Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Chapter 9 - HELP WANTED: Tales of a Free-Spirit Professional

A warm welcome to visitors - old and new! Please click on the right side of the page in the archives to follow this post from the beginning. It ALL starts in June 2011, so take a look and follow along. As always, thanks for reading and enjoy.

Because we weren’t fully merged yet, the accounting department from the Madsen Group was still overseeing all expenses on the Consulting side of the firm. On my way there, I ran into Betsy, the assistant to one of the soon-to-be-former partners.

Her boss had come in a couple of years ago when they were trying to build the advertising side of the consulting firm. Donny Horowitz, a legend in the ad world was eighty years old and in my opinion, a few breaths away from a nursing home.

His assistant was a spunky woman in her seventies. With wavy red hair fixed in a neat bun and jewelry always well-coordinated, Betsy was old school, wearing a suit even though the office had gone business casual several years ago.

I’d gotten to know her better during the transition and she became a regular stop on my roaming route in the days before Bikram.

She was in the kitchen making a cup of tea.

“Donny are I done,” she announced dipping a tea bag into a dainty little teacup that looked like it had been stolen from a fancy tea service in England.

“Oh noooo! That’s terrible!”

“Not really,” she said, her arthritic hands wrapping the teabag around a spoon to wring out the excess liquid. “I’ve got my retirement from working for Donny all these years. Plus, I’ve got the matching fund from the Madsen Group which should be a nice, little chunk of change.”

“Matching fund? Do we all get that?”

“Oh sure,” she said, explaining to me that when someone started at the Madsen Group, they were given a retirement fund that the company matched each year.

“But, I can’t touch that until I retire,” I asked, reaching into the refrigerator for a bottle of water.

“You can cash it in whenever you want. No penalty. You’ll just get taxed on it at a higher rate.”

Later that night, I searched and searched for the last statement I received and didn’t pay any attention to. It was for retirement and pretty much irrelevant I figured, until I was over 65. When I finally found it between a stack of paid bills, unopened, I held my breath as I opened the envelope and hopefully the key to my freedom. Scanning the numbers and pie charts of investments made on my behalf, I looked for the total.

“$16, 772.68,” I almost screamed.

I was finally free!!

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