A report of a few thoughts

I am not really sure what to write.  My life feels like there is so much going on at the moment I would not know where to start.  I feel like singing a little Johnny Cash and “I’ve been everywhere.”
So more a couple of thoughts on a variety of issues.
I am learning more and more there is only so much some people can be helped.  I have a friend, Kevin, who says he cannot find a job.  I have now given him over 4 different job opportunities and he isn’t willing to do much.  Granted, it might not be the perfect fit, but why not jump in until you find something better.  I guess there is always the benefit of sitting and home and hanging out with the family.  The money doesn’t run forever (at least, for most of us).  I thought he was interested enough in a job that I set up an interview with the two individuals doing the hiring.  He went and brought his wife along for the interview.  Why not bring your mother too?  How far should one go in trying to reach out and provide opportunities to another?
There is another friend, Dustin, who has been tending a car for me for several years now.  He offered and I was happy to have his help while I was away to Virginia, Missouri, and all my other travels.  I went over to take a look today and it broke my heart how terrible of condition it is in.  I know it is free, I appreciate the watchful eye, but I think I may have done better leaving it sitting in my own backward.  Then it would have been more friendly dirt, less rusty water, and mice who belong to the family.  I don’t know if the neglect is what really bothers me but rather the questions I posed of whether or not everything was okay.  Did I need to pay him for some upkeep, did I need to help with expenses.  The answer was always the same, “Nope, everything is taken care of.”
I was visiting with my boss, Doug Kelley, the past few days about the Catholic Religion.  Particularly with the Pope’s visit to the United States and his news noted attempt to try and bring the US Catholic portion in line.  My boss, a self proclaimed “Roman Catholic with a little R” said the real issues he has with Pope Benedict is his apparent desire to undo Vatican II.  Primarily the fact that with Vatican II the church was less authoritarian and the congregations could really take on responsibility and serve on another.  It is always the Father out doing all the good while everyone sat around.  Now the Pope is diverting the church back to the authoritarian mode and he is very frustrated.  My first thought is he should definitely take a look at the LDS.  If he wants a congregation that serves on another, I don’t know of a better church.  We talked some about Mormonism and I even gave him a Book of Mormon.  He was thrilled and said he would read it soon.  I very much hope he does.  The sooner the better.  I won’t be around him for years to finally discuss and talk about it when he does read it.
I have been accepted to Oklahoma City University Law School.  I really like this option.  It takes me back to the center of the country, I get to live in another area I never lived, and in some cases another culture.  We are still waiting to hear from some other law schools for which I may be interested.  There certainly is no rhyme or reason to why schools accept or reject applicants.  I have acceptance to schools better than others that rejected me according to some ranking systems.  We shall wait and see.
In sitting down one morning to breakfast with Marie Lundgreen, she asked me what I thought about the relationship with her and the sister.  This Sister seems to have a relationship which may be similar in many ways with my own full sister.  The giving of great opportunities are not only rejected, they are turned back on you in a negative way as trying to interfere in their life.  Where credit or help is given, not only are they taken, but no recognition or appreciation is given.  In one case with my own sister, my willing to help her out cost me a vehicle and several thousands of dollars.  What is one to do?  Marie and her sister, over a period more than double my sister and me, has been more extreme.  In some instances the help offered cost thousands of dollars, and then it was all rejected part and parcel.  Even after acceptance was agreed upon and all the effort expended, then the gift rejected.  What is one to do?  How much should we extend ourselves to help those, especially family, where it seems to do more harm than good?  Nobody likes to be taken advantage of in any way.  I do think I am magnanimous, but is there a point where you should take your efforts elsewhere?  What happens when you know later the sister is being kind and nice just to get something more?  Forgive but not give the gift?  Is that possible?
Dad and Jan have been called to serve for two years in the Twin Falls Temple when it opens.  This is an exciting opportunity.  It will be a calling close to home, the privilege of officiating in the House of God, and the spiritual blessings that only come from the Temple.  I hope and pray the couple days a week they serve will not cost him his job.  I guess it doesn’t really matter.  We are all in the hands of the Lord of the Harvest.  Dad and Jan have been called and they will give their all to serving.  As anyone does so, everything always works out.  We don’t know how, it just does.  The same has been very evident in my life.
I had dinner with Kevin and Jean Gore from Walkden, Lancashire, England.  What a joy it was to meet up with friends from within the England Manchester Mission.  Just like the sons of Alma after meeting up after all those years, nothing has really changed in the relationship.  Why, because we all live the gospel.  As we keep our hearts in tune with the Savior, we cannot help but find ourselves in tune with others who are seeking to do the same.  We enjoyed a great meal and discussed a wide variety of topics.  I thank God for how kind and generous he has been in my life.  There are so many great and noble people I have the privilege of association.
Work continues very well.  There are some things in the pipeline which will do great things in expanding the production of Magnesium Hydroxide at the Paul Plant.  It is just a matter of getting everything lined out and ready to go.  There are a host of equipment opportunities and I am sure there are many more.  We have met with a couple of engineering firms lately all of who are interested in our equipment and services.  There are some tremendous opportunities.  I hope we can get them on line before I possibly leave for law school.
I know this post has been a bit more negative.  I just needed to vent I think and relieve the concerns I have.  The future is so unknown, you try to help others out and they don’t want the help (such a fine line between meddling and genuine service), and the desire to anxiously engaged.  What comes next?

