Seventeen years ago, when Mike and I got married, he was working as a "yard guy" at the local lumber yard. With a baby on the way and a family to support, opportunities for advancement seemed slim. Many people believed we had thrown our lives away. But Mike was undeterred. He worked hard at his job and advanced to driver, head driver, and then into sales. He was aggressive and brought new ideas and programs to his store. He also drove school bus to make some extra money and because he liked to. :)
Only four short years after we were married, Mike was asked to manage a lumber yard in a small town in North Dakota. At 24 years old, he was the youngest manager in his company. We didn't know it at the time, but the company was planning to close that yard soon. They sent Mike out there to test his mettle but the figured if he bombed it would be no big loss for them.
Well, he didn't bomb. He showed them what he was capable of and that he was willing to work hard to make a difference. As soon as an opportunity to manage back in MN opened up, they closed the ND store. We had been there for two years.
This new store was a gift. A reward for all the hard work he had done in ND. It was a successful yard in a busy area. It was also a great area full of conservative homeschooling families. We built our first house there and were there for three years. It was a difficult decision when they offered him a larger store closer to our families. But then his boss said, "If you take this job, and I assuming you will..." We figured if his boss thought he's be an idiot not to take the job, we should take it.
We've been here for seven years now. Three weeks ago we were asked to move again. Mike was asked, no, begged to go back and take on his hometown store. The store has been struggling and his bosses felt Mike was the best person to go in there and turn things around. Mike has always desired to get his hands on the store and see what he could do. He always kept on eye on the store and considered what changes might make it more profitable. But now he has five kids. And two of them are teenagers who aren't thrilled at the idea of having to make all new friends again. The other three are too little to help mom pack up a house to get ready to move. So, he hesitated.
His company had a big buying show and he was gone for three days. His bosses said they would talk to him more about it once the show ended. Mike had told me that he really felt like he was going to tell them, "No," but that I should expect a curve ball. Sure enough, the curve ball came. They want him to manage both stores. Hmmm. I'm not sure how that's going to fit into the "involved homeschooling dad" model.
The reality is that there are many people who are out of work. There are many small business owners in our area whose businesses are failing and they are struggling. Mike works in the hardest hit sector of the economy during this "economic down turn." We have been concerned about Mike's job for the last couple of years. The fact that he was asked to take on this challenge speaks volumes to his position in his company. We are thankful that he has a good job and that the company has taken care of us for all these years.
So, he said, "Yes," and began work at the new store yesterday. It's about 1 1/2 hr commute. After spending the day getting to know the crew and presenting new ideas and technology to them, he's very hopeful and excited for the opportunities for improvement. He also excited because he gets to hire his brother as an outside salesman. Usually the company doesn't allow nepotism but Mike included it in his proposal. Since his brother is currently working for the competition and has worked for Mike before, they agreed.
It's difficult to say how this is going to affect our family life overall. It will be hard to not seeing him for lunch everyday. He'll be over there two or three days a week. He may spend more time at the store here on the weekends. We will just take it one day at a time and be thankful that Mike is able to provide for our family.
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5 years ago