As 2016 draws to a close, it’s time for me to thank my readers for dropping by.
Over the course of the year, I’ve managed to serve up the following smorgasbord :
- a whimsical ride on the 3rd Avenue El in lost New York,
- a swig of Mr. Clean,
- strange investments, including one where yours truly played cowboy in the Kansas oil patch,
- a travelogue account of my trip to Lithuania and the Soviet Union in 1985 (complete with a speeding stop),
- an in-depth look at the Olcott family in the 1940s — way before my time,
- the sad passing of my Uncle Ed, alone in paradise,
- my Dad’s contribution to the America’s Cup,
- barnacle scraping — my favorite! (and Geraldine’s!),
- my triumphs and hard times at Olcott International,
and heaps more!
And please don’t drink Mr. Clean!
Above: beautiful Charolais cows in France. Livestock photo by the author.
During my furtive job search in 1985, Brown Brothers Harriman was obviously not the place where yours truly got closest to the Finest Escape from an injurious job situation. That distinction belongs to an interesting entity called the Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company (“MHT”), otherwise known as “Manny Hanny.” A storied bank that had grown on the back of multiple acquisitions, by the mid-1980s it was one of the largest in New York City (and the world, for that matter).
However come 1992, it was no more. Kaput.
But in its day, one of its core strengths lay in its international banking operations, which was my particular interest. Plunging my contact list, I came to visit the headquarters numerous times at 270 Park Avenue. Astute readers may recognize that very same address from previous posts as Manny Hanny had purchased it from none other than Union Carbide. This was the very same building that Dad had dragged me to when he went trolling for secretaries in the 1960s, see my post “THE BIGGER IDEA (AND ME AS WINGBOY).”
It was the locale of the big score in my family, in other words, hallowed ground. Maybe it would be the same for me, personally.
In my post last week named after Salvador Dali’s surrealistic masterpiece, “PERSISTENCE OF MEMORY,” I ended the story, “I dusted off my resume and …”
… sent it off to the HR departments at all of my favorite potential employers! With, as previously noted, many misgivings. But I had to do it. It was time.
Not long after, some initial feedback trickled back to me and it was a little unsettling.
Turns out that I was no longer what you would consider to be a new graduate. Technically speaking, this meant that I was trying to make a prospective “career change.” In the job market, that’s a no-no and often a no-go. You see, if you’re skilled in one thing, you are automatically presumed to be no good for anything else. The job market is very simple-minded that way.
Look, I don’t write the rules. Just a silly blog. I’m merely reporting here. You decide.
Most people think that working in a family business is a privileged position. I can’t blame them for thinking that. I have the impression myself that many are.
I wish that mine had truly been of that fortunate variety.
But it wasn’t. My Dad just wasn’t the kind of person that you would want to work with, ever.
It was not solely because he was a nitpicker of the nth degree. Or a micromanager who would agonizingly complete the job poorer than you. Generally, such kind of people are insufferable to work with and are to be avoided like the plague.
Sadly, it went beyond that.
Maybe it was all due to his childhood experience of being second-place to an over-bearing older brother. Or his troll of a father. A mother who was overwhelmed by trying to shelter that older brother from the fault-finding excesses of her Stalin-duped husband. Accordingly, one Sunday morning in 1943, she got up out of bed, had a cup of coffee, and expired, all by 11AM!
Could have been just a character flaw, plain and simple.