Wednesday, September 23, 2009

On the road... Nostalgia...

Southern California is much as I remember it. Hot, with lots of traffic. That isn't saying that I didn't love living down here. My wife and I spent much of our adult post-college life in what they call the Inland Empire after finding the job market in Central Oregon to be a bit lacking as we entered it for the first time back in '97.

I'm gonna get a little nostalgic here, so prepare yourself. Ooo... this is turning into a little auto-biography.

I always like to ask folks how they got into the payroll business. No one ever told their school councilor that they wanted to do payroll when they grew up. There is always a good story, especially behind those who didn't come from a core accounting background.

So, how did Logan get into the payroll business? By accident. Twice.

Once upon a time, Logan was an IT guy with an 80 mile commute in traffic - both ways on Interstate 10 here in So. Cali.... and had an epiphany one day after being in the break room with a bunch of co-workers as someone lit themselves on fire on an overpass near Santa Monica... When the first question in your head about such a horrific situation is, 'I wonder if that's on my route home? I'm hosed!'... you know you need a different job.

So later that week I walked into an interview at CBS Payroll out in San Bernardino near where my wife was teaching and became the guy who shipped out software packages and scanned laser signatures. 10 minute commute... nuf said.

Yes, Logan was the dude who scanned signatures. You might say that I started at the bottom. After doing this for awhile, I did some customer service and sales work before I realized that I wanted to get my edumacation.

So I got educated... did my BS and MS in Organizational Development at the University of La Verne and moved back home to Oregon. This move to Oregon thing is a recurring theme in my adult life. Back and forth... long story.

Part Deux.... I drove back down to San Bernardino area alone in my truck and stayed with family while I looked for a j.o.b. in the area. I gave my buddy Mike a call who was a friend at the payroll company I was scanning signatures at. He says, "Hey, we were looking for a business development manager..."

I got hired. Two days later Intuit acquired CBS Payroll for $78 million bucks and I got my stock options.

An interesting chain of events then took place... over the next few years, sparing you the details, I moved up the food chain and after my manager moved on, ended up running the Payroll Service Bureau software business... just as Intuit decided to dismantle it. I got the job of informing my service bureau clients that they needed new software, and helped them find it and transition as smoothly as possible.

The most amusing calls I've ever made in my payroll career went like this, "Hey there! This is Logan Cashwell from CBS Payroll Software... your now former competitor. I want to partner with you to help my clients find out if your software package is a good fit for them."

After two years of this, and being laid off twice (don't ask...) I transitioned into the Intuit Complete Payroll Services ops group managing a team that handled, 'Payroll Technical Support' for around 15,000 clients. We made some great changes that enhanced the customer experience with our web and PC products... and then a few months later... Intuit sells out to ADP. The end. Third time laid off... at the same company! It was pretty amusing to me to watch the process. Sad, but amusing to view it through the lens of my fancy edumacation that Intuit mostly paid for (the MS). Watching the corporate giant attempt to successfully handle this massive organizational change, while keeping the clients happy as they are sold off, in many cases to the service provider they had recently left.

As I was the last manger in the door, I transitioned myself out early. Frankly, after being in limbo for two years previously, it didn't strike me as a lot of fun to do it for another year.

Part Tre? Three? I called Tim Troxel at AdaptaSoft, Inc., interviewed with him, and got back into business development and consulting. Why did I call them? No this isn't a veiled sales pitch inside of a long memoir... They took care of MY people when they were most vulnerable and needed help. They did it like no other.

So, here I am today, blogging about payroll and helping payroll service bureaus to find the best fit in a new software package - much like what I did during the end-game for CBS Payroll Software.

From the bottom up, here I am. Another amusing tale of how a guy got into payroll.

Want to share your story? Comment here and I'll post it right up.

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