One of the most frustrating things I experienced in my working life was when I worked as a stockbroker. My firm was a terrific company and they treated me very well but due to its sheer size and public image, I was disallowed many opportunities to “show my stuff.” What I really mean is that the the firm was paranoid of failure and embarrassment. They had invested so much time and money into their image and reputation virtually any new idea or plan had to be vetted through the chain of command.

I remember early on I had what I deemed to be a wonderful idea. As the new branch coordinator for online trading, I wanted to leverage my proximity and knowledge of Kinkos in an effort to position our firms online trading kiosks in Kinkos Branch Offices throughout the land. It was a slam dunk. I actually had interest from Kinkos and they wanted a pitch. When I went to my branch manager she thought I was crazy. You see, in our firms culture, big ideas came from New York, San Francisco and Chicago, not Ventura.  I was so frustrated I said I would go to regional for approval and she mentioned the whole chain of command thing to me. After decompressing my entrepreneurial energies for a day or two, I went to her corner office and told her the story of the US Navy fleet that went aground near PT. Conception about 100 years ago. You see, the Admiral was leading a fleet down the coast and had miscalculated his position. Junior officers aboard ships behind the flag ship were aware of this but were not allowed to disobey his standing orders. They all ran aground.

This is why I am so damn grateful to run my own business. True I am broke most of the time. True I have aged in dog years as the last 6 years have aged me 20 years. But even with all of the negatives, god damn it, I love it.  You see the freedom of calling your own shots and making things your own is a powerful thing.  I would say there is nothing else like it.  So when a job comes up that requires a little planning and a little risk, by God I jump at the chance. I am very proud of all our crew for a job well done. Heading out into the desert with no assistance from people who should rightfully help and getting the job done safely and on time is something worth bragging about.

The boat yard is a CAN DO place. We rely on our own skills and we get things done. I love it down here.

About Andy Killion

Andy closed his boat yard business this summer and is now embarking on a new voyage yet to be plotted.
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