CPA: The Accounting Years
After moving to Seattle in March of 1978 I set about to make some sort of a career for myself. I had an excellent education and enough classes in Accountancy for a major, but to get credit for those, I needed to wrap them in the remaining classes required for either a BBA or MBA. Alas, I was out of money and more schooling would have to wait.
The first task was to get a job - any job. I was not going to go on the dole if I could possibly avoid it. That was no way to get started. Seattle was in a mild economic slump that year, and it would get worse until about 1982, when things started to pick up a bit. After applying for many dozens of jobs over my first two weeks, I finally set myself a task one day. Before I would let myself come back to the dive motel where I was staying that night, I would be on somebody's payroll. So I went over to Harbor Island where the shipyards were, and started filling out apps leaving out my education. By noon I was working for RSR Quemetco in their battery recycling and lead products plant. I worked all over the plant, but mostly in the carpentry shop building wooden boxes to ship their products. I would stay there through the end of the summer.
Wanting to add to that by working some evenings and weekends, I also answered an ad for a direct sales gig selling Fuller Brushes. I added Watkins products to that - a slight violation of my agreement with Fuller, but it bumped up the revenue by about 30%.
It was probably tow or three days before I started working at RSR that I had called back to Michigan to chat with Tom Dunn one evening when his mother-in-law happened to be there, and that led to my meeting Ralph Squillace. We became good friends and I ended up spending a lot of time at their house entertaining their kids by taking them bowling and similar activities.
Ralph worked at Boeing as a training supervisor in the defense products part of the business, which was the larger part of Boeing. He happened to be going on some sort of business trip back to Detroit late that summer, and I asked him if he would contact my parents and let them know I was doing ok. He refused, stating flat out that the reason was that in his opinion I wasn't. He thought I should get off my duff (I was working about 60 hours a week mind you) and take the CPA exam and start using my education. So that Fall I started looking for another job and signed up for the Becker CPA Review course to get ready for the exam.
This change set me up for my next five jobs. Four were fulltime regular 9-5 sorts of things, and one was an evenings and weekends thing to continue building my bank account.