Is The Grass Always Greener
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Issued on October 20, 2010
I was at a restaurant for lunch recently and
happened to sit next to a group of businessmen. By their conversation,
it seemed to me they were a group of old friends who had known each
other for a long time, perhaps since youth. Nonetheless, I couldn’t
help but overhear their table conversation most of which centered on
the fragile state of the economy and how each was trying to cope with
I recognized one of the men as the
owner of a local hardware store who was complaining how he was having
difficulty competing with the mega-hardware stores in the area (e.g.,
Home Depot and Lowe’s). His store was much smaller than the mega-stores
and, as such, he couldn’t match their prices. Instead, he tried to
focus on service which is the store’s hallmark. Nonetheless, between
the competition and rising health costs associated with his employees,
he made the admission that he wished he had gotten into the insurance
business as one of his cohorts had done.
The Insurance Agent at the table looked
over at his friend and assured him he did not make a mistake and went
on to describe his problems as an independent agent who covered home,
health, and auto. Evidently, between the recession, Obamacare and
recent hurricanes in our area, both individuals and companies had been
tightening their belts. Prior to 2008, rarely did he have to leave his
office as people were frequently calling for either a quote or an
adjustment to their policy. More recently though, he had been knocking
on the doors of his customers, including former clients, in order to
drum up business. This was a nagging source of frustration for him as
he had clerical support at his office whom he was now considering
releasing. He then volunteered he wished he had become an accountant
like his parents had wanted years ago.
The accountant said, “Not so
fast.” Business was not well for him either. Of all of his
corporate clients, no more than two were making any substantial money.
Everywhere else business was flat. Like the Insurance Agent, this
caused him to call on his customers to see what else he could do for
them. Then there was the problem of computer software for tax
preparation which had become popular and was driving customers away
from him. “If I had to do it over again,” he said, “I would
have loved to have been a programmer.”
This caused the programmer to choke. He
pointedly told the accountant he had no idea of the types of problems
involved with producing software which he found very frustrating and
monotonous. He claimed end-users don’t know what they want; he is often
asked to do nothing more than to patch existing programs or rewrite
them. He particularly despised the unprofessional attitude of the other
programmers in his department. He also found the experience unrewarding
and wished he owned a small restaurant instead.
The restaurateur among them, who
happened to own the restaurant they were sitting in, just rolled his
eyes. He claimed his life was nothing more than battling with
incompetent cooks, lazy waiters, obnoxious county inspectors, vendors
who had no concept of customer service, rising costs, and patrons who
complained about the slightest thing. Frankly, he wished he ran the
local hardware store instead.
Only then did they all pause, look at
each other, and laugh, for they had discovered none of them had the
ideal occupation; that there was always problems associated with any
job or business; and that there was no such thing as Nirvana in our
business lives. We all want to believe someone else’s job is easier
than our own; that the grass is always greener somewhere else. The
harsh reality though is each job has its own unique set of problems.
As for me, I just chuckled and wished
they had sat somewhere else.
Keep the Faith!
Note: All trademarks both marked and
unmarked belong to their respective companies.
Copyright © 2010 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Tim Bryce is the Managing Director of
M. Bryce & Associates
(MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the
management consulting field. He can be reached at email@example.com
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2010-11-12 00:48:41 in Personal Articles