A New Life in a New Land, Chapter 3 … INTO THE FRAY

DCF 1.0

It added up to high tech a long time ago

The classified ad stated Monroe, The Calculator Company needed a salesman. I needed a job, and I figured sales would be a good place to start. So off I hustled to the library to find out something about Monroe.

Monroe, it turned out, was an old, well-established company that manufactured and sold office calculating machines. They’d become be the property of a company called Litton Business Systems, itself a child of Litton Industries, a small electronics company founded in 1953 that had, octopus-like, wrapped its tentacles around a multitude of businesses … from warship building to office equipment to electronic warfare to appliance manufacturing to oilfield services to assembly line automation.

This vast array of disparate enterprises, called a conglomerate, was a Wall Street gimmick that flourished for a short time based upon the subsequently disproven theory that MBAs and their scientific management could actually run misbegotten, misshapen creatures.

Of course all that meant nothing to me, both because I knew virtually nothing about business and I was starting at the shoe-leather level anyhow. I figured Monroe would give me a comprehensive introduction to business, an education that only a large organization could afford to give. Not only did that motivate me, there was one other thing … I needed money immediately! I’d settled in a foreign country with no family, friends or acquaintances … and was flat broke staring at a future as opaque as the midnight sky.

I needed gainful employment right away! I’d experienced success in the past getting a couple of great jobs I didn’t really want. Now I had to flip that on its head and get one I did want. To do so I simply had to make me sound right for them.


Time to meet your future young man!

Somehow I managed to do just that and started working for Monroe, the Calculator Company about a week after my interview … just in time to make rent!

“That’s gotta be a good omen!” I reflected, oblivious to the perils that lay beneath the tightrope I’d been walking from my pre-career life to my nascent grown-up life … but what the hell, full speed ahead!

I’d launched a new life in a new land … and I was raring to go!

Of course there’s no denying that my preparation for that new life had been somewhat haphazard … negligent really … but then there’s that sweet satisfaction that comes to an optimist when he proves his optimism was justified! And getting a job with Monroe did just that!

The starting pay was okay … it covered the rent, Harry’s tab and even a beer or two! And following a probationary period of a few months I’d go to Monroe’s professional sales school in the Big Apple for a week!

“Not a bad start!” I congratulated myself, “A job, a house, a large yard, a big cherry tree, a garage and a million dollar view of Vancouver and Burrard Inlet! Okay!”

But even as I lifted a beer to my soliloquy of self-praise, I could hear a faint sound far off, like an echo coming out of a long, deep valley, “What in the hell’s gonna become of you, son? Sales? Really? Is that the direction you want to go in? It sure doesn’t sound like a sure route to copywriting! And, in fact, it sounds downright boring!”

I couldn’t argue with any of that and I’m sure it would have been dreadfully boring had it not been for one Jack Kilby, Texas Instruments and his integrated circuit, the seminal next-step after Bell Lab’s transistor, the one that paved the highway of high tech.

That changed boring into positively fascinating real quick!




About Joe Illing

I hope you'll find my posts entertaining, occasionally edifying and worth whatever time you can spend with them ... Joe
This entry was posted in A New Life in a New Land, How To Sell A Newspaper Subscription To A Blind Man and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to A New Life in a New Land, Chapter 3 … INTO THE FRAY

  1. Christine Tierney says:

    Wow quite a career move Joe, unward and upward! Congratulation!!!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s