My next door neighbor is a very ambitious young man in his mid twenties. He already has a wife and two small children, and has been carefully strategizing how to move up the ladder in his company which manufactures software for home security systems. He got the position about a year ago and had to face some uncomfortable situations before he got a promotion.
My neighbor joined the company at an entry level, which meant he was a junior under a team of seasoned sales people. It was his job to do cold calling and set appointments for the others. The first week on the job, he was invited to a sales meeting which took place over lunch at a local steakhouse. Since he was new, one sales people footed the bill for his lunch, which wasn’t cheap.
It did not take this young man long to realize the lunch meeting was a regular weekly event where important discussions took place and he would be expected to attend. He went into some anxiety over it, knowing it would be a strain on his budget, considering he had a family to feed and his wages did not support going out to an expensive restaurant once a week.
He talked it over with his wife. They both agreed that he must attend those meetings, but they planned how he would pay for his meals without looking cheap and embarrassing himself in front of the sales team.
Prior to the next meeting, he stopped by the restaurant and got a copy of the menu. He and his wife went studied the prices for the appetizers, sandwiches, entrees and beverages. There were a few items on the menu that were relatively cheap and they know that if he order any of those and drank only water with lemon it would be affordable. They also knew it would become obvious to the others what he was doing.
So, they came up with a plan. They first determined a budget and then chose combinations of menu items that fit, including the tip for the server. Some weeks he would order a cheap appetizer and an entr©e or sandwich with a glass of water. Other weeks he would have the sandwich only and a more expensive beverage. Once in a while he would order an expensive entr©e, but take half of it home in a “to go” box for his lunch the next day.
The members of the sales team never knew it was an issue for him. After 3 months he was promoted to sales. Although his wages took an immediate jump, he still continues his practice of spending conservatively the lunch meetings. He prefers to spend the extra money on his family.
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