Submitted by: Nathan Andersen, Director of Field PMO
Having just passed my sixth year with TMX Finance® Family of Companies, and recently going through one of the biggest transitions I have personally experienced in my professional career, I felt it necessary to put it into writing. Here are my words of thanks and encouragement.
Through my time with this company there have been many ups and downs, all of which have made me a better employee and a more understanding person. In the beginning, I was hesitant to work for a company where my wife already worked. I did not want our work life to interfere with our personal one, and the two of us coming home daily and just continuing to talk about work, work, work. We soon realized that this was a choice, and that, both being strong willed people, we could avoid this with our dedication to each other and our family. WE decided to take an opportunity to enhance our family’s future by my pursuing an opportunity with this great company.
With this decision came change. We moved to another state, found new schools for the kids, and devoted ourselves to both our family and our work. There were times when it was not all rainbows and unicorns. folks. A good year and a half was spent where I only saw my wife on the weekends. This is something nearly every RVP and above experience today, and I applaud these team members’ vigor and perseverance in the face of this type of struggle. What we did as a couple made all the difference, though. We kept to our commitment to keep work at work, and made every last moment on those weekends count for our family.
Time passed and this life became the norm; we loved our family and we loved our work. Little did we know that we soon had another tough choice to make. The opportunity came in a phone call, requesting me to come back to our previous city and lead, what I feel, is our flagship District in Savannah, Georgia. After some discussion, we hopped in the cars and moved once again. This time, our sacrifice was different. We now had the ability to spend each and every night together as a family, my wife had a better prospect to advance in her career, and I felt the pride of leading a key District with our company. It was great to have all these things, and it doesn’t sound like much of a sacrifice. But with the move, we ending up taking a pay cut and found ourselves enduring more stress to be successful than ever before in either of our lives. This went on for two years.
I know there are many out there who have similar stories or have sacrificed more than we have. The reason I put this part down to paper first is to emphasize the significance of this transition in my career. Through my entire working life I have been in a true customer-facing position. There has never been a work day that I didn’t talk to a customer and promote whichever company I worked for at the time. Today is different.
Not too long ago, and after numerous conversations with my wife, I decided to interview for an internal position that was going to be way outside of my comfort zone, at CORPORATE! Some “Field folks” thought I was crazy, while others dreamed of me at this new job, propping my feet up and getting to leave early on a daily basis. I’m here to tell you, half of them were right. It was crazy to jump into the unknown; to take on a role that was undefined, and to say “yes” even after I was warned that this would be like going through 4 years of college in the first six months. You have heard it before, and I used to preach it to every one of my team members, “There is no growth without change.” And, this was my opportunity to define the undefined, to create what was once not, and to bring a difference to a nationwide platform.
Jumping in with both feet, I still felt stuck between two worlds: the Field and Corporate. The new team made me feel welcome and brought me in with open arms. As I sat behind my desk, I watched folks walking back and forth, going to meetings, and discussing behind-the-scenes issues that nearly all focused on the Field. After that first day, I noticed two significant things: 1) No one had their feet up, and 2) There were meetings set at 6 p.m. for folks who had been at the office since at 8 a.m., so leaving early was not “a thing.”
If you have worked near me in the Field, you may have heard me say, “All I want is a button in TLXe. A new button that will simply do this (action).” Lesson one for me in my new role, this ask of mine is much easier said than done! The work behind getting that button “story boarded,” installed through TLXe, and making sure that it will not have any adverse effects on other states or products that we offer is a huge undertaking. For just that one button, all kinds of questions are asked. Will it keep us compliant with each state? How is this information going to be transitioned over to our Accounting, Finance, and Treasury teams so that the stores are correctly compensated and accounts are properly documented? What effects will it have on Sales Force, or our Customer Service and Online Teams? When will training need to come in? Do our websites need to updated? Is Marketing going to get involved? Don’t forget we have to communicate this back out to the Field, who are busy assisting our customers, so let’s do our best to make it quick, easy, and informative. All of these questions and directions for one button only involving one outside vendor. The sad thing is, four months into this role, I know I am missing something! Now, imagine the initiatives that have been rolled out over the last year (TLXe, the Mobile App, Personal Loans (coming to a state near you soon), and many others) and imagine all the behind-the-scenes work that has gone into bringing these tools and initiatives to the Field.
Before joining the team at Corporate, my ignorance ran deep on all that is done in our Corporate offices. While I was in the Field, I didn’t realize that, nearly every day, these Corporate team members work to give the Field a better opportunity to assist our customers and grow the business .
Over the last six months, I have talked to everyone at Corporate that I can about how hard the Field works, and the number of items on their plates every day. I fight to not overwhelm them with too many additional processes or procedures at a given time. This will never change!
I want both the Field and Corporate to read and understand my experience with the daily activities that go into being the best company possible for all our family members, as we are “One Company, One Team, One Family.”
I have to thank my mentor, Craig Baker, and my new leader, Leslie Bowman, for assisting in my navigation of this new land. Thank you to Steve Thomas, Greg Ludwig, Donell Temple, and Cameron Gregg for keeping my mind “in the Field” and understand the effect of my actions in my new role. Thank you to all the leaders who have pushed me and coached me (in good and in bad times) to just be the “difference.” Thank you to Otto and Ted for having the foresight and conviction in placing me in this new role. Thank you in advance to all the leaders who will come in my future, as this company produces great ones.
And Thank You!
Thank you to my wife and kids for sacrificing their time for the betterment of my career. (As I write this, our wedding song came on. Check it out! Fortuities.)