7/22/13

Stuck, but not trapped?

There are times that I despair of ever being able to step away from work for longer than a couple of days with my friend. Yes, I work with Cliff, and have done for years. Over those years, the two of us have become good friends. He's met my family, I know his son, we talk about each other to our other family and friends, and we genuinely enjoy our time together. This is why it's so sad to think that I can't take him, his son, and my husband along for a nice vacation.

Whenever one of us (usually me) goes off to vacation, or some other trip, the other has to stay behind to hold down the fort. Why? Because something invariably goes straight to hell in some way when both of us are not around. Then, the phone calls start. Our staff is wonderful, but there are some things that can only be handled by a manager who has all the keys, who has all the bank account information, who has the authorisation to make decisions, etc. As of now, there's two of us: Cliff, and me. Yes, he is technically the mastermind behind the business, and started the place from a seed of an idea years ago. However, he doesn't like me to call him my boss. I can call him my friend, I can call him my business partner, I can call him Cliff, but not my boss. "You are as much a part of this as I am, Dino!"

And it's true. Neither of us makes decisions alone; we talk things through, and come to an acceptable compromise, or through the collaboration of our brains, we come up with something better than either of us would have alone. On the one hand, it's wonderful to be teamed up with someone who's so creative and excited about work. On the other hand, I wish that some day, we really will all be able to go off on a trip together (preferably out of the country if we can swing it!), and rest without being nervous that everything back home is falling apart.

This morning, I got a call from Cliff saying that the bank account is overdrawn. We're never overdrawn. We're extremely careful about writing out cheques, and keeping track of the bank balance, so that everyone who needs to get paid does get paid in a timely fashion, without the drama of bounced cheques. Unfortunately, one of the large cheques that we deposited last week some time bounced, because there was insufficient funds. Which meant that we got hit with overdraft fees, and all kind of other fees. And, of course, just for fun, it dropped us to a negative balance, which meant that any cheques from us that anyone would have tried to cash over the Sunday would have been returned for insufficient funds. ARGH!

Four hours later, the situation is sorted out, but it involved phone calls, running around lower Manhattan to find our bank, and then talking to all different people to figure our mess out. Although it wasn't necessarily hard work, it was all things that could not have been done by anyone other than Cliff or me. There's only so much you can do over the phone. Many things require getting there in person to sort out. And now, it really is sorted out, but I'm really grateful that I was here to deal with it. Same things happen when I go off on a trip for any reason. Something dumb will happen, and Cliff tells me about it (because we tell each other everything; we've been working together too long to have any secrets), and we have a moment of gratefulness that he was here to sort that mess out.

It's why I despair of not being able to spend off time with my friend. The responsibilities are much greater, but the rewards when the plans you've been making all that time actually materialise are pretty amazing too. And, if we keep working at it, we'll get to the point where things will begin to more or less run themselves, and we'll be able to focus on building the brand, and growing the business. From there, we'll be able to look into opening more locations, or franchising, or any number of other ways to get our food out to more people more easily.

It will happen! I know it will. We're both intelligent, talented, and creative. We just need to work through it, and I know we'll get there.
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