Thursday, October 15, 2009

In Memoriam


A couple of months ago, through a package of licorice which was imported from Australia, I tracked down a lead on a career I thought would be of interest.

The licorice was from an age-old family recipe and it was made without all the modern chemical ingredients we see today. No high-fructose corn syrup, starches or preservatives. It was made straightforward with some sugar, of course, and get this, it even had some licorice in it.

Through the company's website I found their local distributor in the USA. And by chance, the company was located just a few towns away from me.

I went to that site and saw something that interested me greatly. It was a firm dedicated to health conscious foods. It was a small company run by a gentle-looking older man. In the company picture, he was surrounded by his co-workers. It looked like a family. There was the head of accounting, vp of operations, the customer service person and the head of sales. The sales guy was the only one who didn't look like family. He was slick looking and had a mustache. Who has mustaches these days?

But I didn't want to judge the company by this one picture. I was more interested in the backgrounds of the people, especially the CEO. He had been in the food industry throughout all his career and started this company as a way to focus on what he thought would be good for the consumer, something he would enjoy eating because it was well made.

I liked that philosophy and thought this is a company I would like to learn more about. I'm sure if I wrote a nice letter to the CEO expressing my interest in hearing about the ins and outs of the business, he would grant me some time.

I bookmarked the site and then forgot about it for a while.

I spent the next couple months worrying about my current situation. What kind of future would there be in the bank? How much longer could I hold out? Could I get the severance package before its too late?

Well, all that worrying came to a close last week when I took the package. After the initial excitement of knowing my payout number and calculating how long it could hold me, I thought what am I going to do next?

Aha! The food industry. This would be the perfect time to reach out to that little company that was doing good things. Now, that I was unencumbered by the daily slog of the bank, I could focus on learning about something new, something tangible and perhaps get a few bags of licorice out of it.

I found the bookmarked site, clicked on it and came to their home page - which had changed. Instead of seeing a welcoming photo of the company employees, I saw a single headshot of the CEO. The poor bastard had died a month prior. He was in his early 60s and just dropped dead. And, now, running the company was the weaselly-looking salesperson.

Of course, just another day when you're already dead and living in hell.

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