Along with my position in Uvalde I inherited a personal secretary. She should never have been put into this job, which was way over her head. Dealing with this was adding to my stress and causing problems. I would tell her, “I am going into San Antonio for the week-end. I am going to stop in Hondo and Sabinal to visit with the Chief Operators on the way back on Monday, so I will not be in the office till about noon”. My boss would call at 8 AM on Monday and he would ask for me. “He is not here,” she would say. “Where is he?” She’d reply, “I don’t know.” Naturally the boss was not happy and he would tell me about it when I called him about 11 AM.
After many conversations and extra training I finally had to make a change and re assign her back to the operating room. I hired a new secretary, Ludeen, who was excellent. She quickly organized her job and had it humming smoothly in no time. Once or twice I did fail to tell her when I was going to be gone. Nevertheless, when the boss called he was happy with her explanation of where I was-even though she did not have a clue. She did, however, let me know about it whenever I forgot to tell her.
Ludeen was a jewel. She took about eight hours off my workweek right away. If the boss called about one of the towns in my district, Ludeen would be laying the file on my desk with all the answers before he asked a question. She also answered a lot of the Chief Operators minor questions, without bothering me with them. She organized the office and the other girls who worked for me there.
I woke up each morning at 5:45 when my radio came on with the McCullough Chain Saw advertising jingle. I would get dressed and head for the office which was about seven minutes from our home. I would park in back of my office and go next door to the Elite Café and have coffee with the Ranchers and businessmen that met there for breakfast every morning. By seven AM I was at my desk and planning the day. I would write notes on various correspondence and requests for information and put into Ludeen’s box. Everything went to her first and she decided which of the girls in the office was best suited to complete the assignment. I had put all the office staff under Ludeen’s direction and delegated all decisions to her. She enjoyed her work and did a fantastic job of taking 90% of the detail work off of me.
I learned early on that if you were stressed about your workload you had better learn to delegate. When you are used to working by yourself or doing it all by yourself it is hard to turn loose of control and delegate. It not only relieves your stress level but for the first tine your employees begin to grow and make decisions without asking you for permission before making a move. Sure, they will make mistakes and frequently do something different than what you would have done but it is the only way for them to grow. You will find that you grow some, too.
With the Union quiet, we began to convert offices to dial. I was given two Assistant District men. I put one in charge of the big Laredo conversion, and the other one in charge with the Seguin-New Braunfels conversions.
I did not take much time off away from the job during the first four years we were in Uvalde. We did take an occasional long weekend to go to Port Isabel near South Padre Island.
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