August 28, 2023
Our most recent guest blogger, Joe Arvin, demonstrates the importance of the personal touch in business. As I mentioned in my introduction to his story, I met Mr. Arvin while job hunting. You really do not know stress until you are suddenly unemployed and worrying about feeding your family and paying your bills. My wonderful wife did her best to keep me calm, but with each interview she could sense my frustration. It did not help that my five-year-old son would greet me after each outing with “Did you get the job?” I had sent out twenty-five resumes, each in an envelope with a copy of my recently completed book — An Introduction to Gear Design. (It is still available for free download at www.beytagear.com.) This unusual approach (for 1989) resulted in twenty-four interviews, so it was not like I lacked opportunities. Still, the “right spot” was elusive and by the time my “tour” reached Downers Grove, I was pretty down. The folks at Arrow Gear took me on a tour of their shop and left me at Joe’s office. We had not met previously but had some mutual contacts. 1989 was in the middle of a tough decade for the gear industry; shops were merging, closing, and downsizing frequently. Arrow was not adding “overhead,” but Joe encouraged me to keep looking. It took a couple more weeks to find a position, during which time he checked in by phone. It impressed me then and, as the years have passed, I have tried to model that same behavior for the young engineers I have encountered. If you are lucky, you get to enjoy a long career of making cool stuff and meeting interesting people. Joe and I have had an opportunity to work together during our consulting years. When I brought up that 1989 interaction, Joe did not recall it. Apparently it has been his standard operating procedure to be kind to people even when there was no “percentage” in it for him. Good Karma is its own reward!