You know, I’m not always “Mad.” Yes, I’ve been known to rant here and there, but I also know when it’s time to take a step back from the grind. See, I live by and believe in that often-used proverb: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” And I think it’s time you did, too.
I know, I know, we work hard. And at times, we live very stressful lives in what some people like to call “the dungeon.” And yes, we tend to bring some of that baggage home and, sometimes, the day’s events become the topic of discussion during dinner. Heck, sometimes it even invades our dreams. Trust me, I’ve been there.
But for everything we endure, there is an upside. As dealership employees, we have more opportunities to let off steam than your average nine-to-fiver. So, never let yourself get so bogged down that you forget why you come to work every day. In other words, live a little!
Now, tell me if this doesn’t sound familiar: You show up to work on Monday all pumped up. By 5 p.m. you’ve papered six deals, four of which were cash. Not much product moved that day, and nausea begins to set in as you watch your profit per vehicle retailed (PVR) slip into the abyss. Making matters worse, you are notified that two contracts are being returned for corrections. Worse yet, those customers each live 100 miles away and can’t be reached because they’re on vacation. Again, I’ve been there.
Hey, but we’re terrific problem solvers, right? F&I managers can multitask without giving it a second thought. We piece together deals that seemed undoable, but we almost never get any praise for our efforts. Sometimes, we have to take a “TO” in the parking lot as the customer is leaving just to save the deal. It’s not easy, but this is our lot in life, and it’s a fine choice as far as I’m concerned.
In fact, the picture that accompanies this article every month is pretty indicative of my relaxed style away from work. When I lock my door at quitting time, I try to mentally lock away the problems that accompanied my day. Life is too short to live it 24/7. So, when I’m at work, I enjoy slowing down to puff on a Churchill cigar to keep from going bonkers. I also keep a humidor in my office and will visit my local cigar bar just a few blocks away every week to throttle down. Yes, I’m paying a premium for this relaxation, but what good is all the money in the world if you don’t use some of it to relax?
Now, there are countless ways to unwind that don’t involve a fine cigar and an adult beverage. The key here is to find what allows you to relax and decompress mentally. … And then do it!
I know that taking time off is challenging. The dealer and general manager often cringe at the idea. Sometimes they’ll even call you while you’re away. And doesn’t it seem like that call comes right as you’re launching the boat? But don’t pick it up and mentally put yourself back into that environment. That’s what voicemail is for, right? And besides, what exactly do you think you can accomplish being away from the dealership? And if you do pick up the phone, you’ll spend the rest of the day feeling guilty about being away.
So don’t do it. Turn the cell phone off or, at the very least, avoid answering it. And if it’s the mess you know will be waiting for you when you get back that’s keeping you from taking time off, get over it. You earned the time off, so enjoy it.
A personal practice of mine is to mentally subtract my “off days” from the calendar so I’m not worrying about life at Langdale Ford. I want my time off to be enjoyable, and there is simply no way I can do that if I’m fretting about lost revenue. Sure, you’re the best at your position and your support staff likely won’t do as good a job, but that’s part of the price of vacation. In a perfect world, our departments would never skip a beat and PVR would never drop a dime. But that’s fantasy. So start learning to appreciate the finer things of life. Get your calendar out and start planning your next trip. Remember, we work to live. Relaxation awaits!