My graduation class is getting ready for our upcoming 20th reunion. Of course you start to see names you haven't heard of in years... You (I) take a look at their profile and scan thru photos. You check to see where they live, if they are married and have kids. Photos are interesting!! We try to see what kind of life they lead. We look at their career listings and aren't we surprised? I was just washing lunch dishes and started thinking about a very shy girl in school who is a lawyer. I thought to myself she must have had a tiger hiding under her quiet demeanor. I think you would have to be able to lay it on the table to defend or prosecute a client. I started thinking I would never have guessed that would be her career...... THEN, I started thinking about myself. "NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS!!!!"
I am a GRAND 5' tall. No matter what "look" I go for I always look about 12--16 if I am pushing it. I have to laugh at my crazy resume. I have had a variety of experiences along the way. I worked for myself cleaning from 16 thru college graduation then a bit before my first child was born. I worked a while in a few offices, and then my husband had an idea to become long haul truck drivers!
WHAT? NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS!!!
I couldn't believe my ears when he brought up the idea. How would I ever be able to do it!! I had every excuse in the world why I couldn't be a truck driver..... Well, my mom, her husband and my husband sat in the living room to convince me of all the reasons why I should. PEER PRESSURE!! They painted a luxury picture of all the beautiful places we would see. They convinced me that we could bank away a ton of money. My husband made sure I got all the encouragement I needed. He believed in me. How could I argue--I can do anything! Finally I agreed---if he was in charge of backing!
It turns out that the years we spent trucking products from one side of the country to the other every couple days was one of the most amazing adventures. And I was really good at it! Our most typical route was Connecticut to L.A. We ended up visiting every state except Vermont in the lower 48 (too late and dark for the hills, we just wanted to get to a major highway again), Canada x3 and even took a couple loads to the Mexican border. We lived in a tiny little space together, but rarely crossed paths. We each drove 10 hours at a time. We would stop for fuel, showers, dinner and back on the road. I would often stay up a while so that we could talk a little before I headed to bed. We were able to meet up with friends and family in places all across the country. We parked in rest areas and they came to pick us up. We parked on the street directly in front of their homes, trailer and all. We can actually say it was so much fun. We have some great adventure stories. Would I do it again? NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS!! Well, if things were right--I could! After it was time to hang up our keys--I didn't care, I stopped waking Antonio up to get in the tight spots. I whipped that trailer in any spot I needed. The big men that watched me would gasp when I hopped out of the cab. "How do you drive that thing?" Honestly, I hated the comments---Can you see? How old are you? A weigh station officer had me come inside to call Ohio and confirm my license wasn't registered to my mother. I loved how awesome I was! They couldn't believe little old me was able to handle myself so well. I surprised myself too! Watch out--I was a beast!
Once we were out of the trucking industry, we were on hold for a while until the weather broke so we could start our landscaping company. So to keep me occupied, I applied at what I thought was a factory. I just wanted to punch a clock and get out. I planned to stay for 6 months. It turned out to be a call center and within a month--I found out I was pregnant. What was supposed to be a 6-month bank account padder turned into 11 years! I hated the job! It was awful. Who likes being a nobody? The strict rules and harsh environment was defeating. The people I worked with were just as unhappy. What do you do when the job itself would be okay, but the management stinks? Join them? NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS! My manager at the time was one of the greatest ladies. Another girl and I were her unofficial assistants. We rarely did our jobs; we worked daily to help her with random tasks around the office. Then one night she pulled me in the office. I would like to promote you to the 3rd shift supervisor. When can you start? NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS! I was at the time a few months pregnant. How on Earth would I be able to handle 3rd shift, pregnant and still mow/ mulch all day long? She fed me the encouragement I needed. I believe in you. I know you are the right person for the job and I know that you will make it work. So I jumped in, then I QUIT! I was a zombie by 3am. How could I possibly make it until 6a? She wouldn't let me give up, so we adjusted my hours to something a little less daunting. I loved my team. We had so much fun, even though I was the enemy (the boss). My team even threw me an amazing baby shower, right on the floor. We passed treats up and down the aisle between calls. They all brought the baby presents and made sure I knew that we were more than co-workers--we were friends. That was the biggest blessing of that J-O-B--the people I met and became friends with over the years is priceless. I talked to everyone! I wandered around and visited with my friends all night long. After a while the schedule became too much. Two babies under 2, a full-time landscaping career by day and the full-time 3rd shift position by night.... Something had to go. I was able to change positions, yet retain my managerial status.
As it turns out, it was a great schedule fit BUT, I was in charge of ruining people's lives. I loved my teams, but my job required me to document and track EVERY mistake ever made. I was the last link between harmony and the unemployment line. I had to laugh when I ran into a girl from my old team whom I hadn't seen in a while. She was surprised I still worked there, since she hadn't seen me. I told her I was still there, but I was the person everyone one hated. The team called me OZ. I was the one behind the wall that could, like magic, create documents to terminate and associate. She looked at me and said--no one hates you--you are awesome. I told her the position I moved to and the look on her face was priceless. Oh, I see, we do hate you, but not YOU ;). I didn't get to set policy; I just had to enforce it. I did what I could to make sure that everyone was treated with fairness and honesty. I was talking with an old teammate when I had to address an open violation with a girl sitting close. I asked her to correct the situation. She looked at me and said, "who's going to catch me--you?" I had to laugh when my friend informed her of who I was. That sneaky wizard that doesn't just hide behind my desk--good old OZ in action. Some of the rules in the beginning were so off the wall, it was hard to do my job--you must have socks or stockings or be sent home and written up..... I HATED some of the nonsense. I have such great memories, yet knew that everything I was obligated to complete was against my personal core values. I did the BEST I could with what was available to me. I was the first to admit mistakes and make them right, but it just wasn't enough. I wasn't using my life for anything good; I was just trading my time for a very small paycheck. This job became a security blanket. I was good at my job; it fit my needs at the time, so how could I manage without it? A chain of events led to my resignation. Finally, I was going to do something GOOD!!
