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Entry date: 12-21-2022 - Rochester was a blast - Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

Welcome to Wednesday. I’m fully on short timer time now. Today and tomorrow and then 17 days off. I like the sound of it. This is why teaching, and the low pay, is manageable. I get to spend time doing things I want to do.

I’ve chased the dollars before. When I left Televerde in December of 2012 and went to what I thought was going to be competition, I chased some money. I got a nice raise to spend a week per month in Rochester, New Hampshire and I got to share what I knew about training with some new people who were still doing things the hard way. Many of the folks I worked with at the home office in Rochester, NH were really cool and it was nice to go back and spend time there on the regular.

The office in Phoenix wasn’t bad, either. It was small and in many ways a lot like Televerde. Same basic equipment, and such, and the clients were all in the tech space. At first, I was mainly just officing there and working on upgrading the training to meet their needs. I did a couple of new hires and brought some people in who could do the job standing on their heads if they needed to do so.

I spent a lot of time in meetings over the phone and had a director role. This wasn’t a first for me, as I had been a director at Casa for a while in the early 2000s with about a dozen people under me. At eCoast, I started off with a similar number of people under me as I was running the training and QA department, to start.

I like being the boss. If I can toot my own horn for a few, I am a really good boss. I can make tough decisions if I need to, but I also connect with people well, listen, and like to help people be good at things. This is what teachers do, I guess, too. At eCoast, I was sort of became a coach for a lot of the salespeople, too, and pretty much every night I was in New Hampshire I would be asked by Allen, the CEO, to got out to dinner with different people and mentor them.

I really liked working for Allen. He was a great dude and a good listener. He wanted eCoast to take the next step and was investing a lot of time and capital into making that happen. He also had a great story about booking the Ramones at his college and playing wiffle ball with them while they were killing time before the show. How fucking lucky is that?

I’m not the biggest Ramones fan, but I sure as shit would have played wiffle ball with them. Is it wiffle or whiffle? I’ve seen it as both, so who the hell knows? Anyway, it doesn’t matter. When I interviewed Marky Ramone, I asked him if they were big into whiffle (wiffle) ball and he confirmed. I told him the story about how an old boss had shared a story about it with me and he said it was, most likely, true.

I worked for eCoast from December of 2012 to October of 2013. During that time, I got Rhondi’s friend and her best man of honor, Kenny, a job there. He lived in Rochester at the time, so we hung out a bit. I got to take him out once a month on the company dime, which was cool, and we had some fun. I was a bit unsure of him, at first, but grew to like him.

Admittedly, I thought it was a bit weird that she had asked him to be part of our wedding, but whatever. They had dated for a short time and had a weird chemistry, but I got to know him and it didn’t seem so weird anymore. He showed me some of the seedy underbelly of Rochester, mostly dive bars, and I liked that a lot.

I grew to have some favorite places in Rochester and surrounding parts, too. There were some excellent places to eat back there, especially a killer little taco shop in downtown Rochester. They had a sweet potato taco that was the bomb. I ate there once a month for most of the year, at least, and sometimes two or three times for lunch while I was there.

There is also a rad place in Dover, NH called the Brickhouse that had killer wings on Wednesdays for 10cents a piece. Some of the sales guys and I would go there each Wednesday when I was in town and eat wings, drink beer, and play shuffleboard. They had a really nice table and people rarely wanted to play. We had a lot of fun doing that.

When the weather finally got nicer… and I should probably say that the first three or four months I was up there (January through March/April), it was still pretty covered with snow and cold as a witches’ tit. I didn’t even know there was an old, Revolutionary War era cemetery right next to the hotel I stayed in for months. The snow was that high, but when it finally got kind of nice, we would even play softball.

I really loved working for eCoast and I wanted to move the family to Portsmouth or Dover for a long time. It’s fairly close (about four hours) from Rangeley and just a rad area of the world. Cold, sure, but there are things to do and you’re only about 90 minutes from Boston, if not less. I even got to go to a game at Fenway Park while I worked for the company and that was way rad, too.

My buddy, Sharon, hooked up that game outing and we had a blast. She’s married to my buddy, Jon, who was in sales there at the time and his family has property in Rangeley, too, so hopefully we will get to hang out again one of these days. A bunch of the people that worked at eCoast lived in southern Maine, too, because Rochester is right on the border of the two states.

When Allen left the company at the end of September, I should have seen the axe coming. The new CEO came in and shut down Phoenix pretty shortly after and that was that. I had high hopes and was even in the middle of a new hire that included my brother, Michael, but they cut the cord and I was on the street.

It was a scary time for me.

See you tomorrow.

The hallway in Rochester outside of my hotel room. I'm weird that way. It used to freak me out, for some reason.

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