Years ago, I worked for a home center as a lumberyard manager. I loved that job more than any job I’ve ever had.
My primary job was to ensure that the company hit it’s sales goals in a few key areas. Lumber, plywood, drywall, fencing and building products mainly, but also doors and millwork. You know, the stuff you need to build a house.
In order to hit our sales goals I had to be keenly aware of a few key indicators. First, we had to have the appropriate levels of inventory for our customers. This meant I was responsible for forecasting and ordering products. Our biggest categories were lumber and plywood. Those categories drove sales in a lot of other related categories, such as nails and hardware, doors, millwork, and building products.
Watching the lumber and plywood inventories was my number one priority so it required me to be outside working side by side with my employees.
Lumberyards are a very dangerous place. So much so that we required our employees to wear the appropriate safety equipment. Ultimately we implemented a uniform program that kept our people safe and set us apart from our competitors. My love of the job started with the daily ritual of donning the uniform.
My uniform included a hard hat, back brace, steel toed boots, and a two-way walkie talkie, you know, kind of what a police officer wears. There is something about putting on a uniform daily that signals to your body that it’s time to work.
And work I did!
In the heat, the cold, the rain, the snow. Semi tractor trailers were constantly arriving with products. Today the yellow pine and treated lumber trucks are here. Someone needs to unload that truck while others focus on customers. Tomorrow the insulation truck arrives, it has to be unloaded by hand, we’ll need a few guys for that one.
The next day the drywall and spruce-pine-fir truck arrives. We’ll need someone on the forklift for most of the day. On and on it went, day after day we would gather as a team and coordinate our efforts to accomplish the daily tasks, many of them very physical in nature. Unloading cabinets, or doors, or loading concrete mix into a customers truck can be physically demanding. The weather sometimes made it more difficult.
Our lumberyard was full of guys who everyday had to pull together to get really big things done with limited resources. The stress, danger, and the elements all pushed us to come together as a team and we developed a very unique bond. It was us against the world.
For me, it was the comradery that made that job my favorite of all time.
Daily, I would tell my wife how much I loved that job. You can imagine her surprise when I came home one day and said, “I think I’m going to apply for a job in Northern Kentucky.”
She could not understand. I lived less than ten minutes from my work and loved what I was doing, why would I voluntarily apply for a job 45 minutes away?
My company at the time was shifting their strategy towards growing our contractor business. There was a job opening to manage a contractor office in our Florence, Kentucky location. It was only a lateral move, no promotion, but because I knew our future growth would be contractors, I wanted to be a part of it.
No one understood what I was doing. It seemed foolish to spend an hour and a half on the road everyday just to get to and from work, but for the same amount of money? It just didn’t make sense.
But you see, I’m stubborn. I’ve always gone my own way. Followed my own intuition.
Although I loved my job, I knew I would gain valuable experience and learn a great deal by making the move. I knew the move would make me more valuable to my company in the future.
Which is exactly what happened. That job introduced me to an incredible leader , Ron Flannery, who took me under his wing and eighteen months later I was promoted to handle multiple locations in the same position. My stubborn ways paid off.
Education and experience over money. That’s always the way I’ve made my decisions. Will this next job prepare me for greater opportunities and experiences in the future?
It’s why I do a daily podcast now. It’s why I write. It’s why I do a daily LIVE show on Facebook. My skills developed today will pay off in the coming years.
Money is important, but instincts and intuition should always be considered.
Trust your inner light.