Saturday, March 1, 2008

An Anniversary - 50 Years Ago Today

Today, March 3rd, I celebrate another milestone anniversary. It was 50 years ago today that I started my job at State Farm Insurance in Santa Ana, California. It's an interesting story about how I got that job.

I was working in Maywood (Los Angeles) at the Fluor Corporation in Expediting of materials to the various jobsites that the company was working around the globe. They built refineries, asphalt plants, etc. The year was 1958 and we were experiencing a recession in America. Work was very light - in fact if I had all that I would be doing that day at 8:00 a.m., I could be done by 8:45 a. m. You can see it was a very boring time for employees. Layoff time couldn't be very far away.

The manager called me into his office that week and said that I would be laid off in a week and that I needed to find another job. I could use my sick days (hadn't been off in the 11 months there) if I had an appointment. Just call in that I did indeed have an appointment and do my best to convince the people that I need to come to work for them. I went to an employment agency (if you get a job, you pay a fee) and they sent me to Allstate Insurance Company for an interview. The person I saw said that he didn't know why they sent me as there were NO job openings at all at Allstate. He suggested I go to State Farm Insurance and see if they have anything. I said "State Who?" At that time I didn't recall ever hearing about State Farm.

I called and got an appointment for an interview at State Farm the next day. Since the employment agency wasn't involved, I didn't have to pay for the job. I got hired that day and had to take a physical the next morning. Two days out of the five that week I was off my job at Fluor and returned the last three days to complete my work record with them. I started the following Monday which was March 3, 1958, at State Farm Insurance, 1727 West 17th Street, Santa Ana, California.

I was hired at $5 more a month because of "my experience" and that brought my monthly gross salary to $326 a month. Quite a drop from the $390 I was making at Fluor. You know what? That day as I started my training as a Service Trainee in the Los Angeles Auto Division they offered me up to 20 hours a week overtime at time and a half! So for the next six months I was able to get my regular hours in plus 20 extra overtime hours which paid the bills for my young family.

At the time my family consisted of Ann, Rick (age 23 months) and myself (age 23 years). Brenda came along in 1959 to complete the family.

I spent 37 years with this "job" and retired July 1, 1996. I took 16 months off State Farm after I had been there 11 years to try my luck at personal investment and insurance selling which was a disaster. Returned to State Farm and completed my working years. I will tell you how to change a "job" into a "career" in another posting.

The picture above was taken on my first day at State Farm for my Personnel file.


Anonymous said...

Nice story, I retired last year after 32 years with StateFarm. I love hearing and reading about the various ways we ended up at The Farm.

Wendy Gilbody

Anonymous said...

You really made a good move going to State Farm. Good story!

Dave and Malene