Posts Tagged ‘weekend vacation’

A weekend vacation and a book don’t often combine to create life- and company-changing experiences. But that’s what happened when Chris Gage, vice president of operations for pharmacy point-of-sale company Retail Management Solutions, visited a friend at an RV park just after reading Live a Thousand Years.

The book, written by Giovanni Livera, urges readers to mark the passing of life through experiences, not time. The parable had been given to her by RMS president and CEO Brad Jones, who mentored each member of his staff personally through the book’s “Life Documents.” Some in the company made dramatic changes in their personal lives, resulting in a less stressful work environment.

But Gage took it a few thousand miles further, thanks to that experience in the campground. “We were sitting around, all of us in our early 40s,” she says, “just dreaming about what we would do with our lives as we get closer to retirement.”

With the book as an inspiration, she decided not to wait to achieve her goal of seeing the country. She pitched Jones on an idea that would allow her to travel and connect with RMS’s customer base: She would live in an RV for two years, visiting customers and vendors while touring the country. She already worked remotely quite often from her home, 100 miles from the company’s Olympia, Wash., headquarters.

“I thought, ‘I could be sitting somewhere sunny with a laptop and wireless connection, doing my job wherever, not sitting in rainy Washington state,” she says. “I could be on the road experiencing great weather for my personal satisfaction, but in a way that would benefit the company.”

She put together “a plan of attack” and presented it to Jones. He was intrigued, but probed her commitment to the idea since she’d never lived in an RV before. “I didn’t want her to get two or three months into it and say, ‘What did I do?’” Jones says, but “she’s got the right personality and this was something she really wanted.”

Within six months, Gage had sold her house, bought a 40-ft. motorhome, packed up her pets and headed south. Now, she plots out a place to park for a few weeks at a time, and visits customers several days a week (in a Jeep towed behind the RV), spending a few hours with each customer.

Still early in the process, Gage isn’t yet thinking about what will happen when her two years are up, or how she’ll go back to living in one location. But the experience has already transformed how she approaches her job.
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