Friday, October 26, 2007

Do I have a story for you...

I started working for my present employer (Medeco High Security Locks) back in 1997 as a Customer Service Rep. I was instantly enamoured by the quality of the products they manufacture and by the security industry in general and began to learn as much as I could as quickly as I could. I would read everything I could get my hands on about locks and keys. I would tear things apart and put them back together to see how they worked. I got the attention of some management types at Medeco and was promoted after a year and a couple months to Technical Training Assistant. Within two years, I was Lead Technical Trainer and traveling all over the world certifying security professionals on how to service Medeco products. It was an extremely fulfilling job.

Another opportunity with Medeco came in 2001 to make a big leap in terms of income and responsibility and I enthusiastically became a Territory Manager in Denver, Colorado. I enjoyed the job for the most part, but Pookie and I hated Colorado. It's really nice to visit, but living there just wasn't for us. I thought that my bosses would understand and would want to keep a good, faithful employee. I got nothing but lip service from them and my job became increasingly stressful and unfulfilling. I was smoking close to a pack a day (yea, I used to smoke), stressed out because my boss was undermining me, and depressed because I didn't have any friends and hated where I was living. The experience caused me to take a good hard look at my life and reevaluate everything that I was doing. I decided that being a company man was killing me and the only way to straighten myself out was to have a new goal in life. That new goal was to be a mountain bike racer. I didn't care about making six figures or driving an expensive car of being known as a "mover and shaker" in our industry. I just wanted to be a better, fitter, happier person. So, I left Medeco and Colorado in 2002 to return to Roanoke. Because of the relationships with some of my old bosses that worked at headquarters in Salem, in June of 2006 I was offered and accepted the position I currently hold as a Technical Service Specialist. I like what I do, and it pays the bills.

After a year, a call came from a regional manager at Medeco asking if I'd be willing to go back into the field as a Rep. It would be in my hometown of Pittsburgh, PA. I could not pass it up. The chance to be close to my family was all I could think about. Months went by of ironing out details and signing contracts and getting our house on the market and stressing over leaving everything I thought I wanted out of life...lots of places to ride and the greatest group of people that I am honored to call friends. I was captivated by the chance to make the big dollar again. When I saw my offer letter, it made me tremble. It was more money than Pookie and I make together! My company would relocate us to Pittsburgh, close to alot of my family, and everything would be grand. Breaking the news to our friends was one of the hardest things I'd every done. Skip, Ron, Chris, Brian...these guys are like brothers to me. I was pushing aside the emotion to do the "right thing" for my Pookie and I.

So all is going according to plan as we breeze through our yearly vacation in Daytona Beach.
Then the phone rings...

"Warren, Al Morris here." (my boss-to-be) "Hate to bother you on vacation, but we need to talk. The CEO and National Sales Manager are eager to have you come on board, but because of the concentration on business in the Eastern part of the state, they want you to be based in the Philadelphia area and will not approve of you living in Pittsburgh". Huh? I was floored. What the hell? This hadn't been brought up in any of the conversations about this position, which by the way originated in JUNE! It's now October...less than 3 weeks from when I was supposed to start my new job...and they're just bringing this up now? "They want you to accept these terms or they will have to rescind the offer".

At that very moment I realized once more what is important in life, and it's not making the big bucks! It's your word. Your handshake. It's friends. Friends that don't promise one ting, then do another.

Once I got over the initial shock, I became relieved that I wouldn't have to work for these bozos. I called my (current) boss and discovered that I could keep my job. Good thing for me that he's a procrastinator. Pookie on the other hand didn't fare as well...

When I signed the offer letter a little over a month ago, a start date was set and the plans set in motion for us to move north. The house was put on the market, we started looking for a new place to live, and Pookie gave her notice to The Roanoke Times. While we were away in Florida, they were finishing up interviews to fill her position so she would have two weeks to train her replacement when she got back. They have already made an offer to someone and she is now out of a job. Thanks Medeco. Paula will work until Nov 9th at the paper. Her quest for new employment starts immediately. She will be posting details and a link to her resume' on her blog (

Through this whole ordeal I have come to realize what I really knew all along; Happiness isn't a dollar amount, or a title, or status. I'm happy to have the friends we have. I'm happy this deal fell I don't have to agonize about leaving all of you behind. After all, you don't have anything if you don't have friends.

PS: Check out our vacation pics at