So working for my dad, as a college grad with $30k in student loans and a $375 a month car payment was not a fun thing to do. However I needed money and the insurance experiment failed, so there I was. May, June July, August, still there. I kept looking at the classifieds (yeah, I know, dating myself), mailing out everything and going on interviews 2-3 times a week. I finally get a job offer from a place in Lisle that I answered an ad for. It wasn’t much, but it was enough. Plus I was done working for my dad and entered the tie-to-work crowd. Oh boy!
The place I was now employed by made scientific instruments. We made these things that looked kind of like a vacuum cleaner that sucked air out of chambers for whatever reason you needed. We also made these things that used UV bulbs to sterilize things. As you can tell I was not very versed on the end use of our products. I just knew that each unit sold for 5 figures and we sold a lot of them. The place had an owner, Dan, two engineer/designers, myself and one other office worker and a rotating crop of ‘kids’ going to DeVry who came in and put these things together for $10 an hour while going to school. My job was mostly purchasing and inventory control.
The first thing I did was set up a designated parts area in the back. Before that parts were scattered around the entire production area and they were often running out of stuff and needing it delivered overnight or picking stuff up. After the first month, that stopped as I gathered all the bigger components in one area for ease of ordering. They also had some inventory control program there that they never used that I managed to get started. it worked OK, but was dependent on people inputting the correct information to begin with. I was able to consolidate vendor and reorder information there so if they ever DID run out of stuff, they knew where to get it from.
There are only 3 things that really stand out from my year at this place. The first I wrote about before. it was here I was working on that Valentine’s Day when I tried to leave to propose to Mrs. TPoP. The second was just something nice. As a purchaser, I had vendors sending me gifts all the time. Most were small things like pens or mugs, which I gave away to other people in the office. One day a vendor whom we must have purchased over $100k of stuff from called me and offered me Blackhawks tickets. Nice! These were good seats, too, main floor, 1/3 the way up on center ice. However it really wasn’t my decision to order from these guys, I just bought what the engineers and guys in the back told me they needed. So I told him that was cool but I didn’t make the final decisions to buy their products, how about they do something for the rest of the guys instead? He asked me how many employees we had and I told him (about 25 with all the guys in the back). That Friday two salesmen showed up with 4 coolers filled with Subway sandwiches, pop and chips for everyone in the place. We also got to keep the coolers so we did a drawing for those. That was cool and everyone loved it. Oh, and on their way out, they slipped me 4 Hawks tickets anyway. I kept those.
The only other thing of note there was that the owner of the place had this obsession with knives/swords. His office there was huge. Easily 60′ x 40′. He had a desk and stuff, as well as a small meeting table in there. However the weird part was that every wall was covered with different swords and knives. Most were replicas of old items such as ancient scimitars, Japanese katanas and so on. There was even a case where he had probably 40 or 50 different Ka-Bars and Bowie knives. 2 or 3 times a month we would get a package delivered in the back and when I opened it up and found a sword, I knew where it went. One day I opened a pack and it had 2 beat up Ka-Bars in it along with two weathered sheaths. I closed the box and took them up to Dan. I placed them on the table and said “More knives for ya boss’ and started to leave. He jumped up from his chair with super speed and said “Did you say knives? Excellent!” and ran over to the table. He ripped open the box and grabbed both before I could leave, holding them up before his face with this grin I had never seen before. “Each of these knives killed over 25 Charlie in ‘Nam. Got them from the estate of a tunnel rat who had over 50 confirmed kills. Niiiiice.” I just slowly left the office saying “That’s cool, Dan. That’s cool”. I went to my desk and started doing some work when one of the engineers saw the look on my face and came over. “He had that ‘look’ while gazing at a sword, eh?”, he said. I just nodded and he said that he does that from time to time, not to worry. Up until then I had not worried. But that look was just downright creepy. I found a new job about a month later. Whew!