Alaska

This article compliments a story in my book 7 Keys to Facing & Overcoming Failure.

It wasn't all bad. Outside of work he was great. Took us on four wheeler rides and showed us around the country side.

My boss, however, assumed I was moving to Fairbanks and would be driving the 4,000 miles and thereby have my truck. I assumed, on the other hand, he would be giving me a company truck to use for the summer and thereby I would have transportation for the probationary period until I figured out if this position was going to be a good fit for something long term.

For approximately the first two weeks, I rented a Ford F-150 that cost me $80 a day. As his foreman, he finally agreed to let me use his other truck that no one was using; but he said I needed to pay him for it. I told him I would pay him $1 per mile for my personal mileage and keep a log book for him. He did not agree. He wanted no less than $20 a day, plus I had to buy all the gas, and “It’s your responsibility to change the oil, and it needs changed now. It is past due,” he said. I could tell this business relationship was not going to last long. Good thing I didn’t drive the 4,000 miles.

In the meantime, I started looking for other jobs. Maybe there was a bigger reason “why” I ended up 4,000 miles from home. Maybe an Eskimo wife or something? At this point in my life I wasn’t going to write anything off.

A few months later, my boss and I got into an argument. He had just returned from a fishing trip. I said to him, “I think I need to give you my two-week notice.” He tried to calm me down, but I was livid. He told me not to make a rash decision. Oh, but little did he know, this had been brewing for months. He wanted me to pay him $20 a day for his little Dodge Neon while he took both of his trucks on a fishing trip and left me to handle the customer, the job, and the materials. What made it more interesting is that he pounded into my head weeks prior to his fishing trip that I was to never talk to the customer. What kind of flea circus is this? I wondered.

He finally calmed me down and offered to get my truck shipped from Johnstown, PA, up to Fairbanks. I told him I would think about it.

I called my dad to get a different perspective. I explained the situation. “I’m paying $600 per month in rent up for a tiny bedroom, as well as $600 per month for this guy’s car or his old truck with over 200,000 miles on it. I am paying for all his gas and his oil changes. This job has no benefits, and did I mention that the food and gas prices up here are ridiculous?! I’m doing all this while trying to manage a truck and mortgage payment of my own back home. This was not the opportunity I had hoped for.”

I was extremely mad at myself for not getting my job offer in writing. My dad’s reply was wise but simple. “If you see yourself in Alaska long term, you need your truck. If not, you don’t. Either way you need to come home, because going into debt with this guy to have him ship your truck does not sound like a good idea.”