Monroe, The Calculator Company opened the door to my future. It wasn’t the future I’d dreamed of. It wasn’t even on my list of rejects. In fact it wasn’t anywhere to be found!
But since chance deals the cards, we can only play them. In my case, chance dealt me to Monroe HQ’s front door in East Orange, NJ … and then I knew for certain there’d be no corporate grey fennel suit for me. No way!
I also knew that no matter how cleverly Monroe worded their employment agreement, I was, bottom line, working on commission, which to me meant I was working for myself … an arrangement that has certain advantages among a staggering array of disadvantages.
One of those advantages was that Monroe was my big stepping stone into the marketplace. While there I received a post-grad crash course in practical business and successful selling, not to mention a ringside seat from which to witness the emergence of programmable electronic calculators, the ancestors of the personal computer.
Texas Instruments’ revolutionary LSI chips started to appear in the Monroe product line just following my employment began. The calculating prowess of these machines opened a lot of eyes … especially those of engineers, university researches and others who death with repetitive, complex calculations. And that provided the real fun during my year and a half with Monroe.
My marketing plan was simple. I followed the advice given me by my first Monroe sales call … who told me, “You don’t have to personally know something, you just have to know someone who does!”
With that maxim engraved on my forehead, I tailored my sales approach to engineers, researchers, schools and any other professionals who dealt with lots of numbers. As it turned out, the schools proved so eager I became a visiting lecturer to various high school classes demonstrating the “future” to students.
I enjoyed all of that, but the daily sales calls and the old mechanical machines quickly became boring. Of course I met a number of good, hard-working, generous people … but I’d always enjoyed the creative types, the unpredictables who’d amaze, disappoint, elate, fascinate and entertain you.
I was destined to find my working life elsewhere. But when I left Monroe to do so, I left with a bang they heard all the way back in East Orange, NJ. I’d reasoned it out and figured if I could get a bunch of prospects to come to me it’d be like killing a bunch of birds with a single stone! What could be better?
So I hosted a Vancouver Computational Systems Show at the Blue Boy Hotel. I wrote Jules Verne-like descriptions of our futuristic “programable computational systems.” I distributed press releases about my show. I sent invitations to anybody I could think of. I paid for a buffet lunch where I had a full spectrum of Monroe’s new machines on display.
I also had a microscope (borrowed from Simon Fraser University) spotlighted on a table. Under its lens lay my business card, and it had a smudge on it. Well not exactly a smudge, rather a super-magnified dot that under the scope looked like a street map of Greater Vancouver!
This was a Texas Instruments large-scale-integration silicon chip … the herald of the future, and the hit of the show! The Vancouver Province even covered it! My boss, a great fellow and mentor in so many lasting ways, could hardly restrain himself. He strutted around like a proud, new father, especially when, a few weeks following, corporate HQ named me “best new salesman of the year”and awarded me a trophy … but no cash.
They also tendered me an offer to oversee their new electronic programmable computational systems throughout all of Western Canada … but I’d already decided to give my notice. And besides, I worked it out. If I were to accept, I’d become vested. I’d get used to the money. I’d have a tougher and tougher job leaving and doing what I really wanted to do … get into advertising!
My mind was made up! So what if my wife was carrying our first child … I was going into advertising! So what if I only had a half-month’s rent in the bank … I was going into advertising! So what if my new “employer” was a new newspaper in Burnaby, a blue-collar city jammed between Vancouver and New Westminster, with some businesses strung along a couple of former highways linking the larger neighbors, along with a well-earned reputation as a graveyard for newspapers … I was going into advertising!
So what if the nascent Burnaby Mirror hadn’t published an edition yet … I was going into advertising!
So I quite my Monroe gig and hired-on as an advertising rep for a weekly newspaper no one had seen yet! So what! For better or worse … I was going into advertising!
THIS CONCLUDES THE FIRST PART OF “A NEW LIFE IN A NEW LAND” … AND IF YOU’D LIKE TO FOLLOW MY PURSUIT OF A CAREER IN ADVERTISING WITH THE BURNABY MIRROR, PLEASE READ MY POSTS IN THE CATEGORY ENTITLED “THE BURNABY MIRROR” … AND TO FOLLOW MY BLOG SIMPLY CLICK ON “FOLLOW” ON THE UPPER RIGHT OF THIS PAGE. I HOPE YOU ENJOYED YOUR TIME WITH ME!