I think it might be like all things, somewhere in between, but for someone like me, I hate in-betweens.
Anyway, I have done what I should have done and more, as far as the company goes. you see I never ever really asked for anything in return. I felt it was my job to do the best I could, and I really still didn't have an agenda. I was kind of working for my father or my uncle. That is the way I felt, and my owner made me feel the same way. It was a very mutual relationship, because I could live with the dysfunction, because that's where I came from. When on a Monday, he'd be in a bad mood and be all pissy, I just kind of knew, don't push the button to the top floor today. That is when I learned to do things on my own, that wouldn't adversely affect the business, but he didn't have to know about it.
I can tell you I never did anything on my own to benefit me and not the business, and I am supremely proud of that. A lot of people would have, but I always kept the business, and his interests first, and that's the truth. I came from a family that had deep roots in being true to yourself, even though, it might have been dysfunctional, loyalty meant everything, and I was his St Bernard. That's just the way it was.
My wife, Susan would be telling me, you should get a company car, and it took me months to ask him. When I finally did, she was right, he was like, sure, why didn't you ask me sooner. It was surreal in a lot of ways. I asked for a health club membership, it was like $85 a month, again, no problem. So I played basketball on my lunch hour to, oh I don't know, because I loved the competition. That's the thing, I was very competitive, and it only benefited the business really.
Then, he springs it on me, he wants a non-compete contract, tied into an employment contract. it was strangling. I would work for him for a set yearly rate, but if I ever left, he could tie me up in circles. My dad had a friend who was an attorney, he said I should have him look at it. This is all new ground to me. He called me back the very next day and implored me not to sign it, it was way too rigid, and he has me tied up, six ways to Sunday! I was torn, because he knew I liked him but my dad's friend kept telling me it was way too restrictive. So, this was our first real negotiation. It is tough negotiating something, where your boss is giving you something, but it could all be taken away. After all I had my family to think about too. So, the uncomfortable feeling has started, and it lasted for a few months. I mean how do you negotiate something like that when you have come from nothing? It could all be taken away in a heartbeat, if it wasn't handled correctly. I was in a bad position, and I know he knew it.
I would be paid extremely well, but the price was also a risk. It was like dangling the golden ring, but never quite letting go. I had a big decision to make, and it was very hard to deal with, especially because we had grown so close. As I always do, I slept, and slept and slept on it. It was a very difficult time. But, something had to give................... Joe