Living With Myself

Shortly after receiving my first promotion to Customer Service Supervisor, I was confronted with my first managerial quandary.  My company would often consign products to large customers in the hopes that it would stimulate the purchase of large quantities of them at a later date.  As such, in reviewing the list of outstanding consignments, I noted that several TV’s that had been shipped to a local hotel had never been returned, even though the consignment had expired.  I confronted our salesman who assured me he would take care of it.  After an appropriate time had passed and nothing had happened, I drew up an invoice and sent it to the hotel management with appropriate documentation requesting either the return of the product or payment for it.  It took only a few days before I was summoned into my managers office where I was asked it I realized that “I had placed the General Electric Co in an unfavorable position with Holiday Inns of America.  Due to the minimal cost of the product, GE was going to just write them off.  The lesson was that I needed to temper my approach and consider consequences when dealing with large customers, or any customer for that matter.  What they could not criticize me for however, was administering company policy and doing my job.

Over the years, as I progressed through the ranks, I became more pragmatic, but no less staunch in performing my responsibilities.  I once told a sales manager that I would not be able to honor his request for a truckload of freezers he saw sitting in the distribution warehouses inventory as they had been forecast ed by another sales region for a promotion and I was not at liberty to let him have them without checking with his counterpart in the other region.  Sales managers were not used to people saying no, especially people several notches down the totem pole from them.  Needless to say, the news reached my boss before I even got back to the office, and I was summoned upon arrival.  Upon entering my bosses office, he asked me what I had done and I reiterated my conversation, whereupon he said, “you have got to be the most unpolitical person I know, but you were right.  I have called the other sales manager and he absolutely refuses to relinquish the product.”

And so it goes, similar situations raising their head throughout my career.  I know I could have taken the easier road, but that would have required compromising my values.  I often thought about when my working days were over, that all those issues would mean nothing, if I remembered them at all.  What would be important was, did I do what I was supposed to do, given the responsibilities with which I was charged.  Did I maintain my ethics, even when the decisions were hard or unpopular.

I don’t write this as a “Look at me.  Am I great of what?”  On the contrary.  I write this because of what I see around me today.  I see the CDC “discovering” old smallpox vaccines, and massive automotive recalls, and a government crumbling under the weight of self aggrandizement, and I ask myself, “How can this happen?”   Where have the values gone?  How can people work and live within, and contribute to corrupt organizations, and not feel any guilt?  How can they go to work every day and not do their job and be OK with that.  We hear about government workers that were found spending 80% of their time watching porn.  We have officials raise their hand and swear to tell the truth, then lie or subvert the truth.  How can they condone saying one thing while doing another?  Maybe it is because there is no consequence anymore.  People get caught, but nothing changes.  When has a verbal admonishment ever changed a practice, or a philosophy?   I have to look no further the the VA or the IRS.

I guess I have become obsolete, because it is a different world today then the one I lived in most of my life.  My dad would say “don’t take anything you didn’t earn.”  I took that to heart and am pretty comfortable with the result.  He was an unskilled laborer with a grade school education, but he lived by his values and instilled them in his kids.  But it’s not that way today it seems.  I feel like I must have eaten the last cookie.  Just sayin.

About oldmainer

I am a retired manager living in Southern Maine and a would be writer of poetry, narratives, short stories, and random opinions, and that's how Oldmainer was born. Recently, I decided to try an experiment. I added photography to the mix, using only a cheap cell phone with a limited camera and the editing software that came with it, and added the blog site Inklings at to showcase the results. So, feel free to use whatever you find interesting or worthy, but please honor the terms of my copyright when and if you do. They may not be much, but they are still a piece of me. I appreciate your checking me out and hope that you find something that will encourage a return visit. Thanks for stopping by.
This entry was posted in Aging, Integrity, Life, Narrative, Opinions, Self Esteem. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Living With Myself

  1. Theresa says:

    Kudos to you. “To thine own self be true…” That makes two of us who are obsolete.


  2. quiall says:

    There are a few of us still kicking and confounding the masses!


  3. Here’s a third obsolete person! If life was as it used to be with regard to values and integrity, the world wouldn’t be in quite such a mess.


  4. I don’t think those values you speak of have disappeared or that the type of values you speak of are the special purvey of an older generation. Good grief – past generations of people with supposed values dictated the policies that led to world wars, spirited Nazi criminals away to South American, were responsible for the eugenics movement, oppressed anyone who wasn’t male and white, beat children – well, enough said. There are many, many people with strong values out in the world today fighting for change on any number of fronts. In the words of Desiderata – with all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. (filled with people who care.) Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • oldmainer says:

      All points well taken and you are right.and I don’t think the older generation has a lock on those values. I just strongly believe that today’s ethics and values and pride of workmanship has digressed substantially. You could argue it has always been this way, but has just not been as transparent, but I would bet to differ. And I am cheerful. I really am.


      • I might have missed the nuance in your post – values related to pride of workmanship and I do take your point on that issue. Maybe it’s part of the whole notion of the throw-away culture we live in – why care when you just trash something and get a new one?

        Liked by 1 person

  5. laurie27wsmith says:

    Sometimes it’s hard to see the good in the world anymore Bob. Mostly because the negative gets reported on more often. Sure we keep bumping up against those who don’t give rat’s arse anymore but I feel there are still enough of us who do care.


  6. I couldn’t have said it better


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