“Where is he?! I called him so early… now it’s too late to get a taxi… too late to get a ride… and I’m stuck.”
I paced back and forth on the street corner, glaring at the traffic, demanding for my car to show up.
The night before, I emailed the company’s owner and said my car would be repaired and ready, so I could drive over. Immediately after making the plans, I had an unsettling feeling. I knew it was a bad idea to promise anything before my car was back in my possession. But it had been almost a week… with several false starts… and delaying things yet again felt just as painful an option.
The plan was to meet the owner at 3PM. I asked my mechanic to deliver my car at 1PM, giving me plenty of time to get to the head office.
At 11:30AM, he called to say he’d be a little late
Okay, fine. That’s why I factored in some extra time.
1PM came and went. No sign of him.
I called. No answer.
Finally I got ahold of him… to learn he was stuck in traffic. Just a couple miles away.
So, I paced back and forth, seething. Why couldn’t he communicate better? Why did everything always get done later than the estimate? And why the heck did I plan things like this? Because ultimately, I set this in motion.
I didn’t have the owner’s number, so I called a co-worker to try to relay a message, but she was dealing with a customer and quickly hung up on me.
Amidst my frantic thoughts, a more useful one came through:
“Well, if gratitude works so well, let’s use it,” I figured.
So I began repeating to myself, “thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou-”
And I looked up to see my mechanic driving right in front of me, in my car.
I hopped in and called my supervisor to say I was on my way, but would be a little late.
“Don’t bother,” he said, “Owner’s super-busy today and said he can’t do a meeting.”
Unbelievable. All that struggle… for nothing.
Later, I did a little “debriefing” and recognized behavior I could improve. There’s a clear difference between swift action, and pushing things out of desperation. I engaged in the latter.
Getting upset only intensified the forces against what I wanted
I also discovered that my co-worker didn’t mean to hang up on me out of spite. She was simply focused on her customer. Yet, I took note how the Universe had given me a taste of my own medicine.
But, hey, at least I finally got my car back. The mechanic couldn’t find a gold-colored hood at the junkyard to match my car, so he had asked me if I wanted black or silver. Of course, I chose silver.
A couple days later, I set out to the main office again. Driving the exact same route. Passing the scene of my accident was slightly surreal, and I was extra-cautious the second time around.
Finally making it to the office… was even more surreal. I looked around, amazed that this mythical meeting was finally going to happen.
I had given myself plenty of time to get there, so I used the extra half-hour to talk with some fellow co-workers. Then, I sauntered over to the main office. There, I ended up sitting on the waiting-room couch for maybe 20 minutes, as the owner talked on the phone while pacing around.
Dave was in his late thirties, 300 pounds, and sported a girlfriend 15 years younger
He always won their daily shouting matches. His family was from Georgia, he grew up in Florida, and he moved to Colorado for one reason: To build an empire of gold-buying stores.
Finally, he waltzed over to me and said, “Okay, come on in.”
We sat down at his desk and he asked me to talk about some of my marketing ideas. About 30 seconds into my spiel, he got another call.
It was from an employee in the store, who was negotiating with a customer. He listened to the various kinds of gold and silver items the customer brought in… ran the calculations in his head… quoted a price… then got a call from another employee in another store… then put her on hold to take a call about a 100-ounce bar of silver that might be fake.
He juggled these calls, and more, for over 15 minutes while I sat there, marveling at the workload
At no point did he display a single speck of frustration, overwhelm, or annoyance. He simply took call after call, doing almost all the math in his head, and then finally meandered over to the adjoining store to look at the silver bar himself. Dave still couldn’t figure out it if were fake.
He bought it anyway. Then he showed it to me, saying, “I’ll still have to test it out to see if it’s real… but it looks pretty cool!”
That was Dave in a nutshell.
Making money was a game to him, and he loved to play. Whether it was teaming up with a few friends to beat opponents in online poker for money (back when that was legal stateside) … buying and selling stuff on eBay… or owning multiple strip clubs… if he could figure out a way to make money, he belly-flopped right into the opportunity. But permeating his “I don’t care” attitude about absolutely everything… was a very sharp, meticulous business mind.
And a strong gut instinct
That day, he demonstrated how much he went by it, and promoted me on the spot to do marketing for the company full-time. Starting the next day.
My days of sign-spinning were over (at least… that’s what I thought…)
However, on my very first day of this new job, I’d realize the importance of “be careful what you wish for.”