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Blog2017-03-04T14:46:02+00:00

Lessons from my book: Chapter 13 – Shouldn’t You Be Looking for a Job?

In chapter 13 of my book Get Back Up I find myself without a plan. After multiple business failures and a bankruptcy, I don’t want to think about anything. Luckily or unfortunately, depending on how you want to look at it, I was in a place where I could do just that. We didn’t have a place to stay in San Jose (or jobs, for that matter), but Suzie’s parents had a house in Napa Valley that they’d bought for their future retirement. They spent weekends there and told us we could live there until we found a place to live [...]

By |November 29th, 2018|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , |

Lessons from my book: Chapter 12 – Get Over It

In chapter 11 of my book Get Back Up we lost everything. The shoe repair was closed and we lost all our investments to foreclosure or bankruptcy. We couldn’t feel any lower, but we knew we needed to start over. While we lost all the material things we’d acquired during the last few years, one thing I didn’t lose was the knowledge I acquired about computers and software. Earlier in the book I talked about my friend Johnson and how curious he was, and how that made me curious as well. One of the things we became interested in was [...]

By |October 17th, 2018|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , |

Lessons from my book: Chapter 11 – Shoe Repair, More Real Estate, and a House of Cards

Chapter 11 of my book Get Back Up finds me at a crossroads. I’ve been told by multiple doctors that I have Failed Back Syndrome, and there’s nothing they can do to fix it. Even the workers’ comp people say I’ll never work again, and they give me a lump sum payment to close my case. Was it really over? Was I destined to follow in my father’s footsteps and end up living off of social security disability (SSD) checks? I’d already decided I wasn’t going to be addicted to painkillers like he was and had flushed all my pills. [...]

By |September 21st, 2018|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , |

Lessons from my book: Chapter 10 – I Don’t Even Get to Drink the Beer

After my failed attempt to return to the restaurant business, chapter ten of my book Get Back Up finds me back in sales. Unlike selling real estate and life insurance, however, this sales endeavor was made much easier by the fact that the product was liquor and beer, and unlike other products, I didn’t have to start out by selling the need. Restaurants and bars obviously already had the need for my product. Another thing that made this sales job easier was the state law in Florida that gave exclusivity of certain brands to a single liquor company. One of [...]

By |August 29th, 2018|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , |

Lessons from my book: Chapter 9 – The Walls Go Up

After a few years spent trying my hand at various types of sales jobs, I decided to go back into the restaurant business. This time, however, I wasn’t joining another cookie-cutter franchise with its 300-page operations manual telling you how to do everything from the amount of ice to put in a drink to how big a leaf of lettuce should be. No, this time I was going to do things my way and I was sure I was going to get it right. Of course, before I could begin, I had to get the place open. I found a [...]

By |August 19th, 2018|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , |

Lessons from my book: Chapter 8 – We Are Not Very Handy

By the eighth chapter of my book, Get Back Up, I have made my way out of the South Philly projects, joined and been released from the army with a service connected disability, worked in fast food until I was so badly injured in a car accident that I could no longer stand on my feet long enough to do so, and became a life insurance salesman. I hadn’t really achieved the American Dream yet, but I now thought I’d found the way: ‘No-money-down’ real estate investing. It was the early eighties and no-money-down investing was all the rage. Late-night [...]

By |July 25th, 2018|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , , |

Lessons from my book: Chapter 7 – Carving Out a Death

We’re now in the seventh chapter of my book, Get Back Up, I could no longer work in the fast food industry due to the injuries I 'd suffered in a car accident, and so I was about to begin a new career as a life insurance salesman. I would learn that sales can be a hard way to make a living and that some products are harder to sell than others. Life insurance was a very hard product to sell. I’d also learn that before you could sell a product or service, your customer had to have a need for [...]

By |July 14th, 2018|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , , |

Lessons from my book: Chapter 6 – Quality Over Speed

In the sixth chapter of my book Get Back Up, I have been released from the army with a service-connected disability. Thanks to the disabled veterans bill I’d be able to pay for college, but because it would be a few months until the next quarter began, I decided to get a job. I ended up working in the fast food industry, where I learned to manage employees who were also friends, and I learned that some rules are made to be broken as long as customer service and the quality of the product do not suffer. I also learned that just [...]

By |June 21st, 2018|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , |

Lessons from my book: Chapter 5 – The Buddy System

In the fifth chapter of my book Get Back Up, Johnson and I join the army. It was 1974 and the United States was just getting out of the Vietnam War. It’s not that Johnson and I wanted to join the army out of some great need to sacrifice for our country, it was that we didn’t know what we wanted to do with our lives. We never really enjoyed high school and at that point we didn’t want to continue our education by going to college. Besides, we didn’t have the money for college even if we had wanted to go. [...]

By |June 9th, 2018|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , |

Lessons from my book: Chapter 4 – The Way Things Work

In the fourth chapter of my book Get Back Up I talk about meeting my lifelong friend Mark Johnson, or just Johnson, as I have called him for years. Johnson and I met in 1969 and we remain friends to this day, seeing each other often. Johnson was from the type of family where the parents worked and the kids could be kids. As I mention in the book, Johnson had stuff. I didn’t have stuff. Most of all, though, Johnson was curious about everything while I was just trying to survive. Meeting Johnson opened up a whole new world to [...]

By |May 23rd, 2018|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , |

Prostate Cancer: Navigating Through Insurance Company Hell

It’s been a few months since my last article about my prostate cancer treatment. That’s the thing about active surveillance, or watchful waiting; there’s a lot of waiting. During the past months I’ve continued to get PSA tests. My doctor said that if the number stayed low, I could wait until the one-year anniversary of my initial biopsy to have a second one performed. My most recent PSA result was 3.7, and the time before that it was 4.19, so no red flags there, thankfully. My next biopsy has been scheduled for June 12th. I’ve been told if the results [...]

By |May 10th, 2018|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , |

Lessons from my book: Chapter 3 – Journey’s End

In the third chapter of my book Get Back Up I talk about our family’s early days in Tampa. My father had used the money he’d finally received from the Social Security Administration to move us out of the projects of South Philadelphia to our own home in Tampa, Florida. He also bought a small family restaurant called The Little Inn, even though I don’t think he knew anything about running a restaurant. It was the summer of 1969 and I had just turned thirteen. My brother Dennis and I would get to work at the restaurant, bussing tables and [...]

By |May 3rd, 2018|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , |