Lousy Location Leads to Early Promotion and Job Security

In a prior life I applied for a job in Carbondale, Pennsylvania.

Ever been to Carbondale? Well…let me put it to you this way, it’s not exactly Shangri-La.

Carbondale is a decaying coal town of nine thousand people just north of Scranton. My drive to the interview took me by abandon strip mines with rusty mining machinery perched on a ravaged landscape. Most of the houses and buildings were built in the 1930’s and hadn’t been updated since.

I almost did a U-turn in the middle of the road and laid down rubber for home.

But I proceeded with my interview and was delighted to find out that twenty minutes from the office was a quaint ski village called The Village of Four Seasons. There were several chalets for rent and the community was designed after a small village in Switzerland. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I checked out the place. It was a far cry from the war torn ambiance of Carbondale.

I also discovered the upscale communities of Clarks Summit and Waverly, both about a thirty minute commute. When I factored in our proximity to the Pocono Mountains and only a two hour car ride to New York City, things starting looking better.

You see, what attracted me to Carbondale was the job. It was a great job with excellent career potential. The location is what scared me. But rather than just turn my nose up at a great opportunity because of the location, I decided to check it out for myself. I’m glad I did.

I ended up taking the job. We moved to The Village of Four Seasons. To this day we have pleasant memories of our sojourn there. My children were young at the time and we spent a lot of time together fishing, hiking, sledding, and enjoying nature. We still talk about it.

This move literally catapulted my career. Prior to taking this position, the company could not retain sales managers because of the location and the company’s track record of poor quality products. Like clockwork the sales manager position turned over every year. Since I had already solved the location crisis by living up at The Village, all I had to do now was perform well.

I reasoned that this company had nowhere to go but up since I couldn’t screw it up any worse. Their parent company was strong financially and committed to turning it around. Frankly, I was excited about the challenge and confident I could make a difference.

Fast forward two years.

This operation was forced to close due to an unforeseen economic recession, along with ten other operations in North America. Since I was a short-timer with this company, I expected to be laid off. To my surprise, I was laterally moved to another location. When the recession ended two years later, I was promoted to regional sales director. At the time I was one of the youngest regional directors in the company ($800 million in sales).

If I hadn’t taken the Carbondale job, I never would have received this promotion. The company didn’t forget my positive efforts to turn around their struggling Carbondale operation. I enjoyed a rewarding career and thank my lucky stars I didn’t do a U-turn on my initial visit to lovely Carbondale.

When you are unemployed, explore every opportunity. Keep an open mind and get all the facts before making a decision. You might just hit the lottery.

Written by: Michael Petras – Principal at Lodestar Executive Search, South Bend, Indiana. To subscribe to my blog, scroll to the bottom of this page and enter your email. Back to Blog Page for more articles you might enjoy.

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