The last time I worked for someone else was in 2000. Coincidentally, it’s the last time I remember feeling really, really, resentful about someone else’s success. (Which I helped create.)
I was one of several managers who contributed to the bottom line in the automobile franchises that my boss owned. You’ve heard of, “Multiple income streams,” right? Well, my boss had them. He owned 5 different franchises at the same time, and 3 out of 5 did pretty darn well.
He was part of a new breed of automobile franchise owners that were starting to appear on the scene back then; in this case, he was the nephew of an old-time car guy. And, he was very difficult to work for. He seemed to have 3-4 different personalities, and I never knew which one he’d bring in to work.
He Had a Big House
His house was big. His wife was well-kept. And, he wasn’t really a nice guy. (Got the visual?)
But, he looked good. He wore nice clothes. He was well-groomed. His cars were always spotless.
He owned a big house because he made big money. But, he didn’t make a lot of money because he was an amazing businessman. He made a lot of money because he had a good management team. Well, some of his managers were good. Some were real jerks. And mean, too.
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Things were not going well there. Business was down, and one of the franchises was on the brink. It wasn’t a very pleasant situation to be in–as a manager. But, the owner didn’t seem to be sweating all that much. He was still Living The Dream. But, I wasn’t. I was really starting to hate the guy. He was putting a tremendous amount of heat on us to keep increasing sales, and they just weren’t there. (Sales don’t happen unless there are customers willing to part with their money. ) The, “Customer” part was definitely missing.
I was getting sick of the whole charade. I was working in a franchise that was about to close. (Or get sold) The staff was unhappy. ( And, worried.) But the owner wasn’t; he was doing what he always did. He was coming and going all day long, enjoying the good life. The good life I’m referring to is the one in which he still had a ton of income coming in from his other franchises. He still looked good, and I knew that I didn’t. I was miserable. And, I was sick of making my boss look good. I knew that I had contributed to his wealth–and I had nothing to show for it. (Except high blood pressure and a few grey hairs.) I really hated my life.
The day that I was fired was a scary one. As weird as things had gotten, (I left a lot out) I really wasn’t expecting to be called into The Office that Monday morning. When the GM told me that my services were no longer needed, I felt two things, simultaneously;
1. A massive amount of fear.
2. A huge sense of relief.
The fear part had to do with being out of a job, and along with it, having no money to take care of my wife, and my little Franchise Princess.
The relief part? It was like a 300 lb weight had been lifted from my shoulders. All the crazy, and really dysfunctional things that I had gone through as an employee of this automotive group, were not going to be part of my life anymore. That was a good thing, because it really sucked working for this guy. The General Manager who fired me was no treat either.
I’m my own boss, today. I’ve been self-employed since 2001, after being recruited by my late father. I love working for me.
And, I never get sick of making my boss look good, anymore.
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