It’s a brave new world out there
EDMONTON, AB, Jun 30, 2012/ Troy Media/ – Declining a significant promotion, one from the only company you have ever worked for, and a position they had been grooming you for from almost the beginning of your career, especially when you are young, can be a huge, and almost frightening decision.
That was the situation I found myself in two years into my position at Loblaws in Prince Albert. And one I knew I had to make. I had no experience in what to say or how to handle a situation like that, so my fall back was to explain honestly how and why I had reached that decision, and hope it would work out for the better.
It was the right decision
The two weeks that followed that decision and conversation were difficult to say the least. There were repeated phone calls and meetings asking if I would reconsider my decision. It wasn’t an easy time. But I knew deep down I had made the right decision, and there was no going back. And despite all of the time and effort the company had invested in me along the way I knew I had given back and sacrificed that much more. I knew I had “left it all on the ice”. And then some.
But now I was faced with the real issue and challenge. I was in a position that existed simply to train future management, a position I knew I couldn’t stay in forever or possibly even that much longer. Given my decision, I could have been demoted, or they could have simply made my life miserable, to the point that I just resigned. Neither held all that much appeal.
I then truly began to wonder what I would do next. I had never known life outside that company or industry and, in Saskatchewan at that time, there were not an abundance of options.
To my surprise, the next day the District Manager of Loblaws met with me and informed me that a Food Brokerage firm in Saskatoon was looking to hire a Sales Representative/Account Manager, and he thought I would be a perfect fit. I had no idea what a “food broker” was, and thought it was strange that he would put me in contact with a firm in the stock market! He told me the manager’s name, and suggested I contact him about the position, using him as a direct reference.
An initial phone interview led to a personal interview, and I was offered the position the next day. I remember feeling every emotion imaginable: Excitement, fear, and apprehension, to name a few. But, above all else, something inside me kept telling me this was the right next step for me. And I remember thinking over and over that, despite being as scared as I was in making a decision not to accept a position, being completely forthright and honest had not only not closed a major door for me, it had in fact opened one, in a rather significant way. That lesson has never been lost on me.
The going away party the staff from my store in Prince Albert threw me was your typical, run of the mill party. All of my friends and colleagues came, sharing a few beers and a lot of laughs. It progressed until the wee hours of the morning when one of my co-workers, Larry, busted out his chainsaw to prove he could cut lumber like no one else. By the time the pizza delivery guy showed up, with Larry greeting him at the door with the saw at full rpm, I knew the night, and my time in Prince Alberta was a full and complete success!
My first day in Saskatoon seemed like I had just moved to New York. A “huge” new city, and a completely new position in an industry a few short weeks earlier I hadn’t even heard about. And for the first time in a very long time, maybe ever, I felt like a massive shackle or ball and chain had been removed from my body. I didn’t know it at the time, but I had taken my first, and perhaps most important step in truly becoming a business person. The feeling was amazing.
To celebrate this new found freedom and excitement I decided to go for a long drive after my first day in my new career, and get a feel for the beautiful city that Saskatoon is. Ten minutes later, as I was explaining to one of Saskatoon’s Finest why I was going 30 KPH over the speed limit on 8th Street, and him having none of it, I knew I had stepped into a brave new world. . .
Shawn Brown is the Founder and President of Forest For the Trees, a boutique business advisory service headquartered in Edmonton, AB. http://www.forestnow.com/