Antonio and I continued to work with our landscaping clients. We look at what we built from nothing and are truly proud! We didn't know anyone in this city, yet have been successful for the past 13 years. Just like the trucking days, when we got started--I wasn't on board. NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS was "landscaper" on the bucket list. We still have a client that was one of our very first and has provided us with the most referrals out of any. He told me once that our flyer came at the perfect timing. He wasn't sure he was going to hire us until our meeting. I don't remember it at all, but apparently he asked me something about his grass and I got down on my knees and checked it out. He said that he knew that we were the company for him. He let us go one season to save on expenses, only to call us back after 3 weeks. "Are you speaking to me? I need you back. The other "cheaper" company is ruining my property. You have always taken care of my property--just the way I like it. I guess I got what I asked for when I switched--cheap." We have been so fortunate over the years. Even though I never thought I would do this, it has become such a blessing to our family. Our boys play mowing all day long. My middle boy owns our equipment. It was given to him for his 5th birthday. They have been with us on so many jobs. Our clients always come out to compliment them. They are such professionals. They work alongside the big men and other than their small stature, you wouldn't know. They take their responsibilities so seriously. The kids all have duties when we arrive home to help us unload the trailers. It is so much fun watching them realize how much effort it takes to create an income, manage employees and deal with difficult clients. We are in it together!
Since leaving my J-O-B in the fall last year, life has only gotten sweeter. We are finally able to enjoy being a family. Where Antonio and I often met in the driveway to swap roles, we are now able to have dinner together, have fun movie nights, go swimming and so much that we have missed being parents on opposite schedules. We bought a new home just about a year ago. My boys came with me on the 2-year house hunt and once we found the one, they were with me for all the inspections and trips to the bank. It was a long stressful process but one I was so fortunate to share with my boys!
My oldest two have been home schooled for the past two years. That is another thing I thought NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS I would do. I wasn't interested in being a teacher. Pulling them from private school was selfish so we could save more for the new house, but it turned into the GREATEST blessing for our family. I was able to help address some education deficits and helped crazy concepts make sense. Having my babies home with me all day long and not having to leave them in the evening has been amazing. I realize that I missed a ton. I provided a bit of money to the family budget, but I lost time that I can't get back. We were able to really get connected for the past 2 years, and now without the late nights--I am able to wake up refreshed and function without being cranky all day. Since we are in a completely new town and don't have any friends local, all 3 boys are starting public school in a couple weeks. So starts a new adventure. The boys are so excited! I am more proud every day! They are such good kids. I can't wait to see where their adventures lead them. Joseph is dreaming of owning a restaurant, Jason as decided he wants to be an engineer for Lamborghini in Italy and Matthew is just getting ready to stay out of the principal’s office. We hope!
So here comes the next NEVER IN A MILLION adventure. As I washed dishes today thinking about all this history I started to laugh. I never had any desire to start a Shaklee business. It was just never on any radar I had. My mom has been a distributor for 34+ years. It was never something I thought about doing.......Oh wait!! As I thought about it today, I think it is actually they only thing I have always done. I was thinking about all the speeches I gave in high school and college. They were always related to Shaklee. I did one of my final Marketing presentations on a current product being introduced in a new market--Shaklee's sports drink. I have been giving Shaklee presentations my entire life. My mom says I would have a group of friends over and we would talk Shaklee. When I started my cleaning service at 16.... I brought my own Shaklee supplies and educated my clients as to why their chemical cleaners were harmful to their health. I just didn't realize why it was so important until a couple years ago.
My husband's health was getting SO bad that I was actually just waiting to receive a call that he wouldn't be coming home again. As a result of a car accident (and 1.5 years under strict doctor's care), I almost lost him. There was nothing funny about our situation, but we laugh now that had he not gotten so bad, he would have probably NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS tried Shaklee. He was a very big skeptic. It took a life threatening event to really wake him up. Even though he decided to try Shaklee, he ONLY did it because he felt he had no other viable options. So he gave one last ditch effort to save his life. To his surprise and my delight, his blood work went from sky high to completely normal in 1 month and 5 days (if you ask him). I have always used the products, but never had a BIG personal health story to share. When we realized that the products weren't just "another thing to try" and that they had actually saved his life, we knew we had a responsibility to tell everyone. So we started sharing his story with people. We shared it with so many people that Shaklee recognized us with being Star Achievers and I was promoted in my business. I love what I do. Where I spent my days documenting the demise of careers, now I have the pleasure of sharing a success story to inspire others to live happier, healthier, more prosperous lives. How could we stay quiet and keep this to ourselves? Our life improved dramatically when we added Shaklee to our everyday life. When I really realized that by helping other people live better and help them avoid the torture we suffered with Antonio's health problems that we could also earn an income--we felt at home! We are able to do something important for families like ours. We love our family more than anything else in life. A prestigious career but poor health isn't a life. Poverty with great health isn't the answer either. There has to be a balance. We look at life and laugh. There are so many styles to live by. You can compete with the Jones's. You can do your own thing. You can sit in the darkness not sure of where you fit. We have decided to live life on purpose, building better tomorrows. It took us wearing many different hats to find the right one, but we are here. We have a wonderful family, our bodies are strong, our minds sharp, and we now have a powerful mission to carry us down the path of life.
"We are dedicated to help people live happier, healthier, more prosperous lives!"