Wednesday, May 25, 2005

...And tell him he better stock up on cologne too, 'cause he's gonna have some competition..

Wednesday, May 11, 11:15am
Steve's office

"Steve, Steve, Steve."

"Good morning, Dan!"

"What have you learned today, Steve?"

"You got me a little early, Dan. OH! I know! A sprinter never tripped on an untied shoelace."

"Yes....yes, YES! I LIKE it! It's kind of a 'Don't sweat the small stuff' thing, isn't it? Did you make that up?"

"I did. So what can I do for you, Dan?"

"Steve, I've got a friend in the rental car business. He and I wager a bit from time to time."


"He bet me $5,000 he could beat me at golf, and he lost."


"And then, six months later, we played at Sawgrass, double or nothing, and I beat him again."

"So he owes you TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS?"

"No, I lost a few bucks to him on Super Bowls and things. I figure he owes me about $8,200 or so."

"So where are you going with this?"

"Being in the rental car business, he's got all kinds of connections in the hospitality industry. Steve, how would you like to be upgraded to the finest hotel in all of Hawaii?"

"We're booked at the Marriott-"

"I know. Never mind the Marriott. This place makes the Marriott look like a mud hut. The rooms are palatial, Steve. Pa-LA-tial! And the employees cater to your every whim. It'll be the most magnificent vacation you've ever had. I guarantee it."

"Well... sure! I would have to cancel my other-"

"Just say the word and my friend will handle everything."

"Yes, of course! And thank you! But Dan, why are you doing this?"

"I don't like collecting that much cash from a bet. Besides, I need a favor from you."

Ah, I should have seen this coming.

"What's that?"

"I want you to hire my son Troy as an intern, and teach him everything you know. I'm grooming him to be a DM."

Troy is an MBA student at a university a few miles from my office. He's never worked a day in his life, but, being a card-carrying member of the Lucky Sperm Club, he'll be earning $150,000 a year by next summer, thanks to daddy.

Troy is a prick. He's tall and muscled, and walks around with his chest puffed out like Bluto from the Popeye cartoons, all the while smiling the easy, self-assured smile of a man who doesn't have a care in the world. Dom and I call Troy "George Bush", because no matter how much trouble he gets into, no matter how many cars he wrecks, no matter how many opportunities he squanders, at the end of the day he'll find himself with enough money to live like a king for the rest of his life.

As far as I know, he has no insurance experience, and now Dan is considering giving him an office to run. It'll probably be the midwest office; that's the smallest and quietest one. Nonetheless, it's a stressful, complicated job, and it requires someone with a wealth of experience to perform it properly. Sure, Troy will have the $3,000 suits, and the fancy car (he drives a BMW 7 series; dad probably paid $80,000 or so for it), and the imperious, don't-bother-me-with-details air about him. But I refuse to believe he will be able to run an office successfully after I "take him under my wing" for three or four weeks. This ain't like teaching someone to mow the lawn; it's nothing that can be boiled down to a list or a manual, or a college course. You need to eat, breathe, and sleep this business - for YEARS - in order to be a successful district manager.

"Ah, boy, Dan. Are you sure this is a good idea? He's got no experience in the business! He might be better off spending some time in underwriting-"

"Steve, I could've just told you to hire him. I am the CEO of this company, you know. Did you know I was the CEO, Steve?"


"I could have just ordered you to do it, but I don't like to throw my weight around. So I'll let you decide. What do you think?"

"How long do I need to train him for?"

"I figured six weeks."

"He can shadow me for 2 hours a day. And I would need him to work with Dom quite a bit."


"And I'll need to give him assignments. Big ones, time consuming ones."

"I would expect that. In fact, I would demand that!"

This won't be so bad after all. I figure I could assign him to work with the sales people. That job really sucks; basically, it entails listening to them bitch about the customer service people for 4 or 5 hours at a time, twice a month, and fielding angry phone calls from them every time their commission checks are off by $4.37. There's also a lot of grunt work that he could probably handle: Long, tedious, but not too difficult, projects that drain hours from my calendar every day. An extra pair of hands would be useful for the summer.

"It's a deal, Dan. Can he start the Monday after I come back? The 30th?"

"Yes! EXCELLENT! I'll call him with the good news! And I'll make sure I mention the bit about the sprinter with the shoelaces!"