In 1996 I ran an ad in the Sunday edition of the Los Angeles Times:
Title Assistant needed immediately. Send res. PO box xx, El Segundo CA 90245
Three lines cost $120.00 and after weeks of business planning backed by no experience we had set to open a temp agency. Title Temps would specialize in title insurance personnel and would solve the problem of the Southern California title industry in the ’90s where bimonthly layoffs and rehires were the norm. The cyclical nature of real estate, the volume of transactions performed in our region, and the highly technical skills required to complete the policies made this a perfect niche for contingent labor and we would show them why.
Business plan written, we submitted the ad, kept our day jobs, and waited to see if anyone would respond. Besides an initial meeting with Chicago Title’s Human Resources Director who had to listen to us anyway because my dad was on their board of directors, it was the first action put out to the community. Would anyone actually believe in the remote likelihood that we could get him a job?
Exhilarated by the possibility of starting up a business and touched with trepidation of never receiving a single piece of mail, I checked the post office every lunch until one day it was not empty. Set in the middle of the bronze colored rectangular box was a lone #10 envelope type written and addressed to me and it made me cry. Someone had answered and, however slight as it was, the connection touched me. This connection gave me encouragement and strength and attached a human element to our plan which to that moment only existed on paper. Someone wanted us, or at least needed work, and that evening after step aerobics class (original Reeboks with the straps), I prepared two weeks notice and quit my job.
Fourteen years later, hundreds of title assistants having been placed and eons away from ads in print, I wake up in the morning and check to see who’s following. Sometimes it’s business, sometimes personal, and occasionally a fashion designer who I have mentioned online. It is still about the connect. In business and in life and there is nothing like the feeling when someone listens. Fourteen years ago, we would submit a classified and wait for the mail truck. Now we are conversing all over the web and feedback streams throughout the day. Fortunately I don’t cry over each reply but every connection sure feels good.
Note: I have not found a suitable a synonym capturing the connotation of “connection.” Merriam-Webster: association, bearing, kinship, liaison, linkage, relation, relationship, correlation, interrelation, materiality, pertinence, relevance; bond, link, tie; affiliation, alliance, union; likeness, resemblance, similarity.