About Me

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Joneses

Have you seen the movie? I am watching it for the first time as I am typing this. What a story. It is sad how people envy each other and can be influenced so easily. I even caught myself thinking what product was making Demi Moore's hair so great. Silly!

Many years ago, I was the head of a team of 7 people. The company was not doing too well and the HQ decided to downsize our unit and finally merge with another. Once this has been made public, I gathered my people and advised them to avoid frivolous spending because, almost all were looking to buy a house or a car at the time. Nobody was expecting to see the changes happen in less than two years but still, I personally wouldn't want debt on my shoulders if I had to leave the company so, I felt it made sense to warn them.

In less than a month, 3 of them bought brand new cars with 36 month payment schedules. When asked, one of them said instead of buying an apartment, she decided to get a new car so that the debt would be less. Yeah, really clever.

In about ten months, things have rapidly changed and since I was upper management, I was offered a nice package if I resigned on my own along with the other managers. I took it. The team members stayed with the new company and were gradually let go sans any package.

The money I had received was substantial. Since I had been driving a company car prior to parting ways with the company, I did not have a car of my own and needed to get one.

I could have easily bought a brand new car with cash but, instead I called the leasing company who provided our company cars knowing that it would be returned to the leasing company. I asked them if they could offer a price on my car and they were happy to give it to me at a very competitive price way below the market rate. I knew that they already had quiet a bunch of second hand cars and selling them is hard work.

This was in 2006 and the car was a 2003 model. I was the only driver and I knew it was in good condition. A year later when I joined a new company which gave me another company car, the leasing company helped me again selling the car at the same price. I am still grateful to them.

I think it pays to be nice and ask for things. You never know how much help you can get.

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