Insurance

After two weeks in the field, I have some time to reflect.Insurance is more or less natural for me. My grandmother sold insurance for Combined for 30 years before she retired. She used to take me out for weeks at a time during the summer. I enjoyed our time together and enjoyed meeting people. Combined is very much a go out and visit the people type of insurance company. We go to the people’s homes and that has many bonus points for me. I get to see the territory and not sit in an office all day. Next, I get to know the places, history, and layout of what is around me and come to know and appreciate Virginia more. I love to meet and visit with people. This has been an eye opener in many ways to see how people live much more simply, and sometimes more dirty, than we do in the west, generally speaking. The past week or two a good majority of the homes I have gone into have been those of blacks. (I don’t wish to sound negative, I just know of no other way to describe them.) I have come to appreciate and love them since I never have really been around any. I found they are more inclined to laugh, more casual and easy going, and much more friendly than the white folk. (Saying all that, things I laugh at are not even understood here, the culture and background of these people are different too!)

The company visits every client in their home every 6 months. This is both to collect premiums for those who wish to pay it that way, and to answer any questions, help them file claims, and the like. Since we are constantly out among the people, we often sell more to their families or neighbors. That is our number one way. There are businesses who put a policy on each of their employees, so we do sell to individuals and employers. We don’t do the group thing, the policy is written on each individual. I can sell door to door if I wish, and I might take that up one day when I run low on things to do. In the last two weeks I probably have only had the possible time of about 2 hours to do so though. So, we do have to make cold calls once and a while.

Last week I made over $500, and this week over $600, so I have no complaints. That is doing basically all renewals. When I finally get comfortable with the selling, I can probably make more money. That is not my goal though. My goal is to be a professional at my job. In doing all these renewals, I still have questions that come to me that I am not able to answer. Plus some like Marc, can take the most angry customer, calm them down, and get them to keep their insurance. This I am not able to do. He was not happy with me since I lost about $300 in customers. I really did not know what to do with any of them. Two of them were due to Medicaid, which I understand that it is company policy to ask them to drop the policy. What good is it to pay for a policy which Uncle Sam gets the money from? Especially when he is already fitting the whole bill through Medicaid. I had another two who would not even let me in the door. One when I knocked again I thought would kill me when I asked for her signature for the cancellation. I have plenty to learn here. It just seems to me that if a customer is very clear that they don’t want it any more, you try to talk with them, but if there is no reasoning, you do what you need to and leave. I will see what Marc trains me on this week. Hopefully it is not feel wrong to me, for if it does, I will have to let him know so.

