I recently realized that I have always been an entrepreneur, even when I worked in Corporate America. My first job out of college, I worked for a little plastic injection molding company in Troy, Michigan called Mr. Chain. I loved the owner, Mike Russo. He was 78 years old and a WWII Ace Fighter Pilot. He was also an entrepreneur. Unfortunately, he was not my boss.
While visiting their factory in Copemish, Michigan, I discovered a product that they used to manufacture and asked the factory manager to ship one to my office. It was a plastic terrarium. I proceeded to contact some live amphibian suppliers and I eventually had a terrarium on my desk with frogs, lizards and plants growing from seedling. I realized that this could be an incredible educational tool for school children and I began to market it to education supply companies and they started buying. Unfortunately, the supply was limited and when I approached my boss to begin production of new units she did not want to produce them.
Now I was in a bit of a pickle because I had been marketing it and was told if it began to sell that they would be produced. Well, that didn’t happen. It was the first time in my budding career that I had to make a big decision. I went to my boss a few days later and sat in her office to discuss the situation. I insisted that we begin production of the terrariums and she refused. So I handed her my resignation letter.
I really enjoyed that job and was disappointed to leave, however, once the terrarium project was halted and I was put in a situation where I had promised customers a product that I could no longer deliver, it was time to leave. My boss was let go soon after for other reasons, but I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if she embraced the entrepreneur in front of her and began production of a product he had brought back to life.
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