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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Repositionally Positioned

Back in 1995, I was sitting in my top floor corner office in Dearborn, MI. I remember it as a day of incredible entitlement. After all, I had 23 years with Ford Motor Company. A dozen people were working for me and we were very busy. I thought my job was invaluable. It has been a good year. Work just another 10 years, and retirement would arrive with a nice pension and full paid health benefits. I was amazed at how many of my friends moved into different careers and into different job avenues all the time. I could not understand that. Not me, Vogel was staying until they took the Ford keys out of his cold hands. A Ford guy is forever.

As you might imagine, 16 years later, I am not retiring any time soon and I am not at Ford any longer. The economy got me. It got me good. In less than five years after that eventful day, we left Michigan and moved to a little bedroom town of just under 9,800 people, Apex, North Carolina. After 25 years began again.

My next 10 years were spent in retail automotive with the Hendrick Automotive Group, eventually making it to the Director of Training and Recruiting for the Cary Auto Mall. Back in September, 2008, the car business fall off the economic ledge and every dealership in America was bleeding buckets of money. I was again sitting in my corner office at Cadillac, this time surrounded by cherry wood, marble, and sitting in a cushy leather chair. I had it good. I had just finished the week training a very large class of new salespeople. Hendrick was forever. I was invaluable. The only one in the entire complex that did what I did, there was that sense of security. Staying until they took the HUMMER Alpha keys out of my cold hands, I was a Hendrick guy forever. BUT, the economy got me good again.

I started VTR Consulting LLC the day after I left Hendrick and took my training and recruiting into microbusiness-ville.

I was confident; but the economic situation got very ugly. I soon found out that training retail sales in a bad economy is like selling Alaskan ice cubes in Juneau. There is still a market. Most of the time people can go scoop their own ice off their property.

Then came very long days going door to door for business. No one would buy the training. I was getting infrequent customers and inconsistent income. The economy got did it again.

In February 2010, I started over. I spent a year doing commercial insurance. It was a challenge to start a new endeavor without a great list of leads. Trying to blend training with insurance was tough. I went back to training full-time.

This past July, I decided to go back to a core passion. Half of my career at Ford involved publications; I was a division editor doing an array of writing. With 300 blogs out there in e-space over the past two years, I decided to throw all my marbles into content writing. I created a division of VTR Consulting LLC and called it I.M.U. Social Media.

I am now writing social media content for 16 clients plus Dale Carnegie in six states and the Netherlands. Money is finally coming into the house on a regular basis. I am writing until they take the Vibe keys out of my cold hands. I am an IMU guy.

There are multiple lessons from this insanity that we can call repositioning. The first is that "stuff happens". Always be ready. Keep your reputation, your sense of honesty, and your integrity sound. Your reputation is really all you have in life you can be assured is yours.. Get your education. No one can take college degrees away from you. Be flexible. Be positive. Find people who you can collaborate with as you grow. You cannot do it all alone. And finally, understand you have no clue where you will be ten years from now, a week from now, or even tomorrow. Be prepared to reinvent yourself at anytime. Remember when “stuff” happens, step forward and around it. And keep the faith. The economy is S L O W L Y changing for the better again. If it gets us this time, we all will be ready.

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