In September of 1998, we had moved into our new home on Autumn Blaze Drive in South Charlotte. After all the fuss regarding the construction problems we had with the contractor, our home actually turned out very beautiful. It was a 3 bedroom home with an oversized 2 car garage on a nice size lot in a new Community. During this time, business had been going extremely well for me at Quaker Oats. I landed 2 very large customers, BI-LO in Greenville, SC and Bruno’s in Birmingham, AL. Just as my business was starting to grow, we received word that the Bakery Division at Quaker Oats Company was being purchased by Maplehurst Bakery, which was owned by the Westin Corporation in Canada. My boss remained the same during the transition, but they had intergrated the Foodservice Business into the Retail Business. The biggest problem was our Foodservice Team was being compensated much better than our counterparts at Maplehurst. After about 8 months, I got news from the Vice President for Maplehurst that I was going to be let go due to the fact the other Southeastern Regional Manager had more seniority over me and had been working for Maplehurst close to 8 years. I had only been working 2 years for the Quaker Oats Company. Once I received this news, my desire to eat started to take its toll on me yet again. I was binge eating due to my nerves. I was finally doing good, controlling my weight to a certain degree and boom, this happened. The pounds were coming back on me again. I was constantly yo-yoing with my weight. I could gain 50 lbs. in a few months and at the same token, if I made up my mind, I could lose 50 lbs. in a few months. Along with all of this going on in my life, I was starting to lose my confidence in my ability to be a Regional Sales Manager. I had never really been let go from a company before. I met with the VP of Sales to discuss my severance package. He offered me 3 months salary along with my 3 weeks vacation. He told me during the next few months, he wanted me to focus on finding a job. Before the time period was to begin with my severance, he told me to take the next 2 months to look for work. This was to be my fulltime job and my severance would start after those 60 days. He promised that Maplehurst would write me a letter of recommendation. I was not being let go due to any performance issues. I was let go due to the number of Regional Managers Maplehurst had covering the same customers in the territory.
It is amazing how God works if you just quietly ask for a favor and go into prayer. Believe it or not, I had started looking for work the following week and had an interview with the Cascade Cookie Company in Spokane, WA in just 2 days time. I flew out to Spokane the following week and met with 2 gentleman, the owner of the Cookie Company and VP of Sales. Before I left Spokane, WA, I was offered the Southeastern Regional Managers position starting at more money than what I was making at the Quaker Oats Company. The rest of my compensation was almost the same, except instead of a company car, I was provided a very lucrative car allowance. The commission structure actually allowed me to make more money especially if I hit my sales Goals and Budgets. Instead of selling bagels, biscuits ,rolls and scones, I began selling Cookies. I basically had the same customer base, but the items were different. The Cookie business had a different model as it was mainly geared around Holiday Cookies, Every Day Cookies and Limited Time Offer Special Buys.
Back home in New Orleans, things were still very shaky with my daughter. She was beginning to hang around with more and more of the wrong crowd. She was now in the 11th Grade at Archbishop Chapelle High School. Her grades were starting to suffer. I tried talking with her over the phone on numerous occasions, but it became short lived. She was doing basically whatever she wanted. Her mother had a new boyfriend. Instead of focusing on our daughter and her needs, She was involved with new boyfriend. My daughter not only felt abandoned by me, but she felt neglected by her mother as well. A few months after dating her boyfriend, he moved into my old home that I was still paying for the house note due to the courts. So this guy was living there for free. I guess they got the last laugh when it came to the house. We decided to put our daughter into counseling to see if we could help her with our divorce and me moving away. I flew into Metairie several times to meet with the Counselor. I remember her meeting with us to tell us our daughter was extremely brilliant when it came to manipulating me and her mother. The therapist diagnosed my daughter as a Master Manipulator. She was so convincing, the counselor told us she even had to leave the room several times as she was beginning to get caught up in her lies and manipulative behavior. Well, I guess the apple didn’t fall far from the tree as I was pretty good at manipulation, but not to that degree. It surely became extremely difficult for us to ever believe anything our daughter would tell us as time went on. The behavior continued with her for many years afterwards.
Will to Live – Anger, Envy, & Greed – Part 37