A classic book “A Christmas Carol”, written by Charles Dickens has always been a favorite of mine. (I was Jacob Marley in our 6th grade play) Most people are familiar with it. Most memorable were the scenes of the 3 ghosts who came to Ebenezer Scrooge on Christmas eve. It was their job to try and to change his ways from a mean, greedy and angry man or at least show him the consequences if he kept it up. He wanted none of it at first but as each ghost took him on his journey, he was confronted with some rather sobering truths. In the end, his greed melted away and he was a changed man forever.
Well, I am going to take you, on a very similar journey. And it doesn’t matter who you are- a tech, customer, owner of a large firm, small mom & pop or someone who is just starting out in a brand new pest control company. For me as a tech, I always saw the owner as something different, something special and someone who is now untouchable at the top. This person has no problems and was just flowing with money and power. I admit, it was (and still is) an enviable place to be. Still, some see the owner as something they would never want to be. Perhaps because the owners they were exposed to were mean, ruthless and hard hearted. Or perhaps the challenge may looked to be too great or maybe, they are most happy just right where they are. No matter where your position is on this-we all have our views.
So, regardless of your opinion, I am going to introduce you to 3 pest control ghosts and you too will be confronted with some truths that perhaps may make you think differently about the pest control owner or at least give you a different perspective…. It’s not Christmas eve but the midnight hour is close and your journey will soon begin…oh & our ghosts don’t fly. It is 2012 you know–you’ll be riding in a beautiful full sized termite truck with all the latest gadgets. Here comes your first ghost now.
The Mega Company Ghost
It’s early in the morning and the Mega ghost says nothing as he transports you to your first destination in a ride you could only dream of having. GPS console and a laptop that folds up and away, built in shelves in the enclosed cab that house tools like moisture meters, bore scopes, a terma trac and more. In the back there are pull out electric reels, split tanks, a foam machine and custom shelves that keep every assortment of tools a termite man might ever need. Your ghost is big and impressive and you don’t dare say say a word as he drives you through the big city and to your destination.
The Pest Control Company Mountain
Pulling off the busy corridor and into what looks like a sea of trucks, you see dozens of busy tech’s buzzing about the lot and climbing all over their trucks getting ready for their day. A man in a white shirt and tie stands at the lots exit as they pull out one by one. He checks the paper on on his clip board, leans in the window and reminds them of their daily goals and sends the hurried tech on their way. This massive compound is so impressive. You see a mechanics bldg., a training facility and a huge chemical storage garage stacked to the ceiling with products that you wouldn’t use in a lifetime. The main office is an 8 story mini skyscraper and it looks more like the head quarters for IBM than any bug company you’ve seen. As the steady stream of tiny pick up trucks hit the street the ghost pulls into the CEO’s reserved spot but no one seems to notice.
The ghost motions for you to follow and you walk through the training area and are amazed at the spectacle. There’s a podium on a stage for the teacher, specimens for every kind of bug you can imagine and a B&G cut in half so techs can view the inner workings. On the wall there is a schedule of the mandatory training sessions and service awards galore for top producing techs. Through the back door and your ghost leads you past the chemical storage building and you notice many of the same products you use but these all have company logos printed or actually stamped right on them. You finally want to burst out with everything that’s swimming in your head and you ask the ghost. “Sir, how could one man build such a company?” The spirit simply points to the top of the towering building and the huge custom made marquee and then whisks you to the main lobby.
Inside the huge atrium the tile floor reflects the beams of light from the huge glass ceiling. The receptionist sits behind what looks like a fancy hotels check in and you walk through the revolving door into the heart of this behemoth business. The phones are ringing off the hook and there are a dozen or more secretaries just to answer them. Your spirit guide walks briskly through the office and as you try to keep up you see whole walls covered in plaques and a huge sales board with erasable ink that has unbelievable numbers posted. Your ghost guide pauses for a moment and lets you soak it all in. You watch the branch manager roll out from behind his desk and it’s obvious he spends a little too much time at the local rib shack. Your ghost explains in a matter of fact tone, “He has a friendly side wager for the month with the branch office from Toledo. His branch placed 3rd company wide for last year missing the prized position by $200,000.00. Still, $ 4.7 million is pretty respectable but with a trip to Jamaica on the line, he’s stepped up his crews efforts and drained all but a few of the thousands of dollars in petty cash for his current advertising campaign.” The mgr. ponders the big board with a smile on his face. This is going to be a good year.
Through The Big Wooden Door
The double doors to the owners office are like huge wooden fortress gates but you breeze right through them. The room is filled with important looking men and women all with creased suits and ties. They sit attentively around a huge impressive dark glass table. Each has the latest electronic note pads and brief cases and their cuff links make a tinkling sound as they dutifully type away new notes or look for specific papers in their specially prepared reports. No one is in any kind of a joyful mood. Their eyes focus on the man at the head of the huge conference table as each has his turn to present their report.
The man at the tables head isn’t a terribly older man but his face seems tired and worried and there are permanent wrinkles where his brow has furled so many times in disappointment sorrow and dismay. He’s decisive and barks out simple courses of action as each report given seems to bring nothing but problems. He’s amazed as he hears so many of the same situations he’s already dealt with time and time again. “Didn’t we have a 2 week driving school?” he retorts in disbelief. “Why have we had SIX crashes this month?- We’re already being sued for over 3 million now.” The report that follows is no less disappointing as he learns his company has been losing its market share on a steady basis. “Don’t we have an advertising agency?”, he snaps, What are they doing for their money?” The next presenter hands the beleaguered man a stack of state investigation reports. Dozens of complaints ranging from property damage, false advertising and even theft of a clients prescription drugs. The stately man hangs his head in disbelief. With each presentation he can’t understand why his company has such troubles. Of course the lawyers all chime in with their remedies which all come with a rather hefty price tag. They seem to be the only ones with any smiles on their face as they exclaim the good news that these “hurdles” are only putting the company 3% over the legal budget. (A budget of 4 million dollars.) But that doesn’t last very long as it’s the lawyers turn to present. The para legal is asked to give the owner their report. The folder is in a simple 3 ring binder but the owner stares at it as if it were a nuclear bomb. It’s a class action law suit from his own employees. “The numbers are still coming in” exclaims one lawyer, I’m sure we can negotiate it down to at least 12 or 14 million.” With that, the owner calls an end to the meeting and the room quietly empties.
The Darkened Vista Views
The owner tilts his head back against his leather chair and spins to gaze at the outside vista. He sighs and thinks back to the day that this was only a dream. When he’d look out from his self made mountain and be so proud to see what he had built. He allows his disciplined mind to wander back in time just for a moment. When things were simpler. No contracts signed in triplicate, no teams of specialist to do the simplest things. When his Aunt was his once a year tax advisor and his 3 trucks never seemed to break down. He ponders his future and wonders if maybe it’s time to answer that call from the big behemoth company that wants to merge. As he spins back around he presses the intercom button and tells his secretary to cancel his day and hold all of his calls.
Just then, your ghost whisks you down to the curb besides his fancy ride. “I’m leaving you now” he says as your mind is filled with questions and doubt. “Your second ride is on her way.” You have so many questions as you gaze back at the beautiful building but you mainly just wonder how something so good could be filled with so much turmoil.You turn to ask your ghost what all this means only to see him pulling away. “Be careful what you wish for” he exclaims out his window. “You never know just what comes along with it” and his truck disappears around the corner.