I got an email today at work, about a co-worker who is going to retire this week. Her boss is putting together a memory book of stories people want to share about her. This person was the first one at the Mighty P to make me a supervisor, and I will never forget the day she told me I was the one selected.
I had only been at the mighty P about 3 years. This company is a Northwest only insurance company providing Auto, Home, Boat and Umbrella insurance to people like you and me. I had been hired as a Casualty Adjuster, one who investigates auto accidents and settles injuries claims, and I without a shred of insurance experience.
Early on, given the lack of experience, the learning curve was tough, but I struggled through, and 3 years later I was pretty damn good at it.
I will say I was surprised about my foray into corporate America though! I expected stuffy people, old farts and boring conversations (and I will admit there were ALL of these) but I also got practical jokes, rubber band battles and yellow plastic bb gun shoot outs in the hallways. (non of these happen today!)
I took the job because of the money, who knew I would have fun too?
About a month prior to the supervisor opening, though, I was having a BAD week. We all have them, the ones where no matter what everyone was grouchy, whatever I touched went wrong, and there just seemed to be a dark cloud hanging over me.
To break the spell, I decided to fill out a transfer card. This was a way to apply for openings that may occur in the future (these have since gone by the wayside). Each time something new went wrong, I would add another job to transfer to. First I wrote down supervisor, then property adjuster and finally trainer. (Funny thing, looking back, I became each of these and did them all VERY well!) After a particularly bad phone call, I turned in the card to HR.
I promptly forgot about it afterwards, and things got better, and I got less grouchy. That is until I was called and told I was being considered for an opening as a supervisor. Being the snoop I was, I found out the other two candidates were 2 ladies, each of which had been adjusters for YEARS longer than I. I resigned myself to NOT having a chance.
You know, try as I might, I can NOT remember the interview at all. I remember every other job I interviewed for at the Mighty P, but this one is gone. I musta figured I didn’t do all that great a job!
Soon, I got a call from this manager asking me to come into the office so she could tell me the results of the selection. Since I was convinced it wasn’t me, I wasn’t nervous at all. I mosied in, sat down and she started to talk. As she was talking, I was trying to second guess her and figure out which of the ladies did get promoted instead of me.
So there I was, only half hearing her say “Well all three of you candidates were well qualified, and it was extremely hard to choose one of you over the other two. But in the end… (Here I was expecting her to name either of the other two) we decided to choose you as our new supervisor!”
Now as I said, I was distracted. I knew I was out, I had work to get back to, and I was sure I had guessed the one they had chosen. So when she said it was me, it didn’t quite register. Then, as she stared at me, and the words finally sunk through my thick skull, I looked at her dumbfounded, and exclaimed incredulously, “Seriously??? You chose ME over those two?? Why?”
Editor’s note: For those of you who land a new job, especially if someone is taking a chance on you, this is NOT the correct response! How to I know? Well….
She was silent for a minute. Then gave me the first of MANY steran looks I would receive from her over the years, and said, a bit coldly I might add, “Tony that is not the response I expected nor would want to hear from someone I just selected as a new supervisor!”
Well I did some fast talking, explained my theory of competing with those who were more experienced, and smoothed the waters quickly, at least for that day. There were many other days when I stirred it up again, but those are other stories.
What is important is that she did take a chance on me, and it opened the doors to many other opportunities over the years. I wish her the best in retirement, and I am grateful she saw something in this smartassed claims cowboy way back when!