Cornbread changed careers almost 4 years ago. He had been a mortgage loan officer for several years and was quite successful at it. He was unhappy, though. Incredibly unhappy. He was trying to do business in a way that was not rewarded in that industry (servicing his clients) and was finding it increasingly difficult to not get discouraged and not compromise his integrity. Ultimately our Edward Jones advisor, who was a friend of his, recruited him to join the firm... at just the right time.
So he went through the hiring process and was hired in the fall of 2004. They paid him to study for his series 7 exam for 2 months, paid him to train in St. Louis, and paid him to go out into the neighborhood and knock on the doors of people he didn't know. They paid him, however, it was a substantial decrease from his previous income (like 75% decrease). They have an incredible company and an amazing training program. And we are fortunate to have been paid anything during that time.
For the first year he worked out of our home. They don't give you an office until you hit a certain milestone. He was in the process of finding office space in September 2005 when an existing office became available (each branch office has only one advisor and one assistant - this particular branch's advisor had been dismissed). He took it, gladly - he also took over the assets.
The thing is, though, the firm gives you an office and an executive desk, a desk for the assistant, and two filing cabinets. The rest is up to you... and the previous guy took all of his additional furniture.
When he first got an office his commissions were minimal - in 4 years he has only earned enough to pay our monthly bills twice. So adding extra furniture to the office was pretty much out of the question - we aren't paying our bills at home, how do we afford to furnish the office? We couldn't, so he worked in very bare office space for a couple of years.
Last year he earned a bonus and we decided to use most of the money to finally furnish and decorate the office. Fortunately one of his clients is an interior designer and when he called her she insisted on helping him for free:) He gave her a budget and let her loose - and she did an amazing job!
One weekend last summer I went there and painted - I put a fresh coat of Edward Jones green on his office wall, added a green wall to his spare office and painted over the standard issue Edward Jones gray with a warm cream. It totally changed the space - it felt warm and inviting instead of cold and kind of dreary.
Then Anita did her magic...
Now I walk in and think, "Is this really MY husband's office?" I am so proud of him and the work he does. He amazes me in a way that I cannot articulate - I cannot begin to explain how tough - mentally and emotionally - those first 2 years were for him and how tough it continues to be at times. He had the foresight to get our finances in place so that we had enough back up funds to afford this adventure - his paychecks haven't paid our bills in 4 years (except for two months), yet we still haven't run out of back up money. His income continues to grow and if we lived in podunkville we would be thriving!! We happen to live in a very expensive area, though, and our expenses, while bare minimum, are still pretty outrageous.
He is a man of integrity and I am so proud of him. He works hard to do what is best for his clients rather than what is necessarily best for his pocketbook. He faced this job head on and never turned back. He has chosen to build his business at a slower pace so that he can be part of our girls' lives. He strives for balance and tries very hard to not allow his work to take over his life. I love him, repect him and think he is amazing.