the police to visit Becky’s home tonight.

“Will this work?” I wondered to myself.


 

“Will the police get her out of the house, away from her parents, to talk to her about what’s going on?”

I didn’t know what to expect. Once again I was treading into unfamiliar territory, but this time, I had the advantage. If Becky could get away from her parents long enough to speak with the police officers, she could tell them how she really felt and they would free her from her, “prison”. I felt like I was playing a championship game of chess and was nervous as I pondered how the next move would play out.

In a few hours, I would try to bring Becky and me together once again, and I had no idea what would come of my efforts.

If my plan worked I was prepared to do anything to keep her, even drive hundreds of miles away to my Aunt Susie’s house to run away from her parents and keep Becky safe until her family was out of California for good.

By 4 p.m. I received a phone call from an Officer Ryan, who instructed me to meet him over at the 7-11 near Becky’s house by 6 p.m. to prepare before departed for the welfare check. After I got the call, I raced over to the 7-11, leaving my parents behind wondering if I lost my mind once again and was getting into more trouble.

Once I arrived at the 7-11 I waited there for what seemed like forever until a black and white police car finally pulled up next to my car and I got out to greet the police officers.

“Jeremy?” A huge police officer called out.

“That’s me,” I answered.

“I’m Officer Ryan. This is my partner, Officer Bolton.” He said pointing to his partner who nodded in my direction.

Out of habit, I looked at officer Bolton’s name tag and noticed that it said M. Bolton.

“Michael Bolton?” I asked, looking at the officer.

Officer Bolton looked pissed off.

“I wouldn’t go there if I were you.”

“He gets teased all the time about his name back at the station,” Officer Ryan said.

After the humorous moment, the conversation turned serious when Officer Ryan asked me why I thought my wife was in danger. And then he briefed me on what they planned to do when the got to Becky’s house. After we agreed on the plan, they made me promise that I would stay by my car so that her parents wouldn’t know that I was on the street watching the situation go down.

“It’s for your own safety,” they said.

I agreed then we all got into our cars and they followed me over to Becky’s house. I parked the car behind a looming oak tree two houses down from her parent’s house and got out of my car to watch the officers approach pull into the driveway in front of her house, after calmly exiting the vehicle the proceeded to walk over to the front door. Officer Bolton knocked for a minute on the door when Fred came out to speak with the officers.

Becky’s house had a small porch that was secured by bars and a metal gate. Fred stepped outside his door and made no effort to come close to the gate or even open it.

The police officers talked to Fred for minutes until finally he went back inside and Becky came out to speak with the officers. I wanted to run to Becky and tell her that I was there but decided to do what the police officers said and stay away. The officers talked with Becky for a few minutes, occasionally motioning for her to come out from behind Fred’s security gate but she wouldn’t do it.

They didn’t even bother to get her away from Fred’s house and I knew that Fred was standing behind the front door, like a menacing jailor, listening to her every word.

Their conversation was over before it even began.

After only two minutes Becky smiled at the police officers like she was okay, went back inside her house, closed the door and as soon as she had come was gone. I stood there dumbfounded.

They were supposed to conduct a welfare check but they didn’t even get close enough to her or get her away from her parents to see if she was really safe. Once the conversation was over, the police officers got back into their car, pulled up the street in front of my car and we walked back to the large oak tree to discuss everything that she had said.

“What did she say?” I asked.

“She told us that she was fine, wanted to be there, wasn’t in any harm, and asked us to please leave,” Officer Ryan said.

“Why didn’t you ask her to step off her porch, away from her house?” I asked.

“Because she didn’t want to and preferred to stay where she was,” Officer Ryan repeated.

“Her father on the other hand, couldn’t stop complaining about you,” Bolton said.

“What’d he say?” I asked, acting like I didn’t know what was coming next.

“He said that you kidnapped his daughter and forced her to marry you over the weekend and that you threatened his family because they tried to stop you,” Bolton said.

I was blown away. I didn’t even think Fred could stoop that low in his lies but he finally did.

“He also said that if you ever step foot on their property again, they are going to press charges,” officer Ryan repeated.

I felt like a vindictive hoodlum kicked me in the ribs and I couldn’t catch my breath. I didn’t have any enemies, yet Fred hated my guts and for what? Because I loved his daughter and didn’t want him to treat me like a slave for the rest of my life? That bastard.

“Listen, Buddy I met the father and from talking to him for that short period of time, I can see what kind of person he really is, so I understand what you’re going through and I’m going to give you only two pieces of advice. One, stay away from that house, because if you go back there, it’s only going to mean trouble for you and two, give up on her because as you saw tonight, she doesn’t want to return to you and that should be enough to tell you that chapter in your life is closes,” officer Bolton said.

I stood there staring at Becky’s house, trying to comprehend it all.

“Got it?” Bolton asked looking at me with a stern look on his face.

“Got it,” I said, feeling defeated once again.

“Come on partner let’s get out of here and go arrest some hookers on El Cajon Boulevard,” Officer Ryan said, looking over at Bolton with a grin on his face.

I thanked them and walked over to my car, feeling like the story was over. I didn’t feel depressed or crazy like I did on my wedding day. I only felt sad that I had taken it this far and yet we still were not together. I had to play it out to see what might happen. Over just a few weeks, I endured the emotional fight of my life and having done so, naturally I felt like a wasted man.

I slumped down to the ground, wanting to lie there, next to my car all night, without caring if I got hit by another car or not.

Where was Ernest Hemmingway when I really needed him? I needed someone like him to unload all of my sorrows to after a few stiff drinks and then be told that I would recover from this loss. I needed a Kung Fu master to come out from the shadows and convey some philosophical solution, comforting me with promises of clarity.

I sat there feeling sorry for myself for a few more minutes when I finally had enough energy to get back into my car and go home. Tomorrow was another day. I’d wake up and start breathing again, trying to forget her. I’d never forgive her parents for what they did to us or quit loving her at least not for a long time. But I knew that with each day we were apart it’d get easier and I’d begin to live a little more each day.

 Later that night, after I got home and told the latest part of my story to my parents, they comforted me once again and asked me to give up and move on with my life.

“You gave it your best shot, Son. That’s something that any man would do,” dad said.

“I hate what this is doing to you, Honey, so please give up and let her go,” mom respectfully requested.

I promised that our relationship was over and that they could rest easy in knowing that I wouldn’t try to go after her again.

“Good, because there’s always plenty of fish in the sea,” My dad said.

What did that mean though?

Do we get multiple opportunities in life to find the right person to spend our lives with, or is it a one-shot deal and everyone we meet after that is a pile of crumbs left over from the cake?

Before I went to bed I wrote this poem.

It’s over

My heart is sad.

I fee like I’ve drowned in a flood and don’t know that I’m dead.

With all the love I have to give and gave her how come she didn’t let me into her life one more time to save her?

I’m tired of fighting this battle!

When will it end?

For to long now I’ve fought this unseen battle against a man that I thought was once my friend.

Good, evil, hell, disaster why can’t a simple word like love be the answer?

I didn’t ask or want to get caught up in this fight.

I didn’t want to get caught up in this strife.

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