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The 10 Lessons that I Learned on my Way to the Top: Lessons 1-5

Updated: Jan 22, 2021

We all have room for improvement.

What I am about to say may seem harsh, but I take pride in my honest approach to life as I hope others will be honest with me as well. The fact of that matter is none of us are perfect and we all have room for improvement.

As previously mentioned, the position I was hired for reported to one of the peers from the gaming industry. I was the first person she hired in the marketing department and I was about to find out why and learn a few lessons along the way, one of them being that Fortune 500 cut throat and small business cut throat work the same way if you let it happen. On day one I discovered why she hired me. I was hired to do a job she could not do. This was my first lesson in small business. The title in which someone held in a Fortune 500 company is not indicative of a person’s abilities and in small business doers make and figureheads do not as they are exposed more easily. To overcome these shortcomings, she had to create scare tactics to buffer her employees from talking to her boss, as to not be exposed. I watched lesson two of tough girl mentality, crash and burn as employees quickly realized what she was saying was not true and that her boss was approachable. She never tried this on me and looking back I think she realized that I was smart enough to see through it. Plus, she respected the fact that I was making her look good to her boss because of the business advancements coming out of the marketing department. But when it came to make cutbacks, she was the first one to throw me under the bus to try and save her butt. Lesson three, when you think the big boss is not paying attention, he was. And even though I was on maternity leave my job was saved. To this day I am not sure why or who was involved in this decision.

“When you think the big boss is not paying attention, he was”

Shortly, thereafter my boss was terminated, and I was promoted to head the marketing department. With this promotion, I started to see many fault lines in the business, including some interesting decisions on hiring more and more chiefs. Very high paid chiefs that needed many minions below to layer in their shortcomings. For a small company they sure acted like it was a large company with deep pockets.

I was watching all of this and thinking this all could not mean much was remaining for the owners or the bottom line of the company. I do agree in hiring for your weakness to strengthen a department. But, if you have so many weaknesses that you need an army around you, maybe you should consider a new profession, or a large corporation where spending feverishly is not noticed. I will have to put lesson four in my pocket for now as my observation, although I knew was true, was still being tolerated.

As the marketing role started to expand into the other business ventures, I was able to expand my knowledge into the basics of securities, insurance, call centers, residential mortgage lending, custodial services and the synergies among them all. The unfortunate part is that the companies were developed at a time when the bread and butter company needed to be conservative with capital, yet they kept building as if these ventures would outweigh the losses of multiple startup ventures. Lesson five was research the stats on start-up company’s pitfalls and know when to fold your cards. It was as if they were unaware that less than 10% of startup companies succeed. The person who had all these great ideas was the head of sales and he had no problem spending the capital of the company that he did not own to line his pockets. Come to find out, he did not have a problem taking funds from other people for his own business ventures on the dime of the company either.

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