Eleven years ago this coming Monday, I woke up groggy from surgery. Staring up into John’s face he looked funny to me; not funny ha-ha, but funny weird. His eyes reflected something different, a sadness I couldn’t quite comprehend. “We don’t have a problem, right?” I stated more than I asked. “Yes, we do” he answered. That was exactly how my journey with breast cancer began.
It doesn’t really matter if you’re a printer, a journalist, accountant or teacher, cancer is indiscriminate my doctor told me. It didn’t matter that I took care of myself, ate well and exercised often. I don’t have a history of breast cancer anywhere in my family. So, when I woke up that morning years ago I felt sucker-punched. Cancer…really?
In our office right now there are four of us. Four survivors out of the 14 women who work here. Higher than the 1 in 8 ratio normally referenced in breast cancer statistics. Many of us will participate in the local Komen Race For The Cure to raise money for research and to honor those we love who currently battle, or those we’ve lost to the disease.
Since that day, September 30th has become my day of reflection. Then, the next day, and for the entire month of October, or breast cancer awareness month, I’ll represent my fight. I’ll wear my pin and my bracelet that serves to remind everyone that this is the month to be aware, and perhaps to consider donating.
I’ve written before about Chump Change. Not inferring at all that the money I had tucked away for years in my jewelry box was chump change. But, more that I was a chump for not realizing what I had. How many of us might have valuable foreign money…tucked away from trips long ago that might be exchanged and used for donations? Whether you donate to the Komen, or any other good cause, it’s a good thing. Don’t be a chump
Like most people, on January 4th, 2010, I returned to work after the long holiday weekend. As I booted up my computer and opened my new 2010 desk calendar I realized it was also my anniversary. On a Monday, 22 years ago, I began my career in commercial print sales. I was 28 years old. I could take this moment to blather on about where the time went and how fast it has gone by, but I won’t. It’s cliche’. What I’d really like to do is tell you some stories about my years in the printing industry. I’ll start with a little background information.
Prior to direct sales I worked for a print broker. Then I did a stint in a small shop off Motor Street that actually had equipment. There I listened and asked questions. I took an estimating class from Joe Polanco, who, by the way is still with PIA MidAmerica, here in Dallas. After 14 months of what I now look back on as an “internship,” I went to work in customer service with a well-known financial printer. That was in 1987, and if you’re old enough you’ll recall, that October the market took a steep dive and for the first time in my life I was laid off. After some soul-searching (I think everyone does that after a lay-off) I decided to take a try at outside sales. That was the only job I was going to search for. Nothing else…it was time.
Well, interviewing was tight as the job market. I didn’t have a professional sales background unless you counted four years of retail sales. I used that and my knowledge of the prepress and press impositions and landed a job that would start in the new year of 1988. I walked in nervous and all, got my desk and a contact book and a log to fill out everyday of telephone calls. I made 100 calls a day at least. Blabbed the same information over and over. That’s what it took back then. Contact, talk, get appointments. Once I got an appointment I’d drive over to introduce myself, my company and try to figure out if we had a match with their need and our equipment. I represented a 40″ shop (nothing smaller) so the jobs had to be pretty big. Thankfully I had a sales manager who kept the owners from firing me a few times for lack of sales. It was because he could prove it wasn’t because of lack of effort. There’s a difference. It took nearly four months for me to make my first sale. In about six months I was selling enough to at least keep my job.
I’m not going to tell you that I’m a super sales person and I’ve made so much money you should listen to what I have to say. I’m just going to tell you stories that I think can help anybody who is involved in the process of commercial printing. The artists, designers, production techs, account manager, owners, buyers. We all have a story, but I’m not sure if you’ve heard mine.