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Three Titles in One Day

Joe Neville

November 25, 2015 


In January, 1981, I was asked to transfer from the IH Northwest Regional Office in St. Paul, MN to the IH World Headquarters in Chicago, IL. I was to become the Product Sales Manager, Planters & Drills. I arrived in Chicago and was assigned an office, and was told to purchase a home and move my family as quickly as possible. While house-hunting, I commuted each Friday from Chicago to the Twin Cities and back each Monday. It took two months to find a house and set the closing date. Finally, the date was established and I took a week’s vacation to close on the house, move a wife and three kids, and get settled in our new home. We unpacked the last box on Sunday, and I was ready to head back to my new job.


Monday morning I walked up the street, boarded a bus to the train station and arrived at Union Station about 30 minutes later. I grabbed another bus to 401 North Michigan Avenue and took the elevator to my office. I was greeted by a large stack of mail from the previous week, and dozens of phone messages--most of which were marked "Urgent." But I had come in early to get caught up, and most people had yet to arrive. I grabbed a coffee and settled in to sort through the messages and mail.


About 8:00, my friend John Buse, who had also just been transferred, stopped by to say hello. He told me that during the week while I was out, I had been reassigned to the job of Sales Manager, Hay Tools & Material Handling. I grinned and said, “Yeah, right.” By about 9:00 I was about halfway through my stack of mail when I came across a letter from the President advising me that several people were being reassigned to new positions and, sure enough, I was one of them. I tried to phone my new boss, but was informed that he was at a meeting and would be back later that morning. He returned my call around 11:00, and told me to come to his office right away.


After a brief welcome to the job, he informed me that we needed to meet with the President, as he had an urgent assignment for us. The President explained that he needed a product forecast right after lunch. I went back to my office and began digging into the data, and completed the job by 1:00. I then went back to working through the mail and phone messages.


At about 3:00, I received a call from Jim Healy, Corporate Sales Manager for the Northwest Region & Canada, asking me to come to his office right away. I wondered what he wanted, but assumed it was regarding carryover models of planters, as we had just introduced the new 800 Cyclo planter line. I met him coming out of his office, and he said, “I have a quick meeting to attend, but I'll be right back. In the meantime, you need to see my secretary, and she’ll get you a plane ticket, as we’re flying to St. Paul tomorrow morning.” I was dumbfounded, and couldn't imagine what was going on.


When Jim returned, he told me I was going to be working for him as Sales & Inventory Analyst for his region. After recovering from my speechlessness, I replied, “I literally just finished moving here yesterday. Are you telling me I have to move back to St. Paul?”


Thankfully, he smiled and said, "No."


Relieved, I said, “Do you realize this is the third job I’ve had today?”


He smiled and said, “Welcome aboard.”

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