On the mission, I always struggled with knocking doors. Perhaps it is the old fashioned way I was raised. You speak and converse only after introductions. The current sales position ignores that. Tracting as a missionary was the same way. I understood I had to do it and it took the better part of two years to get over that. However, there is a certain dread that creeps into me now that I am back to that state. I will admit, I always wanted to knock alone on the mission, two at the door just seemed too much. Now that I have the opportunity, I have a fear. I don’t necessarily feel it is wrong, I just have this fear. I don’t know if it is rejection or the being intrusive. Who knows.I have to admit that I am impressed with the training of Combined in many ways. Primerica never helped me learn the material to get my license. Nor did they ever take me to sales training. One thing is sure though, once you get beyond that, it is scary though. I have spent 3 days with Ted Kelley in training, and I really did not learn that much. I can go and renew. The problems I have is when we have a customer that is concerned. I think it would be much more beneficial to just go and take me knocking doors for a few days. Those who are new are going to ask many more questions which will certainly apply to those who are also customers. Plus, quite honestly, I need training on sales. But Ted knocked one door with me, which is a credit to the company, that we can still make that much money and never do a sale. But on the other hand, renewals are only half my job. I know the area is a little behind right now because they have been short on workers, so there is plenty of renewing to do. What happens when we get caught up? I would prefer to get my training now while I can still make the money, than have to do a crash course because I have nothing else to do!

Sadly though, those above me seem to be more interested in their making money than in my training. I hope I don’t have to do this entirely on my own. It will be a long and painful process. I suppose if Mr. Stone can do it, then so can I. However, I thought he put the training apparatus in place so I would be able to learn it with help rather than trial and error.

All is not well in the Combined environment. If I ever get into leadership or training, one thing is certain, we will do as we did in the mission, and focus on training. Individuals before business.

Well, that is enough for now. Need to finish preparing for my talk tomorrow. Perfecting the Saints/Priesthood. So vague, so encompassing, how shall I speak with any specific purpose I don’t know. We will see what the Spirit directs.

 

First week training

Just thought I would put a little bit out there. There is not too much to report at the moment. Last week, I worked alone collecting renewals for insurance the whole week. My field manager gave me several stacks of cards to do. He was shocked when I reported I had them all done but 2. He said that was two weeks worth of work. I had completed them in four days.So I officially started training this week. Thus far we have only done the same thing. I have spent all day with Mr. Ted Kelley doing renewals. I have learned a few little things here and there. Overall though, it is everything I am familiar with and did last week. I am frustrated in that sense. Tomorrow though, they are letting me go off by myself again. I am headed to Montpelier, Virginia. Hopefully I can get the renewals done and hopefully add some new business. It would be nice, especially since I have to make some money to make up for the rest of the week sharing everything with my trainer.

There have been quite the variety of characters we come upon. Today it was a guy who raised raccoons to an author. Just this week I have driven across 3 old Civil War battlefields. Wish I knew more of the history to understand their significance.

I will keep enduring training. The company seems to be having some problems with leadership in our area. It reminds me much of the mission. Where some missionaries were trying to micro-manage. I will do to these managers what we did in the mission. Ignore them. What are they going to do? Fire me? They can’t until I am at 13 weeks, because then my ‘training’ is completed. But if I have proved myself to be of some value to the company then they are not going to fire me when I am bringing in several thousand dollars to the company in a week. Face it, they need their employees. I am not going to sit on a conference call during quality work time. I will most certainly not do it every morning for several hours like this district manager is having entire regions do. It is such bad management it is laughable.

Well, time to get ready for bed. I need to do some more research for my talk on Sunday (Amanda and I are both speaking this coming Sunday). I need to get some more LSAT study in, write in my journal, and go to bed at a decent hour.