I have been working in the ‘packaged cuisines’ industry for over 30 years now. Initially, I started out as a low-lying cook laboring in a tomato soup formula manufacturing company. My hands-on experience in sorting through seemingly-endless stacks of the vegetable soon convinced me to quit, however. The poor wages that I received further fueled my decision. And the unjustifiable taunts that I regularly received from my unreasonable manager had to be dealt with.
So it wasn’t long afterward that I decided to build my own company.
A company that was destined to evolve into a culinary monopoly one day. It even has its own dedicated website these days. Consider JimmyESL for TEFL jobs and other guidance. The bulk of our current orders, in fact, come in through this channel.
Building a Culinary Enterprise from Scratch
I longed to carve out my own fortune, and to never let the dictates of someone else control me.
And looking back after all these years, I’m glad that I took the steps that I did. Because the same individual who once hounded me for all the wrong reasons is now one of my employees. But unlike the condescending treatment that he once meted out to me, I take care to be extra-courteous. And generous.
The difference between a winning and losing temperament lies in how you choose to treat your oppressors, right? In how you make peace with a turbulent past and strive to forgive. Rather than cultivating a desire for vengeance.
At least that’s what I’ve learned, both through my lived experience and the testimony of certain ‘men of old’. Men (and women, undoubtedly) whose wisdom continues to resound from every church altar on Sundays. In congregations of the faithful where the New Testament is loudly recounted. And the feats of the Lord’s apostles are discussed with riveting flair.
Cashing-In on a Consumer Demand
And so one fine July morning, with my psychological & emotional wounds tended to, I invested all my savings into renting a small shop. This was a shabby little place in the corner of a well-frequented street; very Dickensian in outlook. And to add insult to injury, it had a sewerage canal running close by, which attracted all sorts of flies and other pestilences.
But despite all these impediments I had one advantage working for me. I was selling a product which met a grave (albeit seasonal) consumer need.
I was the only vendor in the town selling prepackaged and cooked tomato soup; a staple in our corner of Michigan State. A popular saying concerning our town’s love affair with this savory dish vents on how people can do without drinking water, but not without tomato soup. And if I’m to be credited with anything, it’s recognizing the need to capitalize on this consumer demand before anyone else did.
Before I knew it, my tiny little retail outlet was flooded with customers queuing up for some packaged soup. My shop also drew its fair share of hospital patients; particularly those people afflicted with prostate cancer. Many research studies have demonstrated the soup’s amazing potential in warding off the said ailment’s risk and preventing its further growth.
After about 2 years of rapid sales and profits, I was finally able to afford setting up an entire factory. And after another three years, I had my company listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
In the interests of full disclosure, I have to admit that I did have to contend with a few hiccups along my journey. But none of them were as significantly harrowing as the ones which business leaders like Steve Jobs and John. D Rockefeller faced.
My biggest sacrifice, perhaps, revolved around losing my first wife. Upset at my unyielding devotion to the company, she asked for a divorce on the very day that my company went multinational. A ‘downer on a day of perpetual triumph’, as I like to think about the sad occasion in retrospect (using the dramatic Shakespearean lingo).
I had succeeded beyond my wildest expectations, but I can’t say that I was much surprised.
I had put in a lot of hard work into this personal venture, and my secret recipe did (and does) taste good! With the ground blueprints in place, it was only a matter of time before my business took off. And in the direction that I always hoped it would.
With profits rolling in, I diversified my product portfolio further and introduced a line of carrot soup. This concoction of fresh carrot and vinegar is a bit ‘prickly’ to taste and is my personal favorite. In addition, it has helped me to counter the seasonal fall in revenue during the warmer months (when tomato soup demand is low).
Today, I have a loving second wife and three beautiful children; all of whom blindly support my ambitions. Both for our family, and the company that is to be their inheritance one day.
So all in all, I think I did pretty well for myself.
I might even get a road in the town named after me in a few months’ time (or so I’ve been told by a local government insider).
But who knows.
I’m content and at peace with myself, and that’s all that matters really.
And it’s more than what most people can say about themselves – at the pinnacle of their careers.