Bob Schroeder, CLE
I graduated from Northern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance hoping to become a stockbroker. That was my dream job. I read many books on buying and selling stocks in an attempt to improve my skills and one of the common themes was “the trend is your friend.” Buy stocks when the prices are trending up and chances for success are in your favor. Sell stocks when prices are trending down and you’ll save yourself some money.
Just like today, the job market was soft for recent college graduates the year I graduated and, unable to find my stockbroker dream job, I found myself working as a valet at the local country club, the same job that got me through college. When summer drew to an end, I found a collections job at an auto finance company where I worked in the field, which was simply a nicer way of saying I was assigned to the rougher neighborhoods of Chicago. The father of my first high school girlfriend set me up with the job, so I was glad I had treated his daughter well when we dated although it didn’t help me out much in high school: she went to the Prom with my brother! But that year—six years after we dated—it paid dividends. Who could have known?
After a year of debt collecting in the meaner streets of Chicago, I took an inside job collecting for a large airline credit union that needed help after thousands of its members had been furloughed. I was transferred to the loan department once the airline recalled its furloughed employees. Lending was easy at the airline credit union: You knew a member’s income by the number of stripes they wore on their uniform and from their employment seniority date. We funded most loans in ten minutes or less.