From the start, I think I realized this was not going to work. My "partner" - the employer, had two real interests in life and that was to remind people he was a retired Air Force "Colonel" and he loved to play golf. I knew it wasn't going to be easy as soon as I opened the books and took a close look at the customer base. There were a limited number of potential "volume" customers and there was a a branch office of a major competitor with a substantial history to their credit. After a week, I knew how bad it was as I had no problem reaching the "decision makers" among the largest customers and those who used temporary help were well satisfied with our competition. Worse, that competitor had a much larger branch office in Los Angeles giving them the potential to supply more people that we would ever have as we were a privately owned franchise - lacking the financial resources to establish another "feeder" branch. When I talked about our strategy - now that we had the facts, it was like talking to the wall. He heard the words and he should have admitted that he had made a bad decision; whether it was purchasing the franchise or hiring me.
I used to love to play poker when I was in the Air Force and I was good at it, so I knew the old axiom, "You play with the cards you are dealt." When the owner was in the office, I was on the streets, trying to convince new customers, the economies available by using temporary help rather the absorbing the costs of a new hire. It started to work so we hired a full time gal in our office so that - as he said, "I could spend more time out of the office, selling" or as it was, he could spend more time on the golf course. It did work well and our greatest need became, the ability to recruit employees and train them for the jobs we might have to offer. There were a number of bars in Long Beach, so I dropped in on most, talking to the bartenders who would know whether they had potential job seekers as clients and started to convince them to recommend us as a source of jobs. That worked as well, but it opened a door that had me dropping in and having a drink or two - or more, while encouraging the bartenders to send more "business" our way. I thought that I had given up that habit.
Although I thought that things were good at home, we were living in a new house, the kids seemed to like the neighborhood, but there were problems of which I was probably not aware. Because we were doing well as a franchise, the Home Office offered us an opportunity to supply medical personnel to the major accounts in our area. It should have been a "bonanza" as it was easy to get jobs orders, but the problem was in securing nurses - primarily, to fill them. So, I donned my "recruiter's cap" and was working many more hours as the only way we had of recruiting was to call nurses at home in the evening. To "help" me, we also recruited an LPN to follow on with our customers to assure them that we could supply the help they needed. First thing I knew, I had two bosses. And to add to the chaos, the Home Office offered "us" another office in an even more lucrative area.
My first crisis was to come home one evening to find the door locked, the key changed and my wife and the children - gone. Where? I had no idea. I did the obvious, I headed for a bar and got drunk.
The next day, I learned my "family" had moved to San Clemente with my sister. Again, I did the obvious, I got drunk again, this time in the afternoon. And met a girl looking for a guy. All of which created circumstances beyond my control. It wasn't long before I turned in my keys.
I thought I was doing the right thing. Out of a job, I had to quit drinking and decided to call my wife. She came to where I was staying and we decided, it was all a mistake. I moved back "home".