You can run

Blogging has taken a back seat to my new job. On top of being a lawyer at one of the Top 26 Elite Law Firms (according to a story on Law 360 this morning), I have inherited my father’s business. A business I managed to avoid for 30 years, save for a few unhappy summers spent working “for” my evil sister while attending undergraduate school. My sister and her husband stopped working at the family business nearly a decade ago because she didn’t get along with my brothers. After my dad and brothers all died during a span of 11 months in 2012 and 2013, other than my 77-year-old mother, only one employee remained.

That one employee was a high school friend who went to work for my father as a receptionist nearly 30 years ago. In this blog, I call her Jenny. Jenny met her husband, we’ll call him Josh, when he worked at the business for a time in the early days in shipping and receiving. After my remaining brother died in March 2013, our health insurance company advised they’d be cancelling our policy because we had too few employees–we needed one more. Jenny suggested that Josh, who’d been laid off from his job, return to the company’s employ while we figured out our next steps. In the midst of our fumbling around, my mother’s health suddenly declined in July and instead of going to work several days a week, she moved into an assisted living facility.

So now, in addition to being a lawyer in one of the top-20 largest law firms globally (another recent Law 360 story) and my mother’s power-of-attorney (which means managing her finances and the majority of her affairs), I’ve taken the helm of my father’s crippled business. A business which, due to my father’s Alzheimer’s and brothers’ alcoholism, had been sorely neglected for many years. And yet despite the neglect, it has survived. It isn’t thriving, mind you, but it isn’t dead. In fact, over the past year, Jenny and Josh have managed a slight increase in revenues. That, coupled with lower expenses (largely due to decreased payroll from the loss of the three principals), they’ve managed to pay off much of the company’s debt.

Working with my uncle and my financial-wizard neighbor, I’ve been learning the ropes of managing a business. I’ve studied the financials going back a decade, I’ve made charts and spreadsheets and graphs, and I’ve negotiated debt with one of our remaining creditors. I’ve given Jenny a long-overdue raise. And now that Josh has been on board for a year, it was time I figured out a suitable compensation package for him. I spent the past two weeks pouring over the financials with my two new mentors, and have settled on a combination of a modest increase in his already-modest base pay, plus an incentive tied to rolling annual net income. Before a couple of weeks ago, I could not have told you what rolling annual net income was. Let alone created an incentive earnings plan based on it. I feel pretty darn pleased with myself, if I do say so.

Last night, I gave Josh his raise. He seemed pleased and incentivized. The next step is to work with my uncle to create a strategic plan. This plan will include lots more charts and graphs, which excites me. Who knew? We will create concrete and hopefully achievable goals. We’ll have benchmarks with graphics. And pie charts. I love pie charts. I’ll use pink and purple and green. Oh my!

This morning, I decided on a title for myself: CEO and General Counsel.

BatonIf things go well, maybe, just maybe, I can quit working at one of the Top 26 Elite Law Firms before another decade passes. Before it sucks out the rest of my soul and spits it onto the pile atop all the others. And in the process of saving myself, I will have helped save my father’s company. His legacy. I find it mildly ironic that the only child of 4 who declined to work at the family business is the one who (with any luck) will help it, along with Jenny and Josh, rise from the ashes. It just goes to show you, you can run, but you can’t hide. At least not from family. Here’s to you, Dad.

About Unconfirmed Bachelorette

Unconfirmed Bachelorette, a/k/a Ella, is a 50-something-year-old lawyer who wishes fervently she could retire from the practice of law and write full time. Never-married-childfree Ella resides in Austin, Texas with her three fluffy black rescue cats and two interlopers.
This entry was posted in Alcoholism, Alzheimer's, Death of a sibling, Dementia, Elderly Parents, Family Business, Finance, Law, Lawyer and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to You can run

  1. Geraldine says:

    Oh my…and I thought I had a lot on the go! Congrats on all your new pursuits but do take time to just ‘chill out’ too. So important. 🙂


    • Thanks, Geraldine. I’ve been so stressed about my mom’s finances (assisted living is not cheap), knowing she’ll have a source of income might help me sleep better. And today, I’m doing lawyer work from home. Which means I get to enjoy the birds and squirrels. A little much-needed “chillin'”.


  2. That is very exciting news. No wonder you haven’t time to blog! Do give us updates like this when you can.


  3. Denise says:

    And here’s to you – congrats!

    Talk about ironic…Sheesh!


  4. Amy Pinkrose says:

    Oh, wow, and here I am thinking I have a busy life. Thank you for taking the time to stop by at Petals. Deeply appreciated!!! And I wish you all the very best in all you do!! (((HUGS))) Amy


    • Thank you so much, Amy! Your photographs are so lovely. A beautiful way to pause and enjoy my favorite parts of life.


      • Amy Pinkrose says:

        Thank you, Honey. With you in my life, and who I know about (not talking lurkers here Tee Hee) gives me more incentive to bring to you something that will lift, or encourage, or make you think hmmmmm….., or just to get your fill of beauty through what I do photograph. Thank YOU for the comment and all the very best in YOUR life. Sounds like you have your hands full and then some!!! Love, Amy


  5. franhunne4u says:

    Achievements over achievements – does this make you an overachiever?


  6. Go for it! Sounds like you are moving forward, learning lots along the way and enjoying it. Well done to ‘Jenny’ and ‘Josh’ for keeping your father’s legacy alive, its future is up to you now….


  7. 18mitzvot says:

    You never know when something meaningful will save you from the rat race. I am so happy for you.


  8. Nice writing. You’re a survivor.


  9. good2begone says:

    Congrats on the “elite firm status” but more so on bringing back the family business you never wanted to prosperity. CEO and General counsel looks good on ya!


    • Good2begone, I could not give 2 shits (or even 1) about the elite status. The more elite, the worse it gets. The family business, however, excites me. Quite a reversal. Thank you for your congrats. I hope we do well. April was a pretty darn good month. Woohoo! I don’t think my mom will be destitute. But I’m not quite ready to stop worrying, yet.


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