An interesting chain of events transpired to bring me to FASTSIGNS. The Webster's Dictionary defines serendipity as "good luck in making unexpected and fortunate discoveries." I'd say there was some of that involved here.
As recalled in part one of my story, I landed my first job in the sign business through a connection. Over two years, my experience and knowledge of the sign industry grew and so did my passion for the work. My motto was "learn something new every day," and in the sign business, it isn't hard. Every day there were new projects as well as a new set of skills to learn as each sign has its own custom touches. I learned the basics of everything from custom painting to routing and manufacturing channel letters. I wanted to learn everything I could. Often I was asked to fill in when with big projects. After an installation, it's so satisfying to see the finished product and, most of all, the excited business owners. Everyone loves seeing their company name on a huge sign towering above their business.
Often I would be sent out on installation jobs solo for the day. One particular installation was for the University of Cincinnati to wrap several large round columns. If you've tackled this type of job before, you know this can be quite difficult. After the installation was complete, I cleaned up and loaded the truck with my tools when I noticed I had a spectator…
A gentleman sitting in a FASTSIGNS van was waiting for me to finish. He introduced himself as Jeff Cline, franchise owner of FASTSIGNS of Cincinnati - Highland Ave. He commended me on my technique and the quality of my workmanship, and handed me a business card to call him if I ever needed a job. I thanked him for stopping and for the compliments. It sure felt great that my hard work was noticed!
Just a few months later, the recession hit and business slowed. I was eventually laid off by my previous employer. I sat at home for about a week, bored out of my mind and wracking my brain to figure out who had given me the business cardt hat I left in my previous employer's truck. The FASTSIGNS van was all I could remember so I searched for FASTSIGNS centers in Cincinnati on Google. I called the first one on the list and explained that I met a man when installing a job at the University of Cincinnati and before I even got through the sentence, he replied, "Yes, that was me!" Talk about luck.
Cline didn't have a full time position available, but he had some installations projects so I started helping the next day. Collecting unemployment and sitting around was something I refused to do, so I helped FASTSIGNS a few days a week along with working two other side jobs. I had just bought my first house and was very motivated to do whatever it took to pay my bills. I continued working my three jobs for several months, until the economy began to pick up.
I notified Cline that I had been called back to work full time at my previous employer and thanked him for the great opportunity. It was a bittersweet moment because I was really happy to be back to full time employment, but had equally enjoyed the time I'd spent working at FASTSIGNS.
A week later, I received a call from Cline and we set up a meeting to discuss an employment opportunity. He offered me a full time position at FASTSIGNS. The following day, I gave my two weeks' notice and took the new job. It goes without saying how eager I was to start learning new methods and techniques. Little did I know at the time that my career with FASTSIGNS was just beginning!
The Attraction of Signs: Part 1