‘I was starting to think more seriously about starting my own business. My wife and I had attended a seminar about doing business with the government. We had a little side business of silk screening and embroidery. It wasn’t something we had put a lot of effort into; it was just something to do in our garage at home. It was a way the two of us spent time together. At the seminar, the person running the event asked me about my background. I told him what my GS status was, how I was a service-disabled veteran, and a Contracting Officer Representative. I was still in the federal government. He was very impressed with my credentials and offered me an opportunity to work with him teaching classes on the weekend to other small businesses on how to do business with the government. I accepted this opportunity and I started this work during my time off from the government. I was earning more money as a facilitator on the weekends then I was as a GS-15 for the federal government, and minus the nonsense! This opportunity went on for about two years, and the more and more I thought about it the more and more I enjoyed the freedom of working independently.
One day I went to my government job, and the guy who achieved his position unethically said something stupid to me. Before I reacted, I thought about how my initial instinct was to give him a right cross and knock him out. The fact I started thinking violently toward this guy told me immediately I needed to change my environment.
I am not a violent person and to have this strong emotional reaction scared me.
I said to him, “Instead of getting physical with you, I am going to call you my inspiration and motivation.”
He looked at me funny.
“You have inspired me to do something I have been wanting to do for a long time,” I told him.
I walked away and told my wife that night I was going to leave the government and start my own business.
Even if I failed, just the act of trying to improve my life was commendable. Should you feel in your bones that the time has come to make more of yourself and expand your horizons, lean on your support systems and take the leap.’
- Excerpt from “The System Is Unforgiving” by Allen Maxwell