February 1, 1998

4 Min Read
Inside Self-Storage 2/98

Going for the NewCareer
Dear Waldmans: It will be 10 years this August thatI have been manager of a storage facility. I like my job, and theowner is wonderful. He trusts my judgment and lets me run thefacility with a great deal of independence. His support in mydecisions has always made me an even more caring employee. I amthe most responsible employee anyone could ask for. The truth is,I drive my own self crazy with this total obligation thing. Isuppose this is the real reason I have tried to ignore my longingfor another career. The owner has been so good to me. Despite thefact that I feel like I have gone as far as possible in thisposition, I always end up feeling guilty when I even think aboutleaving. There is nothing more about the business that I canlearn. When anyone asks a question, I feel like I don't even haveto think before I answer. The truth is, it has become boringbecause there is no longer any challenge for me here. I know youguys are lawyers and self-storage owners, and not psychics, but Ineed some guidance here.
--Can't Make a Decision in Omaha, Neb.

Dear No Decision: You do sound like the perfectemployee, except now you are bored. When your job gets to thepoint that you feel you cannot learn anything new, there is aproblem. At this point you are still a good employee, but yourheart 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 aboutsearching for a new career, then you should go for it. You areright about one thing, time will pass you by and you will neverknow if you could have accomplished other things. Your employerwas very lucky to have you as his manager for 10 years. Now,things will have to change for him also. Change is the mostdifficult thing to accomplish for anyone. But without change, newchallenges are never approached. Sometimes change is needed in abusiness. It may be one of the best things that ever happened,not only for you, but for your employer. A new individual withnew ideas could do wonders for the facility. There are always newand exciting ways to accomplish the same thing. Given your guiltyfeelings, it would benefit you to approach the situation likethis: first you need to decide what it is you are searching for,if you haven't already done that; then you need to tell youremployer you will help with the interview process and stay aroundlong enough to help train the new manager in the basic proceduresof the facility. Hopefully, your facility has established apolicy and procedure manual. This always helps a new employeewith any problems he encounters. If a manual has not beenestablished, maybe you can take this opportunity to write down alist of the procedures to help the new employee. This will alsomake you feel less guilty. Your employer will love you for it.

I feel that because of your description of the owner, he wouldwant you to pursue other interests. I don't know of many peoplethat would stand in the way of someone wanting to approach a newcareer. Remember, you have been a good employee and you havenothing to feel guilty about.

It is so important to get out of bed in the morning and beexcited about going to your job. When the time comes that youdread going to work, then it's time for a change. Of course,there are some people that will tell you they have always dreadedgoing to work. You do not describe yourself as that kind ofperson. Your caring responsible attitude will help you reach anygoals 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: www.askthewaldmans.com.

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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