Living On Oxygen for Life
Side Note: I am a big believer in paying it forward. This article is so inspiring and I am honored that I am permitted to post it on my blog for you to read. I hope it warms your heart as it did mine. Thank you Mr. Sarine.
by William G. Sarine
It was 1975 in Chicago and I was a salesman for a large computer company. I had a number of large accounts including Illinois Bell Telephone and American Can Printing Company. One day I was waiting in the American Can office pending my appointment and was watching a young man through the display window, running tapes on the computer system. It was a print shop and he was loading machines and then going to the command console and rapidly keying in command codes on a key panel in computer code. This fascinated me that anyone that could not only remember all the codes but key them in so rapidly.
The manager I was meeting with came out and I commented to him how amazed I was at the skill of the young man. He nodded and with a quiet voice told me he had some bad news for the young man. The company was closing down the print operation and moving it to another site. He was going to have to let him go. What made it more difficult was that this young man had no education and was the support for his entire family. His father had died and he had his mother and three siblings to support. He said he always came in early worked late and never complained.
Later that day I was meeting with the Comptroller of Illinois Bell and on a whim asked if they had any affirmative action difficulties. He immediately got serious and said one of his greatest challenges was finding qualified people with technical skills. I told him about Petro. He indicated he would like to speak to him and asked me to set up an interview. We set a time for the following day. I called his boss and arranged to meet Petro at his office early so I could give him some briefing.
The next day when I met Petro I immediately decided that Jeans and worn sneakers were not the appropriate attire for an interview. We went to Marshall Field’s Bargain basement, fit him out with a suit, shirt, tie new shoes etc. he felt very uncomfortable so I decided to give him a pep talk. When I was starting in business one of my first mentors pulled me aside and gave me a watch. It was a simple Timex but the words he said always stayed with me.
“This clock represents your time. You own it… and are the only one that can control it. Time is given to each of us and what we do with it sets us apart from everyone else. You can waste it, cherish it and grow or not– it is your clock and the time is yours to control. Use it wisely or foolishly but no matter what you cannot go back just forward.”
I never will forget that look as he stared at the watch. I dropped him at the reception desk and with shaking legs he walked into the interview. Over an hour later he emerged with a glow in his eyes. Smiling he said he got the job.
I lost touch with Petro over the years but heard he was doing well. I moved on to North Carolina and 30 years passed. Now I was running a company in the east and distributing electronics nationally. Attending a trade show in San Diego I had a very hectic schedule of booth operations, press conferences and committee meetings. Tired and exhausted on the third day I was taking a break with my 3rd cup of coffee when a well dressed gentleman approached me ￼and said; “are you Mr. Sarine formerly from Chicago?” I nodded yes and then he dropped the bomb. “You may not remember me but I used to be called Petro. I am now Peter and I hoped I would have the chance to meet you again.” I guess I showed my shock. He explained that he had been given an opportunity to finish his education and in fact had a master’s degree from Northwestern and was now on the staff of ATT Headquarters in NJ. He was married with 2 children and a fine life. We planned to have dinner that night.
At dinner he stated he had a gift for me and handed me a box. In it was a new watch. Included was a note that will always be sacred to me.
“This is your new clock to replace the one you gave me. I am sorry I cannot return the original as I have already passed it on to another with your words. May it serve others as it did me.
Thanks for your faith in me.
Since then I have made it a practice to always have a spare watch available to pass on when needed. The price of the watch is not relevant. It is the use of time that is.
This article is Copyright © by Bill Sarine, Writers Guild of America Registration number 1706756
William Sarine, Vice President of Business Development at Beachglass Films has been a founder of both commercial and non profit companies. He has experience in strategic marketing and was a founder of a number of companies including EntreDot, a non-profit organization focused on mentoring and coaching small early stage companies. He founded a number of companies such as Global Data Networking Systems, Inc, a successful sales and consulting firm. He has experience in all stages of corporate leadership and has worked with all levels of corporate management. He has been a CEO, VP of Sales and Marketing, a national sales manager and a product manager for both large and small companies. He developed the “10/40 Sales Management Program”, a premier time management and motivational tool. He has been invited to speak on emerging technologies and evolving products at executive sessions at a number of firms including BellSouth, RJ Reynolds and FedEx. William was previously a guest instructor for the University of South Carolina’s NetGen CIO Academy. Bill has a degree in marketing from Farleigh Dickenson University with additional studies at Fordham University. Additional experiences include participating in a trade delegation to Canada sponsored by the US Dept of Commerce and the Canadian Commercial Attaché Board and being a member of NC Idea Lab, a non profit organization focused on generating new business concepts for prelaunch companies.