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Inside Self-Storage 2/98

Posted in Articles, Archive

Going for the New Career
Dear Waldmans: It will be 10 years this August that I have been manager of a storage facility. I like my job, and the owner is wonderful. He trusts my judgment and lets me run the facility with a great deal of independence. His support in my decisions has always made me an even more caring employee. I am the most responsible employee anyone could ask for. The truth is, I drive my own self crazy with this total obligation thing. I suppose this is the real reason I have tried to ignore my longing for another career. The owner has been so good to me. Despite the fact that I feel like I have gone as far as possible in this position, I always end up feeling guilty when I even think about leaving. There is nothing more about the business that I can learn. When anyone asks a question, I feel like I don't even have to think before I answer. The truth is, it has become boring because there is no longer any challenge for me here. I know you guys are lawyers and self-storage owners, and not psychics, but I need some guidance here.
--Can't Make a Decision in Omaha, Neb.

Dear No Decision: You do sound like the perfect employee, except now you are bored. When your job gets to the point that you feel you cannot learn anything new, there is a problem. At this point you are still a good employee, but your heart is really not in the business.

From your description you seem to be most responsible. Sometimes, though we have to make a decision to please ourselves. After all, nothing is forever. If you feel so strongly about searching for a new career, then you should go for it. You are right about one thing, time will pass you by and you will never know if you could have accomplished other things. Your employer was very lucky to have you as his manager for 10 years. Now, things will have to change for him also. Change is the most difficult thing to accomplish for anyone. But without change, new challenges are never approached. Sometimes change is needed in a business. It may be one of the best things that ever happened, not only for you, but for your employer. A new individual with new ideas could do wonders for the facility. There are always new and exciting ways to accomplish the same thing. Given your guilty feelings, it would benefit you to approach the situation like this: first you need to decide what it is you are searching for, if you haven't already done that; then you need to tell your employer you will help with the interview process and stay around long enough to help train the new manager in the basic procedures of the facility. Hopefully, your facility has established a policy and procedure manual. This always helps a new employee with any problems he encounters. If a manual has not been established, maybe you can take this opportunity to write down a list of the procedures to help the new employee. This will also make you feel less guilty. Your employer will love you for it.

I feel that because of your description of the owner, he would want you to pursue other interests. I don't know of many people that would stand in the way of someone wanting to approach a new career. Remember, you have been a good employee and you have nothing to feel guilty about.

It is so important to get out of bed in the morning and be excited about going to your job. When the time comes that you dread going to work, then it's time for a change. Of course, there are some people that will tell you they have always dreaded going to work. You do not describe yourself as that kind of person. Your caring responsible attitude will help you reach any goals you pursue. Good luck in your new ventures.

A father-daughter team, Stanley and Jill Waldman are self-storage owners/operators and attorneys. In addition, Ms. Waldman holds a master's degree in labor and employment law from Georgetown University. Together they have co-authored a number of books on self-storage operations, including Getting Started in the Self-Storage Business, Self-Storage Business Management Forms, The Policy & Procedure Manual for the Self-Storage Business, Selling Your Self-Storage Business and The South Carolina Tools Manual for Self-Storage Operators.

Comments and questions may be sent to: Ask The Waldmans, P.O. Box 21416, Charleston, SC 29413; or via their Web site:

Editor's Note: Views and opinions on legal matters are those of the authors. Professional counsel should be obtained before any determination or positive action is taken.

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